I remember it like it was yesterday. The day I bought and presented my papa with a better and fancier wheelchair. His face beamed with such joy. While he sat on his new wheelchair, so that we may not see the tears of joy that were forming in his eyes, he looked up to the ceiling of his living room in Entebbe. He was so happy and proud. His happiness made me happy and my eyes teared up as well.
Tomorrow, 1st January 2021, will be two months since papa died; and the first New Year since his death. My wheelchair memory, however, was triggered by a phone call. Over the weekend, I was feeling a bit down and so I took a nap while my phone charged in another room. I found several missed calls. The first one that I returned explained why the other calls. They wanted my father’s wheelchair which I bought for him.
How insensitive of them, I thought. And so, on behalf of all the others, the one that I called first received an earful from me. I was surprisingly so emotional about it and I think that he too was so surprised about how much my papa’s wheelchair means to me. For me it is more than a wheelchair. I don’t think that I will ever reach the point that I will want to give it away, not even if it is just to lend it out.
Then there is papa’s rocking chair. It had been relegated among things considered no longer useful. I found it while I was decongesting and giving his house in Entebbe a thorough clean up. At the time, papa was hospitalized at Mengo Hospital for he had suffered a stroke. I kept my hopes high and prepared his home for his return. On that occasion he did return home alive.
Yes, I contracted a carpenter who helped me repair and refurbish papa’s rocking chair and it now forms part of my priced possessions.
Another of my priced possessions is papa’s safari chair. Before his health deteriorated and he became wheelchair bound, his safari chair was legendary. Many of his hosts had become accustomed to welcoming him and greeting him at his car and then immediately requesting for his driver to offload and give them his chair, so they can place it, before he would come out of the car and they escort him to his seat.
Papa’s safari chair I found as I decongested, cleaned up and prepared the living room of his home, our ancestral home in Pallisa, to receive his remains for an overnight vigil. It was painful to see how so neglected and undervalued papa’s safari chair was. So, I took it with me to my home, where it is now part of the furniture in my bedroom and among my priced possessions.
In addition to my grandmother’s cooking stool which I inherited when she died and I became her heir, papa’s chairs have joined those things that are transforming my grief to joyous moments. I use tata’s cooking stool as my foot rest as I work in my home office. My prices possessions surround me and keep me daily connected to my loved ones transitioned.
Continue to rest in power Tata Joyce Mary Alinga, Queen Mother of the Chief of the Ikaribwok Isekelio Clan of the Iteso now resting in power too, Ejakait Engineer George William Obityo Owaraga.