We succumb


My father weeps.

I never thought I’d ever write those words in reference to him. Not Simon. Simon is unbowed. Simon is a titan.  A Viking. He’s from the dated school of thought that subscribes to the maxim that crying is feminine. That a man should keep his emotions under his hat and all that doodah. And I agreed with him, for 34 years.

But now, Simon weeps soundlessly, albeit with a great measure of embarrassment. With an almost laughable sense of phony self-preservation.

The only other time I have seen him exhibit this kind of emotion was when his father – my gramps – died in 1996.  The hearse had just driven in the compound and as usual, where I hail from, this turns out to be a spectacle; wailing, honking and general gnashing of teeth. And poor cows, poultry, goats fall under the knife. He stood at the edge of the compound, one leg on an anthill, arms folded across his chest and in the dying light of the evening, I saw something glistering that I assumed were tears stream from under his spectacles. Although it was brief, this sight, it jarred me. It shook the foundation onto which he had built the monument of what manhood was.

But now as my siblings and I approach him where he is seated outside the morgue, he seems to take a deep breath and look upward, as if willing the tears back. But they don’t. He seems to struggle to get up on his feet, a man besieged by death, stalked by a dewy future, a future filled with loneliness.Simon looks old, older than I have ever seen him.

He hugs my kid brother – our last-born – first, and then hugs my other brother, and then finally my big sister melts into his embrace. She sobs in his large chest. I stand, respectfully, at the side, hands thrust deep in my pockets because I don’t know what to do with them.I stand waiting for my hug, like a refugee in a queue, waiting for his food portion. When we finally hug it’s as I expected it to be; awkward.  Why shouldn’t it be anything but awkward when it’s the second time we embrace in my life? Why shouldn’t it feel like I’m embracing a Mugumo tree? Or Gumo, for that matter? (Hehe, I don’t know where that came from.)

I’m sure you are thinking; kwani Biko was adopted? Negative. My old man didn’t raise us to hug and kiss. I started watching fathers hug and kiss their sons in the Godfather and, later, The Sopranos (deep down Italians are pansies).We were raised to be men; stoic and sturdy. Eh, and not to wear skinny jeans. But now, seeing my father’s eyes wet, seeing his composure breached, seeing the man I have looked up to as the archetypical male completely compromised fills me with almost as much sadness as the reason we are here.

You see, up to this point, I haven’t cried. It’s been 24 hrs and I haven’t shed a tear. Not that I’m Samuel L. Jackson or anything, no, I just haven’t felt the tears come.  It’s been 24 hours and I haven’t succumbed.

The doors to Aga Khan Funeral home in Kisumu opens into a small empty room -like a holding area. The walls are white. The undertaker who leads us inside is a chirpy portly chap who is literally bouncing off the walls. Surely, it can’t be the formaldehyde, I think, it’s either weed or this guy just likes to piss off death.

Together with a handful of my aunts, uncles and cousins, we are led inside the inner room. Aga Khan Funeral Home, can only hold nine bodies at any given time. They are put in these huge elegant metallic drawer-like freezers. If you stumbled into this place by mistake you wouldn’t suspect it’s a morgue; it’s spotlessly clean. You could unwrap a sandwich in there. Chirp N Dale(Oh, the 90’s) walks to the end of the room and, with no ceremony at all, opens the bottom drawer of the last row. There is a slight sigh as the drawer slides open, it’s like opening a crypt.

Cold mist rushes out briefly and when it clears I see, Jane, my mother.

She’s Jane, all right, but at the morgue they don’t call her Jane any more, they call her “the body” and it fills me with such anguishing sorrow, such alien desolation to hear my mom referred to as “the body”. I mean just because she stopped breathing doesn’t mean she has lost her identity. But understandably, they would easily call her “the body” because she didn’t nurture them, or take them to school or admonish their truancy. They would call her “the body” because they don’t know her favorite colour, or meal or music. And so even though she is kept in the freezer like an object, she still is my mother. She still is Jane.

There is a small sharp gasp in the room when all these registers – when we are fully brought to consciousness of her presence – andit takes me a moment to realize that the gasp came from me. I’m standing at the back of this group and I see my brother bring a handkerchief to his face. I hear my big sister break down and cry; a low, gutting animal-like cry. A cry that sounds like her insides are wounded, and it’s a cry I won’t forget in a hurry. I hear my dad say, “Mummy has rested now, she is peaceful.” And I hear my heart break like cheap porcelain. My breathing changes, it becomes short and terse.

