Throwback to when sharing mix tapes was a thing. Actually Mix CDs was my thing… Haha, did we call them Mix CDs?
There used to be a guy on Luwum street… Guy used to take all my allowance in the name of music.
Heneway, now to the era of Mix Playlists – lol!
Although this one is 99.92% Boyz II Men.
I have tried to pick out a fav, so I can post the lyrics here and make this post complete but alas – I have failed. Although, I have noticed that after all these years of being on Team Shawn (because Shawn), I think I am joining the Nate boat.
Three successive deep breaths.
Five seconds fluttering my eyelashes.
This was not a flirtatious advance directed at the object of my desire. Although, quite honestly speaking, are we still trained to flutter our eyelashes as Betty Boop trained us; compared to the trendy sub-tweet directed at hashtag oomf?
It was a successful attempt to slow my heart rate. To keep my slowly simmering emotions in check. You know, akin to opening the saucepan cover to keep the milk from spilling into the sigiri; an action that would have left the entire house reeking of burned milk.
I’d thought about running to the toilet, also known as, the throne room of all things private… Except when it came to acoustics, muffled cries are one thing, muffled farts – a whole other ball game.
Surprisingly, I was on a troubleshooting streak and couldn’t afford to step away from my task. Yet, in that moment, my entire being was awash and painfully aware of the absence of my dad.
He didn’t just pass away, so this is not a fresh wound. It’s been 3 years and 3 months and I think I have been doing well so far. Well not I alone. I think my family has been doing well with his absence. My immediate family and our greater family.
This is not a rookie coming face to face with the shapeless shifting wraith named Grief. When you master the art of waking up, you begin to comprehend that corny adage: take one day at a time.
I already took the day and woke up. I should be over this. I should be past this. Instead 3 years in, I am still having moments. Worse still – in public type of moments.
Something had just happened; my personal life was beginning to leak into my professional life. There I was, silently trying to draw deep breath without breaking the train of thought my troubleshooting task needed. For all of fifty seconds, the energy was sapped right out of me. I was tired. Tired, when I could not afford to be tired.
In a cosmic attempt to authenticate her existence, Fate shook her tail feather at me, almost as if it was 2003 again. I was one of the lucky winners of the Father’s day competition. Why is it Father’s though? Is there one Father who owns the day? If not, should it not then be Fathers’, representing the Fathers everywhere owning the day? Or is Father actually in plural already?
Still, this is not what brought on the brimming of salted liquid.
Actually, what did is inconsequential when compared to the lesson that I have learned as result of the entire episode. They say, a parent should never bury their child, again who comes up with these adages?
I have learned of a hidden response from the child who buries a parent; naturally the departure causes a void that needs to be filled. And, who else but a grieving child to assume the responsibility and attempt to fill this void. With a brave face, they drudge on, propelling themselves into an unintended destiny.
Not for me.
Not for us.
To the one who has dealt with the loss of a parent.
To the one that is filled with the burden of protecting the one you have left.
To the one wandering helplessly in the wilderness of an unintended destiny.
take a knee.
and pray for strength.
gasp out loud and let the tears roll.
then stand up and keep walking, it may have been unintended, but I heard a rumor… Something about all things. I am guessing that all means all…
Some promises are worth holding onto, with all that you are!
I had the most unique experience on Good Friday. It that has made me start to intentionally redefine a lot of things that I pick up from the Bible. A lot of the time, I take things at face value and often use the one size fits all. Hmmm, this could lead to an entire series of posts on rediscovery. Oooohh… Maybe that is what I should do.
Anyhoo, in this instance, it is the voice of God. Voice for me has always alluded to God opening his mouth and speaking (the Bible talks about God’s feet and also about God speaking, so I am guessing he must have a mouth). Oopps, there I go again…
Kirabo, stick to telling the story.
So, Good Friday – 2016.
I went to Church (massive feat for me, you have no idea 🙂 ), and theservice was awesome! After service I lingered around Church – you know, saying those goodbye’s that never end. I got a lift from a friend to Acacia, on the way there I thought to myself, I’d like to give my regular Baaj guy an Easter token/tip (whatever you prefer to call it). I noticed that there was a lot of traffic for a public holiday.
So I go to New Day bookshop, linger around their Bible section. They were all too big for my needs. I head on up to Aristoc, I was looking for a pocket size Amplified Bible – one of the attendants in the section looked at me clueless. So I had to explain what I meant – alas, after 20 minutes of searching – nada!
Then I go off to KFC – their sticky wings… ** Hallelujah Chorus**. For the first time ever, it took close to an hour for me to get the food.
