12th April, 2017
He lay there, still. There was this machine – I would have wondered what its name was but that was literally at the back of my mind. I knew it was monitoring his heartbeat and blood pressure, and that was really what mattered at the moment. Beep…beep…beep…Beeps all over the High Dependency Unit. Next to him was a very young lady, I wondered what got her in that state and said a quick silent prayer for her. Seeing people in pain aches my heart. I prayed silently that they would all be okay, and that their families would find strength.
Eyes back to my Sokoro, I felt a sting in my eyes, then soon enough my tear glands burst, but I didn’t allow myself to cry a river at that moment. I hear they say that when one is in a coma, they can hear you, just that they can’t respond. Don’t know how true it is but I didn’t want grandpa to know that I was crying. I was seeing him for the first time after the stroke hit him and had him fall into a coma the day before at 8am. Mummy was strong, she had cried all her tears (for the day) earlier that Saturday morning, on my shoulder. I’m glad I could be there for her. Side note: something about her breakdown that morning awakened me to the reality that I’m all grown now; time to chew on tougher meat. I had never seen Mum that vulnerable. It is then that it was kindled within me, that Mummy ain’t no superwoman. There comes certain points in life when Mummy and daughter may need to switch roles.
For the next exactly two weeks, The Nairobi Hospital was our second home. 11-12am, 4-6pm..a regimen I naturally and quickly caught up with. Actually, I might even know all the fire exits. Finding parking space in there is pretty annoying though. I digress.
“Mummy!He opened his eyes!!!”…I remember calling my Mummy who was on her way to the hospital from a meeting she had to attend. What joy…!He was doing better, way better every other day, and even when they took him to the ICU, it was all in a bid to make it easier for him to heal rather than deteriorate, especially by supporting his breathing.
Friday, 23rd April, I’m just done with my classes for the day. My hair is a mess, it direly needs Judy Wangare. Then voice class with Mike Manoah..and I’ll be in time to get to the hospital for the 4pm visit. Organized, as usual *grin*. I didn’t hear my phone ring earlier, but while stalled in Uhuru Highway traffic, as is my usual behavior, I checked my phone.
My heart sank:( For some few seconds there, I was in a trance. My heart racing, I called Jesus a couple of times and it’s beyond amazing how quick He is to respond. He gave strength to my feet to drive straight to the hospital which was now not so far off; strength to my shattered heart; and strength to say “it is well” and love Him even the more.
The walk to Lee funeral home was really heartbreaking. Never before have I seen a day turn so gray in a split second.
“Sigh….I thought he was getting better.”
Being Mummy’s mummy:
As I mentioned earlier, it had seriously hit me that I am no longer the little girl who was ever so oblivious especially about the painful yet real situations in life. When Mummy lost her brother Moses, I was only 7. When my Magokoro Teresa (Mummy’s Mum) left us two years later, I was 9. When my “Ntagu” (one I’m named after in Kimeru – my paternal grandma) left us too, I was 17, in high school, and only getting to really know her well (long story). So, you see? Never had such realities occurred to me first hand. Never had I taken someone I love through the tough grieving process. More to that, never had I lost someone I was close to.
Grandpa ZK was really really amazing, loving and dear to all who knew him. One of the couple of things I am genuinely thankful for, is that I got to experience a grandparent’s love so deeply, through ZK.
Friend, being there for someone in a time of grief can be quite the mountain. I knew that I needed to be strong for Mum but at the same time not suppress my pain, because I too, needed to grieve. Tissues and eyedrops were close companions, especially when I had to get back to school in the midst of it all. I was glad to see Mom comforted when her friends, cousins, neighbours and our churchmates came home to pay us a visit, as soon as the next day. My Aunty Mary needed to come from the US to attend the burial, and so it would take another two weeks before we could lay Babu to rest. Truth is, there is a certain kind of peace that you never really feel until you practically place one whose soul has departed, into their new temporary home.
Being there for Mom meant being physically around. From the time Grandad had a stroke, I purposed to be there with her for close to all visits and it went a long way. Thank God for the grace. Sometimes she would call my name only to hear that I was around, and it felt good to hug her every morning and see her smile back. She would tell me everything, everything about how she felt, and I found it such an honour. It’s a privilege to be her bestie. I’d do the grocery shopping and rush for some ‘majani’ to make tea for the guests who came daily. We prayed together as a family, and it really strengthened us.
Soon as the fresh pain started fading away, we chose to celebrate ZK rather than cry to no end. Going through family albums to find memories of him was interesting and beautiful. Reminiscing on his ever warm smile, his big and kind heart, his hearty laughter that welled up from deep in his stomach, his unique abilities and the fact that he was actually always in suits!haha…
These two songs have been doing something powerful within me through this season: Though you slay me – Shane and Shane ; It is well – Kristen Dimarco and Bethel Music.
Major take-outs from my Grandfather’s life:
- Love God deeply. Immerse yourself in Him, always and ever, even in the storms.
- Love people. The greatest investments you can make in this life is in the hearts of fellow men.
- The love of family is worth fighting for. Keep family close. Direct or distant, family is a gift from God. Know them, understand them, value them and invest in them.
- Live in joy, peace and love for all.
……among much much more.
My Babu has rested. And in it all, God’s name is glorified. Through it all, keep your eyes fixed on the giver of life and appreciate each breath you take. Thank you so much for all the love you have shown our family, through this time.
“..rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”
All the fallen heros and heroines, including the celebrated Janet Kanini Ikua and anyone you’ve probably lost, are just but sleeping. Death is a harsh reality but there is great hope that we will see them again when the trumpets sound.
While we live, let’s live well. God’s presence and comfort is SO REAL, and even when it hurts, we will rise again and LIVE WELL. To God’s glory, in Jesus name.