Family

DEAR SWEET OLD MAN

Hi Dad,

I hope this epistle finds you well. I have been meaning to write this earlier but I kept procrastinating. You know how mum always said, that my procrastination is not a habit but a gene that I got from you. You know how she is hehehe! Maybe this letter has been written a little bit too soon because your body has not yet been buried as we speak but I had to keep you updated on what is going on so far now that you are no longer with us. I hope where you are, you will be able to read it.

Dad, I was at an advocacy training when I received the news of your demise. I knew things were bad before I got to Aga Khan in Parklands when I saw many missed calls from my cousins and aunties. When I finally picked Aunty Eliza’s call, Aunty Jane was on the line and she asked me to rush to hospital. I quickly called a cab and while at the back seat, I couldn’t control my tears. The kind cab guy handed me some tissue and he looked confused because maybe he had never transported a weeping customer. When I got the hospital, I rushed to the HDU where you were admitted in the company of your nieces and sisters where the guard told us that your body was already at the morgue.

At the morgue we waited patiently for the attendant to bring out your body. I wanted to see you so bad! Old man, seeing your lifeless body made me weak. I couldn’t believe it! The ultimate dude in my life was no more. The man who had shown me the purest form of love from the day I walked into his life lay there lifeless. I thought that it was a bad dream but you looked so calm and at peace. You were no longer in pain. I was shaking and sobbing so vehemently that your nieces Reggy and Deedee held me. Tears cascaded down my cheeks at speeds that I could not control.

The last days have been unbearable. Our house is filled with the despondency of mourners once again. That house that you built has now become a ghost house haunted by the memories of better days. Every damn thing in that house reminds me of you. Old man, you built that place from scratch together with mum. Although most of the times you guys would be calling me to preside over the petty disagreements you had over the type of tiles or the paint color for the walls hehehe! Just a few weeks ago, you had changed the locks of the house and bragged to everyone how you were Kenya’s best contractor. I remember how you gave each one of us a tutorial on how to operate the new locks and the way you boasted of the new technology hahaha! You really loved praises dad, just admit it. Speaking of praises, you know every time mum would go in to the wards to speak to you privately, Aunty Atis and I would tell her to remind you of how handsome you were. And we can bet that made you feel better. Do you remember the names of praises Anty Atis called you to make you eat? They worked very well, just admit it!

In those two weeks that you were admitted, I begged Sweet Jesus to heal you but I guess he had other plans. Old man clearly, my plan was different from that of God. I wanted you to grow old and meet your grandchildren. Speaking of which, I told your niece Nyangi that if I got a son, I would name him after you but she suggested that we add some swag to your name and him Norbetus instead of Norbert. Old man I don’t know about you, but I don’t like that name one bit. Your poor grandson’s parents have not yet met but he already has a wicked aunt, cheeeiiii! I wanted you live to see the day that your little girls Nyawanda and Baby would bring their boyfriends to meet the family. Dad can you imagine the fun we would have terrorizing their suitors? Hahaha! All we would have to do is give the poor guys a stern face that says “She is our little girl not your trophy idiot!” and make them uncomfortable with many questions that would make them sh*t bricks. After all, what is family for anyway?

Sorry for digressing, I was giving you an update. Your siblings, in-laws and friends are heartbroken by your demise. They are working around the clock to raise funds in order to give you a decent sendoff, led by your eldest brother Uncle Daktari. Your sisters are distraught but they are doing everything to console your wife who is very sad. You know dad, all my life I had never seen my mother cry, she was always the strong one who gave others a shoulder to cry on but your death…….made her cry! I can’t even explain it! Here is some consolation though, you married a very strong woman because despite the pain, she is holding up and doing everything she can to help with the funeral arrangements. Your nieces and nephews are saddened by this tragedy. I must say that they are angels sent from above in form of family. These youngsters are flexing their financial muscles too in order to contribute to burial kitty. I am overwhelmed by their emotional support. I also have a number of friends and work collegues who’ve come through to offer their support.

One thing that caught my attention dad, is your best friend Uncle Angolo. This guy was there from day one. When he came over to the house, I told him that I was sorry for the loss of his best friend and business partner. You two were inseparable. Growing up, I thought that he was your cousin only to find out that you have been best friends from primary school. He is trying to cope as well. Nyawanda, your tough little girl is trying to be tough. You know her. Imagine, she gave me a hug on the day she found out about your death. I was shocked because we both know that she is allergic to hugs. She cried a lot and I really hope that she gets through this. The hug she gave made me realize how much pain this news caused her. It also made me realize how short I am  because she was towering over me during the hug hehehe!

Dad, you know what the worst part of this loss was? Breaking the news to your little girl, Maryann. She was just from school and it was hard to see how her big beautiful eyes welled up due to the pain caused by that information. The last time she saw you, you were healthy and now she has to accept that you have gone to the afterlife. Honestly that has been the worst part so far! We went to pick her from school together with your cousin Dr. Ogutu, sister Aunty Atis, her friend Mary and your nephew Jimmy. They did a good job dad in helping your little girl understand what exactly happened.

I know that you will ask me how am coping, well, am trying. People keep telling me that I have to be strong for my siblings and mother. They remind me of how you always told me, “Agie set a good example for your sisters! I did not raise a quitter!” Dad, I really want to tell you to rest in peace. I really want to celebrate your life. I want to promise you that I will help finish everything that you started. I want to swear that I will make you so proud but this pain is unbearable old man! I feel like I can’t take it anymore. Sometimes I cry myself to sleep and listen to a lot of hip hop to cope but the pain won’t go away. It’s like someone glued it in my heart because it literally hurts! They say that everything happens for a reason but why can’t I stop crying? Huh? I don’t understand why cancer has chosen to be so unkind to my family! It did not give you a fighting chance, two weeks and you were gone! What does that f*cker want? Does it wake up one morning and choose who to destroy?

Dad, sorry for that break down but the plans are set. The main harambee will be held tomorrow at All Saints Cathedral. The mass is slotted for Thursday at St. Pauls Catholic Church and the burial is this weekend. I can’t believe that you won’t be around for Christmas! That we will begin 2018 without you! I really miss you papa! I miss the jokes and the way you’d manipulate my decisions in the guise of advice. You really loved meddling old man hahaha! I miss your advice and words of encouragement. How you would lower yourself to our age every time we became tough headed! You know, I already miss updating your wossap and checking your emails Hehehe! I called your number the other day and no one picked. It will take a while to accept that we can’t talk on phone. That you won’t be calling me in the middle of the day just to ask if am OK. I miss seeing the way you treated mum like a queen despite her constant uchokozi hehehe! How you would accuse her of being stubborn yet we both know who the stubborn one was. I miss presiding over your petty disagreements. I always sided with you, remember? Hehehe! I miss how you liked making fun of me and my siblings. The numerous pet names you gave us. The Sunday afternoon outings. How you would wake us up to go to church saying, “Mbona mnalala kama PC yet they were abolished in the new constitution?” The life you brought into our house. The way you made us feel safe. I miss you so so so much old man. Please don’t leave us, at least let us feel your presence. Visit us in our dreams and you can still meddle in our decisions if you want. For real I mean it! Till we meet again, I will be updating you on our lives through these letters.

 

Your loving daughter,

Agnes Opondo

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