Ephesians 6:1-4. Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
“Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise,
“That it may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth”
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord;
Psalm 103:13. As a father has his compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him. (NIV).
Colossians 3:21 Fathers do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. (NIV)
This is especially dedicated to my dad, Lawrence Wainaina for the Sacrifice,
He ensured we never lacked a thing. Time less love to each one of us, your advice. Dad we love you so much,
You are the Best, God Bless you.
Our dad ensured we were raised in a Christian environment; we even had to relocate to a church in the city for us kids to get a chance and attend quality Sunday school.
Every Sunday mum would make tea pour it in a thermos carry a few snacks so after Sunday school we would have the snacks and tea then attend the main service.
At one point mum realized that this was inconveniencing her and she changed meal time to after the main service. Yes we took this meal in a hotel; thank God they understood our situation. Whenever it was the rainy season, while going to church, we would each carry an extra shoe to change when we got to the tarmac but dad didn’t.
At one time all the shoes got lost at the shop we were used to leaving them. Our dad was forced to purchase other gumboots for the girls once again.
Dad wouldn’t afford fare for all four hence in the bus we would seat the six of us in the two seats. As we grew older and bigger we eventually graduated to three and four seat until we relocated to Namanga where church was a walking distance. Dad’s first priority in our lives was and still is having a closer walk with Christ.
At the time of relocation, I was through with my O levels, our second born, Damaris was in Form two; the last two were in 4th and sixth grade. I stayed on with mum, Mercy and Zipporah for a six months then left for the city for my A levels.
He has been in teaching profession all his life. I remember the sweet chorals we sang as we waited for mum to prepare supper. The little games we played as we waited, like he would pretend to have swallowed a safety pin and my I would be so worried only for him to do ‘magic’ and there it was in his hand-this was always a relief.
I also remember before I started schooling, he never left me behind whenever his school would have a school trip. As young as three, I had physically seen the Big Five wild animals. I had been to almost all game parks, Lakes (many of which have dried up).
Dad is a special man, although shopping for groceries is an uphill task for most of our brothers, this didn’t bother dad. He would always buy and bring them home on his shoulder for an entire week. This was to help mum who was left home raising their four young girls. There is a difference of 2yrs each between the first three girls and four between third and fourth.
When the time came for us to start schooling, I was the first. Dad would carry me on his shoulders from home to the door kindergarten class and would pick me in the evening at three Pm and again I would be on his shoulders till home (about a 1km).
This reminds me of Deuteronomy 1:29-31 Then I said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The LORD your GOD who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the desert. There you saw how the LORD carried you as a father carries his son; all the way you went until you reached this place.
There is this day it was really muddy as I enjoyed the ‘ride’ dad was carrying my small cute bag that I adored (he had purchased for me) a vehicle splashed dirty water on daddy’s khaki trouser and my bag. I hated the driver for that, but dad calmed me down told me “he is in a rush, let him be.” He wiped my bag first and at break time went home to change. Dad is a peace maker. Whenever one of the girls disagreed with the other, he would ensure he got to the root of the problem for there to be no grudges.
Many are the times I felt my sisters had wronged me and I thought “Once I leave my dad’s house, I would completely forget about each one of them”. My dad’s words would come back to haunt me, “Be there for each other no matter what”, and he always adds “and the LORD will sustain each one of you.”
If dad is to make a decision, I always find him seeking God’s will. He loves to ask men of God especially Pastor Ratugi for guidance. Pastor Ratugi is a close family friend and he has been there for dad when he needs a hand. Our local church in Namanga, has few members and Pastor Ratugi would always wait for holiday for us to have the Lord’s Supper (bless him).
Dad is man of integrity that he would go all miles to forgive, no matter the pain. I remember we had a gardener who was very disrespectful and at one time he ‘stepped on dad’s toes’ I and Damaris were exhuming anger but our calm told us “take it cool, I will handle this” although we ensured he left home. We often disagreed with Dad’s way of handling issues, but I have come to acknowledge his way is the best and wisest.
Dad isn’t afraid of telling the world about his faith and love for Our LORD, at our gate, we have bible verses engraved in a stone. Dad is ready to lose friends for the sake of Christ; I have seen many leave because of his strong faith. We’ve got to respect our parents that are the only commandment with a promise. I have seen many times our lives have gone haywire its main reason is because we rebelled against his advice.