The first to walk out of the room is our last-born brother. He’s called Jamoh; he’s always played rugby (Homeboys club) so he’s a tough young man with a small waist, a chiseled chest and ripped biceps. But even a flanker can’t stand to see his mother on a cold slab because the flanker has always been mother’s pet. Jamoh walks out.

My big siz strokes my mother’s short hair. She strokes her while she cries so bitterly, so hauntingly, so horrifyingly painful that I can’t fathom there ever will be any pain to match this pain she feels. At some point, one of my uncles will hold her and lead her out. I avoid looking at my father because I don’t want to embarrass him by seeing him vulnerable, I don’t want to intrude into his grief, yes, but also because I’m afraid he will make me vulnerable. So I stare at mom, lying there, looking like she’s having a power nap. Finally, I walk through the small throng and stand right next to her.

She hasn’t changed a tad. It’s her. She has my forehead. She has my sisters’good heart. And she has my daughter’s chin. Even though she departs with parts of us she still leaves us with a part of her.

I touch her forehead and I immediately wish I hadn’t.

She’s cold. Mom is cold like steak. Death is cold, gang, cold like a witch’s tits. It’s inhuman. The act of touching her seals her death for me, it brings it home. I step back and at the end of the room I find the Undertaker guy and I ask him if I can see my mom’s heart when he’s doing the embalmment and whatnot. He looks puzzled. I tell him I want to see how her heart changed after eight years of heart disease. I’d dying (nice pun, eh?) to see how it looks like. My dad overhears this mad conversation and says it’s “unafrican” and that I should “let go because it’s God’s will” I cede reluctantly.

I walk out and up to this disused staircase on top of the physiotherapy department and there I sit at the end of the staircase overlooking these old municipal housings. And there I think of one scene from the past:

It was on a weekday night. We had rushed her to Mater where before admission I took her to the X-ray room to have her chest X-rayed. Is that right, Dr Karimi, can I say have her chest “X-rayed”? Oh, Dr Karimi is the official High School doctor in case you are wondering.

My mom had lost a great deal of weight because of her heart condition. She had become frail and wisp. The disease had eaten everything on her except her spirit. I walked with her in the X-Ray room and the radiologist asked her to hold this rectangular thing on the wall in order for her chest to be X-rayed. Her blouse was off but I had to stand behind her because she was so weak and there was danger of her falling back. But it wouldn’t have been possible, I mean, she was so light that if she had started falling back, I had time to nip around to the dispenser to fill my Styrofoam cup with water and get back just in time to grab her before she hit the floor.

And so as I sat on that staircase, I remembered this scene. I remembered how frail she looked, how the veins in her arms popped out as she struggled to hold onto that rectangular thing, how the muscles on her back trembled from that strain. I remembered how deeply saddened I was looking at her in this state, how helpless I felt. And it ate me like cancer. I marveled bitterly how this disease had stripped her off her dignity that her son had to watch her bareback as she clanged onto that slab., a most odd metaphor of her struggle with life and failing health. I remembered how fuckin’ tired she must have been to continue carrying around a heart that had betrayed her.

I thought of that night, and I broke down.

I cried so hard I was surprised that I still had that amount of grief in me. It came flooding out, choking me, squashing my heart in a tight fist. I cried like a kid who had had his lunchbox stolen. Jesus, all that Zulu braggadocio shit flew out of ma pants and I cried the way my daughter cries when you force her to wear a sweater she hates.  At that staircase I was nothing but a child who had lost his mother and I remembered thinking; shit I need a handkerchief.

You should have seen me up there, sitting on that last stair, crying into my t-shirt and not caring even as two buibui-clad girls across the fence stopped momentarily to stare at me and perhaps think to themselves; he looks like a fairly decent chap, why would anyone make fun of his forehead and make him cry so?

When I was done, when I had wiped off my tears and my lips had stopped trembling, I walked down to where my relatives were and acted like I had only gone for a long bathroom break; “must have been that chicken pie I had in Narok,” I said.

My dad avoided my eyes.


It’s midnight as I write this. Tomorrow morning- Friday – I will be at the airport to pick up my little sister. A couple of hours ago she Whatsapped me from her stopover in Amsterdam and said, “I’m scared of coming back,” and I thought; hell, I’m scared of picking you up from the airport.

The amount of crying she will do when she sees me is going to be unsettling, if her crying over the past few days is anything to go by. I’m even more scared of crying with her, not because I’m embarrassed of it (OK, a bit) but because it makes me feel so vulnerable and I hate being vulnerable because it makes me feel weak.


