It’s probably too soon for me to be writing this to you seeing as you only left us three weeks ago. There isn’t much to report really. We are holding on. You would have wanted us to, that’s what you did best, hold on. For dear life. I don’t want to lie, the emotions are still bloody raw. Sometimes I get really mad, especially when I’m alone. I ask stupid questions like: why did you leave us so early? Why did you leave me when I needed you the most? But I calm down after a while. I calm myself down because I know how much pain you were in. I chastise myself because there was nothing I could do to make the pain better, to make it go away. Sometimes, when I kissed you on the forehead before I left you after every visit at the hospital I imagined my kiss sucking out all the pain from you. But I knew that was just to make me feel better, not you.
You should have seen the turnout at your sendoff, my word! For days before your send off I tried to imagine what it would be like. Did we book the right sized venue? Did we buy enough food for all the people who would turn up? Our mother had only one instruction for us: “make her send off beautiful because your sister loved herself.” That’s why I went out to get a new suit(even though I could barely afford it), don’t worry I only got a jacket and a shirt.
Ndoda, how did you manage to touch so many lives? I told people at your memorial that I used to complain about the number of friends you had growing up. There was a time when I thought I was meeting a new friend of yours every week. I couldn’t understand it. It was only when I saw the people streaming in during the mourning period that I realized you had a mission in your short life: spread love. I’m so glad I had a special place in your big heart, for I know that so many others felt the same way too.
I tried so hard to think of specific incidents that I could relate to people just to show them what kind of person you were, there were just too many: how do you condense a 40-year-old journey into a few minutes? I wanted to tell them about how hygienic you were. Like how you would lose your appetite simply at the thought that something could have contaminated the food, even if you had no evidence of it happening. Or how deeply you loved your siblings. Do you remember when we went to choose our brother Kavani’s coffin? The instructions from dad were very clear: keep the costs down! And because I’m the obedient firstborn I stuck to the script. I remember going in there and you setting your eyes on a casket that I knew was way outside our mandate. To this day I have no idea how you convinced me it was the right thing to do. All I know is the love in your eyes won me over and I knew I would find a way to justify the decision to our dad.
Ndoda, my heart is so sore. Very sore. I keep asking God why it is that he makes us love so deeply when he knows it will hurt really bad later. You were my little sister. I was supposed to protect you. To take away your pain. I couldn’t. I remember driving you to hospital numerous times and how you said to me the pain you felt was from the devil himself. It waited for midnight before attacking you, when everyone else was asleep. I remember how you were the best mother you could be to your beloved Teeny, even through your pain. How you told me you tried not to cry in front of her, but couldn’t help it at times. I cry at the thought that I couldn’t comfort you then.
Ndoda, you accomplished your mission in the time that God allowed you to be here in this world. I met people whose lives you touched in the 10 days before your funeral. It was a stroke of genius that our dad decided on such a long mourning period. I thought it was crazy when he first said it. 10 days? Why? But when I saw how many people were affected by your passing I understood why. I let go of my long-held convictions that send offs need to be as short as possible. Even with such a long mourning period we couldn’t reach out to all your friends. Just two days ago I was approached by one of your friends who had come past my place of work to simply say hello. And when she asked how you were she broke down so badly when I told her you were no more. I couldn’t comfort her because I too would have broken down. All I could manage was “I’m really sorry.”
Sorry because I knew the dreams you had of going to the park with Teeny, of teaching her all the things that a mother can teach a daughter. I want you to know that even though we can never give her a mother’s love, your daughter will have what our kids will have. She will experience what our kids will experience, what our kids can’t afford she won’t have but I swear to you my dearest sister that she will lack for nothing. There is something in her smile that just says she is your daughter. Even when she has mood swings, it’s exactly the same as yours. So yes, we will cling to her as much as we clung to you in life. Thank you for loving us as much as you did Ndoda, see you on the other side. Say hi to Kavani.
From all your siblings, we love you too much Ndoda(as you would say to us)
Sydney(Ndoda to you)