A dad is a second God in your life. It doesn’t matter his structure, or his way of living (drinking, women) all you can do is pray for him, not abuse or scold him. It’s a curse from God if you do. Respect him; it was God’s best choice for you. Apologize to them if you have ever been rude to them and your life will have a transformation.
Having four teenagers in the house isn’t fun but dad took all our tantrums. I think the most affected was mum; she was with us most of the time. At times we would go on ‘strike’ the dishes would go unwashed, house not mopped and yet we were all in the house. After a long tiring day, mum would find the mess, clean up her house, do the dishes and yes cook for the girls, God bless you mum, you have endured much. Dad would severally have a tete a tete with us, to remind us we had to help mum, after all she had worked so hard for us hence we must give back, and it was her time to rest
I remember on 1st November 1, 2011 He told me how he so concerned with the kind of work his first born girl (mom),that she was becoming of age(48) and was wearing her out. He told me to think of a better less manual job for her. In his words”she is still our mum and we need her longer”.
Cherry was the first born girl in Greg’s family, born 1972. She came at a time when funds were low, the mom Stacey was a stay at home mom. Greg struggled with manual work; masonry, gardener, landscaping anything that would feed his young family. They lived in an old wooden structure that was given to them by an old classmate, which at the time was the store until they moved in.
Stacey was a high school dropout his family would not afford to keep her in school for luck of school fees. Greg was a graduate and had promised Stacey “Honey, one day you will complete your high school and also attain a Heart surgeon title”. Stacey’s dream was to become a heart surgeon, her brother David had succumbed to a heart problem, and she had vowed to study and help those in need of a heart surgeon with no finances.
Greg had promised Stacey’s parents to take care of their daughter and that he would ensure she was at all times at peace. The Stephen’s family blessed the couple and off was Stacey to Greg’s arms. Cherry was a little chubby beautiful girl. Stacey ensured she was well feed, clean and warm. A neighbor’s wife, Mrs. Raphael came every morning to clean Cherry’s soiled clothes and cook for the Greg’s. She was a blessing to them.
She would bring with her a litre of milk, make tea and pour it in a flask, to ensure Stacey was well feed and warm for the baby. Greg would have a cup every evening. Mrs. Raphael was a fairly aged lady, she was 65yrs. Her husband had passed on the same year the Greg’s moved to the neighborhood, in fact Stacey stayed on with her to the day of the burial. This friendship grew from this time on.
Mrs. Raphael’s three children were all overseas and in a sad face and teary eyes she would often tell Stacey, “You are my only child, they all left.”
Greg would every evening check on Mrs. Raphael and thank her for her assistance to his two girls.
She continued to help the Greg’s and this brought them closer than friends. When Cherry was nine months, she brought her a small gift and requested the Greg’s not to open it till when she was eighteen. She gave them an address to her bank where they would keep it safe. Greg was hesitant with the idea. “What if by bad luck, she doesn’t get to see her eighteenth birthday?”
Mrs. Raphael answered “The LORD will keep her safe, HE will sustain her” she added, “Cherry will be a great woman, the whole world will respect her”. This brought tears to Stacey’s eyes.
As she hugged her, she whispered, “Thank you Mum, God Bless You”.
“Amen my daughter, you have a bright future. Never give up, keep your hope alive and remember God brought you to this world for a purpose.” She responded.
Greg had good news for the ladies, “I have found a new job in the city, I will be leaving on Monday (it was on Friday), to fill the employment form and get a better house for you ladies and Cherry”.
Stacey replied, “That is so fast Honey”.
Greg assured her it was all for their own good. “Honey, you will like it there.”
Mrs. Raphael intercepted, “Stacey, listen to your husband. This will be a new life for the two of you and Cherry.”
She faced Greg, “I will not join you, and this is where I call home. My health is failing; let me enjoy my final days here.”
