You’re Not Alone. Grieving Loss From Afar

Last week I received an unexpected call from my mother. Gakii, one of my dearest friends from childhood in Kenya had died. With suspicions that it’s a COVID case and only limited information from doctors about “cause of death”, no one is really sure what happened.

And so, we grieve in the unknown. We grieve without information. This is the second death news I’ve received in a space of two months. The first was my Juju (great grandma). I stubbornly refused to mourn her and just disappeared into denial, only mentioning it to my partner several days after my father wrote to inform me. I did not want condolences. I just longed for home. For anything familiar, certain or comforting.

Six Steps to Preventing Suicide

The fondest memory I have of my juju was when she came to my graduation ceremony almost 10 years ago. She removed an old and tattered 100 Kenya shilling note ($1 and 50 cents equivalent) from her brassiere. She spat on it three times as a symbol of sanctifying the money, cupped it tightly on her fist and gave it to me. She told me I was the light of my family and offered me a generational blessing…

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