Leap Of Faith

Thank you to everyone, not only for the comments accompanying this post but also for the love, support, empathy, patience and friendship over the past month and a half. It is appreciated.

The Lancashire sea-side resort of Blackpool is home to an Eiffel Tower inspired structure imaginatively named “The Blackpool Tower.” Standing at 518 ft 9 in tall (158 m) the Blackpool Tower is a great place to view the Lancashire coastline. In particular one of the lower platforms contains a glass floor which, while not advisable for those who suffer from a fear of heights, is a wonderful way to see the streets below. The people and cars really do look like ants! When the Dr and I visited Blackpool we told that we must attempt “the leap of faith” i.e. jumping onto the glass flooring. I am not ashamed to admit that I fell into the “O ye of little faith” category – I did not jump!

With hindsight I realise that it wasn’t faith I lacked; it was courage and the “leap of faith” title attributed to jumping onto the glass flooring was/is a misnomer. A leap of faith after all is defined as the act of believing in something without, or in spite of, available empirical evidence.

In the case of the glass floor at Blackpool Tower; there is empirical evidence to support the claim that jumping onto the glass floor will not cause you to drop to your death. It may not be readily available but certainly the engineers responsible for the structure could provide a series of calculations that prove the glass floor could withstand the “jumping weight” of a human being. The idea that jumping on the glass will lead to fall straight through is nothing more than an illusion.

It was only recently, November 13th 2006, to be exact, a month and a day after my mother died that I truly understood what it means to take a leap of faith. Since October 13th I have been told by many people that “things will get better,” “it will be ok, just give it time, or “it won’t hurt so bad after a little while.” From the time I left Kenya, a week after the funeral, to return to Abuja I sought proof to support these statements. Reluctant to go back to doing the things I enjoyed and talking with the people I love because all they did is remind me of a time when mum was alive. A time that I could say that though my mum was in coma she was still alive, we could still see her, touch her and speak to her. Happier times. A time that had gone forever and would never ever come back.

So here I am writing this blog post. I don’t want to write it because with mum’s death came this invisible line that marks everything in my life. Things, events, people, everything seems to neatly fit into one of two categories: those before mum’s death and those after. For a month I have tip-toed on that line. Not wanting to interact with those things that fall into former category for the reasons explained in the paragraph above and equally not wanting to cross over into the latter because I feel that, in spite of all the messages of “things will get better” I am convinced that they won’t. Yet I am writing this post because I know that the line is nothing more than illusion. Irrespective of how I feel the world did not come to standstill on October 12th 2006; it was for all intents and purposes just another day, as was October 11th I am writing this post because even though I have no proof that things will get better; I have to believe that they will.

So this post here; this is my leap of faith.

Hopefully tomorrow this same faith will empower me to respond to the lovely emails I received….and to write a thank you post…and to do all those things that I have been scared to do…

Comments

  1. Wow,
    Quite a deep and moving post babes. Just so you know, I think you’re doing the right thing. Making that leap and trying to get back into things will hopefully make it easier to come to terms with regardless of how long it might take.

    Also remember that you have many, many people standing with you here and if we all help each other through this then hopefully the easier it will be on all of us.

  2. I never met your mum, I suffer from this acrophobia and I was very much tempted to leave a comment on the tribute page set up by Mental & Mshairi but was lost for words and could only think of my dear friend Njuguna – a very simple and humble man who is a father of 5 from Ruaka – who told me “Kihoro? She’s a hero…”.

    And then I think of how these circumstances brought you back to Nbo for a more or less unexpected visit home, and how this enabled me to meet some cool fellow bloggers who are much more interesting than what their blogs could ever reveal.

    For me this leap of faith was coming to Kenya and jumping into an uncertain future. Something I haven’t regretted for a single moment. Kui – thx for being around.

  3. I admire your choice to take that leap…

  4. I admire your courage and sincerely thank you for sharing, because in doing so, you imparted to us/me a lesson.

    Here’s to you, your mom and your family…

  5. My admiration to you on doing this.

  6. The pain is not outside…it is inside. When I lost my dad I thought I could get over it by cutting people out….but I soon learnt that no matter what I did I would always carry the pain with me. Having been through a situation similar to yours in retrospect it might have been better to face the demons head on rather than to postpone the facing them because either way you have to deal with these emotions at one time or another. Human beings have an immense ability to mend and you moreso with the kind of support you have trust me girl, you will mend. Accept the love and support of others because I was not as fortunate to have that the way you do…

    You will not completely forget your mum but you will learn to live without her. Love you lots even though I haven’t met you. Be strong.