On my way out, I get accosted by some gorgeous teens who were shocked at the fact that I looked like their friend. After two minutes of ‘No way, like seriously’ – I get onto the lift and head with one-eared Shrek, who I am pretty sure did not know he was Shrek. Like I called him Shrek and he did not flinch (Boooo).
I am now literally running out of the parking lot and I think, I need money – so a quick dash to the ATM is in order. On my way to the ATM, I see the queue and start to reason with myself, I could always use the bank in town, right? After all, I am going to buy hair, because I have a hair plaiting session on Saturday at 11am.
That is plenty of time.
Clearly, my feet were not part of the conversation because they took me to the ATM. And then proceeded to stand there. I was now number 4 in line. ATM is where you can tell if you really have the other fruit of the Spirit. The one called Patience. I am like, Seriously!! It is a punch in-punch out, receive operation. You cannot take more than 3 minutes if the machine has a proper connection.
Anyhoo, it’s Good Friday, I have just come from an amazing service – So I hum a tune to distract my brain. Next person goes in, comes out, Next person goes in… remains in. The person before me starts to smack his lips, and low grumble. I’m like, nah uh, I will sing this tune until it is my turn.
Guy who was in comes out huffing and puffing, the thing is off! I had just put my money amount. (humming continues). Askari, says he has called the manager, he is waiting for feedback. Huffing now mixed with serious distress, what if if gives out my money and I am not here?
My feet still had no capacity to hear and remain glued to the spot. Again, I linger around the ATM for a while longer, then continue on my way. As I am walking down, I notice that my boda stage is deserted.
Great, All this time wasting all over the place has made me miss the boda guy.
I sigh inwardly and get ready to cross the road. In Primary School they say, look right, look left and then look right again. I look to my right, and boom! Boda guy.
Yes, I was the crazy girl laughing as I crossed the road.
It all looks like coincidence, doesn’t it? However, I have lived long enough to redefine coincidence as the invisible finger of God moving things into place.
There was a heck of a lot of delay to my normally meticulous routine. lingering at Church. lingering in traffic. lingering at New Day. lingering at Aristoc. lingering at KFC. lingering with the teens. lingering at ATM.
So much lingering all because, Mr. Boda Guy was not at the stage yet.
Where is God causing you to linger while he works on the otherthing.
I’m clutching my chest again, the pain is back. I double over, but the thud is muted by the woolen carpet in my room.
It stays longer this time. short breaths, I remind myself.
The tears that were already welling up in my eyes, begin their journey to my chin. I grab the large pillow and bury my contorted face into it. With a loud gasp, my wretchedness begins all over again. The pain is still there, but my sorrow overwhelms anything physical or else.
Now, I can feel the dull ache begin it’s throbbing – myGod, what did I ever do? Will I never catch a break?
I let the helplessness consume me, with groans of agony in between sobs, I bury the numbness into the whiteness of my pillow.
It wasn’t fine, nor was I myself for a very long time. I spent many nights like that, it wasn’t my choosing – it never is our choosing. I retreated into the darkness of my own shadow, preferring it’s comfort to the the glaring hopes and will-be fines that kept attacking me.
It was like that for a long time, somedays, it still is like that. But you know eventually, the midday sun shows up – then we have choice: to remain frozen in time, staring into the void of all that could have been surrounded by the ghosts that keep us company; or we can try to wake up every day, and take one more step.
One more step further than where we were the day before. One more step in whatever it is that we do with our lives. Teach one more student; take on one more company; solve one more problem; listen to one more story; hope for one dream.
One more dream that will see us lifted out of this bleak existence; one more dream that will return the smile in our voice; one more dream that we know will restore the pride in our children’s eyes.
Soon the ‘one more‘ becomes like the hopes and the will-befines; all we want, is to be done with the process – ye, who signed us up anyway?
This time, I signed myself. I walked into it with full knowledge of what I was doing.
As the eleven o’clock sun breathed fiercely upon me, the pain returned. An overwhelming helplessness crept up my spine – as sudden realisation of what was actually happening dawned me.
This time would be no different from before – Oh rather, this time would be worse, for before my very eyes – my ignorance was robbed of me.
But I’ve we’ve been here before, our one more dream will come again.
It’s 7 am and my first thought is: It’s Valentines day. It is such a curious day, this one. The only other holiday that has the ability to record a spike in depression and suicide rates. Very droll, I know. But then again, I am single and practically putting one step through the dreaded thirties door – what do I have to celebrate about this day?
