My last words to Mama were “Bye Mama, tuonane ruciu.” How could my last words be in Kikuyu? I am not Kikuyu, neither is my Kenyan husband. We did jokingly use this phrase a lot in our family. Mostly because we laughed at the fact that we grew up in kikuyuland and barely learned a word of the language.
When things are hard, I can be extreme in how I react to the situation at hand. I am either crying my eyes out or joking around even when it is glaringly inappropriate. So, on that Saturday evening as I said goodbye to my mum having spent the whole day with her at hospital, I chose to joke. Little did I know I was actually saying my last goodbyes, and I would not see her the next day as I had alleged in my broken Kikuyu. What I would see was her body. She was gone by the time my dad and I got to the hospital the next morning.
With Mother’s Day a few days away, I am tempted to think that I miss Mama more during this time. But there is no day I miss her more. I miss her the same each day because it is impossible to miss her any more than I already do.
I missed her when I had to celebrate my daughter’s first birthday without her, on the first Christmas without her, when we crossed over from 2018 to 2019 feeling like I had left her behind, on my first birthday without her when all I wanted to do was curl up in bed and cry the day away. I miss her on a random day on my way back from work as I sit in a taxi, my tears flowing freely, leaving my neighbor concerned. I would continue missing her one year and eight months later when I woke up with a heart so heavy and tears flowing because of a dream I had, only to realize she is not here anymore.
Not a day goes by without thinking about her. What she would have said about some of the decisions I have since made, what she would have done in certain circumstances. She is in the little everyday moments and in the big life-changing moments.
Seated at her funeral, half listening to people eulogize her and half trying to stop my soon to be one year old from running around the church, I knew life had changed but what I did not know then was to what magnitude.
I did not know that grief would have me change into an angry person. Angry that Mama died, angry that she suffered so much before she died, angry that the world went on with its business yet in my corner of the world I might as well have been dead myself.
I did not know that I would soon isolate myself from friends, leaving them wondering why I bowed out on all plans that came up and somewhat irritated by it.
Most of the changes would be permanent. Like not being able to talk to her about anything and everything. Marriage, friendships, career decisions, mommy hacks (she did give me a few cool hacks though, like do not switch on the lights for night feeds with a newborn. This is a tried and certified one).
I will never wake up to her cheesy WhatsApp forwards. The ones that prompt you to send to fifty other people including the sender. We teased her so much about those, but she still sent them diligently.
She was an awesome mum and I looked up to her in every way. I told her as much on the last Mother’s Day message I sent her to which she responded by encouraging me that I already am a good mum.
I pray I am. I pray I love my child(ren) like she did us. Sacrificially, unconditionally and fiercely.
I pray I keep pushing ahead in my walk with Christ like she did. Keep trusting, keep hoping, and keep looking to Christ as the author and finisher of my faith.
I pray I can stay happy. She always concluded our conversations by asking me if I was happy, wishing me happiness and urging me not to let anything steal my joy. It is hard to be happy now that she is gone.
Maybe I was wrong, maybe I do miss her more this Mother’s Day. It is hard to tell behind all these tears.
Yunia Kazibwe is the founder of Adulting Out Loud. She is a wife, and mother to an amazing little girl. When she is not writing for the blog or recording for the podcast, Yunia loves spending lazy days with family, watching movies and catching up on a good series. Though she doesn’t currently have one, she loves cats.
Yunia prefers texting to phone calls, enjoys taking walks, and her favourite snack is popcorn. She often plays pranks on people, and only stops laughing to catch a breath.