When you lose your mother, bottom falls off. Literally. You feel alone even when you have a million pole messages in your phone. You feel lonely even when someone sends you a verse. And you dislike God a little. How can you not? He’s the giver and taker of life andso he has to take the rap, so you blame him even though you know that he knows better, even though countless of verses in the bible proclaim his superior wisdom. But even more poignantly, when you lose your mother, you momentarily stop being a man, a son, a husband, a professional, a boyfriend, a giver, a taker, a dreamer, an aspirer. You are reborn in reverse and you become a child once again. A sad child.

But like everything else, all these will come to pass at some point and the sun will come out again. Like my friend Gathurai – who lost his mother in the most sudden and tragic of ways – told me, “It will get worse before it gets better.”  I don’t think it can get any worse than this.

Gang, I’m done pouring heart here, if I continue any longer I might break into an SDA song and it’s not that bad hehehe.  Time check; 12.23 am, I’m hitting the sack, pray for me and my people.

Assembly dismissed.

Ps. So Crazynairobian (www.crazynairobian.com) walked away with the Bake Awards for the best creative blog. I was in that category and after this dust has settled, I plan to lodge a complaint to the officials at Bake. I mean I think it was unfair to put me in the same category as a writer who had declared his sanity, or lack of it.

But thanks to those who voted; I’m grateful for your support. But the way I see it, if this award is to come to High School next year, we either have to buy those judges or better still take out Crazynairobian. And I don’t mean to dinner.

Nonetheless, the only comfort in losing is knowing that you lost to a worthy opponent.To Crazynairobian, congratulations to a well deserved win.

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  1. Oh Biko, My heart goes out to you! Probably because I too have lost my mum. I totally agree with you when you say ‘When you lose your mother, bottom falls off. Literally.’ My bottom fell. Hard.

    I pray for comfort for you and your family. I do not say this idly, i know what i am talking about. I later lost my dad to a road accident, killed by a stupid Matatu driver who thankfully (allow me) also died.

    I am a lady so all that male bravado doesn’t make sense- I wailed, cried, sobbed whenever i needed to. And where i come from, wailing is almost frowned upon. At that point, their opinions mattered not.

    And yes, it will get worse before it gets better. But it DOES get better, always remember that. I still cry sometimes, but it is better.

    Please remember that one of the gang members will be praying for you.

  2. I admire you Biko. I cried at some point when reading this, yet I couldn’t help but laugh, no matter how inapropriate that felt. How do you manage humour amidst such grief? Ati what did the buibui-clad girls think again?
    You’ll be well Biko. You’re entitled to feel your feelings, so rage all you want at God, just make sure you sort your heart out with Him later. We don’t want an atheist version of Biko now. Do we?
    And we are so getting that award next year. Just give us a heads-up when you get nominated. OK? Or would that portray vulnerability as well? I rest my case.
    I’ll say a prayer for you everyday, till I sense you are OK. I promise.

  3. Biko, I can only offer my condolences and pray that time eases the pain. And a virtual hug.
    Rest easy, Jane.

  4. I do not even want to imagine how it feels to lose a mother…..she must have been one hell of a woman….God Speed to her and condolences to you and your entire family.

  5. May Jane’s soul rest in peace.I wont say i understand because i have my mother here with me,i can only imagine what you are going through.With time all will be well.You are in my prayers.

  6. Biko you are strong. May God comfort you and your family during this time. May he give you peace as you mourn. Losing a Mum is painful. I remember when you wrote the piece on Mater, I cried and prayed for her. May she rest in peace.

    You still managed to snip in some humor. Will hunt down crazy nairobian for you.

  7. I pray for strength through this phase. For you and your family. And when you feel like crying, just let it be. Like you said, ‘”But even more poignantly, when you lose your mother, you momentarily stop being a man, a son, a husband, a professional, a boyfriend, a giver, a taker, a dreamer, an aspirer. You are reborn in reverse and you become a child once again. A sad child”….just be a child and let it be. After all she was your mummy. I cannot fathom the pain you are going through.

  8. My condolences,Biko, may she rest in peace. I know she is in a better place free of pain, and she is looking down on you. It shall be well, praying for you and your family at this time.

  9. and you totally should have won bake awards………but there is always next year like you said.

  10. Biko, I am so terribly sorry about your loss. :’-( I am praying for you and your family. May your mummy rest in peace.
    +—-(“,)—-+ (that’s a hug smiley)

  11. I am so sorry about your mum and i will pray for you. I have been reading your blogpost since i discovered blacktie now am following you on twitter am @natishem follow back if u want.

  12. “She’s Jane, all right, but at the morgue they don’t call her Jane anymore, they call her “the body” and it fills me with such anguishing sorrow, such alien desolation to hear my mom referred to as “the body”. ”

    Man, I dont know!
    Condolences to you and your family. I would hate to tell you that I feel your pain, because I can’t possibly feel your pain. But I know how it feels like to lose a mother. I pray for you!

