Mother’s Day


It’s 30 minutes to midnight. Saturday night. I just stumbled in from the bar. I’m not high. OK, I’m high. But just a bit. I’m eating a banana. For some reason, I love eating bananas after drinking. I swear in another life I was called Mogusu. Outside, the sky is angry and bruised with rain coming down in long thin curtains.  Four years ago yesterday, my mom died. I thought about her the whole drive home. I’m now staring at a picture of her that my small sister shared on Whatsapp a few days earlier. The last picture that was taken of her. She’s sandwiched between two aunts. She looks gaunt and tired; death circles over her like a vulture. Her eyes are half closed. Towards the end, sometimes she’d close her eyes to fend off the dizziness.  And nausea. And death.

In a few minutes it will be Mother’s Day. I don’t derive any joy from this day. The only comfort I take from this day is that my children have their mother to celebrate. Grief doesn’t really go away, it just takes a backseat. I recall how when I interviewed Don Bosire he mentioned a presentation done by Joseph Kongoro, at Engage. Kangoro described the grief of losing his mother as, “…her departure was this hole that I walk around during the day and I fall into at night.”  I loved that soundbite. So apt. It’s one of those beautiful sentences that I carry in my head. I could be standing at the bank counter and I’m thinking, this teller doesn’t have a clue that I’m carrying this wonderful sentence in my head! It’s like a lovely little secret.

I want to sit down and write my mother a letter to mark her fourth anniversary. I’m hoping that if by any chance there is internet in heaven or wherever it is people’s mothers go when they die, she will get this. Some angel will print it out for her and take it to her where she is seated on a wicker chair staring at deer on a lawn. Wait, what’s the policy on printing stuff out in heaven? Do they want to save trees there as well? I doubt.

I hope she reads this and chuckles then sighs and says to herself, “Biko will never grow up.”

Dear Mommy,

You should see Kim. Shame you never met him. He’s got your father’s eyes, his mother’s smile and my forehead. He’s a wonderful boy. Wonderful because he doesn’t have food allergies. He eats everything. Do you know how easy that makes life in case one day there is a famine? We can feed him a bird. He’s two now. I still kiss him on the lips. I will stop when he stops. Tamms is fine. A bit moody sometimes, but fine. She’s in class three. The other day over lunch she told me, “Class three is so hard!” I wanted to say, “Oh really? Have you tried getting into a relationship with Zuku?”

We had a memorial for you over the Easter holidays where we put up a big tent and felled a goat and someone rolled 100 chapos, and almost all your siblings came over. Melvine cried. I knew she would cry. Auntie Queen stood up to give a speech but she choked. She couldn’t speak. Her voice started trembling and she stopped. The tent became deathly quiet, willing her to move past the wave of emotion. She couldn’t, so she started singing this sad gospel song and people joined her. I almost cried, so I stared at my shoes. I know you miss her, you all were a bunch of grade-one gossipers.

Julius is obsessed about your grave. He wants to build a shelter for it, so that if it rains your dress remains dry. *Roll eyes* When we were in shags he would wake up in the morning and wash it in his sleeping shorts. It broke my heart to see him do that; toothbrush stuck in his mouth, scrubbing, blinking hard, trying not to weep. Do you know what verse is inscribed on your grave? I know it off the top of my head: Philippians 2: 12-13: “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for God works in you according to his good purpose.” Julius picked that verse. I think he suffers more than he lets on.

The other day while I was in the office, June sent us a picture of you. I opened the image and there you were in the coffin, looking different, lying there with your eyelids swollen. Who sends a picture of a dead person, even if it’s your mother? Nkt. I was irritated. I left my desk, went and sat on the bathroom seat and fought back tears. You have made me so weak. You have made me so vulnerable. You have exposed the underbelly of my emotions in ways that I didn’t imagine could be possible. Sometimes I see a woman wearing shoes that remind me of the ones you used to wear and feel shattered by grief all over again. You turned me into sap.

Julius got a baby girl. Named after you, which wasn’t in doubt. How about that? He goes for a long swim at Nyayo stadium’s pool every Saturday. Julius, not the baby. You know who else should join him? June. She’s the same size you were before you got sick. And you were big, donge? She got a new job and takes care of Shan impressively. Single-parenthood agrees with her. It’s made her stronger. I’m proud of her, you would be too. I heard from a little birdie that her ex-husband was in the country recently. Nobody tells me anything around here, I just plug in the grapevine wherever I can. I told her, “June, if you go back to that guy you are on your own.” Jesus would have said the same thing, right?

Jim finally brought a girl home. A Kikuyu girl. I repeat, Jim brought a Kikuyu girl home. Haha. Are you laughing, mom? Are you asking yourself “What is it with these boys and Kikuyu girls?” She’s called Ciru. She came with her cousin to shags, safety in numbers. Two means there is a chance of one of them escaping and telling the story of what happened in Nyanza. She was surprised not to see nightrunners when she came to shags. I am too. Haha. I think we should start a museum of nightrunners in Kendu Bay for people from other counties to come see.

