Lessons for the Living

I wrote this piece, barely a week after my dad’s death. I’ve healed a lot since this time, but the lessons I picked up are as fresh as a new cut.

Coincidentally, it falls on the same page of the book I’m reading, “The Alchemist” The words on it seem simple and useless, perhaps until to get to the last phrase. “Now, I’m beginning what I could have started ten years ago. But I’m happy at least I didn’t wait twenty years…”  Be inspired. Enjoy the read!

When you go through difficult times, it is your response to them that ideally makes all the difference. I have seen people panic into healthy eating, others turning into YOLO (you only live once) enthusiasts, and some, going crazy for not channelling their frustrations right. The options are many; it only depends on how you choose to take on difficult times. My siblings, my mom and I went to choose a coffin for my dad and I must say it felt completely bizarre that we could find ourselves seeing beauty in coffins. Later, we requested to see dad at the morgue. This would be about 4 days after his death. What I saw changed me.

To see the human body stop functioning…and it actually stopped.  The scars that were fresh, the dry lips…all froze to a stop and began to degenerate. Seeing it all firsthand opened my eyes to life’s most important thing. It will all waste away and we will become nothing but a memory.

What, then matters?

When you go, there is nothing else to do. I am taking this positively and I hope one day, my children will see what I see today. You can only do as much as you can when you are here. Why then do we just sit and waste time, worrying about things we cannot change? Get up and do something! Chase that dream you have always wanted and stop waiting for life’s approval to be your best!


While on his mask, dad kept saying how we need to appreciate that we have free air. “Look,” he’d say pointing at the oxygen mask with his mouth like a typical Kisii man. “Just days ago I didn’t realize the freedom I would lose, having to depend on air from a tank. Now dare touch it and see how easily I’ll die” It didn’t hit me at all. Not then. In fact, not until I walked out and thought about the numerous times I’ve had to grab an inhaler to help me clear my airwaves. We take a lot for granted. I know I did an even when I prayed, I’d lightly thank God for the air I breathe. Now, I see it for how it is. He blew air into man to get life. Once it leaves you, you switch off like a light. Life is a gift. Even when it takes you through hell, it’s still an experience…behold it!

I will wake up every morning and rejoice it as much as it was served to me.

Who is your friend?

Some of my most difficult decisions were getting answered in this time. Watching family and friends walk into my mother’s compound every day at noon and in the evening tells a lot. Some came to sincerely condole, while others came to view and scrutinize us, our mourning style, my parent’s unfinished house, the car… In fact, some tried to put value into how much he and mum had that he will never get to enjoy. It usually doesn’t take long to know who is with you and who is in your life to point fingers.

I appreciate you all for mourning with me through these last two articles (almost literary). It’s not easy and very many, like me before barely understood the impact of death. It was easier to disassociate with it and I understand all who stayed away and never called or showed up. Trust that I have edited this phrase!

It’s important that we all gain a lesson with every occurrence in our lives. As for me, this has completely hardened me in life and softened me in spirit. I will sit no more and let fear control my life. Not anymore. Don’t let it either.

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