  13. This is one of the saddest assemblies ive ever attended
    Death is truly cold
    Pole Biko
    Time will lessen the pain

  14. Biko am so sorry for you and your family’s loss and it will get better eventually,you are in my prayers,may God comfort you.

  15. May God Comfort you and yur family through this time and into the future..it will get better eventually.

  16. Pole sana Biko…..I pray that God gives you enough strength.Cry, don’t try to act manly, cry and grief….for you will feel much better later.

  17. My condelences. You and yours are in my prayers.

    I’m in tears, this is your writing at its best.

  18. You made me cry, sorry for the pain you will go through. Wishing your family well in this incredibly difficult time.

  19. Sorry for your loss. I will definitely pray for you and your family. May your mum rest in eternal peace. She is surely in a better place.
    Your writing brought me to tears and a few lines later a smile spread across my face. How do you manage rumour in such grief?
    All in all pole sana and may God grant you and your entire family peace of mind.

  20. Biko,

    My heartfelt condolences. May God be your comfort as you go through this trying time.
    May she rest in eternal peace.

  21. Biko, my deepest condolences. The one hope you can rest on is that you will see her again someday and that she is pain and disease free!

  22. Whoa! Only a genius can write such. It will be well..Time is the ultimate healer, give time time. Praying for you n fam.

  23. Sorry for your loss.
    Let’s all take a moment.
    And yes, you can verb ‘Xray’ if you so wish.
    I hope you read what I sent you.

  24. take heart and be well for all is not lost. it does get worse, i know. i lost my mum in 97 when i was in class seven and as you said, the bottom went out.
    indeed, death is cold, cold like a witches left tit.

  25. Sorry man. May God (I know you don like him right now, but He is all there is) give you and your family strength through these trying moments

  26. The sorrow can almst be touched,it made a tear roll down my cheek.heartfelt condolences..comfort will come..a day,a time.may your mum rest in eternal peace.Amen!

  27. Pole Biko. The first time I read your blog was when you wrote about your mum at Mater…I do pray God’s grace upon you and your family.

  28. May God rest her soul in peace and may He grant you and your family abundant comfort. She is finally at peace and free from a disease that ate her body away and from a body that betrayed her. But, that doesn’t make it any easier for her family to deal with her absence.
    Missing a deceased loved one never goes away completely, but it gets easier with time. Keep throwing time at it…
    My prayers are with you & your family.

  29. Condolences. She’s resting now…and making the other place comfy for when you guys finally cross over. It’s never a goodbye, just a heartbreakingly sad see you later.

  30. Hi Biko,
    I have no idea what you’re going through. I just want you to know that you’re in my thoughts. I pray that you find peace, that your family remains strong and that one day you will think of your mum without tears, but a smile and a sense of peace knowing her pain is over. Be blessed always.

    Thank you for sharing.

  31. “Perhaps they are not the stars, but rather openings in heaven, where the love of our loved ones shines through to let us know that they are happy”

    With you in prayer Biko

  32. Sorry for your loss Biko,May God furnish you and and your family the strength to take you through this difficult time.

  33. The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins? Deepest condolences to my principal and family.

  34. Our sincere pole, it does get worse before it gets better. I have to say that you found the strength to write about this moment is just incredible. May she rest in peace.

  35. My condolences Biko, My God give you and your family grace over this period and beyond. I think that BAKE Awards was rigged.

  36. Everytime i want to comment, i keep being asked to verify some letters and when i do, the page just hangs.

    I am So sorry Biko, I pray for your family, calmness of the heart. Your friend was right, it gets worse before it gets better. And you are also right, it a crises of faith checks in a little. Especially when you have been praying and praying and bargaining with God and he promises in the bible that whatever you ask in the name of Jesus, you shall receive, and you don’t receive. But it will get better, it wont hurt less, but you will learn to manage the pain. (Hugs)

  37. Biko,

    Tech Man the self declared high school Prefect stands in a moment of silence in honour of a woman who raised a great man that always puts a smile in our faces every blue monday,may her soul rest in eternal peace.May the almighty give you and yours peace in this trying times.

    “why would anyone make fun of his forehead and make him cry so?”really you had to crack a joke.glad to see you can still do it man.



  38. My deepest condolences Biko,may you find continued strength. On a side note you should have won the Bake award hands down!

  39. Hey Biko,

    My heartfelt condolences to you and your dear family, I can only imagine what you are going through…

    I however pray that this insurmountable pain will bring you at the feet of Jesus, an ocen depth of Restoration, Peace, Strength and Courage. Through this valley, tangibly dark and dreary, may you allow the Lord to fix you for a higher ground…He loves you Biks, even if it’s the last thing you probably want to hear right now. Allow Him to carry you close to His Heart and soak yourself with the dew of His comfort.

