The Dying Things in my Chest

Hi guys, it’s me!! So I decided to join a group of African writers and bloggers, (Afrobloggers) on a writing journey, called the Winter ABC. It’s a month-long writing thing, where ideally, I’m supposed to write something new daily for the next month. I honestly don’t know if I have it in me, (thanks to work, school, life in general, lol) But here’s me giving it a shot! If you like this, share it with everyone, and let’s try to make this everyday writing work. Who knows, it might become a habit!

Here’s a short story I put together for this… hopefully I can sustain it! Please leave a comment, let me know what you think!


“They’re still so heavy. All these dying things in my chest.” – Blake Auden. 


When Ol’man was admitted to hospital, I think I assumed it was nothing to worry about. I was in denial apparently. He had been home the whole duration of the lockdown, there had been no external contacts, absolutely nothing! 

Even I had worked from home for the most part, (if you consider sitting in your room sketching and trying to lift writers block all day to be ‘working’)

We were all really careful! Considering both he and Mama were hypertensive and diabetic, we didn’t want to take any chances. 

I was in the middle of a creative-writing class one afternoon, when he just started pooping! It was watery poop that he somehow couldn’t control, and so was everywhere. 

The smell was horrendous, and the fact that he couldn’t control himself made him so tetchy! He only knew he had gone when he felt it or smelt it.

Of course, we thought he must have eaten something funny. So we gave him some ORS, got some adult diapers (because which one of us was ready to be cleaning up after a 60-something-year old?) and then kept watching him. 

But then it got worse. 

Initially, he couldn’t talk full sentences without clearing his throat a little. There was no cough, so the coronavirus infection was definitely not high on our list of possibilities. Then after a while, he couldn’t even smell to know when he’d gone. 

I don’t know why we didn’t think to take him to hospital then. 

The only reason we had to end up in the ER, was that a doctor-friend asked us to bring him to his office for some hydration. Just so he didn’t get dehydrated. But we got there, and after one look, he had us wheeling him into the ER. 

That’s when reality somehow dawned on us. On me. 

Who was I without Ol’man? We take for granted the ones that we love. The ones that are there for us. And I know for sure that I had taken Ol’man for granted! He was the one person who had pushed for me to go to art school, when everyone else had said no. 

“You’re smart, I don’t think Art is the way for you to go.”

“You can draw and paint and write as a hobby…” 

“Why don’t you go and become an engineer? Your Physics grades were great!”

It all felt like I was walking on a tight rope.

But Ol’man told me, “Do whatever it is that will make you happy. Because when everyone else goes to bed at night, you’re the one who will have the conversations in your head. Only you. And if you cannot be happy on your own in your head, you will not be happy anywhere else!”

And that is how Art school started for me.

I looked at his frail body and noticed how much weight he had lost in the past week that he’d been having these episodes. was I about to lose my father to the disease that was killing almost everyone without care? A disease that people knew next to nothing about. Was this how it ended?

You see, as a creative, I have a very hyperactive imagination. In the three hours that it took for Ol’man to be processed in the Emergency Unit, I had thought out at least ten different scenarios of what could happen if my father died. 

Not even one of them was remotely pleasant!

But for some reason, I was calm initially. I was in denial.

Yet by the time the doctor called me over to talk to me, my mind was a mess, my hands were trembling, and my heart was thudding! And judging from the grim look on his face, I already had my speculations. 

I knew it. My father was going to die. 

To be continued… 

So this is the writing thing I’ve got myself into! Let’s pray I can make this work!

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Comments (45)

  1. I know you will make it work… 😊
    Reading “… he had gone” was funny kept translating it in twi…

    +1
  2. How do you manage to write so well? This is a great story, told through simple lines. Thank you for this line

    “If you cannot be happy on your own in your head, you will not be happy anywhere else”

    +3
  3. Enjoyed reading this; very simple yet compelling. And this stood out for me, “Because when everyone else goes to bed at night, you’re the one who will have the conversations in your head. Only you. And if you cannot be happy on your own in your head, you will not be happy anywhere else!”

    You go girl! Yes you can!

    +1
    1. Tirza writing everyday!! A challenge I’m willing to stand on the sidelines to cheer her on to victory.
      This story hit close to home.Who hasn’t had that moment where they dream up scenarios should a parent die.
      The story has a simple language,simple enough to make it enjoyable and not an all day bore,a balance even accomplished authors struggle with,but she did with ease.It is a pacy story without drags.In just 19 paragraphs we had moved a week in time.

      +1
  4. OMG!. With writing, this will just be a walk over. Keep the discipline but the fact of penning down such a sorry story is why I am commenting😭😭😭
    He is gone but God is in awake to make you strong again.
    Waiting for the continuation…

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  5. You’re doing just fine, you’d be able to keep up with the momentum, just believe. Kudos!

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  6. Hmmm… I like it… Very relatable… We were all scared for our parents weren’t we?(but luckily both have not ended up at the hosp so far n I pray they don’t). Go on elize u can do it. This is really good! You’re blessed girl(an excellent Dr and writer too!)

    +1
  7. Wow. Just wow. Reading this piece have made me think of 10 extra scenarios of how the next story is going to pan out. Now I don’t know if I should grab my coke & popcorn or a box of tissues. Can’t wait for the next story. Well done Elise 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾

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  8. Actually you are intelligent women. Looking at your brilliant insight, i can see that, you’ll go far. God bless you.

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  9. It is great writing Elise. I cannot wait for the continuation. It is captivating and reality spoken from the heart. When written from the heart, it touches the heart. When written from the head, it touches the head. You are blessed.

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  10. Tirza writing everyday!! A challenge I’m willing to stand on the sidelines to cheer her on to victory.
    This story hit close to home.Who hasn’t had that moment where they dream up scenarios should a parent die.
    The story has a simple language,simple enough to make it enjoyable and not an all day bore,a balance even accomplished authors struggle with,but she did with ease.It is a pacy story without drags.In just 19 paragraphs we had moved a week in time.

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  11. You are such an amazing story-teller.
    Looking forward to reading everything you come up with this month!

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  12. “If you cannot be happy on your own in your head, you will not be happy anywhere else!” This quote should resonate through the minds of all dreamers to get them motivated to chase their dreams. Keep going Elise

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  13. Another awesome story form my OFFICIAL favourite Ghanaian write/Dr😍.. Write away because I’m not missing a day…YES YOU CAN!

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  14. Love this! This piece is written with simplicity yet it keeps me at the edge of my seat. Beautiful writing! I am excited for the next episode!

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  15. This is Elise…I’m pretty sure she’s gonna twist the story some how beyond our imaginations to spin our heads 😄😃

    Awesome story…very thought provoking lines 👏

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