I’ve been feeling like crap.
But that is not something you go round telling people. You smile and cheer at the good things and then go home and wonder where you got the energy to work, to talk, to even tell funny stories to people coz all you want to do now is knock yourself out and not think about all the things that are bugging you. And then you realise that actually there is a high power holding up your spine, keeping your person from collapsing into a pile of manure.
My friend texted me to ask- how are you, sorry I don’t ask but are you okay?- I explained that between experiencing three deaths in two weeks and catching a bacteria infection, I’m derailed but not too bad. She said that would put her out too.
When I looked at the conversation it became clear that I have been grieving. Grieving the Kikuyu way. Stoically, tight lipped and dry eyed.
There are people on this earth that get under your skin a few minutes after you meet them. Genuine people that wear no masks. Simple people that are not trying to be something they are not. Hard working people that haven’t figured out life yet, but are happy to share the few lessons they’ve learned with you.
I will not talk about all three people, they all had one thing in common- struggling with a health condition – but that didn’t stop them from living life the best way they could. Dominic, my colleague and an artist, and Mama Shiru, the woman that has been looking after my grandmother for the last two years. The woman that helped restore our dog Tom’s leg after our insane neighbor slashed it. I will talk about my friend Millie.
Millie, when we first met I thought, ‘what a sophisticated woman, I wish we could be friends.’ She was a friend of my close friend. So when she actually sort me out and made friends, I was very happy.
Two things I remember about her is how one time she called me and explained a disappointment she had experienced. We talked for hours, then she said ‘I really appreciate how your patiently listened to me.’ All I did was listen, but I came to respect her very much because I am the complete opposite. I don’t talk about my disappointments. They just eat me up and make me lose trust in people.
Whenever I met Millie with her friends, she would parade me in front of her very accomplished and fine friends and tell them, ‘this girl is doing this and that and she is so amazing in many ways.’ I would feel like I didn’t deserve all the praise and attention. But now when I think about it, how many people, better than you in many ways will stoop down to you level and see the little bits of positive things in you? I can count them in one hand , and two of them are not human.
The last time I visited her, she had found me, told me, ‘you are coming home with me.’ We bought drinks, warmed food and talked for hours. In the morning after I had my bath she told me, ‘I want to tell you something, don’t take it the wrong way please. When you share wash basins, remember always to clean them out before pouring in your bath water. Coz, really you can’t be sure if the person before you cleaned it out.’ I appreciated that lesson, simple but practical.
I was sad, but I also know that God is not unrighteous to forget the things these people did with their lives. I hope to see them again in future.
Next: A grieving manual for Kyuks, before Stoicism kills us all.