In Summary
  • When they die, they fracture your world.
  • They make you feel sorry; sorry that you didn't’ spend enough time together, that you didn’t talk to them more.

 

Remember the friend I talked about here? We buried him last weekend.

We took him to his village in Ugenya, at the foot of a hill called Got Rembo. It was sadness in all hues

as we mourned the 39-year-old father of three young children, dead with all his ambitions and dreams.

I saw how stoically his 10-year-old daughter stood at the open casket during the final prayers before the body was taken to the grave site.

She stood there looking down at her dead father with a passive face, as if death had forced her to be an adult.

Charming girl she is; confident and personable, like her late father. I thought how in another 10 years if she will remember her father, and how he took her everywhere.

SECRET DIALECT

How you could tell they were more than father and daughter, but best friends, like they had lived another life together. How they called each other “Abish,” a secret dialect that only them understood.

I met his five university friends, who had hopped on buses from Central Kenya to travel night and day into the very heartland of Luoland to send him off.

They stood there not understanding the cultural practices or the local language but knowing that grief itself is a language for everyone.

He, even in death, turned people into gentlemen.

The night before the burial we — a group of 12 men — sat in a circle outside the boma in an open field.

Above us hang a three-quarter moon that seemed not to move.

DISPOSABLE CUPS

The outline of Got Rembo loomed in the distance. Someone had opened the boot of the car so we could listen to music.

We drunk from disposable cups and laughed as crickets chirped and village dogs howled in the distance.

Some of us were meeting each other for the first time, everybody carrying a different talismanic memory of him.

Although he was different things to different people, we all agreed that he was generous, gregarious, secretive, very funny, charming, ambitious, a great father even by all standards of fatherhood, and a great-hearted man.

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