I had intended on writing to ‘my the one‘ – in whichever time-space dimension he might be; but then the voice on the radio said – “You’re listening to Nightfall” and then I smiled and giggled. I remembered that feeling I had when they sang Auld Lang in that final scene in Downton Abbey. *giggles again* I think it fitting that I start this #UGblogWeek by loving on me. *giggles again again* Yes, that was such a loaded statement.
Kirabo – It is okay, that you are a bit of an enigma – and not in the derogatory sense. No. You will never fully figure yourself out … BUT isn’t that the mystery of life?
You see, you can sit down to an entire 6 seasons of Downton Abbey and still re-watch Cartoon Network’s version of the Justice League – All 91 episodes. You get extremely irritated with Gaius Baltar as you did with Thomas Barrel. There was this one time, you watched Bongo – A Swahili channel with drama from Tanzania. Surely there must be people out there who do not only one specific t.v. genre (if they are referred to as that)?
Next up, Kirabo: that grey mattered object that is protected by your skull is Ah-Maize-ng.
You love to gobble up knowledge. You love that feeling at the beginning of starting something new – You know, when you get that tingly sensation in your fingers that turns them numb. Your free time is normally a mess of activity that revolves around swearing you will dust your room next weekend, reading a book, starting a knitting project, finishing up a website, catching up on devotion, doing nothing but listening to the radio on Saturday morning, writing Python, write English, bugging your friends about meeting up & being sorely disappointed to find out they all have lives (tehehe, but remember, you are an introvert).
For you, staying attentive in a conversation for more than 20 minutes is such a chore. You can literally have a day-dream within a day-dream.
So this one time, you heard a rumour about the fact the guys do not particularly like girls who are smart or known to be bright, if you will. You did the kikiga snort and said, “LIES!!”. Then a friend of yours, *sigh* yes… people mean well. They sat you down and BOOM! You got the pep-talk along the lines of “Girl, you ain’t getting any younger, you need to dumb it down”
Kirabo: Your accomplishments are nothing to be ashamed of. No. The journey towards each of them are a testimony that God is already using.
You have two degrees – both with valedictory status. You have accumulated 9 years working experience – at companies that have been at extreme ends of the spectrum. You have been involved in inspiring more girls to find ways of including technology in their lives; and at the same time, you have been involved in working with girls to grow deeper in their knowledge of God. You have also been involved in using your past experience in kicking the butts of local founders/entrepreneurs to get-it up to the next level.
You spent two years living by yourself across two different continents. Traveled from the East to the West Coast by yourself. Froze your toes off because you had no winter boots – learned to take shortcuts through buildings with heating. You climbed a rock, using your hands and feet (what exactly possessed you to do so, is a post for another day), You went rafting and conquered a level 5 rapid on the River Nile (again, whatever possessed you…).
Next up, Kirabo
Ahh… You almost forgot the other crucial accomplishment – You are soon to celebrate 3 decades of existence on the planet earth**. One might be tempted to quote about all the characters both in present day and bible time, whose lives began at the 30 mark but we shall not. The surprises that are stored up for you will surpass anything that your 29th year brought. Cheesy, yes? Just believe it. Just like the way, your eyes ignore your nose 90% of the time – You hardly ever see what is ahead of you – There is someone else who does, trust that they know what is best for you.
No, Kirabo. You are not simple but then again who is? One look at the human neural system is enough to know that no one is simple. No matter the facade they carry around with them.
There is so much more to you than the things that come to your mind, or the things that people often complain about. You must celebrate each season because, man, you wont get it back. There is no Rip Hunter in normal life, today is all you are going to get.
So take a sip of that Chardonnay as go back and edit this post whilst thinking about the m.t.o post you will probably write next. Hopefully, it will be a little more coherent than this one.
** April 4th to be exact – Note it down, I am not on FB so you will not be reminded by some algorithm. I accept gifts – especially those of the tech variety – think Drones, Oculus Rifts.
P.S: If you are still reading this, then here is a gift for you…
**Image Source: Google Images
P.P.S: This entire post felt like one long deja vu moment.
P.P.P.S: Tehehe… There are breadcrumbs in this post. Okay, I am done. For real now. Bye.
I can still remember my last night with him, I watched him walk away from me with a certain sick feeling that this would be my last loving glance upon him. We had just picked out the perfect gift for his wife and I was curating links for him. I chided him for running down the stairs in his state but he wanted to watch penalties – I no longer remember who was playing. The next morning – the 3rd of February 2013, in our usual – “I’m late tussle”. I hugged him one last time and watch the taxi pull away.
That was the last I saw of my daddy.
It was a cold Sunday morning, the morning I last saw him, I was the only child that was afforded that privilege. I doubt some of my siblings and cousins who loved him so much would remember the last time they saw him but I do, ever so clearly.
