Dear Sweet Old Man, Family

DEAR SWEET OLD MAN

It’s been a while since we talked….through this blog. I wanted to talk you earlier but I was scared. Petrified of the water works. I was afraid that writing this, would make realize that your demise still hurts. That the reality is you left a void that can’t be filled. In fact, I had already penned down this week’s copy but I felt compelled to do this. Lately I have been terrified of sadness. I avoid anything that brings pain. That is one of the reasons why I have not gotten a tattoo or an extra ear piercing yet hehehe! Plus I don’t want unnecessary fights with mum, she still calls me her little teddy bear and her little teddy bear can’t get piercings or tattoos. You know her. Your little girl Kavevi tells me that I joke a lot lately. Ati she is worried. She feels like it is a cover up, but I have to be strong. After all, you did not raise a quitter? Huh? You did not bring forth a demure woman who can’t get up and go on despite the pain? Right?

Anyway dad, I hope you have been OK. I hope they are treating you well wherever you are. I hope that they laugh at your jokes because my sisters and I still laugh when we remember that story of your friend who could not say ‘vita na ugomvi’ instead he would say ‘bita na ogombi’ hahaha! I still laugh when I remember how you would make fun of difficult situations e.g. that guy who frustrated you when you were trying to fix the water pipes to the house. Nyawanda and I burst into laughter the day he visited to offer his condolences.

It’s funny how every time I dream about you, we are always in a car headed to some place I never know. Then before we get to the destination you always pull over and either give me money to take an alternative route or get out to hug me and tell me that you miss us. I hate those kind of dreams Dad. They just remind me that you are no longer with us. Next time you visit me in a dream, at least crack a joke or confirm to me that you are OK, sawa? You know sometime in January your little girl, Kavevi called crying. She wanted me to explain to her why you left without saying goodbye. And I had no answer Paps! Not even the slightest idea! Nothing! Ongeeee!! It really hurt me to not have an answer. Nyawanda has never recovered, she is always mentioning you.

Mum misses you… a lot. She may never say it, but she misses you. You used to spoil her so much. I remember how you would leave with her on some Saturday evenings saying that you are coming back in a few, only to text me hours later that you are not coming for supper. Really, what was so hard in telling me that you two were going on a date? I always thought it was cute that you two kept the flame burning even after all those years. That you loved and respected our mother and she did the same for you. Dad, relationships za siku hizi…. Anyway, now she has to wake up alone without your morning jokes. She has to continue with the projects you left unfinished without arguing with you over the color of tiles to use or the size of the kitchen. But just so you know, she is doing a stupendous job! You would be proud of her! I am sure of that! Her mouth oozes contractor jargon like she graduated in Building Technology with honors.

The last time my sisters and I visited your grave (early February), I watched you little girls closely. I was scared that they would break down to tears. I never want to see them sad. But to my surprise, they didn’t! Instead we reminisced some of your many stories and even imitated you kidogo, hehehe! You know old man, words can’t express how much we miss you. You favorite seat in the living room has now become Kavevi’s favorite spot. Ati now she wants to feel like the head of the house hohoho! Kavevi also wakes us up on Sundays for church like you used to. And she is ruthless dad! We now go for the 9:45am mass and not the 11:30am one like before. I still am the last person to wake up for church and I am already used to Kavevi’s sermons on Sunday mornings aaaargh! Mum still loves her old spot and she still gives us lengthy lectures whenever we mess up. Nyawanda is still rocking short hair but she is a bit more girly nowadays. Can you imagine she now wears skirts and dresses? Remember how you always wanted her to be a bit feminine? I don’t know about you dear, but I suspect she has a new boyfriend. No worries though, I will find out who he is and terrify him kidogo on your behalf hehehe! Kavevi grows taller and prettier with each day.

Our cat Jay is growing healthier. Mum spoils it a tad too much. Can you believe that it fathered kittens who unfortunately died a few days after being born? We wanted to get a lawyer to fight for the custody of those kittens but I am sure you would have never supported the idea of keeping more cats. I still work where I used to, same to mum. Nyawanda is almost completing her industrial attachment and Kavevi is almost joining campus. I know how much you would have loved to be around on her first day in campus but no worries, I will be keeping you posted. Your siblings and in laws are OK and your best friend still visits to see how we are faring. Your nephews and nieces are still the same boisterous youngsters chasing their dreams.

A few weeks ago, I visited you former work place. You may find this weird but I faked an inquiry to go see your old office. I don’t know why I did it but it just felt right to slot this visit in my schedule. The place has not changed much save for the security detail which has been tightened a bit. The gate which you designed for the institution together with your contractor colleagues still stands, just a few adjustments here and there. Before I got to the gate, I was scared that memories of better times with you at this place would make me cry and sad, so I played some music through my earphones as I got to the entrance. When I got to the entrance of your former office, I pretended not to know my way so that I could sneak to see if there were any changes at your former desk. Well, Dad nothing has changed the wooden table is still the same and seat where you used to hang your coat is still there. A certain stout middle aged man was seated there and he referred me to the registrar’s office for inquires cutting short my survey mission. At the registrar’s office I was served by your former colleague, Baba Jack. You remember him right? Age has caught up with him, gracefully though. He quickly recognized me and exclaimed:

“My God, Agie! You resemble you father so much! Yawa!”

“The good looks run in the family!” I mumbled

“Ati?” He asked seeking clarification as he did not hear me well.

“Hehehe! I am saying that people tell me that a lot.” I quipped

Baba Jack went on to answer my ‘questions’ and tell me that you were a good person. Many people who knew you used to tell me that. Even before disease sneaked into your body I had met a number of people who told me of how your kindness had touched them. That’s why I don’t want to just resemble you, I want to be like you and touch the lives of people around me. Dad, when I walked out of that place I felt proud of myself. It’s like I had faced my fears without tears. I don’t think time will ever heal the wound that losing you left. No success or money would ever make us as happy as you did. But we will try. Nowadays I make time for family and friends, losing you taught me that nobody will be there forever. This coming month would have been the 27th marriage anniversary for you and mum and I don’t know if we should celebrate it like we had done in the past. I am not sure how mum will feel about celebrating it dear. However, we will cross that bridge when we get there. So old man just know that you are still in our hearts. That we will tell our children and children’s children about the great man you were.

Till we meet again Dad.

Loving Daughter,

Agnes Opondo

 

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3 thoughts on “DEAR SWEET OLD MAN”

  1. Pops is alright my dear. It’s good you’re working to get through… So much to say, but you’ll be alright, stay around to take care of your mom and sisters… God will see you through, He’ll give support in his own way.

    Liked by 1 person

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