Daddy is a shell. You know how he is, he acts like he’s all male and debonair but your departure has spun him around and around. He’s still spinning, like a kite in a storm. I’m going to tell you something, but try and not get emotional about it, sawa? At some point we got a new mother.  Of course you are prettier than her. And certainly much funnier. I met her a few times. She was bubbly and friendly and was dying for acceptance, but I felt like we would be betraying you. So I was little cold to her, though I shouldn’t have been. But then they broke up. It didn’t work out. That right there is irony; daddy, at 68, breaking up with chicks. If he had an FB account he would be updating his profile: Simon is now single. Haha. Simon is now in a relationship. Simon wants to be friends with you. Poke Simon. It’s hysterical.

OK, please don’t poke Simon.

But you should see him, he’s miserable. He’s lost some weight. Listens to Radio Citizen and Ramogi on his verandah. He tends to the boma obsessively. The boma is immaculate.  He has little to no friends. All the friends he had were your friends, and now that you are gone, hardly anyone comes to visit him. He stays in that boma alone, reading his Bible. He still shouts while talking on the phone. One day someone with more guts than any of us will tell him that it’s OK to speak normally on phone, the other person will still be able to hear him. Hehe.

He still irons his pants with a sharp line running down the middle. He still shaves clean. He is ageing well, though. And he tries as the only parent. He tries to undo the patriarchal distance he created as a father. He tries to talk to us but he’s still caught between the proud man he is and the reality that faces him. But he tries and we try as well. Everybody is trying to help him try. But he’s lonely, and one day he will need to have someone in that house to offer him companionship. And when that happens, please be cool about it. Don’t be showing up in that lady’s dreams pushing him off cliffs. Hehe. Because you know you are Jane. You are irreplaceable.

For what it’s worth, your pictures are still up on the wall. Your hens died though. They were eaten. But there are new hens. The pen that you built still stands. I hate to disappoint you but my shamba hasn’t been swept down by raging floods. I still run.

Grandkids are well. Tony finished uni without being caught up in weed or making a girl pregnant. We rejoice. You should see him now; tall, with stones for biceps and a deep voice. In a few years I will start looking like his son. Candy joined uni, studying some crazy stuff like Financial Economics. Smart kid. I understand that she now has a boyfriend. Makes the mom sick. Haha. When I want to piss her off I ask her, “Melly, how is Candy’s boyfriend?” and I swear she wants to run and throw up in a sink. She will get used to it. Oh, she will.  A slamming door took off half of Shan’s toe, but it’s grown back. It’s amazing how kids are, you lose a toe and another grows! And it’s not even sorcery. Garvin is turning into a computer whiz at 8-years and Kayla can still jump through a window. In her skirt.

Hang on, let me go pee. I will be right back.

Your father died. We got him a very nice coffin. Did I tell you that I hated your coffin? It was this loud golden colour. Gaudy like hell. No pun.  Even a pimp wouldn’t have been buried in that coffin, Mommy. Your sisters picked it. I won’t say who, I might get summoned. Hehe. It was too loud a coffin to bury a lovely lady like you. Your dad’s coffin was the real deal though, it was all brass and shit. Sorry, it was brass and all. Befitting a distinguished gentleman like Jackshon.  Now you have both of your parents there with you. I bet you are all having a laugh. Do you also see Baba Omosh, and is his sense of humour still intact? What about John Kings? Do you guys like have a place you all go for barbeques on Sundays and talk about the living?

Politics. Hmm. There is a guy called Donald Trump, he’s an ass. Museveni went back. There is Magufuli in TZ, he’s different. I’m listening to this oldie called “Sad Eyes,” by Robert John, a song released 1979 when I was only two and Julius was a newborn. You must know it. Google it. Wait, can you Google where you are? Are you all given tablets? See what I did there? Tablets?

Writing is going great. Last week I shipped in this new IKEA writing desk. You should see it, it’s a piece of work.The grains on it are so smooth. If you ironed a ball of clouds, that’s how the surface feels like. Sometimes when I come back home, I run my hands on the surface and mumble, “There, there, I’m home now…I’m home. Give me a minute I get off this clothes, then I will be with you.”  No, seriously that desk excites me, makes me feel like a boy with a new toy. I’m writing from it now, can you tell? Oh, and the blog is going great too. [Hey, Gang, say hello to my mom.]

I think you know what’s been going on in my life. A lot is changing. Sometimes I wish you were here to tell me what to do. You had answers…even if some of them were the wrong answers. Hehe.  Now I have nothing. I make decisions and stumble blindly through them hoping I don’t knock my head. I’m hanging on tight, hoping that I’m on the right path. That I’m doing the right thing. I could use your help here. I could use your firm voice of reason. Burn a bush, mom. Burn a bush. Luckily, I have this guy called Pastor Gowi Odera. I think you asked Angel Gabriel to send him. He’s my flapping sail in the gusting winds. My wind catcher. His dad also passed on not too long ago, look for him up there. From what he says of him he sounds like a decent chap. Tell him his son is my pillar of reason now, and a pretty decent fellow.

