Thursday, 23 March 2017

The Queen of Hearts:



“Nobody can misunderstand a boy like his mother” - Norman Douglas 

I could hear her call out my name. From the tone of her voice, I knew what that meant. I was in trouble.

Every school day I had to have a compulsory afternoon siesta, on returning home. Only this time, after failing to resist the urge to play, had sneaked passed her bedroom, ran down the stairs and out to the compound. As misfortune would have it that day, she had woken up earlier.

Or was it me who misunderstood her?

Such would lead to only one of the so many cherished skirmishes I had with her as a kid. That was so many years ago. 

Today as fate would have it, she has been bed ridden for more than a year. She is slowly recovering from a stroke majorly caused by diabetes. What doesn’t alter about her is the eye and voice.

Every single day I pray for her recovery. We, like childhood partners, have shared quite a lot. We have been bond by the rich memories that span an entire life time, dotted with stints of both happiness and tears.

For her personalities were defined by the divine predestined path which none of us could influence.

She is as tender as she is strong.

I have seen her rise up after a fall.

A tough rock which has cushioned my tumbles.

And at times when I was up with myself, as a kid, one good stare from her would sort me out.

This time being the strong woman she is, I am sure she will recuperate.

I have thanked the Lord for giving me the best mother there could be.

I remember the first time I saw her black and white photo.

She was still a student.

I held my breath. There she was with no makeup. With a hot combed puff of black hair.

She looked so beautiful.

Haaa …. I don’t think many people would have passed her by without noticing. 

Just like any kid, going to school was a love-hate affair. However the day I loved most in school was a Friday. On Friday, the lower school would close at lunch time.

After the mid-day parade, we would foot through the golf course, then Kitante and finally reach Kamwokya.

It was child’s delight.

We cherished it because on our way home, we collected empty ink bottles and used them to collect tadpoles from the flowing stream.  We played the whole afternoon and reached home well after 5 pm.

I knew that she was aware of our tours but she never mentioned a word. Didn’t she care? I always asked myself

Or was it I who misunderstood her?

The Transient Ischematic Attack (TIA) hit her in January 2015. This had been caused by the fatal combination of stress and diabetes. At the time we did not know what it was. Then the major stroke hit her in August 2015. Her doctor then told us the recovery could last one year. True to his word it is now one year and seven months. She is on her slow path to recovery.

Precisely 27 years ago she became a widow.

The opulent lifestyle she had vanished in a heartbeat.

For a while she was lost. I could see.

Then slowly but surely she recovered.

She sacrificed a lot to feed her children and get us through school.

I saw her transform from a domestic house wife to a smart working woman

and then …. a fighter.

I saw her buy her first bungalow and mark her territory.

The rest is history. Shew! ….. what can I say?

At times I pondered at what probably went wrong.

What is it that should have been done differently or better?

What should have never been done in the first place?

With all this withstanding, my mother surely remains my “Queen of Hearts” 




Not the brusque queen in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland but the woman I first fell in love with.
Because of her experience, I have resolved to watch my lifestyle.

Last January I tried to reduce my sugar intake but only relapsed after six months.

A miserable fail.

Being a blood group O, I should watch what I eat even more closely.

Avoid caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, dairy products

Reduce or even do away with the intake of sugar and eat more fruits.

I can go on and on.

This is what I really like each person reading this to reflect on.


There is an affection words cannot express.

It is boundless and limitless.

It is so pure and full.

It vanquishes all the trials that have been overcome.

And yet it binds us together.

At times I see it when her eyes light up when she sees me.

An affection I only hear in her voice when she speaks.

It is the loud silence we share during her evening walks. Physiotherapy sessions.

During which walks we almost never talk.
And she will always be my “Queen of Hearts”