On this day last year we held my mum’s funeral service. It was a beautiful send-off that I know she would be proud of.
That being said, I had no idea how hard it is to plan a funeral. Fucking hell it is difficult AF!! An ex of mine told me planning a wedding is just as stressful. I suppose that is true but a wedding has the pleasure of:
- Being a happy event. Therefore even if planning it has stressful moments, it is still a joyous activity.
- Time. Unless you are a Hollywood celebrity with a huge team at hand no one really sets their wedding date for a week or two after getting engaged.
My mum’s funeral service was held one week after she died and in those seven days there was barely any time to cry. We had to organise for the obituary, the availability of the church, the church programmes, the eulogy, the flowers, the coffin, her final outfit, the photo that would be placed on the coffin among other miscellaneous things. It was nonstop running around as we had very few days to ensure everything got done. I was so busy making sure my mum would have the perfect send-off there was no time to fall into a weeping mess. I knew the burial upcountry would be a mini political rally so for me the funeral service would be the real send-off for my mum. I was especially happy that we were able to have it at the church she used to attend before she became paralysed.
To mark one year since the funeral service I have decided to share the tributes my siblings and I wrote for the church programmes. The original idea was to share the unedited version of the spoken tribute I gave at the service. But when I read it I realised it is already broken down in various The Grief Diaries posts, both uploaded and planned.
Also, it is long AF! We had agreed on tributes from one of her friends, one of her nieces, one of her siblings and one of her children. That way we would showcase her as a friend, an aunt, a sister and a mother. Each of us was to speak for not more than 5 minutes but when I rehearsed the unedited version of my tribute it came to 10 minutes. Bruh! I opted to trim it down and leave the long speeches to the politicians.
“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.”
They say God could not be everywhere so He created mothers. True to that, my mother made plans to prosper me, give me hope and a future. Not just to me, but to all of you that kept her dear in your hearts.
My mother was strong, unyielding, selfless, compassionate, humble, loyal; all with this viscous sense of humour. Nothing brought J.S. down. Nothing made her quit. My mother had a fierce cling to life, and the daily blessing a new dawn brought upon her.
For with that she lived, and lived life to the fullest.
There’s a lot my mom’s taught me. And yet there’s still so much I’d yet to learn from her. But in her works and all of her loved ones I see her light. Shinning the way for us all.
My mother, my model I aspire to … I miss you. More than I know.
I will always love you.
Mama, where do I even start? The day we lost you, was the day I felt the greatest pain because of the deep hole you left in my heart. You were the best person I will ever know. So many people have shared great memories of you and how you were there for them. I find myself wondering how you were able to touch so many peoples’ lives and still be the most loving mother. You were the cool mum who took us to parties, the strict mum who brought us up right, the loving mum who molded us with your goodness, the gourmet chef mum whose cooking always turned into celebration. You were the person I went to when I wanted to laugh and when I had to cry, even when you were the reason. Your hugs were the warmest, safest place on earth that melted everything bad away.
I will miss the way you would call me ‘Noni’ & ‘Gathoni my mum’. I will miss your laughter that turned into tears especially during Churchill live. I will miss the light in your eyes and the brightest smile you gave even the very last time I saw you in a hospital bed. And I am already missing your voice which gave me so much comfort, joy, great reason and council.
But I will remember your strength, your grace and your perseverance. You fought for us, not just towards the end, but our whole lives. You fought all my battles and celebrated all my successes. You were my biggest cheerleader and the person who was always on my team. I am beyond honored to have had you in my life as my mother.
I love you dearly, deeply with all my heart. Sleep well among the angels.
My mum’s legacy was that she loved with all she had, whether you deserved it or not.
To quote the late great Maya Angelou – she did not merely survive, but thrived; and with some passion, some compassion, some humour, and some style.
She was larger than life itself. I loved her more than life itself. She was the absolute love of my life. I will never love another person more than I loved her.
I will miss her deeply. She was the best person I will ever know.
RIP my warrior queen. Until we meet again.