Sometimes I am a bit naive not to believe that there is evil in this world. That some people can be so hard-hearted and jealous in a situation they wouldn’t even gain from. Honestly, I don’t understand how someone can be so evil and negative minded to actually sit and plot someone else’s downfall. How they can wish for the worst to happen to another human being. How they utter hurtful and painful remarks on someone’s life. At what cost? At whose gain?
I have been celebrating the birthdays of my two amazing younger brothers. Born back to back but different years. My mind took me back to when they were born, and as tears of joy rolled down my chubby cheeks I exclaimed “it has sure been a roller coaster”
You see, when our biological mum died, she left 5 little children. All under the age of 10. I won’t get into how my mother was ridiculed for having many children. How even her own family bad-mouthed her for giving birth to so many of us. Yes, 5 were considered many. In some cultures having many children is a sign of wealth. However, the world will have ways to associate this with poverty, uncivilized, and a lack of education. Which isn’t too far from it most times. Although I think it is a matter of perspective.
We weren’t rich neither were we poor. Mother worked her ass off as brutally as she could. And we never lacked. But some people kept reminding us how many we were. “Heh na mnakuanga wengi kwenu” Not in a good way. Our age difference wasn’t also far apart.
My grandma, mothers mother, entrusted me by telling me how much mum went through to raise us for the few years she was alive. How the ridicule got the best of her leading to depression. She was a young mum of 5 and all she kept hearing around her was warning not to have more children and endless comparisons. Why keep bashing someone for having many children? Was she to throw us to the dogs to silence all the noise?
It’s no wonder some of my school mates who came from larger families lied about how many siblings they were. There was a stigma around that topic.“Mchongoano“ Bad jokes fed this stigma.
My last born brother was 2 yrs old then, and was barely done breastfeeding when mum ascended to a heaven she believed in. This was a huge blow as you can imagine. Years later, I was talking about our mum with my siblings, and this one, who was 2 at the time of mum’s passing asked me how she was like. I was younger then and had assumed he would remember her. He didn’t. How her passing affected him is a topic I haven’t brought up.
Can you miss someone who birthed you, but never raised you? I wonder.
Following our mum’s death, a lot happened and so much was said. Among the many things that were said, were remarks such as “these kids will not make it, poor children, how will they survive?” I don’t know why people disregard the presence of children, how much they absorb and internalize. So many people had things to say and suggestions to make on how we were to live onwards, now that we were motherless.
When terrible things happen to you, that’s when you realize who is in your life and for what reason. My mum’s death showed us who needed us to survive and conquer the world and it also showed us who doubted that we would even make it.
Pity can be an enemy. You can say hurtful things out of pity when maybe all you should do instead is build up a broken heart with words of affirmation, instilling courage and strength on the person dealing with loss. For young children who lose a parent, it’s important not to make them feel as if their world has completely fallen apart. It’s important to hold their hand and give them hope that they will go far, that they will make it, that they will still be loved and even more cared for.
We have all grown, all above the age of 20. It’s a miracle. We have had unquestionable support, we were blessed with a new mum, this woman who selflessly chose us, all 5 of us. I cannot begin to thank every person who directly or indirectly took part in raising us, through words of courage, through financial support and prayers. They know themselves and I give them credit for that.
Celebrating birthdays never meant a lot to me before. But now every year, I intentionally celebrate those I love even just with a few words. It is not about celebrating achievements that come with deadlines but celebrating a life many doubted would be. Beating the odds. Breathing. Health. Love. Everything life.
Celebrate being alive, not to prove anything to anyone but as a way to show gratitude to the higher being you believe in for giving you life and for protecting it. Embrace the life in you even as you work on bettering yourself.
Power to you as you celebrate every new age you add to your calendar. May those who doubted you would live be shamed by your glow. Blow every candle with a smile and a satisfaction that no human holds your destiny in their hands.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY EVERY DAY TO YOU MY READER