You left us holding a bowl of emptiness. You have devastated us. You have brought us heartache that won’t heal. You have crushed us. You have taken the joy out of many things in our lives and fractured our innocence of the world. We continue pretending that it’s fine but it’s not. It’s gotten much better, yes, but some days it’s unbearable. Like today. I hope you are fine up there, mom. And that they serve you tea the way you liked it – all the damn it. I hope you are happy and that you are free and relieved of disease that wrecked you for years.  

By the way, have you met Angel Gabriel? How is he in person? Is it true that he supports Manchester United? In my head, he strikes me like a Man U fan. I don’t watch soccer but if I did, I wouldn’t support Man U. They are too loud and entitled. And they write long emotional comments.

It’s coming to 2am now, I need to write something else and then sleep. It’s still raining outside. It’s Mother’s Day. You have your mother up there, but we are missing our mother down here. And we miss you. All the time. Happy Mother’s Day, Jane.

Let me eat a banana and sleep.

Ps. This article had a small misrepresentation that happened during edits. I have never interviewed or met Kongoro but I interviewed Don Bosire who quoted Kongoro about the loss of his mom. I have since rectified that.

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    1. “…her departure was this hole that I walk around during the day and I fall into at night.”

      Mother love

    2. Wow, how brilliant, you read all that and all you could come up with was “Number one”? Wait, did you even read?

  1. “Our mother are our heroines, whether here with us or gone to heaven” – I read this somewhere and thought, how true! In infinite ways do I find my mom a heroine. I am all grown and kicking ass over here in the city and all thanks to this woman that went over and above to make sure I got my short patched up back then in primary school, that I had a neatly woven bag, that I never felt alone! So yeah my mom is a heroine in big and small ways. Nice read Biko as always.

  2. Wonderful, as always. My 3year old asked me where my mother was and her brother told her in heaven! She continued, did the policeman take her there? Innocent as it was, I was unable to respond! God bless all the mothers, here and there!

  3. Happy Mother’s Day Mama Biko, and Happy Mother’s Day to all moms out there, biological and otherwise. Y’all keep us sane and grounded.

  4. Gowi Odera…very decent guy. Just like his dad. I am glad he is supporting you.
    Dont you owe me another story Biko? Keep writing about your mum. Grief is a process.

  5. I lost my mum too and your post made me feel like I’m not alone in this feeling of acceptance and sadness at the same time. So thank you

    1. This has crushed me too. Just read it. I have no words…It has inspired me to write a letter to my mum, maybe it will make me feel better. Sunday was difficult for me … 10 years ago I brought her this red beaded silk scarf from Japan for Mother’s day. She passed on 2 weeks later without having used it. I own it … its hard. It will be 10 years next week…

      1. I wrote a loooong letter to my mum ten years ago and have never been able to open that book to date.Will it ever get easier to handle a mother’s death?maybe never

  6. Hi Mama Biko, say hello to my mother, tell her we too don’t really celebrate mothers day and that we are occasionally cold to the new mother dad found…hehe she wouldn’t like that.

  7. Do you people have a meeting of cousins??? One day one of them will roast you! The things you write about them!

  8. One day Biko,one day you will heal.Your grief is still very raw.Time is a healer.Praying that the God of all comfort will shield you with His love.

    1. Hi Nduta, when its comes to the void left by parent and especially mothers, that void is never filled,
      and no time in the world would heal the loss of a mother, its been more than 24yrs now and i still miss her and wish she was still around.
      We just learn to live with that pain

  9. Biko Biko Biko….how many times did I call you? nothing like Man U…its Man Utd….

  10. Disclaimer : I am not a Man U Fan

    Reading your blog helped me reconnect with my mother. Always been a daddy’s girl but now I give equal attention to both.

    It’s my very first mother’s day and seeing my daughter makes me smile but also fearful. Hopefully I’ll not break her heart any time soon.

  11. Deep! Lost my mom too, 13 years ago and I still fight this lump that comes to my throat every time I read such stories… Happy Mothers Day Mama Biko

  12. That piece is beautiful Biko. As a lady who has not experienced this sort of relationship with a mother, I can only hope that the circle of pain gets smaller. But as a mum myself, this article brings tears to my eyes. I celebrate you Jane…you raised him well

  13. Nice peice..your daddy sounds just like my grandad when we lost our grandmum a few years back.We miss her everyday.Happy Mothers day to Mama Biko.

  14. Have you met Angel Gabriel? How is he in person? That got to me, I miss my dad, will be a good 10 years in July but the pain is very much the same and the tears have never stopped, I echo your sentiments ‘grief doesn’t really go away, it just takes a backseat’, Happy Mothers Day to all mothers, I celebrate my mother today and every day, will always remember how she gave me her very new pair of shoes to wear so that I would have something new when starting my internship a year ago.Back then I couldn’t even afford a decent pair of shoes, was barely ends meet and mum sacrificed it all for me, I owe you big time mum,

  15. That letter is so emotional. I wish there was a time God allows the dead to visit the living. Traditionally people believed sijui the spirit of the dead still lingers around but i wish there was more, them coming ‘live live’ during some important occasions to the family because i wouldn’t be missing my dad this much.