  7. Was great meeting you though shortly.

    As for Dr. Kihoro all i can say

    “her candle burnt out before, her legend never will”

    To say the truth you are part of her legend. The amazing things you do like moving from the Uk to volunteer in Belize a country most of us had never heard about is legendary in itself. Kudos

    Don’t want to say any more. Take the Leap of Faith.

  8. You are in my prayers as you take the leap.

  9. Faith also means those who have passes on are not lost.
    And that they continue live on through
    us the living who remember and revere
    them and their memory.

    Make your grieving active, focused and productive.
    That is what you Mum (and dad) have struggled and sacrifised their lives for. To make life better for the rest of us.

    What else can one tell the children of heroes?

    Your parents are our parents also.
    Their actions prove they loved us more than life

    So share sister, share.
    Share the grief, share the pride, share the pain
    share the joys, share the love, share her life.

    And continue her work

  10. Thank you for sharing your private personal moment of reflection. I can only imagine how hard it is to “simama imara” at a time like this. Prayers to you and the family.

  11. Wangui,
    Sometimes we just have to take a leap of faith for we know not what lies ahead. One day at a time, one leap at a time. I wish you well.

  12. Kui,

    All I can say is ride out the pain, just ride it out, dont block it, you have to face it sometime.

    We are all so proud of you!

  13. I’m really sorry to hear that. I hope you manage to move on.

    Remember “No-one is truly dead, as long as we remember them”

  14. …and that faith will carry you all as you adjust to this new situation.

    I feel you on the before/after thing, I still feel that way on occasion, and I think that’s perfectly alright.

    Much love to you all.

  15. Hey Kui,
    It is this way with life, with milestones, with pain, with heartbreak…sometimes we feel stuck in a moment, like it will never end, never get better, but time really does take it all away. Especially the pain, the profundity of the losses we have been subjected to.
    And I know it makes no sense right now, you may not believe it now, but I know things WILL get better. For you and your family. And when people tell you that it will get better, they may not be in that moment with you, but one day you will be able to look back and see how strong you have been and are still being as a family.
    So, take heart, allow yourself to grieve and fight to uphold you Mum’s legacy to the wire.
    I have no wise words for you, but this too shall pass.

    It was wunnerful to meet you, thank you for a brilliant evening.
    Truth be told, I’m still languishing in a jealous fit of how luuuuuuush your locs are!!!
    Halafu…is it me or do you, and your brother too speak too damn fast?!!! What can I say? That pace demands focus and nothing else. LOL.
    Take care.

  16. I’ve been thinking about you and your family quite abit these past few days. Khadja Nin’s Sambolera cd has been on constant rotation..that’s what I play when I’m troubled.. Her song ‘ Sina deni, sina mali’ keeps your mom on my mind.. a part in the song goes-, “Pole pole mama, wakati wangu umefika, napona. I’m free kama hewa..” I have no idea why this song brings me such comfort, such peace.. I have no idea what to say to someone who loses a loved one, much less a mother…I just really hope you all will find peace and comfort in your own way, in your own time..
    Be blessed.

  17. It shall pass…and you will look back in wonder at how strong you really were. It may feel like the ground was pulled out from under you, but bit by bit, you get your footing back and then you’re all up and standing again. Hang in there…lots of people carry you in their thoughts…

  18. I didn’t know your mum personally but I was saddened by her passing…I’ve heard oh so wonderful things about her and her legacy truly is living on. I have kept you and your family in prayer as you go through the grieving motions…keep your head up doll…I doubt that there’s a time limit to grieving and I pray that day by day your being will be at peace…lean on those dear to your heart to give you much needed strength and support!!!

  19. Dear sister, I am so happy that you are back and able to express your feelings. My thoughts have been with you and all your family all these days. I know nothing of your mother except what I read from Daudi and from that I beleive she was an exceptional woman and reading about her made me understand some of the things you write about and some of your personal messages to me in the past.

    Stay Blessed always
    Sokari

  20. ….i applaud you Courage on the decision to take, as you say, a leap of faith.

