African Woman, How to Live a Lifeless Life and Sustain a Loveless Life, Learning to Live a Balanced Life, Life Lessons, Love is..., Loves of a Life Time

Not even death can kill love

This month, March 2018, marks 13 years since my dad died. They say time heals all wounds, and it is partly true.

Mostly, for me, the festering took time. I thought it was getting gangrenous. But it didn’t, it just took time.

I had to watch out for my siblings, so they didn’t drown in the grief. And then we had to care for mother, who couldn’t stop herself drowning from the grief.

I had no time to grieve. I had to move to Stockholm and study.

Eventually, the scab developed to cover the wound. Then again, every now and then, the scab peeled off as soon as something else happened to push particular unidentified buttons.

About five years ago, the wound felt healed. It stopped bleeding, and the scab stopped dropping off leaving tears, depressions, rage, neurotic anxiety and all other symptoms of emotional harm.

Still, the healed wound can throb when it is too cold.

When I see a dad hugging their daughter.

When I hear a song he loved.

When I see a tall, thin man with his arms wrapped behind his back.

When I see a man too drunk.

When my stomach hurts, I remember the day dad and I agreed that we had stomach aches at the exact same time. I went to see the doctor. Dad refused to go see the doctor.

He went drinking.

When I fight with my mother, I remember all the times he fought with her.

For almost the same reasons.

When I am a little nervous or worried, the psychological finger goes to touch the throbbing healed wound.

But I did finally find Rumi, a fragile healing:

  • Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form.

I have forgiven myself. I have forgiven dad. I have even forgiven life.

Still, the healed wound throbs every now and then. Just to remind me that he was here. He loved me with all the love he was capable of. Because he had no courage or consciousness to love himself.

Although he died at the end of March 2005, every year, I go through the whole of March thinking about him. Feeling the joy I always felt when he laughed. Remembering his total, non-judgemental dedication to my entire freedom. Remembering his touch on my head when he once shaved my hair off to save me the morning-hair-fixing-routines.

I was never a mourning or a morning person. I was all laughter, jokes and joy. I have had to learn to grieve, to be sad and to externalize grief and sorrow. And I have had to learn to wake up early in the morning.

I still hear his proud, joyous, voice when he introduced me to his friends:

“Have you met my daughter?! named after my mother, Elena?”

Rumi on sorrow

Not even death can kill love.

African Woman, Life Lessons, Therapy Sessions

Love is blind; friendship closes its eyes and listens with the soul – Part 1

When I was 16,  I made the trip that would save my life. I ended up by the beaches of the blue 20140805_193743warm Indian ocean for the 1st time in my life. Not from death. I was always far from dying. And as close to dying as I am today. This trip saved me from desperation. The desperation that comes from not seeing far enough. The desperation that comes from not seeing the options you have. The desperation that comes from limitations set by circumstances, family, society, religion. Desperation that comes from the limitations we set for ourselves because of ignorance and fear.

Watamu was a small village then, 16-17 years ago. My childhood friend Sessa, my deepest friendship of all time, was to start working at a restaurant in Watamu. Sessa had never been to the coast either. Her cousin who had worked at the coast for some years had promised her there was work. Sessa was 16 too, a few months older than I, but just barely; I was born in September, a hot dry month in Kenya. Sessa is born in may, in the middle of the long rains. When we were small, my friend and I, people used to joke that we were so close because we completed each other. She was serious, quiet, strong, brave. Sometimes a little gloomy. This is because it rained, flooded and shook with thunderstorm the first 3 months of her life; her mother used to tell us.  “Sessa’s first smile was for the lightening.  Who smiles at the lightening? except to challenge it?”

By July, the rains have become incessant drizzles and it is cold. Sessa stayed indoors, short visits outdoors when the sun shined, as it always does in Kenya. Come rain or thunder, the sun will show its beautiful face some time during the day. But it remains wet and muddy and adults don’t want to be out in that weather with babies. By mid August, drier and sunnier, Sessa is used to the rain and the indoors. And she is no sunny girl. Her warmth is the heart. In the soul. I am the sunny one. Taken out the first week I was home and outdoors until December when the short rains arrived.

I joined a boarding school 144km from Nairobi in February 2001. I was 14 years and 5 months  old. Sessa’s single mother was unable to send her to high school so Sessa was to stay at home and learn some kind of trade or marry. Education is a luxury in many parts of the world, costing the extra that some families just don’t have. Sessa was to drift around for 1½ years dodging marriage proposals.  We both felt desperate and scared for different reasons.

The first letter I received came from Sessa. She had found the lyrics of “You are my sunshine“,  For the first time since we were 3 years old, we would not see each other every day. For 3 months.

friendsMy dearest friend/sister, the letter began

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are grey
You’ll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don’t take my sunshine away

The other night dear, as I lay sleepin’
I dreamed, I held you in my arms
When I awoke dear, I was mistaken
So I hung my head and I cry

I will come for the visiting day on Saturday, 17th March. I am saving every cent I get for that! when you have become a lawyer as you always dreamed, you can pay me back for my kindness. [we had 1 visiting day per term. A term was 3 months long but this term was shorter for me since I reported to school on the 12th of February.]

Lots of love from Sessa Sessa. I used to call her Sessa Sessa

She sent only the two verses. The nuns at St. Mary’s  girls high school [catholic high school for girls] thought it was a boy and almost didn’t hand the letter over to me.

Borrowed, Life Lessons, Rantics, Therapy Sessions

When facing a difficult week, here’s a poem for the soul: If, by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!