  16. I think up there they have discussion about the living. Maybe a blog. They write to us and exposing the pleasantries that are up there. Same way we do to them.But we can read them. But they can read ours. Somehow.
    Good read Biko.

  17. terribly is amazing how you manage to pack so much in so little a space but no mention of Leicester!

  18. Biko, that’s a great tribute to Jane, am still in the parking lot, seems
    someone is cutting onions in here…..dem

  19. Wow! This piece made me always appreciate my mum. Always. Your mum is in a better place Biko. And I hope she really does get to read this letter. Seriously

  20. This is deep. deep shit. but you always make us laugh though, though the pain. “Simon is now single. Simon is in a relationship…Simon is now engaged…” Mama is proud Biko.

  21. the only read that makes me weep like a baby alone in my office desk and now i have to blow mucus to go with the tears………. And Jane, have you seen my dad Elisha up there? Say hi to him, he could give you great company and tell him iam doing fine and he was right when he told me he is not worried about me, and that he hopes i take care of the other kids.
    And Jane if you see my sis there too, say hi, tell her husband takes good care of her two sons and we all help when necessary and they have grown up to be graet boys…………. Biko, you ignite emotions that you alone can.

  22. “Now I have nothing. I make decisions and stumble blindly through them hoping I don’t knock my head. I’m hanging on tight, hoping that I’m on the right path. That I’m doing the right thing. I could use your help here. I could use your firm voice of reason”

  23. Ah Biko this was just so sad, a good letter but so sad.God breaks our hearts to prove he only takes the best.Your mom will love the letter

  24. You have exposed the underbelly of my emotions in ways that I didn’t imagine could be possible.You have taken the joy out of many things in our lives and fractured our innocence of the world. We continue pretending that it’s fine but it’s not. “I am watching my shoes…this piece broke me

  25. Ok Biko, some of us actually wear cheap makeup… sooo warn us, tell us
    ‘you need to wash your face for this coz its only tears that will concure your face
    when you read this’…
    Biko, you are a great funny Son , hope your mom prints this and frames it
    and places it on a wall in her heavenly mansion…
    na si umempea udaku!

  26. Happy Mothers Day mama Biko, your son , is quite a writer, he does you proud.
    good read as always, chocolate man.

  27. I lost my grandma, who was my mum for 22years. She was our family’s support system. Nothing has been the same since. I feel your pain Biko.

  28. I know we can’t replace you Mama Biko but as the gang, we have Biko‘s back. If you can read this, please respond to your son. He‘s been sobbing since you left.

  29. I am in the office and I am trying so hard not to cry.
    But she sounds like a lovely person and I know she’s looking down on you and your big forehead and she’s smiling knowing that you’re still fine and you’re doing what you love, writing.
    I don’t know if it ever gets better but I’ll still say it all the same, you’re going to be fine Biko and this is coming from a first time mum, so you’d better listen and take it to heart hehe.

  30. Hello Mama Biko…and bananas are quite tasty at 1 am when you haven’t spent your evening drinking water

  31. I should have read this at home and not in the office. I tried to fight off the tears but nothing. I just let them fall because sometimes it just feels better to let them fall. Nice read Biko. Every time you write about your mother i weep. Very emotional. I still have my mom with me but reading this makes me shudder at the thought of losing her. It makes me wonder if I can handle the emotions. I hope it continues to get better for you Biko. Okay, back to work lest people think am pregnant ha!

  32. Happy mothers day to her for bringing such lovely souls as biko’s to the world. May her soul continue resting in evarlasting peace!

  33. Jane, thank you for giving us Biko. He is a ball of energy, I guess someone had to take after you. He writes well and gives us words that linger on for days. He misses you a lot. But you knew he would. That is why you gave him a piece of yourself. He will be fine. Just make sure you have fun in heaven on his behalf.

  34. Nice piece as usual…a flowing,glowing tribute to all Moms(past and present)
    But,you had to throw in Man United(Man U to you)…no need to kick them when they are still down.

  35. i was in tears for most of it. i think she’s looking out for you wherever she is. a mother’s work is never done

  36. i was in tears for most of it. i think she’s looking out for you wherever she is. a mother’s work is never done.

  37. Grateful that both my parents and maternal grandparents are still alive though never had the chance to see my paternal grandfather

  38. This is so deep. was reading it loud to my mum as well. you spoke for me. I watched my mama die..two weeks before that,was in school,form three then,i had this revelation in form of a dream that she would die,and i did what a gal my age would do then. I prayed to God. No, I actually begged him,I made all the promises i would to God. I had never imagined i could take it,leave alone living without mum. She is called Jane like your mother. And she was a teacher. No one will ever fill the voids left by our mothers. Lets cherish them.