“We can’t leave you behind, Mrs. Raphael; you have been a blessing to us”. Greg said
“Listen children; I was married in this neighborhood forty years back. I raised my three children in here and all left. My husband was my only companion until he passed on. You came at a time when I was desolate, and lonely.” She added, “Greg, just let me be. The doctors gave me six months to live, Cherry’s happy face and love have kept me going.” She continued, “I feel very weak now for more chemotherapy or more drugs. I will join my husband soon.”
Mrs. Raphael created a sad atmosphere and she encouraged them, “Do not be sad, this life is so uncertain only death is certain. Take this note book Greg (he did), it contains my children’s contacts”.
Greg said, “Sincerely am not comfortable with the whole issue.”
Mrs. Raphael replied, “We have been made to fear death and it’s unavoidable. Take heart Greg, you too will take the baton, one day.”
Greg asked, “How long have you been on Chemo?”
Mrs. Raphael answered, “For the last 18months. It was detected at stage three. My husband also succumbed to it.”
Greg was empathetic, “Sorry about that. Are you taking any drugs now?”
“yes.” She answered
Stacey said, “Mrs. Raphael you are a God sent angel in time of disguise. Thanks so much for being there for each one of us.”
“Anytime, my daughter. You are most welcome.” Mrs. Raphael replied
“I have to leave now. Goodnight Greg’s. See you tomorrow.” She added
Greg helped her stand and escorted her to her house as Stacey and Cherry silently followed on. Once they to her door, Greg opened and helped her rest on her comfortable beautiful bed. They all hugged her goodnight. As they left she told them, “When am gone, this bed is a precious gift to you two.”
“Thank you mum, you won’t be leaving us any time soon. Rest, see you tomorrow.” Stacey said as they closed the door behind them.
“Am so disturbed, Mr. Raphael’s death really affected her. I think one of her children should have remained behind.” Stacey said
“I will try and get to talk to one of them tonight.” Greg replied
They got into their house, and Grey got the small note book. To his surprise, it was a small St. James bible. “Honey,” he called out
“Yes, Love, am coming.” Stacey replied as she laid Cherry on her bed.
“Honey, it wasn’t a contact notebook, it’s a bible.” Greg informed her
“She can really be an encoded persona.” Stacey thought aloud
“I don’t remember seeing any of her children at the burial of her husband.” Greg said
“The MC said they would come later to be with the mom.” Stacey reminded him
“and they have never appeared” Greg noticed.
“I think Mrs. Raphael is hiding something from us.” He added
“I will try and get more information from her tomorrow.” She said
“you need to.” Greg affirmed
“There is hot chocolate in the flask. Will you have it?”. Stacey asked
“yes please. Thank you love.” Greg was grateful
Stacey came back with two cups filled with hot chocolate and gave one to Greg . “Thanks.” He said
“Most welcome my love. How was your day?.” She asked
“I love the taste of lemon in it, its so relaxing.” he said.
“My day was so glad. Am happy I will now afford a decent life for my girls.” He added.
“Congratulations, am so happy for you honey, you have done enough to your muscles. You have my blessings” She congratulated him
“I will leave you and Cherry for a while. I need to get a house for you, a better one at that.” Greg said,
“It won’t be for long.” He added
“At least it will give us time to be with Mrs. Raphael.” Stacey said
“Has Tabitha (Mrs. Raphael’s house help) ever told you anything weird about her?” Greg asked
“No. they are not very close although she has worked for the last 10years in her house. Mrs. Raphael can really be secretive.” Stacey answered
“Get as much information as you can tomorrow.” Greg said
“I will.” She said
“I have enjoyed the hot chocolate, a perfect choice the cold weather.” Greg said as he got closer to her and kissed her passionately. His hands were all over her and she reciprocated. That night for the first time, they made love on their old rugged couch.
“I love you.” Greg whispered
“I love you more” she whispered back.
