For me, there can never be a better caregiver than my mum Cecilia who was called to glory in March 2003; that was about five months before leaving Ghana for my PhD program here in the US. I simply couldn’t allow this opportunity to honor my mum, the caregiver extraordinaire, slip by!  Where would I have been and how far could I have gone without her? I thank God every day for gifting me with such a mother!

Where do I even start and where do I end? She is gone but her legacy of compassionate caregiving lives on. Yes it lives on through me her oldest child, my younger siblings, and now in my four children. They are all young adults and professionals now but they are first hand recipients and beneficiaries of Maa’s tender loving care.

First a little bit of background….

My mum was a nurse in training when she had me. Now you would have to understand that this was a rare opportunity for her in Ghana at that time but she chose me over her career, disregarding her friends’ advice to terminate the pregnancy and wait till she finished her training even though she was married to my dad at the time. That was a huge sacrifice; she gave up her nursing career to be a stay-at-home mum with a home business so she could care for me herself. According to her, she felt I was too precious to be left in the hands of anybody but herself!  

Looking back it is amazing how that seed of sacrifice she sowed has germinated and grown with so many branches, bearing fruit and “providing shade” not only for the immediate family but many outside the fold.

You see, I am the first in my immediate family to have the benefit of a college education. By the grace of God and the support of my mum, I was able to go further and pursue a Master’s degree program in the United Kingdom, traveled to nearly 40 countries all over the world mostly for professional conferences, and finally received my PhD here in the U.S; currently, I am a college professor in New York City. How was I able to combine a busy professional, educational, and family life with four children? The short answer is God working through my mum!

Imagine being invited to leave your quiet and restful home outside the city at the death of your husband of 40 years to come to the hustle and bustle of city life in Accra, Ghana so your pharmacist daughter and her lawyer husband with young children could pursue their careers! My mum willingly came to provide the home stability that our children needed. There was no way I could have done it without her!

Can you believe that she willingly took on responsibility for my last born Kweku when he was only three months old so I could go for my   Master’s program in the UK? My advisor at the Manchester University couldn’t believe that I could have the peace of mind to excel in my program with a barely four-month old baby over 3,000 miles (5,265 km) away!

The special tribute to my mum written by my then 14 year old son, Kweku, for his grandma’s funeral sums it all up and I quote it here with his permission:

“Maa, there can never be another person like you.

Your beauty and wisdom can never be matched

Your never-ending love for me will always be there even though you have left me.

You nursed me from the time I was three months old. This was so because my own mother was away at school.

You stood by me when I had my surgery at the age of one year and stayed with me at the hospital till I was discharged.

Maa your kindness towards me was overwhelming. You always had a kind word for me. You never spoke ill of me or of anyone for that matter.

This character or attitude of yours made you a popular and a much-loved person. I will always love you Maa, for you were a gem, a gem so exquisite, so unique, so special, and so valuable that other gems and jewels paled in comparison to you.

Words alone cannot describe how I felt about you. However, this is to show my appreciation and gratitude to you and to assure you that you will always be my grandma!”

Today I celebrate my mum, the caregiver extraordinaire! Her sacrificial seed has been super productive by the grace of God. Providing the home stability for our children allowed me to advance in my professional and educational pursuits. Having that anchor enabled both myself and husband to support the education of our younger siblings and even cousins and nieces and nephews. The result now is a family tree of professionals, business executives, and burgeoning entrepreneurs. My mum Cecilia planted a tree; that tree was me, and the resulting growth has been nothing short of a miracle! Please help me to celebrate my caregiver extraordinaire today! You can get more about my mum from my Thanksgiving book here.