I taught my last class the other day. A 400-level class. At the end, I told the students,”this is my last class”. Since they were also in their last semester, this was cause for celebration. We needed to go out and celebrate in style. I had in mind dinner with them, in one of the seaside hotels in the town. They were quite excited and proposed that we do it over the weekend. I told them that I could not afford to have them for dinner yet since I did not have much money. I would let them know as soon as It was convenient for me.
A few days later I went online to get the phone number of the nearest seaside hotel. I found a list of numbers but was unable to reach them. It was hopeless. They did have an open line for callers from the UK and the US, but of what use is that to a caller from within the country? So much for tourism in Ghana, I thought, and gave up on them. Instead I called the people at Hayford’s Bar and Lounge, run by a Ghanaian/German couple. I got a response immediately. They sent their price list to my cell phone, and we finalized the order on the phone. I contacted the students quickly and gave them the date. We had a good time although not all the students came. With that celebration,I marked the beginning of the end of my life as a university teacher. I still have papers to grade, so I have not yet reached the finishing line. I will soon get there.
There have been other endings, too, in the last weeks. Several people have passed on, some of them family members, others were friends, and some were prominent personalities I did not personally know. A death in the family often brings up old conflicts and tension, I guess due to the stress of it all. Death is final, and we get upset because of the loss, and the knowledge that it signifies the end of a relationship. It also reminds us that it will catch up with us at some point, too.
One of my sisters passed on recently. We were not particularly close, but I am in pain and now I often wish I had made more of an effort to get closer to her when she was here. I did visit her in hospital just four days before her demise, and I find that it gives me a measure of satisfaction that I saw her and had a good conversation with her at the end. The pain of bereavement is difficult to describe isn’t it? It feels like a broken heart, but much more intense. The word ‘gutted’ describes it well. The bereaved person feels empty, empty and disoriented.
Endings. We often see the end of events coming, but sometimes we are overtaken by those events that constitute an ending. Beginnings and endings are essential aspects of life.
Rest in Peace, Aunty Georgina, Aunty Jemima and Irene Aba. RIP.