I have an aunt who has been ailing for almost a year now. I could not believe my eyes when I first saw her lying on the ground. The once bubbly, chubby and fiery aunty Hellen was a shadow of her former self.
She struggled to lift her upper body in order to give me a hug; meanwhile I struggled to push back the tears lest those present ask why I was mourning a living person. Afterwards I looked straight into her eyes and told her I needed her to recover so that we could fight like we always did. I asked how she felt now that she was helpless and could not terrorise anyone.
Her story is one of fiery attacks, whenever the family gathered she would antagonise her brothers and sisters. If they were being hosted at their brother’s home she would remind them of the ills they committed against the guy whose food they were now eating and growing fat on.
I reminded her of the fact that during her healthy days she never visited patients, her own mum was sick for months, her sisters who lived far visited, but aunty Hellen would even come to a nearby trading centre but not check on grandma. I said I needed her to regain her health because maybe given a second chance she would appreciate the importance of checking on the sick and being there for people who needed her.
On one of those days she called her brother several times to go pick and take her to the hospital, he was frustrated because he had work to do but she needed him off it to attend to her. She, a house wife never bothered to leave her comfort for the sake of another soul yet here is a man fending for himself and she made this seem so urgent, I stepped in for my dad. As I was taking her to the hospital I repeated the same thing I had been saying ‘senge I pray to God that you recover because I yearn for a better version of you.’
Better could be relative. Many of us have a way of life that we have built for ourselves, you only show up if it matters to you. We shy away from friendships that will benefit other people than us. Some of us are quick to contribute to weddings and funerals but will never make contribution to a drive aimed at raising funds to offset medical bills. I wonder, if you fell ill today and remained in that state for so long that people wrote you off then you unexpectedly come back to life, what would you do differently?
Are you happy with who and what you are today, would life be better if you maintained you or will there be a need to change a few things? What would that be?