    1. Biko’s mother was a teacher too if am not wrong. I lost mine when i was 10. Things have been really bad but God has been there for us all. For those who have their mothers alive, cherish them while you can.

  39. “One day someone with more guts than any of us will tell him that it’s OK to speak normally on phone, the other person will still be able to hear him”… But he’s lonely, and one day he will need to have someone in that house to offer him companionship. And when that happens, please be cool about it. Don’t be showing up in that lady’s dreams pushing him off cliffs. Hehe. Because you know you are Jane. You are irreplaceable…sad but interesting…

  40. This piece is beautiful the emotions in it have done quite a number on me.
    May she continue resting in peace.

  41. What a beautiful letter!
    Happy belated birthday Mama Biko. If you meet up with my baba, sister and brother, tell them I think of them all the time

  42. You made me cry. Such a beautiful letter to this beautiful soul. I hope she loves it in Heaven as well

  43. Lost my mama on 5th April,2016,I month ago.she battled cancer for s short period.I have this wound in my heart that will never heal.I celebrate u mom.may u mom and mama Niko rest in peace.

  44. Aah Biko…. You made me cry, as always. Mothers Day is also a tough day for me. At least my kids get to celebrate me…. Happy Mothers Day to our mums in heaven… May they Rest in Peace.

  45. Hi Mama Biko, i am one of the gang members, from Nation newspaper column to the last page of every month True Love edition……say hi to my Papa, he was witty, with hell lots of eyebrows that i loved to trim, and beautiful hair (still wonder why i did not inherit that hair) and a loving teacher, tell daddy his girl is now grown but misses him.8 years absence is no joke.

  46. Hello Mum, God bless you. You raised my Tony Braxton, you know how you just want to be in the fans crowd and just be in the same atmosphere as him but not really get a one on one with him because nervousness is a real? yes. Many times when i introduce myself the persons on the receiving end tend to respond ‘oh my Mum’s name is Jane,’ happy to meet one of the most amazing Janes.

  47. May she continue to rest in bliss and peace. She birthed an extraordinary human being and we thank God for that. Take it easy Biko.

  48. #Sobsob….you are amazing…putting so many of our emotions into words. No child should ever have to live without their mom.

  49. Happy mother’s day Mama Biko. If you happen to see my mom up there, give her a big bear hug for me.

  50. Our mothers (and fathers for us who are daddy’s girls) will always break our hearts.
    Awesome read Biko, you have me totally in tears.

  51. Hello Mama Biko. Your son is an ass. (Sorry to use this word I was also brought up well. I only called him so as I thought his article-your mum will break your heart) is the only onion in his collection. Then he goes and does it again. My mum is up there too…

    1. Spot on. I welled up when I read “your mother will break your heart”. I sobbed like a baby when I read this. Great article Biko, Jane…say hi to my mum n my dad.

  52. Hi mama Biko, have u seen my dad? Its been 4yrs n we never got time to grieve….its been 1 big polygamous hurricane. Tell him…..tell him…we’ll be alright

  53. My dad died when I was 5, its now 21years since he left us.My mum followed when I was 9 and its now 17yrs since then.Nothing is as painful as loosing a parent.

  54. Touché…our love of bananas. In another life I think I would be called Kwamboka.

    An amazing tribute to your mum Biko. Loss is never easy, especially of a parent. I lost my dad when I was out here, and had to make a snap decision whether to go home or stay here and go later. I sent some money home and chose to say here..I was having some challenges at the time with the immigration department and if I left at the time, I wouldn’t be able to return to the country. In many respects my family feel it was better that way, when I say I wish I had been home at that time, their response is that it wasn’t easy standing by helplessly, watching him battle illness..and now all the memories I had of him was that he was healthy, very jovial and loved to drive fast. I didn’t have any experience of what it was like living with him sickly, or in pain as prostrate cancer ravaged his weight before taking him away. I miss him immensely, and know deep inside that some challenges we go through as family wouldn’t be there if he was mum often complains of hostility from folks in the village when she goes upcountry, something that she never experienced when he was alive.. she’s of another tribe.
    There was a period shortly after his death, I would call home and talk to everyone then stop myself from asking to ‘talk to him.’ The grief lessens but doesn’t completely go away..but as a believer in Christ, I always have that hope that I will see him again, in that place where he is happy, whole and healthy.
    Happy Mother’s Day!

  55. Mama Biko, I hope the angels print out the comments section for you to read too. Just so that we can tell you that your raised an awesome son. N from what he tells us of te rest, you did an ad I ramble job there too. Say Hi to the people in Heaven and take care. You are sorely missed.

  56. Nothing can take the place of mothers.Becoming a mother has made me appreciate this.From the beginning with the the crazy morning sickness to labor to the joy of watching kids grow up, the self sacrifice.only mothers eat last after all their children have eaten.God bless all mothers and mothers to be out there,HAPPY MOTHER DAY.

