On that Wednesday, 5th day of April, the year 2000, you were pronounced dead in a hospital bed. That short illness had overwhelmed your soul. I was too young to comprehend the magnitude of that loss. I didn’t foresee the tough impact beforehand. Forgive me for my age then. I was only in class 5. 10 days later, we would bury you on that rainy afternoon. I fondly remember carrying your portrait throughout the burial service. Even before you passed away, relatives and friends spoke of how we resembled each other. As you would expect, I cried profusely for nature robbing my only daddy at such a young age. I seethed with anger and experienced long thoughts about you dad. Images of your last days in this world still remain vivid in my mind. Though from the onset you were the most courageous man I had known in my entire life, you seemed inundated. The illness had taken a heavy toll on your health. You looked disturbed. Few days later, trooping back from school one evening, we learnt you were admitted in hospital. It wouldn’t be for long, before the good Lord took your soul.
One of the challenges I have encountered ever since, is of friends sharing stories about their dads. It always affects me to date. I feel disadvantaged to some extent anytime those stories are told to me. I find myself prodding,” what if daddy you were alive?” Nevertheless, I have learnt to accept what happened, over the years. As they say, time is the best remedy. Frankly, it has really helped me heal. It’s now 15 years since you passed away.15 years marked by harsh challenges, disturbance, victimization, lack of mentorship and father figure and barrage of questions. All this is courtesy of the enormous vacuum you left to your very young family. In retrospect; I count many successes too, over the period. I have made mistakes and achieved quite, as well. Your absence triggered a rather unusual mental strength and self-drive. It has never been easy though.
I fondly remember the rich legacy you left behind. To me, Christmas occasions have never been the same again. During your time, it meant, embarking on nostalgic visits to our grandma. Not once did we miss to surprise her with a ram to mark the occasion. Every evening you’d never fail to bring home a newspaper and a paper bag of bread and a half kilogram of meet. Speaking of newspapers, you exposed me to the world of reading newspapers at a very young age. In fact, my writing has everything to do with reading newspapers. I wish you were around, to give you a pat on the back. I remember your dark suits, brown shoes and red ties. My siblings and I would smell you from a distance.
Your authority in that house was visible. Your soft side would surprise us in many occasions. Not once did we tour Nakuru at the popular Uchumi Supermarket, then, for shopping. This was a really big deal to us. You stopped at nothing in making our lives comfortable. You also had this chemistry with your cows. You consistently ensured they were in great shape and sound. I recall you putting on your navy blue overall coat, and juggling across the shamba to cut napier – grass for the livestock after a long day in the office. We would do grazing together on weekends. You nurtured me to love this skill. I still do it to date, whenever I visit home. To my brother and I, you inculcated major responsibilities in us at a very young age. Fast forward now, I thank you for that wisdom.
You were a big fan of Country music especially on that sunny Sunday afternoon. You’d also listen to BBC news every weekday in your bedroom. In fact, I remember this radio that was not just handled by anybody else apart from you. You were also a very generous man. A good number of my relatives benefitted from your kindness by paying for their school fees and even uplifting them. You’d invite my cousins in many occasions and share a meal together. We revered and adored you dad. To us, you were a source of pride, entitlement and hope. You were an inspirer, a mentor and a bundle of joy.
On 15th April (10 days later) we buried your remains. Customarily, we shoved soil and wished you to rest in peace. Tears freely dropped down our cheeks. No one would fathom how wrenched our hearts were. You died with big dreams and many nuggets of wisdom. To this day, my objective is to protect that legacy you worked so hard for and probably improve on it. Rest in God’s love and peace DAD!