… happiness like a string of beads

I take my happiness as it comes; little beads that I make into a chain of happiness for the days that there is none.

Once in a while, you meet a stranger and become friends, then you can’t imagine that you and this person haven’t always been friends – it almost feels like you’re picking up a friendship from where you left off in another life.

I met one such person during my Christmas break in Glasgow. She arrived the day before my departure, so our times barely intersected. But I remember that evening as a time of good conversation and lots of laughter.

Her name is Lauretta and I had heard about her obliquely, though I had never met her. Every night I spent at Aunty Joy’s we prayed for “Karl and his family, especially for Fred, that God should lay his hand on him”. After about a week, I asked who Fred was and what was wrong with him. Aunty Joy simply said ‘Remember that my friend whose son has been in the hospital since February?’ This was now December and I did remember.

Lauretta in one word – effervescent.

She arrived on a chilly afternoon with her husband and her 5yr old son Mark. The next roughly 18hrs were spent with so much laughter that almost became physical pain a number of times. I found it hard to reconcile the reality of her with my mental expectations of a woman who has practically lived in hospitals for almost a year. We talked about our shared love of books and writing; she shared her tough experiences on being a care-giver and no matter the topic, you could see her light up with an infectious joie de vivre.

I left the next day, after we promised to stay in touch, added each other on social media, shared our blog pages. And we have stayed in touch. I call her only when I have a free evening because no matter how we plan it, conversation is never less than 3hrs at a stretch.

When you’ve been in the hospital for so long, the world sort of forgets about you; it becomes ‘normal’

The last time we spoke, we talked about how her family copes with having a child in the hospital for over a year. Fred went into hospital sometime in December 2015, was moved to another hospital and has been in the present one since February 8 2016. My mum and I cared for my dad for the month he was in the hospital before he passed away. It takes a lot of courage to be a carer; to put your life on hold and throw yourself completely into the mind-numbing routine of buying drugs, asking ‘how is he?’. But the worst thing is seeing your loved one suffer – the only thing worse than that is for the loved one to see your pain, correctly deduce that you’re hurting because you see them hurting and the pain and helplessness that knowledge brings. A vicious cycle of helplessness.

When you are in hospital for a day or two, or even a week, you get lots of visitors – people want to come and see you, bring you fruits and pray for your quick recovery. When you have been in the hospital for a month – not so much. A few people may call to check on you. I can’t imagine what happens when you have been in hospital for 13 straight months.

So I promised Lauretta I would write a blog post, a gentle reminder to all of us to remember our friends and loved ones who are sick and hurting – and their loved ones – wherever they may be. That post was due on the 8th of February…

Nothing happens to me except that which has been pre-ordained to happen to me.

(… Oh death where is thy sting?) 

…but the cares of this world caught up with me. And every night I would lie in bed thinkin ‘This post ought to have been put up today’ then ‘yesterday’, then ‘two days ago’ and ‘last week’. Until I stumbled upon a Facebook post at on ungodly hour on Wednesday night. A picture of the ICU and a short message basically saying ‘we’re here again. in case we don’t make it this time around…’. And a nod to ‘Death, my old friend’.

My heart skipped a beat, but as I sent a message to her, I reminded myself that we both believe the words of Jesus ‘You have no power over me except that which has been given to you by my father in Heaven’.

It is becoming increasingly fashionable to not believe in God; to be zealous in questioning others’ belief and to be even more rabid in proselytizing atheism. But this is who we are – we believe in God.

‘Will Fred come to our Ulo oma?’

When I first met Mark, he struck me as a sweet little boy, requesting for his needs in a very polite manner and asking permission to play and touch things. Till he started playing with ‘the boys’ and  he laughed his belly laugh. The kind of laugh that made me want to run out and have a little boy of my own. The laugh that made me volunteer to be ‘… a dinosaur who chases little boys with super powers as the swim through lava. The kind of lava that doesn’t sink them except if they struggle.’ Just to hear that laugh again.

I have worried about Mark. Worried about how he copes with his brother permanently in the hospital. I have wondered whether he sometimes wishes his parents spent more time at home and less in the hospital. But mostly, I have wondered how he’s handling his brother’s pain and all the procedures he has to undergo.

Is Fred going to come to our Ulo oma (new house)?

I don’t know honey. What would you want?

He doesn’t say anything, just looks at me and then continues playing. Till it was bedtime, when I was tucking him into his brother’s hospital bed because his brother is in ICU.

Mummy, can we go and see Fred?

Yes darling, would you like that?

And we went to see him, he touched him and talked to him. As we went back to the ward, he asked again:

What if Fred never comes home?

I don’t know the answer to that son, but you can’t worry about something that isn’t happening right now.

Okay mummy, I remember now. We don’t have to worry about something that hasn’t happened.

I just want him to come back so that we can go back to how our story was before. 


Fred has been in a coma since last week. The doctors advised that Mark come and say his goodbyes. When Lauretta relayed that conversation to me, it broke my heart.

So tonight, I remember Fred in my prayers; and all my loved ones feeling down and caring for their sick. I remember Lauretta, Mark and Karl.

I also ask for your prayers for him. Not for healing per se, but that God’s will be done.



So, I went into the root partition on my phone and randomly selected ‘clear eMMC cache’ because I wanted to clear my phone cache. It clear it alright – returned my phone to factory setting.

I didn’t fully grasp all I lost, even though I knew I lost a lot of data in text messages and mail. This evening, I wanted to include a picture of the boys, Markand I, taken in January. Then I realized that the pictures taken between November and last week had been saved on the phone memory.

The featured image is Mark’s painting of his mum. He missed her, so he painted a happy picture of her.

Cheers guys!

One comment

  1. Touching…
    And each day life reminds us of life.
    Maybe you should add an update to the post?
    May each day bring us peace and take out all evil + carriers out IJN. Amen.

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