“No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away.”
My darling, Bree,
Early this week, when my heart was tired and on the brink of collapsing, I called my manager and we talked on and on, about life, love, laughter, and beginnings. Within the thirty minutes of conversation, my heart grew lighter and I could feel my spirit, again. But just before it ended, he cleared his throat, saying, “I think we should resume the Thursday blogs this week.”
It hit me, hard, because I have always wanted my first blogs of the years to carry my heart and soul. To carry my hopes and dreams about the year. To anoint my will with the newness of dreams. To remind myself, and others like me, that there lies a fresh start to everything. That the pores on our skins will breath anew, and out hearts will mend again.
But it has only been twenty five days since you left, and still, my heart does not know how to beat. I keep losing my breath, mid-living. I still cannot say you ‘died’ – it seems so alien to me. Like I am talking about someone else. Like I am having a bad dream, only that I am unable to wake up. As if someday, someone will walk up to me and say, ‘Ah, it was all but a dark game. Here, come and see her.”
Do I need to start a year with a blog on death? No. But then again, it is the way life is. Sometimes, we do not choose what happens to us, or the people around us. We do not know what tomorrow holds, and even as we make our plans, some are bound to fail. The same way we kept planning on coming over to your house, and something kept distorting the plans, until you left.
On the day we laid you to rest, I talked to Achieng and she kept telling me “Weep, if you have to. I will not promise you that it is going to get easier, but someday, when you finally let her go, newness will unveil itself.”
I told her it is HARD; this letting go. That we have known each other for sixteen years. That we have held onto each other’s darkest secrets. That you are the only one who has seen me break apart, at my weakest moment, sometime back in 2016. That we have built each other in ways only we can understand. That we have gone shopping for clothes, and you looked at me and said, ‘Ah, wewe sasa nini itakutosha? Ebu we go to my place I give you the ones I used to wear at Strathmore.’ That you are the closest I have ever been to unconditional love. And still, I am unable to talk about you in the past tense.
That you have held me in love, and opened your doors for me. That you have showed up for me, even when I thought it was too much for you. That we have sat together, in your house, as I listened to the dreams you had for your daughter; you telling me ‘I am so glad my daughter will have you as her aunt.’ That you have texted me from a hospital bed to say, “Aki the baby came earlier than planned. We named her Bella Rica Wanzala.”
Sometimes, when the memories get too much, I take myself back to 2020 and wonder why the year had to show up, give me all the beauty it did, take me to greater heights, and just when it was about to end, hit me just below the belt.
Why? Because overall, December was my best month. Because my human home took me on a beautiful road trip to Kisii, where our hotel room overlooked the most beautiful landscape I had ever set my eyes on. And that evening, when it rained and the both of us couldn’t stop looking outside, I thought it was the best feeling I had ever had, in such a long time.
Was the universe pampering my heart because it had seen a windstorm coming? When Ally sent me a surprise Christmas gift that melted my heart, was the universe preparing me for an impending heartache?
My darling, I have cried for you. I have cursed that fateful Sunday morning. I have asked myself a million whys, but again, none of them is ever going to bring you back. And even when Min Ada calls to ask how I am faring on, I almost want to collapse and just die, because again, what is the point?
But Ndugu tells me that regardless of how I choose to mourn you, that life will always move on, albeit with a bit of darkness on my side. And it is allowed, too, because when someone we love dies, the little fires within us that were there because of the person, also die with them. So whenever I wake up and I cannot breathe, I desperately wish that I could see you one more time. That your voice will soothe me over the phone, even when you are calling to say, “My darling, thank you for getting us that baby carrier. Ah, we so love you.”
I do not know what lies on the other side of life, I only hope that wherever you are, you are warm. That you keep looking out for me. That you continue teaching me how to be kind, and soft, and calm. That you keep asking me to push, even when I have lost meaning. That you keep cheering me on, fuelling my dreams to greater heights. That someday, when you think of me, if this is something that happens wherever you are, a smile lights up your face, and rekindles the little fires that have died within me.
I hope that with time, my heart learns how to beat without you. That my breathing stabilizes. That my body stops shaking in the middle of the night when I cannot sleep because I am thinking about you. That I get the courage to love, again, so I get more reasons to write beautifully about people. That I get the strength to write about you, about us, and the little dreams we had. That someday, I take up from where you left.