…When It All Becomes A Memory…

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It’s Monday at 1730hrs. I have ticked everything on my to-do list for the day and I am excited about going home. I am stuck on the traffic jam at Mbagathi road, that stretch just before the Montezuma and Monalisa Funeral home and there is this huge signpost that points to the funeral home. It is so screaming, you can’t miss it. Then I remember this online version I had just read a few hours ago.

The most unfair thing about life is the way it all ends. I mean, life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time. What do you get at the end of it all? DEATH! What’s that? A bonus? I think life cycle is all backwards. You should die first; completely get it out of the way. Then you live in an old age home. Then you get kicked out when you are too young, you get a gold watch or a pet cat. You go to work, you work forty years until you are young enough to enjoy your retirement. You do drugs, alcohol, you party, you get ready for high school, you go to grade school, you become a kid, you play endlessly, you have no responsibilities, you become a little baby, you go back to the womb, you spend your last nine months floating….and you just finish off as an orgasm.

I kind of liked it, ohh, actually I liked it a lot. It is true that this whole life cycle is so backwards. I love the way it ends, “…..you should spend your last nine months floating….and you just finish off as an orgasm.” How I wish that was the reality.

So I turn off the radio in my car, as if to listen to something, but to actually give space to my mind to ponder on this question- the efficacy of life- What is this life all about? Why are we here in the first place? Are we sure that’s what our maker intended it for you and I to be where we are today and that it is pleasing before His eyes? That wherever we are placed, it is at the right place. That we belong to the right family, our birth order is correct, we work at the right office, we hold the right position, we earn what we deserve, we are married or have married the right persons and that it is ok for people to die despite the fact that it hurts us so much?

I have come to the place of observing the frequent times I stop and spend some extra minutes on the obituary pages as I flip through the newspaper pages every morning. Not that I have a particular liking but as I grow older, I tend to look at news from this other dimension of the transient nature of life. You see, I lost my father in 2014, and for the first time in my life, I sat down and asked myself, what next? So he is gone to meet his maker and then what happens to us? Or rather, is that all? Like he was here, to work, get married, get his own children, work every day of his life providing for us, then one day, it all goes to the grave. Just like that? Is that all?

Ok, assuming that is all, that we are here to follow a particular path, which clearly looks like it’s a trail that is somehow predetermined, how do we reconcile ourselves with mortality and make the most of our days on earth?

One thing is for sure, as long as we are alive today, then we are surely heading to the grave. Sooner than we know it, we are heading there. And since we do not know the time and venue of our predetermined exit, the next question lingering in my mind is, is it right, perhaps, to think about legacy. And here I am not talking about grand projects, a street named after me or even the airport but just investing each day to ensure that my actions inscribe a remembrance in people’s hearts and lives. You see, life is fickle as it can get and any candid discussion with a critical care specialist tells you that even the best hospital in the world might not be able to resolve this paradox- why some live longer on life support and go back to health and why others come with sometimes the most minor health situation end up in that wheel chair to the cold room. You know, you drove yourself to the hospital and came out in a coffin. Be that as it may, I am finding myself at times like this with slow traffic questioning what I will be remembered for.

Will I be happy to say, I danced my all when I got to the dancing floor? Will I be happy to say, those that I loved, joined me to the dancing floor and together we had a time of our life. Have I danced my all when my favorite song Flavour by Sexy Rosey featuring P Square was playing? You know I can play this song looped. I love the energy and the attitude in this song. I like it playing when I have closed all windows in my car and I have raised the volume that the only extra thing I can hear is the vibrations on the sides.

Will people describe my life with this kind of energy? Did I enjoy each minute of my life knowing clearly that my life will soon come to a close and while it comes to a close, I want to be remembered for living life to my best, I want to be remembered for loving everyone even when they didn’t deserve my love, but conscious of the fact that, I won’t let people take advantage of my love and misuse it in the process. Aware of the fact that everything I have in life- breath and good health; family and friends, that opportunity to be in gainful employment and make an impact in the nation and this world are not guaranteed but just as short-lived.

I want to be remembered for a great legacy I leave behind lest people hear of my exit with excitement and go like, ‘Finally she is on the roll call or the typical ‘good riddance to bad garbage?’