    You are in my thoughts and prayers, Bless you…….Hugs.

  40. My condolences to you and your family. May God grant you the strength to go through the difficult time…. How do you manage to write such humour with all the grieving??? You are in a class of your own, Bakes award or not not withstanding.

  41. I know telling you pole may do little to ease your grief, I just pray for you and your family to get through your loss in the best way you can.

  42. Very sorry about your loss Biko. May your family be comforted by your mum’s memories. I love your writings; they make me cry and smile/laugh at almost the same time.

  43. My heartfelt condolences to you Bikm and your family.u in my prayers-really i do pray…
    En wen all is thru Biko invite the Big mahn upstairs out for lunch,coz yeah he’l be the one to give you strength

  44. Pole sana. Since the post about Mater Hospital, its seems like ive always known Jane, may she rest in peace, may you find comfort in knowing that she will nolonger be in pain, it is well Biko, its ok to feel that way about God, but Hes in charge, this will pass. Youre blessed to have known your mum.

  45. Oh Biko, may God of all comfort be with you and your family during this time and after and, may you continue making her proud of you:)

  46. I am reading this, oddly on mother’s day, thinking of a friend who lost his mum and I just cried. Biko, sorry for your loss. May she forever rest in peace. Appreciating life.

  47. Biko, pole sana. May God comfort you your family. Remember that the Lord is close to the brokennhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

  48. Some Mother’s day, huh?

    When all is said n’ done, we know we are headed in the same direction.. Every one of us. The question then is, when your time comes n’ yu look back will yu see a life well lived? Will Tamms n’ your wife (God forbid that they should precede yu into the after-life) viewing ‘the body’ have great memories? Great tales to tell?

    Hunger n’ yearn for the Holy Spirit, that yu may enjoy your here n’ now… that when your dawn comes you may be remembered fondly n’ most important, yu shall be going to a better resting place.

  49. Biko I could not help but cry. 2 weeks ago I learned that death is part of healing, that God calls His beloved home as part of healing. So God answered your prayers the only difference is that He healed her His way. Mourn friend the Bible records that men of great faith cried bitterly when saints like Stephen died.Hugs.

  50. Poignant. May the God of all comfort grant you and yours peace. That which surpasses all human understanding. Y’all are in my prayers.

  51. Grief is the hardest pain to deal with. I lost my son at the beginning of the year and no words can describe the pain I went through and still do,but I can assure it will get better. I pray that you get comfort during this moment,you and your family. My condolences……

  52. “Well, look way down the river, what do you think I see?
    I see a band of angels and they’re coming after me
    Ain’t no grave can hold my body down
    There ain’t no grave can hold my body down

    Well, look down yonder Gabriel, put your feet on the land and sea
    But Gabriel don’t you blow your trumpet ’til you hear it from me
    There ain’t no grave can hold my body down
    Ain’t no grave can hold my body down

    Well, meet me Jesus, meet me. Meet me in the middle of the air
    And if these wings don’t fail me I will meet you anywhere
    Ain’t no grave can hold my body down
    There ain’t no grave can hold my body down” – Johnny Cash

    Take heart.

  53. I’m so sorry for your loss Biko. May the Lord comfort you and your loved ones in these trying moments in a way that only he can.

  54. May God be with you and your family When life’s perils thick confound you,
    May He put His arms unfailing round you, His counsels guide, uphold you
    Till you all meet again.

  55. Loosing a parent is never easy (no matter how prepared you were coz they were sick) my condolences to you and your family. The one thing i know is that it will get easier. Celebrate her life, cherish the moments you had with her no matter how small they seemed. no matter how long it’ll b she’ll b missed. i know all this becoz after 10 yrs of my old man passn i still do miss him and tear when i remember the last moments.
    Salute Biko.

  56. Biko, May God Rest her Soul in peace.

    Its true it gets easier eventually. I should know I lost my Dad two years a go and I cry sometimes ( i was his fav daughter) but it gets easier.

  57. My heart felt condolences to you and your people Biko. It is amazing how you manage to balance humor and bring out emotions that bring out what you went through during the time. I will not say that I feel you because I have not experienced what you have gone through. Infact my greatest fear in this world as of now is not living to be a poor man but it is loss of either of my parents. I always shudder at the thought of that I pray and hope for strength when that time comes(I hope its not soon).
    I am not a new student in the school but the feelings today have provoked me to put down something on the school notice board.

