“I wanted to avoid the ‘But Mom, you never finished your degree, why should I finish mine?’ argument that could happen with my son in the future. Also, I wanted to finish the degree for my mother, so she could say she had a graduate in the family. I wanted to gift my mother this degree. She had loved my overconfidence in applying to a single university, and I had to deliver.”
After loads of challenges she eventually graduated, but her mother’s hospitalisation meant she was not able to attend the ceremony, leaving Tumi devastated.
“When my letter of graduation arrived, I took it to Mama with the delight of a schoolkid. Her first graduate. Normally she would not have missed my graduation ceremony for the world, but by the time it occurred in 2011, she had already been hospitalised. She had been looking forward to this day ever since I told her I had finally completed the damn thing, and I could tell that she was heartbroken to miss it.
“Her health had deteriorated to the point where I was begging God to at least let her see me do this one thing, so I was very emotional at the ceremony. My usual chattiness was gone. Graduating just did not carry the same meaning without my mother there. I fought back tears when my name was called, and I walked across that stage without hearing my mother cheer me on.”
And Then Mamma Said… is out now