Dealing with the death of a loved one is never easy. It is a wound that never heals and a void that can never be filled no matter how much time passes.
Losing a child or a parent is even worse given that children and parents create a connection immediately after conception thus severing those ties is almost impossible.
Norman Cousin once said ” Death is not the greatest losing life, the greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.”
On April 2014, the gospel fraternity lost a talented artiste Peter Kabere after he was electrocuted while washing his car.
At the time of his death, Kaberere’s wife Njeri was expectant with their second child and the shock of of his death is something she will never be able to put in words.
Unlike many people who let depression get the best of them, Njeri has come up with creative ways to fight her grief.
Speaking to The Nairobian she said
“I have found ways of coping with grief that are positive. I let my body go through such emotions as crying and feeling sad. I talk about what I feel and express myself. I try not to numb my pain but release it eventually.
I have found that reading does help one to cope with grief. I read books that help me. I love reading books about heaven and I find courage in the knowledge that my husband is with God. I also rest well and do the things I love.”
Given that her kids are also in mourning, she includes them in the healing process.
“I do a lot of writing and journaling, which helps, besides celebrating what her husband was when alive. She talks it out with her kids as they jam to his songs,once in a while, we visit the grave and pray together,”
TV presenter Isabella Kiturui lost her spouse after battling colon cancer when she was only 25-years-old with a three-month-old baby boy.
“I mourned for eight years between 2005 and 2013. It was a shock, like a never-ending nightmare. I had been married for just one year,”
The TV girl revealed how her pastor, counseled her asking her to move on and she did so though it took a while.
From that day, Isabella Kituri decided to try and forget what had happened and she said:
“I decided to remove my wedding band seven years later after a talk with my pastor who encouraged me to move on.”
“I had a meeting with myself. I had to stop behaving as if the world owed me for the loss and pain I suffered. I began to train myself to see the world as a stage of opportunities. I stopped feeling that people around me should give me their shoulder.”
Instead, I started sharing my experience, empowering others in similar situations. I became more useful to the universe,” she says. “I called myself ‘Blessed Bella’ as a mantra to remind me I can be happy again.”
Although she is not in a relationship, she goes out for ‘coffee’ a lot and here is her greatest lesson from her journey as a widow
“Be gentle with yourself, be happy with your space and seek peace from within yourself, never from others.”
George Ikua lost his wife Jane Kanini in April 2017, after she lost her battle with lung cancer leaving behind two kids.
Speaking to the Nairobian about her death, George said
“Everything became surreal, it’s like she is still there, but she is gone.”
Ikua admits small blessing have helped him. He is tighter with the kids: “I guess we are a happy family,” but being a single dad and father to a daughter has created major adjustments, starting most mornings with them, dropping them off and running my biashara until 3pm when I pick them be-fore starting my life at 8pm when they sleep.”
George received a lot of help from his family in taking of the kids even as he made adjustments in both his social and financial life
“My sister-in-law, sister and their godmother have been nothing short of angels for my little girl. But I realize I am the primary source of love and can’t delegate that. So, I can say I am a proud mummy and do most of the things with her, you should see me in the salon!”
Ikua admits that grieving never stops as “when you lose a loved one, it never goes away. The pain just dulls with some very dark days reappearing”
As a way of mourning and keeping Janet’s memories alive, George kept some of her stuff, his plan was to also share some of it with Janet’s siblings
“I am still getting round to it, but I have picked a few pieces to pass to Jasmine because of their sentimental value and for the memories. The rest I will donate to her sisters and charity. Funny how when someone dies you realize it’s just stuff.” Ikua lost his wedding band before Janet died “and we never got round to replacing it.”
Music Producer Tedd Josiah had all his life planned out with his beautiful wife Regina Katar but fate had other plans for the couple.
Regina lost her life after suffering from a rare disease Thrombocytopenia that saw her blood platelet count fall below normal after childbirth.
According to Tedd Josiah Regina’s platelets were so diluted, leading to a significantly reduced count. Sadly, all through she had an internal bleeding, which had not been detected, nor stopped, because of her low platelet count.
Speaking on her death he said
“Imagine calling someone your everything – home, safe place, your all – and watching them slowly fade away on their deathbed in less than an hour. I was left on a free fall and lost. In many ways, Regina was my anchor.
I have to make a lot of adjustments; I am more hands-on with my baby. I have to wash her, clean, cook, feed and be always there for her,” explains Josiah. “I am lucky my office is in my home so I can spend all the time I need with her,”
Though it is hard for him to raise his daughter alone, he is thankful that the in-laws have been supportive.
He hasn’t forgotten his wife as he is still grieving and misses the good times he shared with Regina. The scar of that loss is quite obvious, proof that there is such a thing as true love.
“Losing someone you love isn’t easy, especially if it was real love. They say that love never dies, so imagine the confusion in my mind on some days. The loss in my mind. The heaviness in my heart just thinking about the fun times and wishing she’d pop out from behind the door and scream ‘boo!’ and scare me. That’s what we used to do to each other… and listening to a beautiful song and wishing I could share that with her. But she’s not here.”
Ted says that to keep his wife’s memories alive he chose to keep all her stuff so that he can pass them over to their daughter Jay.
“I kept it all. Some precious stuff will stay with me until my daughter is old enough to inherit it all…to let my little Jay know that her mom was loved, her memory was kept safe, but so were her valuable things.”
Uganda’s female artiste Julianna Kanyomozi, lost her son Keron who had been admitted at Agha Khan hospital in Nairobi after a severe Asthmatic attack.
During an interview with The Nairobian, Juliana opened up on how she was dealing with her sons death confessing that she had at one point been angry with God, but she was taking baby steps to heal.
“I’ve been through a lot. I’ve always been extremely strong. But this was beyond it. There are things that happen to you and you cannot find the perfect vocabulary to explain them. It’s that pain that leaves you helpless and no one else but God can help!” Juliana opened up a while back.”
She goes on to add
“I was very angry with God. He had just taken away the most important thing I had in life. Then again, there’s always a reason for everything single thing. He does,” she said adding that she was not really in touch with the world at that moment.”
Juliana went on to open up on how she deals with her grief given that their is no standard way of mourning when a calamity such as death strikes.
“I have my bad days where I sit with a box of tissue and let the tears flow. I don’t know how long it will take me to move on. It is something that will always be a part of me. I’m only being a strong woman.
“It is all part of the healing process. I’m taking baby steps. I’m not yet there emotionally. When you’ve gone through something like this, you have to find the strength first.”