Homecoming

Photo: NLB 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How seamlessly my breathing slows.

How naturally I eat with my hands,

my fingers enjoying the texture & warmth-

a few weeks freedom from the hard metal cutlery

we use to take the place of our hands,

of ourselves.

 

How easily I boil water to cool & drink,

and pour steaming water from the kettle

into my bucket to bath.

 

How easily I tilt my speech to bend to your accent,

my effort to shorten the distance between us,

As we now sit and smile

face to face,

Where just hours before the gap was an ocean.

How easily this feels home.

 

Photo: NLB 2018

 

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Ghanaian Grief

I just had an interesting couple of conversations with my Aunt & Uncle in Ghana whose mum just died today. I called to see how they both are, expecting sad or heavy emotions but instead they both answered the phone with their usual cheery banter. Then we laughed and did our usual mickey-taking ‘hello old woman/man’ repartee in Twi, our Ghanaian language. And they weren’t faking or putting on a brave face.
When I asked how they are each, separately, said there fine. But the interesting part was that my Aunt responded saying ‘How can I not be? I have your Grandma here, my family, so I am not alone, we are together and so we are fine’ (paraphrased).

And my ever piss-taking, professional wind-up Uncle echoed that when I later spoke to him, saying ‘Ah but at this age it is only a blessing, what else will happen? So it’s nothing to be sad or surprised about. It is fine.’
Now to western ears this may sound cold or ‘in denial’ but rather I think it reflects the general attitude of ‘joy balanced with pragmatism’ that permeates Ghanaian culture.
They’ll bury their mother tomorrow, within 24hours in line with her religion (not theirs as he’s, I think, either an apathetic theist or agnostic, & my Aunt is Christian). And at her funeral, there’ll be weeping (loudly!) in the Ghanaian style, but there’ll also be dancing.     Balancing the sorrow with celebration. And it will be BIG. And no one will be alone.

That’s the Ghanaian way.