The day she left I felt some kind of relief; the past four years had not been easy on her. That phone call is one I think I will never forget. How can I? It heralded the setting of her sun and the dawn of a new era in our lives! Soon after that relief, a pain such as I have never felt before made its way into my heart and threatened to live there till I booted it out by force.
We had walked this earth together since I was a baby on her back; she carried me, fed me, clothed me, bathed me and loved me. I’m sure I was not an easy baby at all! I must have been a loud mouthed, always talking kind of little girl. I was forever all over the place so much that my granddaddy called me ‘kashiri’ meaning little bird – non-stop chirping, continuously moving! Yet she would let me talk her ears off all the time. Sometimes I would call her just to hear her answer – a habit I carried into my adulthood, one that we would laugh about.
Way back when !
It used to look like she was really big when I was a kid. Only in 2008 did I realise she was really quite very tiny! It shocked me quite a bit that I could hug her and she would fit right under my chin. I would hug her and smile right over her head – every hug reminded me of just how little she was and how not long ago I used to think she was quite the opposite. Do not be fooled by the outside! This little lady was made of tough stuff; she was so strong we all leaned on her. All of us! All of us being her husband, 6 children (incl. her sister’s daughter that she adopted) and 9 grandchildren. The only thing that seemed to shake her much was us not going to see her for the holidays. I guess in short I can say she was our rock.
We all did lean on her – all of us and more!
There never was an interaction without a lesson. My favourite lesson that I still carry around with me is money isn’t everything, as long as you are happy you will be alright. This woman also taught me the value of working hard and pushing hard to get what you want. I remember one time she told me to “vuk’uzenzele” meaning “get up and do it for yourself”. Those words stuck, I tried working hard and the rewards kept me going. I still work quite hard today, largely because of her encouragement and the look on her face when I told her of my achievements. That was just priceless! I lived for that look, for seeing the excitement registering – it was that ‘ding!’ that made me want to accomplish even more.
Contrary to popular belief, being a pastor’s granddaughter and a therefore a pastor’s wife’s granddaughter was one of the most amazing things that I have ever been. I remember getting ready for church, knocking at their bedroom door in my Sunday Best and being handed my offering; 5c coin which had a rabbit on it. I wonder if it was taken from my pocket money or if they just decided to give us the money. I grew to love that 5c coin till I graduated to the 20c one. If the beauty of a soul could be defined by the love one has for their creator, hers would be stunning! The woman loved God so much and tried her best to show us how to do that too. Sometimes we walked over 15km just to get to the church where she would be preaching at, when she could she would simply cycle the distance.
This is an ode to Nyakutumbura Nyakutumbura, Amai vaAmai vangu, Ambuya vangu, Gogo vangu, the one who loved me like my own mother did. The one whose love for all people, especially her grandchildren can never be replaced or even remodelled. She was a pillar of strength, my cornerstone, my guide, my yardstick. Rest in peace Gogo, you are simply an amazing woman and I hope to become half the woman that you were on this earth!
Her hubby and the first 3 grandkids! We were nothing without her!