Greg went to check on his Cherry, covered her well and kissed her forehead. “Honey am turning off the lights get to bed” He said
“go ahead love, am heading there.” She replied
Greg turned off the lights and kissed Stacey goodnight. Stacey did a prayer
The following morning, Greg was the first one to wake up. As he was preparing breakfast for his girls, he heard a knock at the door. He went to answer. “Good Morning Greg, I brought the milk. Mrs Raphael has requested me to.” Tabitha said
“How is she fairing?” he asked
“She isn’t feeling well. I have not seen her like that.” Tabitha replied
“What’s her condition?” Greg asked
“She called me and requested me to bring the milk. I went back to ask whether she had any information for you or Stacey, she didn’t talk. She hasn’t said a word since. All she does is nod.” Tabitha replied
“Thank you Tabitha. We will come to check on her.” Greg said
“In a few minutes we will be there.” He assured her
Immediately he woke his wife up, “Morning honey.” He greeted her
“Honey morning. What’s up today? You rarely wake us up this early” Stacey said half asleep
“Have a seat my love.” Greg said
“We had a storm last night.” Stacey said
“yes we did. Have your breakfast sugar, you have a long day today” he said
Stacey was swallowed by the couch as she had her breakfast.
“Of course.”Stacey replied. “I can see Mrs. Raphael had already brought the milk. Honey you wouldhave woken me up” she added
“How is she today?” she asked
“Tabitha brought the milk,she says Mrs. Raphael is unwell. Not speaking, she needs medical attention.” Greg replied
“Let me dress up, am gonna go check on her.” Stacey said
“have you taken all your breakfast?” Greg asked
“yes, thanks love” she replied
“Check on Cherry” she said as hurriedly left for Mrs. Raphael’s house
She found Tabitha trying to carry her out to a waiting ambulance. “She is worse, I have contacted her doctor and she has requested me to take her to the clinic.” Tabitha said
“Lets go” Stacey replied as they both carried her to the ambulance
The nurse at the ambulance placed the oxygen mask on her face as she listened to her pulse rate. “ her heart isn’t stable” she said
“I smell danger, we are 100 meters away, kindly tell the cardiologist its an emergency.” She said on the car radio
Stacey lost her breath for a moment. Tabitha sat silent and scared(in deep thougths)
On reaching the clinic compound, they found a team waiting for them ready to receive a great friend to the hospital, Mrs. Raphael. She was wheeled out of the ambulance. The Cardiologist tried to electric shock her heart to no avail. He left the room without a word. All other nurses also left one by one without aword until Stacey stopped one, “What’s happening?”she asked
“We have lost her.” She replied as she headed to the ward.
Stacey tried to shake her, call out her name, ”Mum, Mum, Mum, you just can’t leave us.”, “We have lots of unfinished business.”
Tabitha hugged her and whispered in her ear, “She is home. Let her rest”.
Stacey couldn’t say a word, she really cried remembering the conversation they had yester night. A nurse approached them, “Sorry ladies. Am nurse George. I would like to place Mrs. Raphael’s body in our funeral home.”
“Are you her family? He asked.” Please sign for me this forms. He added
“Stacey sign the papers.” Tabitha said
“Actually we are not her family but we have lived with her for the last ten years and never seen a sister or an in-law come to visit her.: Tabitha added
“Family: are the people who love and care about you.” George said
As Stacey signed the papers, Tabitha was asking George what might have caused her death. “She might have had a heart attack.” He said
“would you love a postmortem done?”he asked
“It’s not necessary.” Stacey replied
“Would you know when you would be laying her body to rest?” George asked
“In about a week” Stacey replied
“Ladies you don’t have to worry about the home fees, she had paid in advance.” George told the ladies
“She told me last night that the only thing we are certain about inthis life is death. She was damn true.” Stacey informed them
“Prepare for it too ladies. You don’t want to leave your loved ones with a burden.” George said
“Kindly provide us with the hospital contacts, we will call and inform you about the D.day” Stacey requested
“take this” George said as he handed over to her a business card
“Good bye George, we will keep in touch.” Stacey said as they stood to leave
“I wish you well” George replied
They both left. They talked about Mrs. Raphael. Her love for people. her love for the LORD. They both agreed they had lost a heroine, a mentor, abest friend. “Mrs. Raphael mentioned about her children in the overseas, has she ever told you about the same?’ Stacey asked
“Yes she often told me about the same, although I have never heard even a phone call from them.” Tabitha replied
“Her husband was eager about to tell me about them but something would always come and we would postpone. He passed on without telling me.” Tabitha added
Stacey narrated to her what had transpired the previous night in her house, the notebook only to find out later after she had left that it was a bible. They both agreed it was an uphill task to even get the contacts for the children. They met a crowd at Mrs. Raphael’s compound. Stacey would hear them say, “we have lost a friend.” Others were saying “we will miss her.”,
An elderly lady approached them and as she hugged them she comforted them saying, “we are sorry ladies”
Tabitha replied, “thank you Mrs. Eric”, “we need to lay her to rest>” she added
“Tabitha, we buried his husband without informing any family member as she requested. Would you have any information about them?” Mrs. Eric asked
“none” she replied
“Mrs. Raphael was so secretive, no one knows about her background, not even her closest friends” Mrs. Eric pointed out
“Their family lawyer will be present at the burial, we might uncover the ravel”, Tabitha said
“Tabitha be in charge, am going to check on my Cherry” Stacey said as she left for her house
A committee to foresee the preparations for the burial was formed, Mrs. Eric was appointed the spokeswoman. The Burial Date was set. The family was really an issue but they resolved to wait for the family lawyer whom they believed had concrete information about the family. The committee was informed that Mrs. Raphael had paid all fees including having chosen the clothing her body would be(placed in).