  57. Every time I read a piece you have written about your mother, it reminds me of that Proverbs 31 verse that says ‘her children rise up and call her blessed…’

  58. You’ve re-ignited all the raw emotions losing a loved one brings. And as years go by, they say time heals everything, everything but death. You never really heal; This person goes, your world literally stops, you can barely breathe through the choking tears. Days seem to go by and somehow the world moves on as if it doesn’t realise that your world as you know it has been shattered. And as years go by, you’re resigned that you lost a dear one, that life moved on and that you have a permanent scar that you will carry to your grave as well.

  59. I lost mine to cancer in January 2013,
    her name was jane and by April all
    her chicken were gone.
    It really is never the same without a mother.

  60. One word, good writing!! Those are two. My bad. I am an avid reader of your blog but this post just contains the secret happiness.. Lovely tribute,biko.

  61. I worked on Mother’s Day. The moment I got back home I cried and cried for my mother. She’s been gone 22 years now but it still seems like yesterday. Mother’s Day has always been unbearable for me. Take heart, though.Don’t cry so much, they said. She’s in a better place and no longer in pain, they said.

  62. you make me laugh and cry at the same time… I also stare at my shoes when I feel like crying.. great piece as always

  63. I’m crying. I’ve been pretending that it’s ok for 25 years. It is not ok. It will never be ok.
    You left me confused and devastated at the age of 9.

  64. You really bared your soul in this beautiful tribute to your mum Biko. May she continue to rest peacefully

  65. This masterpiece,i wanted to cry and laugh at the same time…my mother died same day 19 years the departed..Rest In Peace.

  66. There is always a special place for mama in my heart, i am blinking so hard, but naah, i had to shed a tear coz i miss my mama very much

  67. Oooh no! This piece has had me literally “balance tears”, then my colleague asks for assistance… how now! Happy Mother’s day Mama Biko and to my mummy Benter… we miss you mum.. so much

  68. Hello Mama Biko…say hello to my mama as well. And Pastor Gowe’s dad (RIP) Have just learnt of his demise.

  69. Such a strong piece, loved the way you eulogized your mum making us all think we also knew her. I feel honored that I still have both my parents especially my mum and I can’t comprehend what life would be without her. Sorry for your loss Biko, I know it’s a gap that no one can ever fill…But she’s smiling down on you guys. Hey mama Biko!

  70. Reading Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, and the looking up from that tragic story to fall into another one is too much for me! I am sorry about your mum. Mothers should not die… Just like Theo Decker’s mum should have never died… Because of their presence we are able to see where we are going in the midst of the fog and haze that the world sometimes plunges us into!

  71. I have shed a tear…then i laughed…then shed some more tears…from the sound of it,i know Jane is dancing with the angels and watching over his son.Damn Mother’s should not die..

  72. Kongoro you made it here on Biko’s piece. Am touched. We may disagree in principle on the state of the dead but your piece overrides all that to get the emotions flowing freely.
    Great writing.

  73. I lost my mum too and though it’s been 18 years, it’s still feels like yesterday. And I miss her terribly.

  74. This is so so deep….. a guy who loves his mama and not afraid to show…Jane did a good job and left a mark in her children’s hearts. we celebrate mums like Jane.

  75. Mum is still around. She is a teacher, Kiswahili. Hehe. She taught me once and I’ve never forgotten that class. Still fresh, she should take me through some marketing I have a paper this Friday. Happy mothers day mum. I love you so much. And yes I ate today.

  76. I lost my dad very suddenly 14 years ago. I haven’t dealt with it. I haven’t cried and have never accepted it. I am just numb to the fact.

  77. In heaven with the angel singing and celebrating you, cheering on all the other mothers,
    with her up there.

  78. your mom shares a name with my mom,,,Janes are awesome. This is such a beautiful tribute,,,you are slowly healing without noticing it, the bile is fading slowly, you are celebrating her life. Biko you are doing well, hang in there, she is proud of you

  79. Awesome piece. Pray that God continues to comfort you with His peace. Pst Gowi Odera great guy that one,speaking as a member of bapo church where he frequented..

  80. Biko, very well written. Jane has received your letter for sure. The universe owes us this…that our loved ones who have gone before us can hear/read all our messages doesn’t it?

  81. Jane you gotta be proud of your son…this piece makes me appreciate my mother even more and i dont know how i would live without her

  82. I saw the title and I thought ‘Come on Biko!I have been cryingfor Jane since your first article!Dont do this to me in the office!So I put the phone away till alone in the blankets and cried and laughed…Hey Jane,We love your boy.

  83. Mother’s day is a hard day for some of us. 11yrs now since my mum rested. For the record you cannot get over her and no, time doesn’t heal….there will always be subtle reminders every which way. Peace and hugs

  84. Biko she was a sister to us the Anyagos. On the other hand she was more a mother than a sister to us. Many of us passed through her hands, many of us are what they are because of “Min Biko” Its hard to get a sister mother and that is what she was and will be to us. RIP min Biko our sister.

  85. happy belated mothers day to Jane,
    Biko, Thank you for the reminder to endlessly love the people we have now,
    may her soul continue resting in eternal Peace.

