I believe you’re already in heaven. I hope God asked one of His Angels to take you on a tour through His beautiful paradise. I bet you took your time at God’s garage. You must have. You loved cars and how they worked. If I may ask, does God own a Land Rover Defender? (Please say yes.) I know He owns everything but does He ride the beautiful beast? I have a serious fascination for it. It’s my dream car. Anyway…
Uncle G, I miss you. The last time we came for our family gathering, I didn’t get to see you. You were away and no one knew where exactly you’d gone. I wish I saw you then.
You know what else Uncle? When I decided to pen down this piece for you, I realized something startling! I didn’t know you for myself that well. I guess it’s because much of the time I wasn’t keen enough. Maybe I was scared of you somehow. To tell you the truth Uncle, I feel terribly ashamed.
I will speak only what I know of. And for starters, I admire how much of a cool cat you were. You lived by your own rules and the world was yours for the taking; that’s how it seemed to me. Such attitude. A perfect outlier you were. I stumbled upon a picture we took together eons of years ago. I didn’t know it existed until I saw it on the eulogy. I was probably five years old. Mum says you turned my snap cap around to give me that on-fleek look for the pose. Hehe.
Today tears tried to drown my eyes when I saw you in that coffin. I couldn’t let myself cry, least of all in public. I know if you were there, you’d have smacked me on the head for crying. You always said I was soft and thought my younger brother Braden was tougher than I. It’s true Uncle, I’m kinda soft, but I live with it proudly. I’ve grown to embrace myself just as I am.
When the news came that dreadful morning, confirming that you’d succumbed to the illness, it broke your sister; Mum. She cried uncontrollably and I tried to comfort her. We all loved you Uncle. Even though most of the times there was more complaining about you and your drinking addiction than there was praise, we still love you.
That drinking shit ruined you Uncle G. I fear ever being like you. It would smash the lights off my Dad. By the way, he recently gave me and Braden a lecture about drinking alcohol. Don’t worry much about us, we’ll be fine.
Braden told me that when he was younger, he saw you as his James Bond. He recalls how you taught him how to ride a bike, the hard way. How you mounted him on one and charged him to balance and cycle yet he’d never done it before. He came home with a few bruises and dirt all over and a new learned skill that evening. To date, he owes it to you for that. You made him see more in himself and believe he could be great.
I remember how happy you were most times. Shosh was gloom all day but later today when the burden of your absence had subsided, she laughed. A big hearty laughter that lasted shorter than it takes to light a cigarette. That laughter sounded just like yours.
Uncle G, you really were a true G.
I thank God for the time He allowed us to share with you. Thanks for loving us, for wanting to make me a man early than I should have, for gifting us with four more cousins in the family and your wife, for loving Shosh, Mum and Auntie. Thank you.
You will always be in our hearts.
R.I.P. Uncle Gitonga.
PS: I post every Thursday on this blog. You probably know that already. What you might not know yet is that my ideal is to have a post by latest 11:00am on Thursdays, but sometimes, I fail. The deadline becomes hard to beat at times. No matter the case, be sure, to the best of my ability, a new post will be up even if it’s 11:59pm on Thursday. Cheers!