The patriarch of the Dundo’s Family is no more…The man rested in perfect peace, leaving behind a great legacy that we, his children, wish to continue.
The man single-handedly raised 5 children after the wife (our mother) died at a tender age of 35. During my mother’s funeral, he plainly stated that he was not going to marry another woman until all his children came of age, cleared high school and were considered adults. No one believed him, but years later, that gesture defined the kind of man he was.
I remember people saying, ‘Oh my, those children will suffer now that their mother has rested, the father is a drunkard and he is bound to get another wife and forget about his family’. Everyone waited for another woman to come to the picture. My father’s friends went to the extent of trying to hook him up but he never entertained such games. He once went to shagz only to find that a random woman had washed the house, cooked his meal and was eagerly waiting to warm his bed.
Him: Habari yako
Her: Mzuri ! She shyly answered hoping my father will notice the smile.
Him: Na wewe ni nani ?
Her: Mimi ni bibi yako mtarajiwa Akoth.
Him: Oooo, sawa sawa. Wacha niende soko nikuje na shopping ndio tujuane vizuri.
Her: Sawa Sawa, She couldn’t believe it was this easy to bag herself a handsome Luo man who was a civil servant living in Nairobi.
My father left his home in Dala/shagz, went straight to Siaya town and took an Akamba bus and back to Nairobi he went. He basically ghosted the woman. My respect for him grew tenfold- any man who puts his children first, is to be respected.
Two years ago, my father called and said he was not feeling well. Deliberations were made and a decision was reached that he should be taken to a private hospital in Siaya Called Bura Hospital. After running some tests which I would call Shady, the results came and the doctor said he had ‘Ulcers’. That was the beginning of our journey treating and managing ulcers. This went on for a while but we noticed he was only getting worse. One of my brothers who is a medic felt something was off and he decided to drive down to shagz. He took him to a private hospital in Kisumu, several tests were run (including an endoscopy test).Two weeks later the tests were out. He was diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer, stage 3.
There was nothing as bitter to swallow as this news. It took time for me to digest it, and I was in denial for a while. My mother died when I was nine, I remember her journey until her final breath. I was about to embark on the same journey with my father who I had grown to love immensely as an adult, I say this because our relationship had been somehow rocky while growing up.
Coming from a family that lives in love and we are so close to each other. This news shook us, yes, we were strong and acted strong but within, we knew we had been cornered, his days were numbered and we deliberately had to create memories. I will soon write about the memories.
For the last one year we had been treating ulcers, we had been treating the wrong thing- there had been a serious misdiagnosis. I know humans make mistakes, I just don’t know whether some should be forgiven. One thing about Cancer is it knows how to cause pain. Not only to the patient but to the loved ones. There is nothing as difficult as knowing that your loved one is on a journey of sure death. They know it too, but you both have that unshakeable faith, the faith of a mustard seed.
I watched as Mr Dundo’s wasted away, I watched him struggle to have a simple meal he loved, but the pain was too much.Not only couldn’t he swallow the food but also this new reality.
We decided to start blending his food and maybe that way, it would be easier for him to swallow. Wapi!Anything he tried eating, he would vomit almost immediately. For months, the only thing he ate/drunk, was ‘Ensure’- something close to Baby NAN. And that is what he drank until he rested.
During this season, everything stopped making sense. I stopped meeting people, I went off social media as much as I tried to act okay, I stopped writing, it’s like creativity faded. I felt like I had so much going on to be present for anything or anyone.
Some situations you find yourself in are so emotionally draining that it sucks life out of you too. I thank God for my family though, we are blessed, we genuinely love each other and through the battles we face, we stand strong. I also have very good friends out here who travelled this journey with me/us. I’m forever grateful.
Cancer is bad, Cancer kills, but cancer gives you time to love and care for your person until they breathe their last. I have so many stories about the last one year, stories of joy and stories of pain. Only that this time round I will be posting on my blog and not on Facebook. So, subscribe, and be ready to laugh, celebrate and cry. Those are the emotions that defined my year.
Share these widely and let’s continue growing