SILENT SCREAMS “can i be myself?”

…. It passed on more as a drama festival than a funeral. Brother turned against another and parents in tears torn between which sides to take the living or mourn the deceased. I come from the Luo community, one of the major and popular tribes in Kenya. My tribesmen celebrate life even at death. You see when someone dies a big ceremony follows immediately after the last breath. Neighbors and family members’ camp at the deceased home until a day or week after the burial. Food is cooked for the community from breakfast to dinner. One can easily identify a bereave d’s home from the numerous bonfires set by the fence in case the homesteads kitchen is too small, trust me it’s always too small. Women fetch water filling big drums arranged along the outdoor kitchen, while the men gather in small groups some clearing bushes or making the tent others just sat talking and eating something. Normally the immediate family members would be gathered inside the main house receiving visitors and financing the expenses that could be their only duty the rest the community would handle. We mourn our dead with vigor and swag just as we live……but today was different one could get reprehended for just a loud cry. The crowd was unsettled silent whisper from ear to ear in groups. Everyone had their own version of the story from the thousand speculations. I sat silently lost in thoughts looking at my grandmother who sat in front of me. She didn’t need to look behind for one to notice the sadness in her eyes and her tear stained face. Back then I couldn’t relate but just imagine the pain she was feeling though I empathized with her the pain of losing a child is unbearable, worse when it is suicide. It was clear she didn’t want to hear that word and that’s the part of the story she tried to block away, but according to my tribesmen suicidal deaths are a great taboo and traditional rituals had to be performed to clean the homestead off that bad omen. Rituals that reminded her that her son took his life. The tension was growing as my two elder uncles exchanged bitterly. I knew she couldn’t take it anymore it tore her apart. How could they not see she was suffering she is a mother and to her just like any mother her little Babyboy will always be a saint. i took her by hand and led her out of the heated congregation to her room. She sat down and let out the storm that had built inside her, oh my poor grandmother I held on to her tightly as we cried our hearts out. After a long silent she looked up to me and asked me “why did this happen?”. i am naturally good with words and I find a way to twist them to every occasion but today I failed my granny. Every single word chocked me intensely instead of talking I coughed terrible.” haven’t I prayed enough?” she continued “don’t I serve the lord in truth and honesty like he directs us to, where did I go wrong?” she broke down in a fresh stream of tears. i wanted to yell back at her to stop! her words denied me peace they pierced my heart deeply. i felt her pain and misery.” is not that a son buries his mother…” I couldn’t take it any more i wanted to run away or be mad just like everyone.
can i be myself 1

i remember his call three days ago around seven thirty pm . It had been brief and weird but I had been working since 4 am that day and was too tired to notice the red flag or rather delayed to act on it. His tone was usual but deep and he had spoken a little bit slow sluggish maybe, I assumed he was drunk or high as usual. His first words had been “sheila do i have any importance in life? Haaaa” I had laughed with him dismissing the weight of the words and thought it was more of a joke. You see he was more of a brother than an uncle. He was my elder sisters age mate a young and free soul whom we had spent most if not all holidays together. He was the first person all the cousins looked for when we arrived upcountry he made vacations adventurous. We were so close that we called him by his first name “Phil” short form for Philemon, although he was a generation older and we were required to use the title uncle. But he didn’t mind he liked it that way and that was how it remained. All I had taken from the call was the part he needed cash which i sent the 200ksh he had asked for. i was to call him back that weekend to talk more since i had an early morning the following day so i dismissed him. he told me” you know you are stronger than me you are a fighter and i admire that your always bold enough to be yourself no matter how much they judge you, don’t ever change for them continue being you” this was a usual speech when he was drunk. So i just laughed cut him short and said we shall talk. Little did i know this were his last words to me. The fact that he called all my other cousins that same night talking in parables doesn’t give me comfort for i still feel i failed to play my role that fateful night………

part 1

Published by inkedtears

The story teller. We all are perfect in our own imperfection.

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