They called the evening of the 4th. The airport police. They asked to speak to my mom. They said your husband is dead. He died on the flight – on his last leg to reach his destination. I watched her loose it for a bit. Like I said, I was the only child left at home. I had to get re-enforcements, we needed airtime. We had to make calls. Two of my siblings show up and we begin the dreaded 11pm calls, to 50 – 60 year olds who had already called it a night.
We had no patience for their disbelief, we hung up and called the next person. He had so many friends and knew so many people. The two week fundraising run that ensued to get him brought back home – whoever knew someone who knew someone tried to reach out – We needed help. Daddy had to come home. At one point, we got so frustrated we started discussing the possibility of burying him where he was.
That same week I got a call from the tech company. The one I had been eyeing. They wanted to do an interview. They were interested in hiring me. The very next day, I got an eMail. Carnegie Mellon. They were interested in interviewing me. They had got my school application and they wanted to know more about me.
You see, my dad and I had decided it was time for a shift in our lives. He was looking for something new and exciting to do and I was looking for a change. He suggested school to me and I suggested retirement to him.
When he did return, we picked him up – a casket fit for a king, my sister said – disbelief now finally sinking in. He is really gone, I said to myself at the airport. He is not coming back. The “I should haves started then…”. They say parties are well attended, but that would also apply to his funeral. It was no party, but people showed up to pay their respects. There were so many people. We then boarded buses to that took us to the ends of the earth. That is what my friends now affectionately refer to it. My village. In the deep, sometimes inaccessible hills of Kanungu. His father was distraught with grief as well. Well, I guess we all were but more so for him. He had outlived his son. The roses hit the silver casket and that was it. It was done. He was gone. He was not coming back.
The silence that hit me when I got home was palpable. He was here and then he wasn’t. He was just gone. Just like that. It hadn’t hit home yet. Not for me it hadn’t.
I did get accepted into Carnegie Mellon and left home July of that year. My mother is from the generation that believes in education. I went away with her blessing and urging. I went away but part of me was home. I had something to prove. For daddy. For his grieving family.
That same year, in December. His father also followed him. Gone. In his sleep I believe. I remember getting the news and thinking, “God, will we ever catch a break?” So we went back and said our goodbyes.
The next year, my grandmother moved back home. Some form of paralysis. The bills started then. The worry started then. Halfway through the year, I became single. That was the breaking point. Alone. In an apartment in another city. Away from home. Away from family. Away from friends. I broke. I shattered into tiny unrecognisable pieces. Everything suddenly became real.
Very raw. Very real. I was alone. I had to deal.
A friend or two stuck through it. They called everyday. Scarred their knees every day because the thoughts that twirled around in my head were not healthy. They were dark. They had been waiting. They were attacking with a thirsty vengeance. I wanted to die. I wanted to end. I wanted to be done. I was just tired. That was July – August 2014. I broke.
There is something that is to be spoken of the smile that is worn through such hardness. There is something that is to be spoken about friends who listen through gasps and sobs – Hardly ever deciphering what you have said. There is something to be said about the waking up and mindless routine of going through every day. There is also something to be said about the grasping of the familiar – the refusing to let go of the pain because, because… It is real. It reminds you of things it shouldn’t but you have grown so accustomed to them that you prefer them to the unknown that is wrapped up in hope.
In a sense, I did die that day in Nairobi. The version that returned home after that was different. I had changed. In every sense of the word change. My perspective was shifted. There was no going back.
Jan 2015. Saw me on a plane to Pittsburgh, PA. Me, Iffy, Joey & Vive. Off to complete our last semester at the main campus.
May 2015. I was named Valedictorian. The best in my class. As you have just read, I have little clue as to how this happened – the last part of 2014 still remains a blur.
July 2015. I got a programming job. I am still geeking out over this one. The way this happened, I have no clue. Post for another day.
Today, we stand to give thanks. My friends and I. We have had different journeys. Different brokenness. Different pain. Different lives. We tend to live in bubbles that are quite often clocked in the perfection shroud. There are days I still break a little. It might me a familiar face. It might be a scent. It might be a place. It is okay to give thanks even in breaking. Especially in the breaking.
Lol! No. I do not thank God – my daddy is gone. We still talk about that, God and I. But I thank him for the process that ensued thereafter. Thankful for the mending and the attitude shift. The relationships that have bloomed because of this. The fact that I can now write again. The love that I realised my family has for me – how much I adore each and every one of them. I feel like the word ‘thankful’ itself does not carry the weight with which my heart writes this.