I want to be remembered for being there for my family and friends when they called me to be there for them. For being there to celebrate the birthdays with my nieces and nephews. For being there during their graduations and celebrating them. For buying that pair of catchy heels I saw zooming past the duty free shop as I connected flights and being able to walk in them, with the knowledge that one day, I will not be able to wear them again. Because all this is transient. All this is vanity, as the good book describes it. Therefore, let it not be said that I lived my life in regrets, sorrow or sadness. I want happiness to describe my days, because this too is a choice I make.

It is most likely that as you read this, you are either grieving, have grieved or about to grieve the loss of a loved one. Adversity they say introduces a person to their real selves and it is in such moments that we get that rude awakening that we just can’t float in space…live without the thinking of tomorrow in terms of savings and preparing for that unfortunate turn of events. But even then, living each day as it comes with its fair and at times unfair share of trials and tribulations without the assurance of life means that I only have now, today, to make it count. Therefore, I want to be alive in each step of my life, to value each moment, because sooner or later, it will all be a memory.

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Patience Nyange

I believe in a just society and I am a strong believer in Ralph Waldo Emerson words: “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate and to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

8 thoughts on “…When It All Becomes A Memory…

  • 10th August 2016 at 12:12 pm

    Yeah i want to be alive too ,nowadays on this life we are surrounded by soo much risks worst being on our kenya road but as we make it all thru day in and day out i think we should always be thankful to our heavenly papa for that.Very insightful blogMerci beaucoup
    Sent from Iphone

    • 10th August 2016 at 12:18 pm

      Thanks John Otieno.
      Unfortunately, it hits us as we grow older. When we were young, these are things we didn’t think about.

  • 10th August 2016 at 1:09 pm

    This is beautiful. I am also inspired to be alive all along in my life and in my friends and families lives. Great read. kudos!.

    • 10th August 2016 at 1:21 pm

      Hi Adeline,
      Thank you for popping by. I look forward to reading your blog post one day.
      And yes, it is good to make a decision to be alive along the process.

  • 10th August 2016 at 3:04 pm

    Metaphysics of Life, death and life; very few are mature enough to write few sentences on anything that reminds them of the mortality of life and the things that are carried by the life itself. Oh Patience, that a man may know the end of his day’s business before it comes; but it suffices that the day will end and the end will be known. Shakespeare in JULIUS CAESAR attributes the emperor saying ” death, of all the worries i have seen in this world, it seems to me the most strange that Men should fear, seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it comes”……Caeser said those worlds after his wife implored him not to leave the house to the senate, basing possible misfortune that could befall her husband on a gory dream the previous night….of course Caesar ignored his wife’s advice….but that he was assassinated in the Senate that morning. They say life is beautiful, death is peaceful, its the transition that is troublesome….
    This is a beautiful piece on a sad topic……its like honey and bee sting, ideally we humans would want to be stung by bees, and their after enjoy their honey forever. the reality is that we enjoy the honey and get the bee sting later on in life, life after death notwithstanding….as for the reason why we are on earth, where else would we want to be? Solomon agonized over this question, and his answer was that it is all vanity….why we are on earth and finding meaning of life are different events. you hear people lament that they have lost urge to live, but they wouldnt say they want to go and be dropped by NASA on MARS and be left there. because unlike earth, THERE is very lonely place.
    Finding meaning in life is being at peace with your creator, with your self and your neighbor; although some neighbors can get you hell even if you ask for peace from them…..after all this is said and done, you remember what Caesar said……death, a necessary end, will come when it comes…..whether you worry about it or not……life is afraid of death, but since the two have been around for ages and ages, it is about time the two antagonists lived side by side in peace.

    • 10th August 2016 at 5:07 pm

      Mmmm, Netwone, I am happy to be among the few that a mature enough to write about anything that reminds them of mortality of life…I am sure I wouldn’t have written anything about this topic two years ago. Now I am able to. Because death happens and life gives you a new meaning altogether. It did to me.
      Thank you for sharing your sentiments. Good to see it from your perspective, and even more so, to bring in Shakespeare. Interesting.

  • 11th August 2016 at 6:30 am

    well, life is a circle, in every stage of life different things happen , thats why if you read the book of ecclesiastic in the Bible you actually can build your or discourage your path in life, but the motto is to live every stage powerfully, graciously as if tomorrow will not come


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