My husband, the late Ahmed Darwesh, occasionally dropped hints that his days on Earth were numbered, but I did not catch on.
Darwesh or ‘Daru’ to his close friends, died last December.
He had a premonition about his death and he hinted at it. Like the night we left Mater Hospital in Nairobi, where I had given birth to our son.
Darwesh was very sick and our son was in the incubator. I was expressing milk for our son and I told him to go home as I would call him once I was done. I expressed milk up to 10.30pm and immediately I was through, he called and asked whether I was done. I answered in the affirmative and asked where and how he was.
He said he was at the parking lot and had not gone home. I asked him why, and he answered with a smile: “Mamake usiwe na wasi wasi na mimi, umri wangu mfupi (Don’t worry about me love. My time here is short).” I told him, “Ok kwa kuwa ushaletewa habari” (How could you know such a thing)?
‘Mamake’ was the pet name he had given me for being the mother of his children.
Then there was the we were in the bedroom with our daughters and son. Darwesh looked at his son and said, “Mimi nitaondoka niwaachie Ridhwan (son)” (When I am gone, I will at least leave you with Ridhwan), and my girls. When I protested his statement, he just smiled.
Before his death, I was not meant to go to Mombasa for the December holidays. I was to stay for 40 days without him around me as per our traditions after giving birth. It is my girls who were to go for the holidays. They were to leave on Saturday December 12, 2015.
But Darwesh insisted that I too had to go. I told him we’d have to attend the hafla (prize giving day) together for the children at the farm. He declined and told me to go as he would pick me later so that we go to his friend, COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli’s home for Christmas.
Sunday was my 40th day and we talked about a lot of things. We were having a ball. He was so happy and he wanted to know how our son was coping with the coastal heat. We talked a lot at night. I had his car so I asked him when is Yusuf Koka (his friend) going to take the car back to him, he told me ,“Mamake wacha nyinyi mutumie gari mimi nitakuja na ndege.” (Just use the car love, I will catch a flight).
Come Monday around 7am, Darwesh called me. He asked about the children. I asked him, “Utakwenda na nani job? (who will take you to work) and he said Bangu (our taxi driver), “but hashiki nitampigia tena aje kunichukua (but he’s not picking my calls. I will call him later to come pick me).”
We talked for 30 minutes and he said: “Mamake wanangu wanangu, nilelee vyema (My love, take good care of my children).” I reprimanded him: “Kwani nitawafanyaje si kila siku niko nao (what else did you expect? I am always here for them).
Darwesh requested in a voice that made me feel like crying but I just brushed it off: “Nisamehe mke wangu (I apologise my wife),” he said. That was it. He never talked to anyone else that day as per the call logs on his phone.
I tried to call him at around 12.30pm but he did not pick and I concluded that he must be praying.
That was it.
I have not opened my laptop since June 2015 when I started my bed rest. But on February 23, 2016, I switched it on at 7.10am and saw this shairi that made me cry my heart out.
I will always miss Ahmed Darwesh. My girls and I will. When bloggers wrote controversial stories about anyone he knew well, my husband would say: “I work for the media, but I don’t live by the media.”