    Nonetheless, allow me to suggest that while there is certainly a place for faith in all that you will do, in this case, it is your courage born of a fighter’s spirit that is giving, and will continue giving, you strength.

    I ‘know’ this will walk you through it all. Heavenly blessings to you and yours.

  21. Hugs girl. Wish i’d gotten to meet you to give you that in person. God bless you.

  22. Thank you for sharing that introspective moment with us. I recently lost someone who was very close to me too and things may look bleak at this moment, but the support of family and friends is invaluable. My prayers go out for you and your family as you take the leap.

  23. I’m not sure if you know, but she was profiled in the Guardian today

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/obituaries/story/0,,1954578,00.html

  24. Kui

    I posted the following on the mentalacrobatics site hoping you would read this but since posting I have found your blog. I have now added a poem at the end, written for a friend whose mother died 6 years ago. I hope it is still relevant for you. My father died when I was ten….I still remember him! That was nearly 50 years ago. Take strength from this. Somehow, in unexpected little ways, she will always be there. So, my message:

    This morning, in the school staffroom, in London, during my tea-break, I did my usual quick run through The Guardian, and came to Wanjiru’s obituary, where I stopped and read with great sadness of her death, now more than a month ago. I was transported out of my situation to the times we spent together and have been in this state all day, thinking about you and your family.

    I first met Wanjiru 24 years ago, in 1982, on the Women’s Film Course held at the London Film Coperative in Chalk Farm. We found we had much in common both coming from Africa and also living in the same area in south London.
    Two years later,in 1984, she called me to invite me to join Wazalendo Players at the Africa Centre, to work on Ngugi wa Thiongo’s “The Trial of Dedan Kimathi”. Our children were young – my daughter, Mpho and you, Kui, played the parts of the children in the play. Do you remember? Your brother and my son, Nyameko both toddlers, played together in the creche set up by friends and family (Nich,and Wangui wa Goro) to ensure mothers could participate in the play. Amandla was only a few months old.
    What a wonderful time that was and what strong links we forged so that when we used to meet from time to time, with her and the family, around Stockwell and Clapham, it made the neighbourhood feel like home. Wanjiru then became extremely busy, studying, working for the release of Wanyiri and with with Akina Mama wa Afrika and ABANTU. She then left for home.
    Since hearing about the plane crash and her situation, I have often thought about her and, if not for the commitments I have had here in London with my own family, I would have packed up everything to go and spend time at her bedside. I was hoping that the time would soon come when I would have the opportunity to do just this, even if only for a short time, to give to her some of the joy and warmth she had so generously given to me and my family.

    I shall remember her. I have photographs of her and your dad, Wanyiri, and you and Phambi, sitting at my kitchen table when I first moved in to this house which was then in such need of repair. We were having a tea-break. She came in her working clothes, her hair wrapped up against the dust, and with your dad helped me to paint the walls in the living room, helping me to make a home for myself and my three children; Mpho, Nyameko and Nonkululeko.
    This is why I wanted to travel to Kenya; to tell her how much this meant to me. Sadly, I am too late. May your family know how much, by these simple actions of kindness, she will be remembered. May this knowledge sustain you in your grief.
    I am thinking about you and your family. Should I have known, this is the poem I would have sent you at the time of her death. May you take strength from it now.
    With much love.
    Mary

    A Prayer for Mother

    Mother
    As you delivered us
    Your children
    Across the threshold of life
    We now go with you
    To that same place
    Where we leave you
    To journey to
    The source of all
    From which we each came
    Alone
    At our time of birth

    As you received us then
    Into your embrace
    Filling our days with goodness
    And love
    So shall you be received
    And our memories
    Will be blessings
    Inspiring our days
    Making our lives worthy
    Of you
    Always

    © Mary Edwards
    03 06 98

  25. I have read over the last month the numerous tributes, and realise that, to many of my heroes at home, your mum was their heroine and strength. I am part of the generation that never knew the struggles of the RPP or just how valuable a contribution was made, we were simply too young. Now, we are beginning to realise treasures in that work, and in that struggle.

    We stand with you, both near and far away, keep you and your family in our prayers, and believe that the sun, it will rise and continue to illuminate and preserve your warm memories too.

    Stay well.

  26. That was brave of you, and that is all I can say for now. Still waiting for things to get better.

  27. Thank you for sharing with us in your trying times, may you continue to be strong … things are getting better !!

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