Death Strikes My Neighbourhood
A True Story
on Sep 13, 2018
The other day, I was having so gloomy a morning that I had trouble getting out of bed. But then as I lay on my bed dozing lazily, I heard someone knock the door. And when I opened it, I saw it was our neighbour. He asked me whether my Dad and Mum were around. And then while wearing a grief-stricken face, he blurted out in Swahili, "My wife has passed on!"
As I have said, I was having a gloomy morning, so I wasn't in a mood of prodding him into telling me more about his wife's death. I just expressed my sympathy, closed the door and headed back to bed. But the bad news made me feel gloomier than I had been. It led me to worry that the same tragedy could befall on my family.
Later on that day, I regretted why I hadn't prodded my neighbour into telling me what caused his wife's untimely demise. I have described her demise as untimely because a few months earlier, I had seen her on several occasions including one time she came to fetch water from our tank. To hear of her death so soon caught me by surprise.
Yesterday though, I had an opportunity to talk with the neighbour when he came to fetch water from our tank. I asked him fearlessly the question I had wished to ask him: that is, "What caused your wife's death?"
Well, the neighbour is not a man of means given the way he comes to borrow water from us. He works as a night watchman at some place in or near my home-town. But when it came to narrating the cause of his wife's death, he used such scientific jargon as "pulmonary artery" that I would not have expected from a man of his low calibre.
So as he told me, his wife had suffered tuberculosis some years back. The disease impaired her respiratory system which eventually led to the complications that claimed her life last week. And the neighbour informed me that they had harvested maize together that very day she passed away. Truly, the world is like that - incomprehensible and full of surprises.
As I currently pen this story, I am more at peace with myself and less worried about a similar tragedy striking our family. But I am nonetheless more conscious of the fact that death is awaiting us all sometime in the future. We are all on borrowed time.
On my part, thinking about death has helped me to renew my resolve to make the most of every day and have all the fun I can while still living. Tomorrow may never be mine.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story of mine on the death that has struck my neighbourhood, you might also enjoy another story I wrote sometime back on "Thinking About Death". Just click on that link in blue to jump straight into the story.
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Awakening the Child Within
A True Story
on Sep 12, 2018
When I was little boy of seven way back in 1994, my life was blissful. Like when I went to take milk in the evening to the home of a distant neighbour called Mrs. Mathenge, who by the way has turned out to be a good friend of mine these days, I used to love giving free reign to my imagination by thinking and doing creative acts along the way.
Imagine at times during those walks, I would pick dry blades of maize plants, reduce them into two smaller pieces with my hands and stick them together into 'X' shape by piercing a thin stick where the blades crossed. Then I would start running with my right hand holding one end of the stick, whose other end pierced the blades, while pointing the hand forward and voila! The maize plant blades would start rotating like the engine fans of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
I also loved visualizing myself winning fights like the way Shawn Michaels did. In those days, I was a big fan of the WWF wrestling show that was aired on KBC - the only TV station available back then here in Kenya - on Tuesdays after 7.00pm news. Our family owned a small black & white television set called Greatwall which I am sure some of my agemates in the '90s are familiar with. Our television set may have been small as well as black & white but trust me, I always looked forward to watching those WWF wrestling shows.
Shawn Michaels was a handsome and a charismatic wrestler who earned my admiration more than any other did. I noted he had a particular style of winning his fights by tapping his right leg on the boxing ring floor twice, then hitting his opponent with the same leg. Whenever Shawn Michaels started tapping his leg, I knew he was about to win the wrestling match. And he always did.
There was one special wrestling match that is worth narrating here. Special in the sense that all the wrestlers, who I had hitherto only watched in two-man fights, were all put together in the same boxing ring. The match, as I learnt while it went on, was all about the wrestlers eliminating each other from the boxing ring. And the last man to remain in the ring was declared the winner.
Needless to say, I strongly rooted for Shawn Michaels when the match commenced. And he managed to stay in the ring as the fighting went on. But when the match boiled down to four or five wrestlers, some of them ganged up to eliminate Shawn Michaels. They managed to push him out of the boxing ring but somehow, Shawn Michaels kept himself in the match by hanging on one of the boxing ring cords.
Given the way I loved Shawn Michaels, I must have felt nervous that my hero was about to be eliminated. All I recall was that he outwitted his opponents, got back into the ring and eventually won the special wrestling match. Oh, how I loved Shawn Michaels!
So much did I love Shawn Michaels that during my evening walks while taking milk to Mrs. Mathenge's home, I would imagine myself winning fights like he did as I have already said. Sometimes I would find myself touching leaves of plants along the paths I trod on - the way Shawn Michaels greeted his fans on his way to the boxing ring at the beginning of every match he fought.
That was vintage me back in 1994. And that's the kind of child-like spirit I am trying to re-awaken in me. I want to feel joyful and creative again, certainly now not by running with dry blades of maize plants if you have gotten the gist of my story.
I beseech you to also join me in the endeavor of re-awakening the child within us. Let us strive to joyful and creative again, first by freeing ourselves from all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. And then by being kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgives us as St. Paul says in one of his epistles in the Bible. Adieu!