    My He give you the courage to go through these trying times.

  58. Last week when you wrote the single paragraph, I immediately thought of your mama. Death has robbed you, but it has also rested a woman that though we never met, we will always celebrate through you and yours. May she find eternal peace. May God give you and your family peace and strength to go on. May you also live on her legacy. Pole Biko….joy comes in the morning.

  59. She brought you up well that’s for sure. Lets celebrate the life she lived and I guess we try to live each day as if it were our last coz for sure one day we will definitely be right. I pray that the pain you feel now will heal and in its place will remain the beautiful memories you have of your dear mom.

  60. Pole old chap. I lost my mom 2 years ago and I thought I was gonna be strong enough to read her eulogy. I broke down like a small boy. It still hurts 2 years on and all I can say it’s ok to cry and at the same time carry her in your heart.

  61. My deepest condolences to you and your family Biko.,,been really sad reading this.you are in my thoughts and prayers…strength,peace,comfort and blessings from above be upon you and your family.Am so sorry.

  62. Heard a prayer the other day… “Although we are separated from our loved ones for a little while, our grief makes it feel like a lifetime. Until we are together again, may the Prince of Peace comfort us.”
    Your Mum lived a full life; after all she has you, Tamms and your entire family to show for it. May she rest in peace.

  63. Biko to you and your family l say pole, you are all in my thoughts and prayers. I say it will be ugly before it is anything close to pretty and it is ok. I embrace the process…. May that peace that truly surpasses all understanding be with you and your family.

  64. So sorry for your loss. Even in time of your loss, you still manage to captivate your readers and paint such a clear picture of the happenings. Gods speed to you and your family.

  65. At that moment when you loose a parent, even a 60yr old man becomes a child with the need to cry in grief for the loss. Pole Biko, to you and your family – May the Lord give you strength and comfort you as you lay your mum to rest.

  66. My condolences… this has really touched my heart because I too have suffered a loss similar to u, and when it hit, it hit hard. But one thing I will tell you to do, let go and let God… all this will come to pass, take heart and will be praying for u.

  67. Reading your story brought back memories of seeing my dad laying helpless in hospital and then on that cold slab at the morgue. Same days will be good then some really really bad – its the grieving process. Pole sana for your loss. I celebrate your mum Biko. RIP mama Biko

  68. My condolences to you and your family, may you find peace and strength to get you through each day….

  69. If i said i understood what your going through i would be lying, but i can only imagine how painful it is. The fact that you can still somehow find comfort in it all just shows what an amazing man your mother brought you up to be so kudos. Am sure she would be beyond proud. Find comfort in the fact that you don’t have to watch her suffer anymore. It will get better… we are all praying for you and your family.

  70. My heartfelt condolences Biko. She has finished her race. may all you draw strength from this. We pray for all of you, especially your father.

  71. Condolences to you Biko and family.Am grieved by your loss.ION, if i were among the two ninja clad ladies passing by you, i also wouldn’t have mind wondering the same about the forehead,i afforded a smile at that juncture.
    Be blessed Biko, God took her out of his infinite wisdom.Be strong.

  72. Extending my deepest sympathy on the loss of your mother and praying that your faith will give you strength in this sad time

  73. Rest in Peace Mama Biko. Very sorry for your loss Biko, you and your family are in my prayers, may you find strength at this trying time.

  74. This took me on an emotional rollercoaster; i got all teary n then i smiled at tht unbridled affirmation of motherly love which hs to be the greatest love on this side of the planet. n mayb perhaps am also cald Jane, u see we Jane’s r just tht – absolutely fantastic. my prayers r with u n ur family Biko, it will get easier n may ur memories of her always bring warmth n affection to u.

  75. Pole. Just read the post and I was taken back to last weekend when I too was in a morgue to pick up a loved one. So sad how life does not belong to us. Interestingly though I wasnt’t at an ‘Aga Khan’ – I was in a gava hospital in Port Victoria. The ‘bodies’ there are not as lucky, see one of them here;


  76. They are ours but for a season,

    to love and laugh while they stay

    but as sure as day, then night,

    one day they must go away.

    You wrote about it
    I know what it means to a writer.
    Your healing has commenced.

    You shall go through the fog
    but the sun WILL shine again.

    Remember when it gets dark
    and cold
    SHE lives in you!

    Mugs Gitau

  77. Pole for your loss Biko.

    That said it helps to know at some point you let out part of that grief….
    and it put a smile to many faces that you can still get a few jokes in the middle of it all.

    I don’t agree to taking Crazy Nairobian out, how about we buy the judges???. We’ll start a project to that effect and anything left will be used to take Crazy Nairobian out – for dinner – consolation dinner….