Greg was appointed o talk on behalf of the family. They requested Tabitha to stay on for a few months as they get a care taker for the home. Tabitha agreed.
On Sunday night, a day before the burial, something happened that would be in the mind of the friends and neighbors’ who had gathered in the compound. The episode would later(after ten years) repeat in Greg’s and Stacey’s bedroom.
The vehicles were waiting in the compound to ferry the friends to the Funeral home finally lay Mrs. Raphael’s body. A black Range Rover car appeared and drove into the compound. A tall dark haired gentleman alighted and for a while stole the moment.
He gestured for people to gather and listen to him. Many thought he must be one of the children that Mrs.Raphael fondly talked about.
“Good morning ladies and gentlemen” He started
“Am Mrs. Raphael’s lawyer and you can refer to me as Brown” he introduced himself
“We are gathered here as friends, neighbors, spectators, family to bid our dear mama goodbye.” He added
“I have lots of information about this family and I will let you know when we have laid mama’s body in the right place” He continued
“I don’t know what you had decided about Mama’s Body, Her request was to have it cremated and the ashes put in the earn. Greg and Stacey will keep them”. He said
There was murmuring in the crowd..
“More will astonish you, please stay calm” he said
“Please get into the vehicles, we will have a short Mass at the home as mama had requested and after the cremation will be done,” he added
“We will have a short briefing later” He informed them
“Let’s Go” he said as he got into his range leading them
In low tones, people consulted about mama’s decision to have her ashes in Greg’s family. They were aware of mama’s love for Stacey,but what beat them that. “why them and not Tabitha whom she has been with for most of her life” one asked
Another asked, “would it possible that there are family tires between her and Greg?”
Another Rhetoric question, “Would Stacey be mama’s daughter?”
Tabitha sat silently behind and no one had noticed her until she replied, “Stacey isn’t mama’s daughter neither is Greg.” They are both very new in this neighborhood. Infact it was mama who oriented them” she added
The passengers got silent as they approached the funeral home.
Brown was the first to alight; he marched inside the building and came out only to find the crowd waiting for a word from him. He removed a paper from a file in his hand,
“Please listen keenly to the following names, they will witness the cremation as mama had requested..”
“Mr. and Mrs. Erica, Greg and Stacey, Tabitha”
As the five took to the front, the murmuring was even louder
“Please be patient. It won’t be long” He assured them
The five followed him inside the home. He got to one of the offices and they followed.
“Ladies and gentlemen, am happy to meet you,” he started
“Mama did love the five of you so much that anytime she mentioned any of your names to me, she would water her eyes.
“I have got personal letters for each one of you from Mama”(he said as he opened the brief case to handover to them, “open them once home after the function” he added
Greg left for the city immediately after the burial wished his girls luck and God’s blessings, to check on hs new job. On his way there while in the bus he reflected n their beautiful and short life with mama.
As he perused the bag he found mama’s letter that was stll not opened, ………………………..
