Reginah Katar and Tedd Josiah [Photo: Courtesy]

When Regina Katar, the wife to legendary producer Tedd Josiah, died after a short illness in October 2017, leaving behind a three-month-old daughter, Jameela Wendo alias Jay Jay, every word he posted, interviews he made after her burial told of his pain, grief and a new reckoning to fatherhood, but above all, his undying love for the deceased. In a message to Katar three years after she succumbed to birth-related complications, Josiah in an emotional post on his Instagram account stated that he sometimes feels that their daughter, now four-years-old, sometimes sees the emptiness in his eyes. The Blue Zebra founder turned fashion designer noted that he is grateful for the anchor that she left behind, Jay Jay.

“Dear mama, we learnt to dance in the rain but this dance would have been much better with you. Your Empress is doing her best to love papa sometimes it feels like she sees the emptiness in my eyes, especially when she just comes to hold and kiss me for no reason. Thank u mama thank u for this anchor you left for me. Askim. One sweet day,” he wrote. On her death anniversary in 2019, he shared that her passing at 26 hit him hard and expressed that no child should grow without a mother saying there is no healing from grief.

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“No child should ever be without a mother! No child! My friend u were magic, rest cause every Friday it plays back in my head...But broken crayons still paint so I will paint,” stated the producer. “What is grief like? Well it’s like the waves of an ocean sometimes they are high sometimes low but you're guaranteed they will hit. What causes them? Memories, jolts of confusion, uncertainty and moments of self-doubt all play roles in this. How long does it take to heal? U don’t heal u just learn to walk with the limp.” He pointed out that she was okay that fateful evening but as the night dragged on, she fell ill and was rushed to the hospital but never made it out after dying in her sleep.

Jay and Reginah [Photo: Instagram]

“Friday 7:30 pm dinner at home with mama and Jay Jay she’d cooked rice and chicken and was happy beyond words. Then a movie, as Jay Jay slept between us on the couch. After the film, we went to bed and she’d talked right thru the movie! 3 am as she breastfed she complained that heat head hurt, took meds and threw them up. So we dashed to hospital and she fell asleep and never woke up again,” said Josiah. “5 am Jay Jay and I sat in my car confused lost and alone. She’d just gone like that.” Katar was laid to rest at Ihururu village, Nyeri County.

Opening up to Grace Msalame about family and especially why his first marriage broke down, the Joka Jok luxury handbag founder narrated that he grew distant and caused his ex-wife heartache on leaving the country for two years on a self-imposed exile. “I had been married before and I had a two-year-old girl at the time I left the country and we were just beginning to bond and people thought it was exile. Yes, it was partially exile because I had been threatened but I also needed to go and grow in a space where I wasn’t ready to be a family man. I was breaking people more than I was building them and everything that I had built was false,” he said. “You know how you are told you grow up and must get married, and these are the boxes you have to tick and you must do x, y and z. You must live in a certain way. I was just ticking boxes and then I realized I don’t even love this person and I’m actually on a daily basis breaking her and she is breaking me,” narrated Josiah.

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While in the UK, he disclosed that he would cry, haunted by the absence of his children, episodes that saw him choose to reconnect. “I was in the UK starting my life again, learning again and anytime I would see a man with a child, I would start crying instantly and the tears would just roll down my face continually. I realized I wanted to a second chance at this, I wanted to get it right. Now we have a bond with my kids, all three of them, I love them to bits. They spend a lot of time with me at home but because they are in their teens, I isolate them from social media because it can get abet rough because of their schools and everything,” he added.