  78. This forces me to really appreciate my parents when they are still around. They are both a little like your dad Biko- stoic, no hugs & kisses- but they raised my siblings the best way they know how.

    May the road rise up to meet your mum. And may she forever remain in God’s palm. AMEN

  79. Only you Biko can write such an amazing piece while grieving the passing of your beloved mum…You are an incredible writer…I cried and laughed while reading it. May your Mom’s beautiful soul rest in eternal peace and may God give you strength and comfort during this difficult time.

    I voted for you religiously and yeah, we are taking the award next year. I like Crazy Nairobian but I like you more. So big up to him but next year its ON.

    God be with you Biko.

  80. This took a man to write and I honor you for that Biko…we continue to pray with you even during this difficult time…! *hugs*

  81. Dearest Biko ….. May you know comfort that only God gives. Been there. Still sore three years on but morning does come. Hugs and blessings tele.

  82. Oh boy,
    why yu make a grown man cry?
    I lost me own mom half a life-tyme ago, and i still remember how that first day after the event, the morning sun was bloody crimson, like a giant orb of poorly splashed tomatosauce in the sky , and how all day I walked in a daze, the day looking so blue like colours had congealed up-cloud, twas retina-hurting …
    Jackson, go ahead and grief!
    No-one ever again in this world will ever LOVE yu the way yur momma did.
    My thoughts are with you.
    Yur literary brother,
    Tony Mochama.

  83. Pole sana. May the Good Lord console you and yours. But you, even in the face of tragedy you crack jokes. Ati mugumo or Gumo hehehehe. That one cracked me up for sure.

  84. Biko,

    My condelences go out to you and your family. I pray for your strength during this time and would only let you know the best and comforting zone is in the Lord Jesus Christ. Be comfortable.

  85. I’d like to thank each one of you who have left a comment here. Your words helped, your presence helped even more. Thank you, gang. Most appreciated.

  86. Biko. it takes time… so take ua time. u had me laughing then crying then laughin again… very nice piece

  87. Glad you’re still standing. Albeit on feet like jelly.
    It’ll turn around. Praying for you too.

  88. Biko,
    I cried, laughed and cried again and laughed again!My heart broke into pieces and I cannot pretend to feel the pain that you and your family went through however in the midst of it all your mama must be so very proud of you and telling the angels , “now that’s my boy right there”
    Weep and grief as hard as you may, after all noone can ever be like your mother, her shoes are gigantic and can fit no earthly soul!
    No words can comfort you but may God grant you amazing grace and solace and may you find peace at knowIng that your momma is well rested, with no pain!

  89. Cheers to Jane. For her spirit. For bringing up a man like you and your siblings. For being a wonderful wife to your father till death. You speak so fondly of her. She is and will forever be admired. Where she is even if you asked her to come back she would not. She is happier there. At least her heart is a new. Rest in peace is an understatement. I say Live in Peace Madam Jane!!! As for you Biko, the grief will pass trust me for you and your family one day at a time.

  90. Pole sana.
    Its been a while since I was on the site but this just brought back poignant memories of my grandmas funeral. I Broke Down at the service at Maxwell in Upper. Thanks for your words..
    Once again pole sana.

  91. I know I’m like 10yrs late to this post. So well written,you’ve made me cry and even still manage a giggle on a few lines. I’m so sorry for your loss. She’s sleeping with the angels now.

  92. Been following your blogs for such a long time,i just regret reading this,uv made my heart heavy…..just cried in the office and my boss is in…..
    i look so sad that no one wants to ask me whats going on.am sorry Biko for the loss.

  93. i lost my mum January this year,she had cancer and there is no greater pain than loosing a mum, you feel your heart breaking literally.am sorry for your loss

  94. “You can’t bring back the ones you love. Trust me. But you can honor their lives by helping others.” – Jack Bauer

  95. My dear Biko, it shall be well. I can feel your pain man, my sincere condolences. Keep on writing, you have a special gift.

  96. Also realised that this an old post. Pole sana Biko, this brought sad memories at the loss of my dad, your friend is right it gets hard before it gets better, your mum will forever live in your heart.

  97. Your mum was a mother to me and my siblings for the 4 or so years we were neighbours at polyview.Always used to tell me “Eddy nyathina tiek somo ibed daktari ithiedha”.She rests in a fine place.
    Never saw much of you( I think cause I was always in campus) but June and Jim(Otah Jamoh as we christened him) were my partners in crime.
    It’s always a pleasure to read your articles.Mama Jim,am sure is proud of you.

