The news of my death is received in shock, first by my family and slowly the chain of my few friends make calls to each other confirming my demise. My family is grieving as my die hard fans flower their timelines with beautiful photos of me and sad emojis of my untimely death. Many react to the Facebook and Instagram posts with the tag RIP as a lot others comment, ‘What happened?’ ‘Guys stop joking’ and ‘What a young soul lost.’ My geek friends write beautiful articles talking of my life on earth and others design good posters eulogizing to me.
Many start reading my articles to find out who I really was as they comment, ‘Beautiful art, sad such an inspiring soul is gone.’ People I have walked with in life cannot hold their tears as they are hit with such bad news. It is funny that some of my haters are in shock because they spent most of their time hating me but am no more. The rest of them smile in their hearts but remind themselves that it is not a good thing wishing that I died and so they dispel the evil thought of rejoicing in my death.
I see those WhatsApp groups with titles like #RIPSiloma. Even more sad emojis fill the group’s timeline. Some share of the wonderful times we spent with them and others leave because they couldn’t stand the memory. Others never wanted to be in the group in the first place and they do not want to show a bad picture by leaving so they persevere to stay. Photos trickle in and for the first few days, people chat all day and night.
Friends from church observe a three-minute silence in respect for me, the dead. Back at home tons of people camp comforting my bereft mother and siblings. A fire is lit outside our compound where so many people most of whom I never knew attend. A tent is raised the following morning and many borrowed seats from a nearby church are neatly arranged. There is singing and dancing every night as at a distance, men, most of them drunk, camp around the fire telling stories. There’s lots of tea on each day as my folks divide chores to be done on each day. There are those dedicated to bringing firewood, others water, others milk, others to clean the compound etc.
Back in Nairobi my closest friends have liaised with my folks and are key representatives to providing first-hand information about when my burial is scheduled to be or what other arrangements my family has. They also have my folks’ contacts to send messages of condolences and contributions. My Facebook timeline fills with all kinds of messages as my blog is overwhelmed with views and comments.
The day comes and am finally going to be laid to rest. The burial is scheduled to happen in my native village, Oloitokitok. Am to be buried in our garden near our main house but outside the compound, the previous evening, or early in the morning on that material day, men from home dig my grave. The hearse, shining black and beaming the rays of the sun is the ninth car on the entourage. Am in an expensive Italian suit, one I have never worn in life just my new Rolex watch remained an item wish list. Cries fill the air as the convoy of vehicles crawl their way into the compound.
There are several tents, the grass I have been watering are now lamenting my death as they also eulogize their own from the numerous feet trampling them. I can see the friends from Nairobi and other important people in black shades and beautiful dresses and suits with some wiping tears with their white handkerchiefs. I see tons of people I never knew. I see many others fanning heat with the white long booklet adorned with beautiful photos of me that give a summary of my life on earth.
I can see my exes, girls I crushed on, friends, frenemies and people I knew. At a distance, I can see real childhood friends standing under trees. There are tons of expensive cars and motorcycles circle round a tree shade. I can see the professional photographers and videographers covering the event as others take out their photos to snap photos and to live broadcast the funeral. It is now the real deal, a group of people grab my expensive coffin and screams fill the air. The well-dressed pastor does the final service saying the common words, ‘From the soil you came and to the soil you shall return.’ This becomes the last cry many give as am lowered down to my grave never to be seen or heard of again.
My Nairobi friends with their organized transport get back to their Nairobi houses, my native villagers get back to their small villages and my folks finally dedicate work only that this time it is done so fast. I can see that old pickup coming to fetch all the borrowed seats and that lorry to carry the hired tents, people give the last comforting words to my mom and leave. Many others spend at my place. The following morning is graced by an aura of loss to my folks as many have left. What remains in the compound are empty drums of water that are to be fetched by my cousins as they have already served their purpose. No one talks about my death anymore, there are just but a few RIP messages on my timeline for those who got the news of my passing late. A few days later, it is already past tense but some of my true friends try to give the world my name and legacy by collating and sharing about my works. This is just done for a short time.
A few weeks later, my mom is perusing my stuff, she sees my dream book, my poetry books, my music books and so many things nobody else had access to, she smiles as tears fill her eyes and she can’t help it. For the next upcoming months, she sleeps with my stuff in her room. My clothes give her company as my scent never departs her. She asks herself if she gave her all when I was still alive, if she called enough, if she supported me enough or if she was the best mum she could have been. She is the last one to move on, years after, my memories still cling to her brain. She remembers my smiles, our fights our laughter and tears and like pricking a fresh wound, she cries. (I love you mom 😢)
Meanwhile, I became history to my friends, the very friends I spent too much time with, with their new families, they have forgotten I ever existed. I became past tense. Some mention me in their conversations as they narrate a story of their youth. Some will occasionally share my quotes and articles from my blog and social pages but the scar healed years ago.
Some may wonder, ‘Siloma, are you nuts? How can you write something like this?’ Yes, I just did. This can also be your path. We will all die and we do not know when. It is sad that many will wear the best suits that they ever longed to. It is sad that many will have their funerals attended by the people they wished to see in life or maybe the people whose doors they have continually knocked to no avail. It is sad that most will enjoy the comfort of an expensive coffin while on earth they struggled to look for a shelter because they lacked funds to pay for their rent.
It is sad that on that day, you will have the company of many people of all walks of life but today you are dead lonely. It is sad that many poor souls will die with good words said in their funerals but now have negative words said to them, ‘You are a loser’ ‘You are a failure’ ‘You are evil’ etc.
Ask yourself, are you in terms with your family? No matter how cruel or how bad they are or what evil they did to you do you still hold a grudge on them? And God forbid, what if you lost them tomorrow, how will you live with your guilt? Ask yourself, am I in terms with all persons? Have I let go of any baggage that pulls me back? The third question I want you to ask yourself is, ‘What things do I say or do to others?’ Do I say negative things to other people? Do I suppress other people’s efforts no matter how silly or queer I find them? Do I spend quality time with people who love me? With family? Or with people who just want to spend time with me? Do I ignore that call from mom, auntie, uncle, grandma or that childhood friend from the village simply because we are not on the same level in life? Do I see them as a nuisance?
What legacy are you making or what will you leave if you died today? If you died today will you live with regrets? Will you ask God for more time to do this and that? Will you ask yourself if you did enough, if you loved enough or if you build castles into the hearts of many? Since you wouldn’t take your wealth to your grave, what other thing are you doing that is not vanity?
Most people who have undergone loss and have healed will give you memories of their loved ones. What memories are you giving your loved ones? Think, act and leave a legacy. Live each day like it is your last. Do not wait until it is too late.