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By her children

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!--
For the soul is dead that slumbers,And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time.*

Constance Myra Adorkor Telfer

June 14th 1913 -- April 14th 2011

* Excerpt from A Psalm of Life by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Yes Ma, where and how do we begin to pay you tribute for the mother you have been for us and the footprints you left behind on the sands of our lives! For most of our lives, indeed all our lives you were the only parent we knew, and what a parent! You raised us from your heart, for which we are eternally grateful.

Life at Mantsefuuhe in the early years were harsh and brutal in the middle of the bush, in sharp contrast to where and how you were raised, but if you ever complained about having to walk long distances to fetch water or even longer distance to buy food, we never heard it. You even had a sense of humour about it. Once in a taxi along Cantonments Road when you directed the driver where to turn and he asked “what, is it the house in the bush?” you proudly responded “yes, that’s where I live!” Widowhood at an early age with eight children aged between twenty years and six months brought extreme challenges but then the Anchor, Jesus Christ on whom you rested your faith became very clear to us. You prayed for the proverbial buffer to be placed on your head to make it easier to carry the load, and you vowed that if you had to sell your belongings to raise us and educate us, you were ready. You had to find a job; sometimes working nights but your Anchor carried you on the dark bush paths safely home each time.

Time and space prevent us from giving the dozens and indeed hundreds of examples when you really showed your parenting instincts. You impressed on us the need to study hard and get the highest education we could possibly attain. Our Big Bro even with meagre resources did his best to buy our provisions for boarding school. You scolded us for our infractions but never hesitated to praise and encourage us for our achievements and further spread the news among your friends. A case in point was the number of times you brought your friends over to hear Carl at a very tender age play the organ even without the ability to read music. Consequently, many years later after he had studied music in school, you gave his music teacher permission to take him to Canada for further studies. What a mother!

You were so concerned about our well being that you once travelled all the way to St Monica’s, Ashanti Mampong to bring Stella and Eva home when Stella had fallen sick just at the time school was breaking up for the holidays. Then there you were once on the wet platform at the railway station, barefooted, sandals in hand and your cloth pulled up to your knees, anxiously waiting to meet Eva as the train inched in slowly because it had been raining all day and the rails were flooded. What a mother!

Ma, you were mother not only to us but to all our friends who came into contact with you not only when you were raising us but friends that some of us have acquired in countries where we live now. Who would forget the young men who filled the compound playing music, with their girlfriends in tow, and even those who felt your warm embrace so inviting that they would move in if only for the duration of the school holidays. Then we remember the shoulder you provided our friends who lost their spouses at early ages just like you, who still hold on to and cherish the comforting letters you wrote them more than thirty years ago.

You raised us by example so we couldn’t but espouse your faith and follow you to the presence of God with songs of praise and service to our fellow human beings. You left behind a daughter who at age 67, graduated from Trinity College Seminary with flying colours and is now such an asset to the Diocese of Accra; another daughter, a commissioned Healing Minister in the Episcopal Diocese of New York; a renowned musician who plays the organ for both Ghanaian Methodists and Anglicans in Toronto; a son who plays in his church band in London; a son who plays in a band here in Accra; and a son who with your encouragement, is preparing to publish your father’s very interesting documents and journals. Even your dogs Patience and Agoodzi followed you on your trips to early morning Mass. They would wait patiently outside the church and escort you back home after the service.

We have watched you shed sorrowful tears for the loss of Fa; we have watched you shed tears of joy when we got married, tears of joy when Miki, the last one of us was on his way to secondary school. But we have watched you shed some tears for which we could never assign reason because we were too young to understand. Ma, you led a difficult life with such dignity, such grace and such joy that only God Almighty could have granted you.

During your last days, even when you had lost your sight, you never lost your sense of humour to the extent that you would sometimes fake death. You never stopped praying for God to call you home because you felt you had finished your work, yet your prayer always ended with either “Lord have mercy” or “Thy will be done”

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr once said “It does not matter how long you live but how well you do it”. Ma, you lived long and did it so well that heaven has now gained an angel. Our friends here and abroad who have also come to call you Ma all join us to thank you so much for all your love.

Farewell Ma, we will miss you.


Also profiled on Ghanadot, works by Kofi Fosu Forson, artist and grandson of Mrs. Constance Myra Adorkor Telfer.










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