Friday came and when I got back home from church, I embarked on some major cleaning which was weird because no one wastes their long weekend doing chores. They can wait till the last day of the holiday. By late afternoon, I was working fervently because I felt something in my spirit urging me to get the work done since we would be having visitors that weekend. (Even though we had nothing planned for Easter). By evening, I was praying non-stop because I now felt some powerful stirring in my spirit that something was going to happen. As I mopped, I was praying in tongues and asking God to please not let it happen. I prayed against the work of Satan, forgiveness of sin, protection from the evil one, for God to have mercy, and so on. Now dad was scheduled to leave for Ukambani early Saturday morning, to go moderate a family function. I remember trying to convince him to stay in Nairobi and forgo his duties because I was afraid.
Happy Birthday Wangari!
About four years ago, you celebrated your last birthday on earth but you did not receive a happy birthday wish from me. I had sent you my customary happy birthday text message, but it is only later that I came to realize that you did not receive it because you had changed numbers. When you left us a mere 3 months later, one of the things I regretted was why I didn’t also post a happy birthday wish on Facebook, because then you would definitely have seen it.
I remember the last conversation we had some weeks earlier. You had come home to collect some merchandise and we had an interesting conversation about how Size 8 had gotten saved and married DJ Mo. You wondered if it was truly possible for someone who was a certified “bad-girl”, to turn her life around completely, be married by a “good boy” and have a happily ever after.
The day before you passed on was Thursday, the eve of Good Friday and I was working late before the long weekend. I remember being the silent listener in that conversation you were having with your pals on Facebook, talking about meeting at “Nerkwos” that weekend. I wanted to chime in at various points during the chat but kept holding back for some reason.
Anyway, both dad and I were up before 6 am because he was preparing to travel and I was headed to work. At 6:25, I was at City Stadium waiting for a “tuxi” when I got a call from my dad and he gave me the devastating news – you were no more. The pain and shock I experienced was so intense, everything became a blur. I wanted to turn back and go home right away but dad asked me not to skip work and I agreed. I was a mess, getting into a “tuxi” whose driver I couldn’t recall negotiating with, trying to hold back tears. I managed to get myself together just in time to see the driver going past the turnoff from the main road. When he started acting all irritated about turning back, I alighted and walked the rest of the way. The fresh morning air would be good for me anyway.
I logged in to Facebook as soon as I got to work around 6:45 am, hoping to compose a post about my sister’s demise before going in to prep for our 8 am show. I was grateful to have some alone time before the rest of the crew arrived. No sooner had I started on it, than all of them arrived at almost the same time. No kidding, by 7 am, I had been joined by my co-host, two children and a parent, today of all days! I wanted to tell them what had happened, but didn’t know how to. It was purely the grace of God that carried me through the next four hours: making the children comfortable, chatting with the parent, hosting the show with Amos, and everything in-between. Oh, but the tears! They kept coming, especially in those moments where there was a lull in the conversation, threatening to undo me.
On the way home, I sought out Steve, our friend from the next court and brought him up to speed. I knew that he would do a great job of spreading the word in the neighbourhood. I know God planned it this way. Although it had happened that night, He kept us from finding out about your passing till morning when I was already out and about.
As tragic as your passing was, God gave me peace by assuring me that he had actually snatched you so the devil couldn’t have you. He surrounded us with friends and family who walked with us every step, making the journey bearable. It was this time that I truly understood the value of extended family. To experience their love is the sweetest thing. I was specially moved by how cousins from both sides of the family – the Jeremiah’s and the Mwige’s – rallied to support us. I am so grateful to God for them.
Soon after, every whiff of your perfume on some random stranger would leave me intrigued and every pretty girl I saw, looked just like you…calendar-models, passers-by, gospel musicians. It still happens sometimes.
You’ve been gone almost four years, but you are missed daily. Happy belated birthday.