Updated: Jul 13, 2020
| This is the 67th story of Our Life Logs |
Life is an examination full of tricky questions. However, it is not compulsory for you to get everything right. In a way, the tears I have wept may have cleansed my heart.
I was born to extremely young parents. My mother was an upper primary school student while my father was just finalizing his high school education in Nakuru, Kenya. Because my mother wanted my father to get his education, she contemplated having me aborted in a village in Western Kenya. My maternal grandmother saved me by convincing her to keep me alive. My mother waited, and eventually honored her mother’s advice. When her growing stomach could no longer be hidden, she dropped out of school. She was not ready to be a mother but chose to swallow her bitter pie.
I was born safely, but the complications from poor maternity services almost claimed my mother’s life. My mother healed and raised me for the first three years of my life before I was given to my biological father. I had to relocate to the home of my father’s side of the family. Traditionally, a baby boy is not allowed to be raised by a single mother or maternal relatives. Even though our constitution does not support this act, many people still abide this cultural practice.
All was not rosy. My father lived and worked in Nairobi while I lived in the village alongside a slew of slippery aunts and an excessively strict grandmother. My aunts abused me due to some behaviors I had as a result of poor toilet training. Meanwhile, my grandmother never listened to anyone, and believed she was always right. I lived with my parental grandparents for six years before my grandmother demanded I start living at my father’s place.
From the time I was hoisted into the care of my father and his newly married wife, I was treated with kindness and the respect. I called her my “bloodless mother,” as she faithfully raised me alongside her three biological children, without any blood relation to sway her. Growing up, we went to church every Sunday, I studied very hard and prayed for guidance from my Creator, and even honored traditions that were accepted by my community. Though there were challenges like going to school barefoot, my desire to continue my education only strengthened. My father took me to the prestigious high school I secured after excelling at the primary level. By and by, I grew to have a normal life.
During the gap year between high school and university, I met a girl who quickly became my friend. After my first semester at university at Egerton University, I began seeing this girl more often. Due to campus excitement, were agreed to experiment, only for her to get pregnant that same year. This brought a mixture of excitement and confusion. No one could believe that I had replicated what my father did; siring out of wedlock. Many people knew me as a God-fearing Christian and thought differently of me. For this reason, I chose not to inform my parents about their coming grandchild. But the decision to keep everything to myself led me to future troubles. In September of 2012, my lovely Chelsy was born.
I was so happy to hold my newborn daughter, but all too soon, I realized how challenging my life was going to become while I was still in school. Luckily, Chelsy’s maternal grandma was a wonderful woman, and accepted to raise our daughter without bothering my parents. Chelsy started getting sick at 11-months-old, and her grandmother paid Chelsy’s medical bills, and even sent me some money while I was at school. Chelsy’s grandmother had accepted me as her future son-in-law. Things were looking up, and so I planned to marry my girlfriend after I graduated from university.
However, in 2014, I found out that my girlfriend had been cheating on me. This crushed the hopes I had. My initial plan was never to raise my daughter with a stepmother, but I had to believe, then, that was destined to happen. My weekend visits to her place did nothing to cement our relationship. I broke off our engagement.
Before I could swallow that shock, another monster knocked on my door. I received a call from Chelsy’s grandmother, saying that the doctor’s had determined the cause of my daughter constant illness. She had a hole in her heart. I decided to inform my parents about my daughter and about her sickness. Unfortunately, they never helped because they had been so hurt that I had kept it a secret. They said that I chose to bring Chelsy into the world without their support, and it would have to stay that way. I became a walking corpse.
The treatment needed to correct her heart problem was too expensive to imagine. A doctor at Eldoret Referral Hospital directed us to seek medication in India or locally at Mata Hospital. We chose the local option, but Chelsy was not admitted due to financial constraints. She was taken back home as we planned to meet the requirements within a month.
On September 6, 2015, just eight days after sitting for my final campus exam, I received the worst news. Chelsy had breathed her last breath. Immense guilt flooded my soul. Why did she wait for me to complete my university education then die? Didn’t she want me to prove many otherwise, that I never deliberately abandoned her? Why did she not give me an opportunity to explain what happened between me and her mother? When will I ever apologize for not being father enough when she needed me most?
I went to the village for Chelsy’s funeral, and wept for her life. She was very intelligent. At 2 years, 11 months and 19 days, she could speak great English and had an impressive memory. She rarely forgot anything. I was broken.