He reported to work and was surprised by the warm welcome rom hs new boss who mentioned their concern and condolences on the behalf of the company.”I know you are surprised the lady was an icon in her own rights’ there so much you will learn about her” He said
“meanwhile, feel at home. See the lady at the reception 4 she hasa message for you
Greg smiled at the lady as he approached her. “Am Greg”
“Welcome Greg” Am Lydia
“Thanks Lydia” am humbled
“My condolences” “Have a seat” she added
“Thank You” He said
She asked about the funeral he updated her on all what was done. Although Greg was not comfortable getting to work immediately, his girls needed food on the table, hence the need to work. And Lydia too was concerned. “Greg, do you feel comfortable coming back to work so fast?, atleast you needed sometime off to moan”
“Lydia, I don’t like it too but my girls will go hungry” he responded
“Greg, we understand what you feel. We have resolved that you will resume now till you are all settled” she quipped “follow me” she added
“This is awesome Lydia, atleast I will have time to relocate my girls” he said as he followed
They went to a well manicured compound surrounding a massionate. Lydia opened the first door “Welcome”
“Oh this is so beautiful, it must be a very expensive house” Greg quipped
“it is and it has been vacant for a decade now. The owner made sure it was well kept until the day the heir comes. Its well furnished. Do you like it?” Lydia asked
“its everyone’s dream to live in such a house. I will not rest until I get a small cute haven almost like this one for my girls” Greg said
“This house belongs to you and your girls Greg” We are so happy to see you home. “Greg you are so into your girls, don’t you have a life other than them?” Lydia asked
“What do you mean this house is mine?” he thought aloud
“This is just the beginning Greg, more surprises will come. Others will leave you in shock for months, others will fill your life with gladness” Please take it all in. she pleaded
“I seem not to be getting it though. Am just a pauper I have been struggling all my life. Struggle is all I know. Am sorry I don’t understand this” He said
“I feel you Greg. Life is not all about struggling. There is a bright side in the struggle, it keeps you focused and great things come to you” “this is just one of them” she explained
As they strolled the house, Lydia showed him each of the rooms but the master bedroom. “This is will be a surprise to you and Stacy” we will open once she arrives. She is on her way here” she said
“Lydia, she is on her way here?”He asked “but my girls are all home with Tabitha and ….” He added
“They will all be here in the next twenty minutes” Lydia interrupted “I told you more is coming, you better relax” she added
As they strolled the house he heard a hoot, the gateman opened the gate. He peeped through the window, saw a limo. His girls and Tabitha alighted. He ran outside to them and hugged them really tight.
“Baby girls am so happy to see you” he said
“They updated each other on what had happened since he left.
“Hey guys, come all in” Lydia shouted
As they followed her, Greg kissed his little girl telling her how beautiful her room is. She was young but she would tell the difference. Stacey was shown round as Greg stayed on with her in her room.
He saw her little one resembled the mom. He thought about them every day and he was glad they will not have to be apart again.
He was lost in his thoughts especially loosing Mrs. Raphael who was like a mother to them. There were so many unexplained things.
Once Lydia was done showing her round, He called Greg in to show them their little paradise. The décor was great, a mixture of both white and Deep red beddings. The closet was has shades of blue and white. The dressing room had ample space so serene and appealing. Lydia loved it, she couldn’t hold back her tears
After the burial Stacey confirmed her second pregnancy due to the morning sickness. They both welcomed the news positively and even arranged to have an appointment with the doc once done with relocation.
Greg’s Poem to his Stacey (on her 50th birthday):
My beautiful Stacey, apple of my eye
You are the love of my life,
My hope, My future,
The anchor of our home
The Queen of the house
For the Last (30yrs) we have been together,
From our humble beginning
You have been so dear to me and our girls
Sugar, you are one in a million
You have been the source of my strength
When the darkest hour cometh
I find comfort in your loving arms
You have been my mentor
When my world came crumbling down, you are my right hand
Sweetness thanks for such love for our girls
You are the best Mom, the best counselor, look at our girls, they are all a reflection of that.
God bless you My Stacey
I am because you have been
Happy Birthday, My loving Wife.
Greg’s Poem for Maria on her 18th Birthday:
Little Maria your smiles calms your graying dad
I asked my mum and my three sisters to write something about our dad, and this is what they said;
My Daughter Zawadi,