2016 seems like the year that took; not a week went by when there wasn’t a report about someone dying, at a rate that sent shockwaves around the world. Closer home, we lost my last surviving grandparent.
Cucu was strong willed, funny and brave…I still tear up when I think about her because I grew up seeing her each year throughout my childhood, standing by the little gate outside her house as she watched us drive in to her compound in Kangaru, Embu, to celebrate Christmas. As the years went by we still saw her often, at family gatherings and later when she would come to Nairobi for medical check ups. In August of 2015 my mother called me on a Thursday, I remember her sounding sombre, telling me to join her in hospital to see Cucu. I went and found a few other family members were there as well. I held her hand, burst out crying as she lay struggling to breathe. I prayed for her, kissed her hand and cheek, told her I loved her. That Saturday, she passed away. It stung, but not as much for me as it did for my father, who was very close to her, his beloved mother. Needless to say, the next few days of planning her funeral and laying her to rest were very emotional. She was meant to meet Baby Huru for the first time late that month, I’ll never live that down. Still, we will celebrate her memory and give thanks that she lived until the age of 90!
All in all, it reminds me that you really have to take time to be with the ones you love and love the ones you’re with. Not a lot of people hold that to heart anymore and it’s the saddest thing. Is it because our social fabric is full of afray? Perhaps we’re too caught up in the approval of social media than that of the people that genuinely care the most about us. I know families and friendships have their complexitiies and dysfunctionalities but ultimately, we ought to try work things out with the people that have our best interests at heart. Life, as the cliche goes, is short. Don’t live it regretting why you didn’t make amends.
At least we have memories of Cucu. Here is a short dedication to those who’ve lost a loved one this year:
Is it lovely where you are? Placid, calm?
Do you still read your favourite book,
Do you still have your scars?
Are you better? Are you free?
Are you thinking of me?
Do you still hear me breathing, when I’m crying, when I sing?
(‘Still: Part 1’,
Poetry by Janet)