The weather today seems to be taking me back in time, back to a time I would rather forget because of the emotional attachment involved. I have tried not to take my thoughts there but every time I glance by my window, I feel a certain pain that is so pronounced on my face that I find myself drop a tear for a minute. You see I am not the kind of individual to allow my emotions to show cause that’s just not me but for this particular topic I have found myself break down and find myself at a vulnerable place.
Today has got to be just that day , however unlike other times I am not alone in my space, I have been sharing my space with Wambui, a child hood friend visiting Nairobi for a while and when she called , I was more than happy to host her as we catch up on old times.She has been globe trotting enjoying the finer things in life. In her own words, I want to see everything I have ever imagined and if it means I get out of my comfort zone, so be it.
Here we are, fighting back my tears and I can tell from the corner of my eye that she is not liking what she is seeing. Slowly she takes me by my waist and moves me to the couch, pulls up the blanket she’s been covering herself and tries to think of the right words to use to understand what is happening and what has changed.
She walks to the kitchen, open the fridge, pulls out some ice cream, scoops two spoons into separate bowls, dices some fruits and mixes all up and in a minute she is back with my favorite snack (ice cream and fruit pudding). Gives me my share and sits on the other corner of the couch, covers herself and “Talk to me”.
I can’t contain myself at that point and tears fill my eyes and all the pain I have been holding back for years comes back piercing me so deep and sharply and crying is all I can do. It is said that time heals all wounds but I do not agree at this point because the pain I feel is so fresh it is like it is from yesterday.
Wambui has not seen this side of me in the twenty something years that we have known each other, however her being away has enabled her to understand patience and give one time. That is what she gives me time, time to let the pain I had been holding back out and get to a place where I can tell her just what it is I am feeling.
Three years and counting the lights went off on my dear mother and in the three years I have achieved my share of success , gone up the corporate ladder and made a name for myself in almost every thing I have set out to do. I am happy and humbled by the achievements over time but every so often I feel like I was robbed of a mother while too young , just when I had started making it and most often than not I wish that the outcome would have been different.
You see I have managed to almost process everything else about my life, my dreams, goals and targets except dealing with mum’s departure. On such days as this, the pain that I am feeling is so much that screaming it out will not really help. Every year for the last three years I have shut out everyone and everything on her anniversary and just gone through old photos, old memories because that is what I was left with. It has worked except this year , I have someone in my space and shutting them down would be rude especially given that I am the one who extended the invite.
It’s been an hour or so of tears and crying and when I finally compose myself, she gives me a warm hug, a hug that I last received from mum on her dying bed. It made me feel so whole my heart melted and I found myself smiling. Wambui was present at the ceremony but she couldn’t stay long thanks to work commitments, however, every year for the last three years, she has flown in just to keep tabs on me. A dinner date and a movie always does the trick and we are back to business as usual.
The ice cream and fruit pudding had long melted and in her wisdom Wambui had taken it back to the freezer to cool off and ensure that the desired effect isn’t lost. I have a sweet tooth but I also love cold things and the ice cream and fruits does it for me. Before I can even ask, Wambui hands me my bowl with a serviette to cool off the cold from my hands.
Wambui: Feeling better?
Me: Yes, Thank you for the hug, I feel like mum was here through you and for a second all the missing pieces fell right into place.
Wambui: Want to talk about it?
Me: I am not sure what to say, today it just feels so real and painful that I do not know where to start and why it has hit me this badly.Today I just miss her and wish that she was here , to see what I have made of myself and see what I have achieved.
Wambui: You know she is so proud of you and as she looks down upon you she knows that her baby girl finally grew up and she has made her mama proud. I know what her presence would mean and sharing all your achievements would be perfect, but let us look at all that has happened since she left.
Me: I know all that but the void is still there and today it feels so empty and big I could do just about anything to have her here even for a second. I have not processed her death I will admit and over the years I have buried myself into work just to escape the pain I felt then and I still feel now. Maybe it is time I dealt with the pain and picked myself up again before the pain inside me kills me.
If Wambui was a shrink , she would have made a killing that day just talking with me (therapy) as others would say. By the time we were finished , I was in a better place, aware of my surrounding and everything that had led to the breakdown on this fateful day.
Time flew by so fast and in a heart beat, she was already gone. We video call every week as we update each other on what is keeping us busy. We make each other feel whole with endless conversations and laughing memories. We talk about mum almost everyday and it has helped make the healing process better and lighter for me.
Yes I miss her but I am also aware that my life has to move on, pick the pieces up and have no regrets. Enjoy everyday like it is my last and make the best out of everything.
Whatever it is that reminds you of a loved one long departed, hold on to the memories that you shared, keep them alive through the legacy they left and what they taught and remember that they are looking down upon you smiling because of the person you have become.