The time was 7:15pm when my phone rang. It was Dad calling. I lost my breathe momentarily. Fear griped me knowing what a call from Dad meant. Either he had been rushed to the hospital or his sickness had become worse. We always prayed not to receive a call from him. I was at Spintex and he was in Ashaiman. Though not too a distant, it was a distance in his moment of sickness. God is good, he always suffered attack with his children around.
I was with a family relation working on a project that night when the call came through. It was not the voice of my Dad. Veto was the one on the line. She simply asked me to come over to the Tema General Hospital. I asked if all was OK? She simply said, “come over.” It was unusual and I suspected the worst had happened. On any ordinary day, whoever called would add, “Dad has fallen sick again and rushed to the General Hospital. O tried reaching Catherine, I was unsuccessful. I asked Mike, to accompany me to the hospital for the call this was too strange and my spirit had been shaken.
When I got to the General Hospital, my first point of call was the emergence ward where he had spent most of his recovery times there. He was not there. I panic more. I dashed to the male ward but while I took that short distance ran, I knew something was wrong because he had never been admitted at the male ward when rushed in critical condition. Something told me to stop and find the whereabout of my sisters and brothers. I called Vero, but no response. I called Catherine and she asked me to come to the entrance of the male ward. I reached out to Michael and we only got there to meet an assembly of my brothers and sisters waiting for me to break the news. The first person I met was my senior brother, Rev. Jonas. He remarked, “Mensah, dad could not survive this time round. He is gone.” I stopped in my track as I did not know what to do. I saw Vero’s tears and soon that of Catherine. My sisters had been weeping over the death of their beloved father. I asked if I could see where he has been laid? He had not yet been spent to the mortuary because it was late and an autopsy needed to be carried out to determine the cause of his death since he died at home.
My brothers led me to where they had laid him on a stretcher. In fact it was a sight I did not want to see. Paps was breathless and lifeless, failing this time to see and even call me name. His eyes were shut to the light of this earth. His mouth was opened as if to express his shock at the termination of his very being. I passed my hands over his eyes and held him. Should I cry? Emotions were beginning to gather and like electric shock, they shook my body but instead of crying, I unknowingly began to raise worship at the hospital bed. I worshipped instead of crying. I opened my eyes to see my brothers and Michael in worship with me. I dashed out momentarily to seek my sisters to join us but they had left the hospital.
As we left the hospital, I turned to look at my dad and wondered I had said my final goodbye. This type of goodbye was painful and the saddest. We would come back the following day to ensure he has a good place in the mortuary. At this point, I asked Kobina as we drove home what happened?
Kobina had arrived from Kumasi for the naming ceremony of her daughter on the 30th July. So he was at home and could give me a vivid picture of the old man’s last life experience. Dad had died at home at exactly 6:17pm but play acted to keep everything away from our mum. The naming ceremony of Sheila would go ahead.
Dad died while being fed by one of the trusted friends of the family. We told our mum he was in critical condition and that he had been admitted. We lied to her just to save ourselves of another tragedy.
We got to the hospital the next day not to see the body of our dad. He had been moved to the mortuary awaiting family identification. I met my dad naked lying wickedly on the floor. That was my first entrance into a mortuary and I can tell you I did not like the experience. Instantly, my mouth would dam with saliva as if passed by the doctor to be pregnant. The lesson of the place was real. Man does not know his end and his final resting place.