One of those sad realities!

A lady told me her story, recently. Hers is one of those sad realities of life, I must say. Read her: “My mum has been living with mental health challenges for as long as I can remember.

My parents separated when I was less than 10 years old. My mum is a schoolteacher. Despite her mental health issues, the state government continued to pay her salary, not minding that she’d been taken off classroom duties.

Every morning, she would carry her bag, go to that school and stay under the tree. She would be there until school dismissed for the day and she would come back home. She did this for years. And now that she is retired, they have continued to pay her pension.

The problem is that once she receives the salary, she will head to the market. Two things eat up her money… exotic fabrics and bleaching cream. Besides a particular skirt and blouse and a few old gowns, she hardly wears any other thing, yet her box is full of those fabrics.

My younger sister and I even resorted to secretly taking them from her box, reselling and giving her back the money. Sometimes, I just break down in tears. Because you dare not take her to a psychiatric clinic, you can’t even raise the issue with her.

She is largely peaceful and converses well. But, on the days she is off…she can show up in your matrimonial home to insult you and your spouse. These days, most of her time is spent in the church. She goes to every program and on the days there’s no program, she goes there and lies down. I feel that despite her condition, she finds peace in the church. The main point of this story is not about my mother but the sorrowful end of my father. Some years after he and my mum separated and we had all entered secondary school, he married another lady. She attends a white garment church. And that’s where she secretly took my father when he became sick.

My siblings and I were in the boarding school and had no idea that our father was fighting for his life. Thank God for a caring community like the one we come from. Neighbours and family friends started asking about my father’s whereabouts and insisted she took them to where he was.

That’s how they got there and met my father in a pitiable state. One of his hands was chained to the bed. They claimed that he was pulling at his penis a lot. And they had to stop him.

People from our community refused to leave that premises until they released my father to them and he was taken to the hospital. The doctors tried their best but right from the moment he was brought in and they carried out some tests, they told our people that it was already late.

Daddy had prostate cancer. Our stepmother goes to church most days of the week but I am yet to see a meaner person than that woman.