When someone loses a beloved one, it is very easy for us to call and say sorry, or type RIP in their social media, or call and give a word of encouragement. I know I have done it. One of my favorite quotes has been “They are not dead those who still live in the hearts of the living”. My encouraging words have been “May you find joy in appreciating that they lived, than mourn that they are gone.” Its been a month since my dad breathed his last. It’s been almost two years of him living with cancer, and though I find solace in knowing that he is in no more pain, accepting and following my own advice has not been easy. There is knowledge that he will be gone. Nothing prepares you for the reality that he is gone. That those we love are gone.
While I come to terms, while I cry and let my shower wash my tears, I learn to encourage myself, to walk the path of knowing that phone number will never be answered by the same voice, to see pictures on the wall are our memoirs, the advice he ever gave is all I have, the moments shared of love are all I hold on to, and I cry some more because its saying good bye every morning to the man who was so present in our lives.
It’s been a month of total loss. I am probably still a mess even if I smile at you. I may come to your office and will probably cry a bucket. Maybe more than a month, because since that diagnosis, in your head you know the eventuality. But isn’t death a reality we live with everyday?As I sit back and reflect, I choose today not to mourn, but to be thankful.
To be thankful to God for who he was to us. A man who loved his family, with a big bias to his daughters, of which he had many. He literally fought fights for his daughters. I remember some random guy who decided to abuse my sister with those vulgar unmentionable words. One day he was summoned and given a lecture of his life. Well let’s say it never happened again. I choose to thank God for the guy who not only instilled hard work as a character trait in us, but was hardworking himself. He was a pre-colonial man who never went to school, but he worked his way up the ladder as a professional driver for the public service, educated his children, built homes for the two families he had, supervised development projects at home and his dynamism and embrace of technology was such that by the time of his death could use a smart phone. He achieved much, am nowhere close to what he achieved. Hope someday I will. I choose to thank God for the sacrifices he made for us his family, his children. I choose to thank God for the discipline he instilled in us, for the advice he offered, for the shoulder we depended on especially at our weakest. I choose to thank God for the privilege of the moments of success and failure that we shared. For the support that he gave so we may live our dreams, for the tough love- he never shied away from telling you are making a stupid decision that will land you nowhere-, for the woman I am, for the relationships that we have with my sibling which he directly and indirectly contributed, for everything I learned from him, especially on friendships and how to live and interact with people- he believed in respecting everyone we encounter no matter how unworthy we thought of them (if that even makes sense) because there was something to learn from everyone. He was an exceptional planner who went for nothing less than excellence in what he organized, from when and how to pay for whose fees, which head teacher needs to be spoken to, which applications need to be proof read, which child is weak in which subject and what needs to be done, which one needs disciplining and how to discipline, which celebrations, who to hire, when to hire, who to speak and many more. He planned everything, to his grave. He left instructions on what to be done when he died. We only executed his plans at his death. He was a dad. I am not writing this because he was an angel. He was human. I am writing so that someday, my children who never met him will learn a few things from him. Hopefully they will ask questions about this grandfather who will forever indirectly influence the people they become.
I choose to appreciate those who traveled with me in the low moments. I give thanks to God because in all that we went through, we never lacked, materially, emotionally, spiritually. You and you and you, who prayed, who sent contributions, who traveled with me to see him, who came to cry with me, my spouse, my family, my in-laws, my sisters and bffs, my godchildren, our God Parents, colleagues, priests, everyone. God knows you supported us and He will abundantly reward you. I still need you. We all still need each other.
While I still walk this path of finding peace in his absence, it is easier to live with these memories. I will still cry every once in a while. However, I pray the peace of Christ that has been with us continue to be with us. May the knowledge that for him life is changed not ended console me. May I find peace in knowing he is in peace, he is not in pain anymore. He rests, totally. In death his face was at peace. His legacy lives in us, his candle burns in our lives, his influence is so much in us, his love for us we will always cherish. In his absence he lives because, they are not really dead those who still live in the hearts of the living. Fare thee well.
“Raha ya milele umpe, Eh Bwana, na mwanga wa milele umwangazie, Apumzike kwa amani- Amina”.