  86. Mommy will read this not once and not twice but over and over again because it is a great piece of work. Great read.

  87. Happy Mothers Day Mama Biko and other mums up there. You all breaķ our hearts and we live with it forever….. tell Angel Gabriel that when doing his rounds to request Wengers mum to tell the incurbent son to let go now. Happy mother to all mums of this worlď.

  88. Always a privilege to meet Mama Biko! She def got your mail Choc-Man so keep smiling. I’ll now be eating bananas with respect*

  89. ” Sometimes I see a woman wearing shoes that remind me of the ones you used to wear and feel shattered by grief all over again.”

    I know this feeling so well.

  90. Amazing piece. Hi mama biko say hi to my bro and guide him around will be two years next month since he joined you.miss him

  91. This is deep and hilarious at the same time Biko, one minute I felt like crying and the next minute i was giggling. I lost my dad 7 years ago and it still pains me like it happened yesterday. May the departed souls rest in peace

  92. when u said, gang say hi to my mom, I was like “hi mama Jackshon……” it shall be well Biko, I hope it shall be.

  93. Biko, you’re such an amazing writer. Always longing for a new piece. This one just got me all welled up, sinking deep into the cracks of my heart and mind. We, The gang, know you miss her but we also know that someday, the grief will turn to better memories.

  94. Mark of a phenomenal writer, when you can evoke so many emotions in one piece.
    such good writing, IKEA desk or not! May she rest well in the heavens……

  95. One day we will all be re united with our loved ones…. Until then, we shall hold on to the hope of Christ’s second coming…

  96. Never easy losing a mother. 19yrs later still feel the pain. I have cried through this post
    It will get better but not ever well. “A Rhino reaps your heart out and stomps” on it. crashed to pieces.
    Mama Biko, say hi to all the mummies up there as you enjoy the streets of Gold.

  97. Losing my mum three years ago changed me. It is so difficult and painful. I truly wish it were not like that. I do not feel so much pain in my heart when my dad crosses my mind. Probably because he only crosses and my mum is perpetually on my mind.

  98. These people writing first to comment and so on should go back to instagram and those other mediums that allow mediocrity. You are here to read,learn new words and share Biko’s world. You are absolutely too shallow to absorb this kind of material.

  99. I am sure Angel Gabriel will print this out for your mom, Biko.
    May she continue watching over you and yours.
    This piece is somewhat sobering. I will lose my mommy one day. Some of your pieces about her will help me march on through this journey called life without her.
    Wait, what if I leave her first?

  100. Nice post as always, Biko. Just hope your mum would read it. I also wrote a post about Mothers on my blog here:‘What? Look, let’s watch something meaningful,’ I said quickly. But then she burst into tears as though she had just been told she would be going to school on Saturday.
    Then her mother said, ‘Akamu, I think you should put it back.’
    ‘Put it back? Ha, Aunt, are you enjoying this thing?’
    ‘Not really, but she is,’ she said, pointing to my cousin who was still shedding tears. Then I gave her the remote control and all of us started watching Dora the Explorer, something only my cousin enjoyed.
    When I got back home, I told my mum about it and she laughed.
    ‘You did the same thing while you were small. You wouldn’t allow your father and I to watch any good TV program. The only thing you loved was Pinocchio and The Lion King.’

  101. Hi Mama Jackshon!

    Biko, your IKEA Desk sounds amazing – deserving of being the birthplace of your first book.

  102. Also lost my mum last year and this quote,“…her departure was this hole that I walk around during the day and I fall into at night.” made my day. Great piece Bro made my

  103. This made me cry and miss my mother so much. I too am not necessarily a fan of Mother’s Day. Mum went to be with her creator when I was 20. Now am almost 40 but still miss my mom.

  104. Mums are our heroines, the places they hold in our hearts are so dear and irreplaceable. Happy mother’s day Mama Biko. Happy mother’s day to all mums out there.

  105. great piece biko am sure your mum up there smiled as she read this letter, happy belated mothers day mama biko and to all the mums in heaven

  106. It’s been 11 years since I lost my mom. I cried in the matatu reading this, especially when I got to the bit about Julius scrubbing her grave. This is my favourite post so far.

  107. Thanks for this piece Biko. My mum is….( I have no words to describe what she means to me).. To mama Biko you were blessed to have such an awesome son. He is who he is because of you..

  108. It’s ok to let it off your chest, sometimes you’ll find rain better than shelter from the rain

  109. Reading all this makes me dread the day mine will cross over too. I’ve seen how my mother & her siblings grieve over their departed parents for decades! What bravely to actually write from the bottom of your heart! Asante sana!!

  110. Hi mama Biko,unlike your son I think you should appear in that ladys dream bt don’t throw her over the cliff teach her how to mek Simon happy though it wouldn’t hurt much if you gave her a little scare just in case she messes up with Simon,I feel for him

  111. Hi mama Biko,say hi to Jane wanjiku my mom for me and happy belated mothers day to you two,tell her even though she left me 14 years ago with nothing and no one to love me I still love her so much,and her granddaughter named after her would have loved her to bits too… You made me emotional Biko,thank you,you spoke for us all

  112. Wololo.. Late to comment. (there should be an award for last comment) My deepest condolences to all that have lost their mums. Belated mother’s day wishes to all mothers and mither figures here.