  98. This is one of the best pieces read in my lifetime. I hope you honour her and those who stood by you on her next anniversary. In death and sorrow you get to know about who will stand by you and who will watch from a distance. God bless Jane’s soul.

  99. Wow. This is well written and extremely touching. May the almighty God continue to rest her soul in peace. Standing in the gap with you.

  100. I read this today Biko and I teared a bit. My mother is alive and well. Funny how my brother and I fought about how he sometimes disrespects her. I did tell him that some day he will want to hear that voice and all that will greet him is silent.
    Love hard; stay broken. I am grateful to God, I have my mother with me today.

  101. My condolences to you and family Biko. Its touching how you can manage to bring some sense of humor during this trying moment. Nice piece and you are in my prayers.

  102. I love how you put the feelings just as they are on paper. Reminds me of whatI felt when I lost my Mum. No ‘child’ should ever have to live without their Mum. I hope it got better with time.

  103. Biko, you are right. When I was at the morgue gone to view my dad(no body) it all seemed like a joke until the guy pulled the tray… And I cried at that idle corridor. One year later, I was at Mater looking at my mum. My heart was the grim reaper has ripped my heart out of its usual place… You have put into words what I felt when I lost her…reading this takes me back… I miss them. And yes losing mum turned me into a sme crying child again. I really miss her. Heck the tears roll once more

  104. Rest in peace Jane. I knew you not but reading from your son teared me to pieces and I couldn’t help but cry.
    Biko the night is darkest towards dawn!

  105. This morning as I always do, I woke up at 2:00am..I normally pray, or read the Bible or think angry thoughts. I had a few angry thoughts while sitting on the sofa, then I scrolled my Facebook and you had posted this. I felt the emotions though this post had originally been posted a while back..and somehow, I was reminded angry thoughts and stuff are not really important, it’s never that serious. While my mum is still around, my dad passed a decade ago..we miss him and very often when I’m visiting home, I hear stories of how he battled with illness..how cancer eroded his body and weight till he had to be helped to get into the car. It’s an image I cannot quite fathom, as he was healthy and had a bit of a belly the last time I saw him alive. Those are the images I have of him, jovial, happy and healthy. Unfortunately, by the time he passed, I was battling with settling in a foreign land, and if I left to attend his funeral, I wouldn’t be able to come back..so I missed his funeral. When I got my residence and could travel, I stood briefly at the foot of his grave.
    I recall that me and my dad attended many weddings and funerals together; just the two of us, because for the times we did, the other family members were not available to attend. It’s a strange fact that while we attended these occasions together; I wasn’t able to attend his funeral, and he will never attend my wedding..my memories of him are not still because I always saw him in motion..and I celebrate his life and legacy.

  106. Biko, your stories about your are so so real to me. We lost mum (also Jane) to Cancer of the Liver in Nov 2011… And yes, over time the pain is a lot more manageable, but 4 years later, am still a sad child 🙁 May our awesome mum’s dance with the angels, and may they Rest in God’s eternal peace. It is well.

  107. Had to return to this post. You are right when you say, “You feel alone even when you have a million pole messages in your phone. You feel lonely even when someone sends you a verse.” I think I’m having that feeling that the world seems a whole lot emptier. I remember the drive from the hospital to Chiromo, and how I wondered that the sun shone brightly yet my mum was gone. At a time like this, one has to say, okay, God had a meeting with his angels and chose to call mum home, the only thing I ask God is, “What next?” “Where do I go from here?” “How do I live in this place where mum is absent, where she’s not here to give a comforting word when I moan and gripe when I’ve had a bad day or argued and shouted at folks, or over what I’m going through.?”
    My mum always liked to say, “It is well.”
    Today was a good day, felt like God was bearing me up as on eagles wings.
    For many years, I was envious of those whose dads were still alive, I counted them lucky;, but somehow thinking of mum, I’m not in envy of anyone. My mum was really rare and special in her own crazy way, and I’m grateful for being her child/only daughter.
    She was such a strong matriarch that seeing her in this weakened position confused the whole lot of us, she confused us, she would sit up, and she would have brief conversations that proved to us her mind was still quite sharp, even if she said so little, most times during her last days, all we did was to gather around, talk among ourselves as she slept, and pray loud prayers to which she would gasp an Amen.
    When she passed on 23rd Jan, the same date my dad had passed 12 years earlier, we were bamboozled completely. If we were able to, we would borrow her from heaven, have her organize her funeral and then return her to God. None of us had ever written eulogies, or designed dresses for her, or organized food for mourners or bought coffins, but we had to learn fast…thankfully, Mum was a pillar in her church, and her church members walked us through this process.
    May God continue to bear all who have lost parents and loved ones, up as on eagle’s wings.