Today, I went to church to commiserate with the family of a friend I met at campus as they grieved the loss of their mother. While there, like at all deep moments in our lives, when we are forced by our experience, to pause and take a harder look at ourselves, I looked back at life in the previous few years and the many people who’ve been sent, albeit unaware of their role, to save me from myself on countless occasions.
It is said we are not islands and so we are better off being good to those around us. In other words, that old story about six degrees of separation is not too tall after all.
Mrs Nyakaana was a mother to many. She was a friend to all her children’s friends and at her requiem mass, her husband called her ‘Maama.’ Now those who have met Dr Nyakaana will tell you he is not one to wear his heart on his sleeve. That might not be an accurate description, given the way he has been known to erupt into emotional drama (like at one of his sons’ wedding meeting), but this powerful man was brought to tears when he had to get up there and tell the gawking congregation the story of his wife.
She taught her children to be kind. To be good to those they come in contact with. Goodness can be construed differently by different people, and it has been known to be fatal. Baker Nyakaana, her son, has always been one of the good guys. Being brilliant in class, and being proud to use this brilliance to help others makes him one of my real heroes.
But goodness cannot be hidden. Like the Bible line, we can say, goodness cannot be hidden under a basket. The good lady’s goodness spilled over to all who came in contact with her sphere of influence.
I am a burnt out Holy Roller and over time, I have become a skeptic, not that I am not trying to get back on that road. I want to give the excuse that it is the fault of all these electric pastors, who do not know what the difference between the Bible and Marketing Principles 01 is. Truth is everyone has themselves to blame for how their life turns out. We have been let out of the nest and it is up to us to get it right as we fly each to our destinies.
So it was with this feeling that I listened to the speeches, and boy, did they do that lady justice! Because I knew her and I knew what they were saying was true. It is not everyday that you find a person who says they believe in something and then go on to live it to the hilt.
As the hearse took her away and as we turned to those around us to say, “Hi, it’s been a long time. Where have you been hiding all this time,” as we stood close to Baker and his siblings as they battled with the barrage of thoughts about the tomorrows they will have to go through without their mom, I reflected on what it really means to live a full life. It is to leave those dear to you stronger because of your influence.