  113. Grief, just as you put it, never quite leaves. It gives you breaks, long ones sometimes short breaks, you get preoccupied, you think you are truly over it, then you see something, like the shoe you talked about…and it brings back the pain, may be not as intense as the first time, but it still hurts.
    Your thoughts in this post are many, some mixed up…evidence of the pain of your loss. Rest well Min Biko. Happy Mothers’ day to all the mothers up there. We celebrate you.

  114. I lost my mum when I was a young girl. I didn’t write her a letter to mark her 23 years anniversary on April 25, but I did what she enjoyed doing, listening to Lingala music, especially Franco & Le T.P. O.K. Jazz. I dedicated Testament Ya Bowule by Lutumba Simaro to her.
    Mama Biko say hi to Mum Lucy.

  115. Thank you Mama Biko
    Please say hi to my baby brother James. He’d have been 17 now, probably chasing skirts around and all about #YOLO…and sitting his KCSE exams with the help of WhatsApp..
    Nice piece Biko

  116. I have read every sentence you have ever written about your mom n I knw u miss her. You are still grieving Biko, bt it will get better. God will give u the grace. I heart u.

  117. Man you tickle our humourless NEP lives but there is this thin veiled fear mongering about losing Ma, damn I read this and shivered thinking will include hold up when she departs

  118. biko you always nail it,never dissapoint,so sad she had go.i realy enjoy your reads,great and exceptional.

  119. Eclesiastes 9:5,6
    5 For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing at all, nor do they have any more reward, because all memory of them is forgotten. 6 Also, their love and their hate and their jealousy have already perished, and they no longer have any share in what is done under the sun.

  120. Without a doubt, I can relate. The loss of a mother, in my opinion, transcends any form of pain an individual gets/will get to go through in life. There’s this emptiness that occupies one’s soul from the sheer fact that one knows they’ll never get to hold her in her arms again. One finds themselves searching crowds – as much as this is an impossibility, but you cannot help yourself. I think this only underscores the fact that when one person is absent, the whole world seems depopulated. PS: Great piece, man.

  121. Without a doubt I can relate, totally. Losing a mother transcends any form of pain that an individual is bound to go through in life, more so if that loss occurs when you’re barely nine years old. There’s an insurmountable feeling of emptiness in one’s soul, when the thought of never having her in your arms again, crosses your mind. You find yourself searching the crowds for her face – as much as it’s an impossibility, one cannot help themselves. The places you used to visit are vividly etched in your mind. That’s the sole reason I prefer going upcountry to my mother’s grave, every so often – it’s easier to miss her by her graveside, where she’s never been anything but dead, than to miss her at all the places where she was alive.
    PS: Awesome article, man.

  122. Wow!Tears welling up……!As a mother I pray that i’ll always be there for my children.
    And knowing how my mother loves tea,I’ll be making an effort of having it ready every time she visits.
    Lively read!

  123. As always a good read and written from that place we omundo strongs work hard suppress- Keep ’em coming Biko! Happy Mothers day!

  124. Biko you are big! your family is blessed with wonderful names at least we have Kayla in our family.My mother is alive though old and emaciated, let me celebrate her before her departure.

  125. This is deep Biko,once again sorry for the loss.
    Angel Gabriel is a fellow Man.Utd guy and not all of us are loud hehe

  126. O Biko my hanky is so wet..what’s really great about you is that in the midst of the pain ,you still know how to seep positivity out of it.amazing!!mummy Jane is very proud am sure..lots of love

  127. So true Biko.Grief never goes away,eventually it takes a backseat and we learn to live with it positively.
    Happy belated mothers day Jane,be very proud of the family you raised.
    Say hi to my dad up there. I never met him but I miss him and I wish he had been there to watch me grow.
    Also say hi to my little girl Ivy Marie. Though I only knew her for 3 hours,let her know that mommy loves her so much. It breaks my heart that I won’t see her grow,but I won’t forget her.
    I miss them both dearly,and some day we can meet again up there.

  128. Reading this article was the hardest thing to do since i lost my Mum this year. I totally relate to what you are saying. Mum I miss you so much it hurts. I
    Tutaonana baadaye … Happy Belated Mothers day Mum.

  129. Am I too late to say anything..??
    This so far is way too good.. I was reading and felt like it. like on phone and telling her all that.. Deep with wit empathy and all emotions combined together.

  130. How is it that I am laughing and crying at the same time re-reading this at 1 a.m.
    I am also revisiting some rather sad memories. I have always wanted to speak about mine for a while
    without woiye’s. I hate those. But I will go ahead and get it out of my system.

  131. Very emotional .makes tears drop throughout the read Nothing as pure as a mother’s love I value and treasure mine so much