BIRTHDAY REFLECTIONS | Celebrating LIFE and Mourning the DEAD
I’ve been overwhelmed by the outpour of love I received from so many people on my birthday and the events that followed.
Which is why this post is two days late.
My birthday was no doubt an emotionally challenging day because of the heartbreaking news of my friend dying of cancer.
Matilda Mensah a.k.a “MatMens Matilda Mensah
I kept breaking down into tears because I was filled with so much guilt knowing that I got to celebrate and live another year ,while my friend didn’t have the same opportunity.
I thought about her family, friends and children, how little we spoke, how many times I’d seen her after school, her laughter, our times in class and her famous “Jama” cheers, and so many other shared memories.
One of my fondest memories,when I taught all the girls the “wob3j3k3” dance as a final act as school prefects. One of my fondest memories,when I taught all the girls the “wob3j3k3” dance as a final act as school prefects.
But more than anything it’s the pain she must have endured that I couldn’t get over, I couldn’t imagine her going through that, my Tilly who always had a smile on her face; I just didn’t want to picture her in pain.
I tried through the day to maintain a brave front for all who called me, but the minute I had to myself I broke down into tears.
I had conflicting emotions about how to feel on the day; how could I smile,laugh,get so much attention and praises, when my friend layed there dead.
How could I celebrate me and mourn her at the same time?
Why was I alive? What had I done that was so different that I made it and she didn’t?
Only a day before, through a freak accident at the railway station, and it could have been me. While filming me and a few of my co actors were nearly knocked down my a train, and this was on the eve of my birthday, leaving me shaking all night.
So why did God save me and not Tilly?
The guilt weighed heavily on my mind all day.
This is the part of my post on being unashamed to announce that I was 32 Years that many people missed and sadly turned it into a cry of desperation.
Because in typical “Ghanaian” fashion we’ve conditioned our minds to believe a women and even some men are supposed to achieve and attain certain things by a certain age,one of them being marriage. And because of this stereotypical thinking people were quick to assume my post was based on that.
But it wasn’t -just to clear that up.
When you lose someone in the same year group as you on your BIRTHDAY, it’s a reality check on your own life.
You realize that all the things you thought were important are not, because this life is as unpredictable as the weather in London.
So why stress over what you have and don’t have or where you think your life should be sans where it is; when each second,minute,hour,day,week,month and year that goes by could be your last.
So I got into my shower, cried for a few more minutes, dressed down in only my shorts and a t-shirt, took my phone out and sat on my couch with no intention of doing anything but staying at home.
Tilly’s death had given me the most precious gift of all, an appreciation of life,friends and family that many of us seem to miss because of our busy lives; and this is how I chose to celebrate my day.
I took out my phone and decided my birthday was going to be spent celebrating my life and the people in it, and the easiest way was by connecting with everyone that reached out to me.
I attempted to respond to every message and unanswered phone call. I Skyped/FaceTimed and reconnected with old friends that I hadn’t seen nor spoken to in years.
The conversations, laughter and dug up history I was able to share with friends and colleagues gave a feeling of contentment.
And this feeling prompted me to take it a step further.
I attempted to respond to my Facebook messages and replied over 750 messages from friends and fans alike, then I moved to my phone to respond to about 200 more text message, my fingers were a little numb by evening, but I was determined to get through as many,even if it wasn’t all.
It felt like a twilight zone and I didn’t want to get out .
My friend’s death and the near death experience I encountered encouraged me to reach out more to those who who mattered, and be grateful for all I have and I am today.
Thank you all for your kind words, messages, pictures and prayers.
You turned a simple day, into one for the history books.
“Cheers to a celebration of LIFE.”