A man walks in to the Cafe and takes a seat directly opposite me, He looks weary, defeated, a sad look in his eyes, He looks like He is out of place, the enthusiastic waitress gives Him a Menu, He smiles and declines the menu, He waves at me, I nod back. I don’t know Him but I can tell that He has a heavy load on His shoulders, I avoid making eye contact, I tell myself ‘jipe shughuli’ and I slowly sip my coffee but I am aware that the man is trying to make eye contact.
How did I come to this cafe this early? I cant sleep, insomnia has set in, I am sad, deeply sad, devastated, I am mourning a lovely and remarkable person in my life, I am mourning a selfless woman, an Aunt, we lost our Aunt on Friday, She was brutally and cruelly taken away from us before Her time. I haven’t had time to reflect on Her life, haven’t had time to process the pain, I haven’t properly mourned. I can’t deal.
A lot is said when someone passes on, the nicest things are said, promises are made but people quickly move on, I don’t know how I can move on from here. We lay our dear Auntie to rest tomorrow and the processing begins, we have to process our pain, our denial, our bitterness, our misgivings, the many questions we have, Why Her? Why now? How do we move on without Her? Why? Why? Why?
Auntie was the best person in our family, She never displayed anger, She never raised Her voice ever, She was selfless, always put others before Herself, She was prayerful, She was the voice of reason in the entire family, always bringing people together and mediating and deflating family conflicts, She was so slow to anger.
I cannot forget how She rescued me from a very bad situation, I think I was about seven and just started nursery school upcountry, my parents were in Nairobi and I had been left under the care of relatives, I was neglected, had jiggers, a festering wound in my foot and a bad burn in my neck, so Auntie came to check on me and found me in that situation, She took me away and my life changed for the better from that point onwards. How can I forget this?
I have many other stories about Auntie’s impact in my life and that of everyone in my family, I think everyone in my family has a story to tell about Her impact in their lives. But we all agree that She was remarkable, a nice person, a lovely mother, a farmer, brigade teacher, women’s guild member. When I say Auntie was everything to us, it is true in every sense.
As I think about my Auntie, the man sitting opposite me walks to my table, He has this resigned look, He asks me, “Boss, unaweza ninunulia chai ?” I know this is Nairobi and that there are many types of people, but this man signifies my pain, He looks like the symbol of all I am contending with at this moment. I ask the waitress to give him some food. At this moment, I gather my strength, summon all the positivity I can gather and push all my personal pain away, today is not the day to be selfish and self centred, today is the day I pay tribute and mourn for Auntie Maragi.
“My Aunt is gone; I cannot bring her back, but at least in memory of Her, I can live a life that I know She would be proud of”.
Rest in peace,
Rest in power,
Dance with the angels,
I honour your memory,
It is not goodbye,
It is goodnight,
For we shall meet in the morning.