My Mother’s Family Ignored Our Existence Until My Aunt Had An Accident –
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My Mother’s Family Ignored Our Existence Until My Aunt Had An Accident

“You won’t believe what happened today,” my mother said to me. I knew she was going to tell me anyway, but I asked her, “What happened? Are you alright?” She sighed, “Hmm, as for me I’m fine. It’s your aunt I’m worried about.” I felt angry all of a sudden; “Ma, what did that woman do this time around? I told you to stay away from her.” “Trust me, I wasn’t the one who went to her. I was at home when your uncle came knocking on my gate. Knocking is a mild way to put it, Akyaa, he pounded on the gate as if he would break it to get to me.”

“What did he want?” I asked my mother. She said, “I’m getting to it, take your time. Anyway, when I went outside, he was standing there sweating profusely with a look of panic in his eyes. So I became concerned and asked him what the problem was. He just pointed toward the family house and said, ‘Our sister is hurt.’ I asked him what happened to her while I ran after him to go look. Between pants, he told me your aunt went to work and came home with a broken leg. When we arrived at the house, she was sitting down writhing in pain. I didn’t know what to do, so I offered her my sympathy, stayed with her for a while and came back home.”

When my mother finished talking I asked her, “Why did you go there? Are you a doctor? What medical skill do you have to fix a broken leg? These people have made it clear that they don’t want you in their lives yet at the smallest sign of trouble, you went there to offer your sympathy.” My mother didn’t understand my anger. She tried to dismiss my feelings and make me feel like I am overreacting. But I know I am not. Let me tell you something about my aunt and the other members of my extended family so that you will see for yourself if I’m overreacting.

My grandmother gave birth to seven children. They were five males and two females. Two of her male children died a few years ago, so she is currently left with five children. Out of the five, my mother is the third child and the eldest daughter. My mother and my aunt are the only women among the men. You would think this would make their sister bond strong. You could easily assume that they would be the kind of sisters who would hold each other up and support each other in love and kinship. And left to my mother alone, that would be the nature of their relationship. She even built her house on a piece of land behind the family house, just so she could be close to her family.

However, our extended family want nothing to do with my mother and us. We don’t know what happened between them, but my aunt has done everything she can to shut my mother out of the family. They would hold discussions and take significant decisions about the family without involving my mother. Most of this stems from a grudge my aunt is holding against my mother. Although she is younger than my mum, she is the voice of authority in the family. If she tells everyone not to talk to my mother, they will do as she says. We have tried to understand the reason behind her actions but so far we have found nothing. They were doing well one day as siblings; the next moment, they weren’t. Only God knows why the sudden change occurred.

My aunt has a son who lives outside the country. We didn’t even know when he travelled. We just realized we were no longer seeing him around the house. So my mum asked my grandmother about him. That was when my grandma whispered to my mum, “He has travelled abroad. Please don’t let your sister know that I told you. She warned us not to say anything to you.” We were very hurt when we heard this but we kept quiet. Then somewhere in 2019, we started hearing my cousin’s voice. No one told us he was coming home. We just started hearing his voice and knew that he was back in Ghana. We caught snippets of conversations here and there and put together the fact that he came home with a woman.

In 2020, when the borders were about to be closed to slow down the spread of the coronavirus, we stopped hearing my cousin’s voice in the house. That’s how we knew that he had left the country. After he left, my mum went to chat with my grandmother. Through their conversations, my grandma let it slip that my cousin got married when he came to Ghana. Wow! My mom was shocked, and so were my siblings and me. According to my grandma, every member of the family attended the wedding ceremony except us. She added that my aunt warned them not to mention it to my mum. I’m sure the warning was a stern one because even the youngest child in the house who talks a lot, never mentioned it to us.

My mum didn’t understand why a whole wedding ceremony would take place under her nose and she wouldn’t be informed. She felt so bad about it but my grandma told her, “Don’t worry, your children will also get married.” After that incident, something else happened that broke our hearts. On my grandma’s eightieth birthday, we were at home when we heard people singing, “Happy birthday to you…” We thought it was just the family singing a happy birthday song for my grandma so we didn’t make anything of it. Only for us to go out and see my aunt escorting some people out of the family house to their cars. They were all wearing white clothes. The moment my aunt saw us, she run into her room.

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Out of confusion, my mother asked my grandmother, “What’s going on?” “Your sister organized a birthday party for me,” my grandma responded. Again, we were shocked. My mother asked, “So why was I not invited to my own mother’s birthday party? What did I ever do to deserve this kind of treatment? You invited outsiders to your birthday party but not your own daughter? Is this how a family should behave?” My grandma couldn’t say anything substantial in response. After that day I told my mum, “You see these people don’t care about you? You’ve tried your best to be included in their activities but they have made it clear that they don’t want you involved in their lives. So do your best to stay away from them.” She agreed with me, and we have kept to ourselves since then.

So when my mum called to tell me about my aunt’s accident and how she went to the house to show her sympathy, I was angry. She shouldn’t have gone to see my aunt at all. They didn’t recognize her as part of the family during their happy times but when trouble came, they found their feet to her doorstep. Did she tell them that she is a healer? What business has she got to do with broken bones? When I expressed my displeasure my mother told me, “It’s nothing. They are my family. You can’t turn your back on family when they need you.” I feel like she’s taking things too lightly. I believe this is why they treat her anyhow. Why didn’t they go and call the people who were with them in their happy moments to share in their pain? Or am I being petty?


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