Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Kuku Mrembo

Sunday, July 24th, 2016 marked the one-year anniversary of Vumi Temba's death.  She was my dear friend and sister, beloved and respected colleague at The Toa Nafasi Project, and a ray of light in some pretty dark places.

I'd been considering for weeks how to commemorate her life and death on this first anniversary; how to think about her, talk about her, write about her.  What to say to her.

Song lyrics and poetry couplets ran intrusively through my mind, but these trifles seemed too forced, stale.  No meaningful, original thought came to me and I couldn't even say I took any pleasure (bittersweet albeit) in what I had imagined would be a creative and emotionally cathartic process.  I generally live for that crap.

Certainly, there was and still is great sadness, that is not in question.  But why I did I not feel it more acutely on this momentous day?  Quite honestly, I felt her loss no more or less than any other.  So, what was the big announcement I had wanted to make, the great secret I had to spill?

I went to her gravesite in Marangu and waited for the wave of emotion to overtake me.  The family wanted to know what the program was, but I said I had no plans or speeches, just to sit for a while.  My eyes were dry.  My head was clear.

I made a final attempt to call up an emotion suitable for this critical occasion, our reunion, but I had nothing out of the ordinary to say.  No big proclamation for the living, no secret surprises for the dead.

It was then that I realized that the importance I had attached to this day and this place was something drummed up, imagined.

I talk to Vumi EVERYDAY and in ALL PLACES.  I don't need to go to Marangu to see her.  (Not that I mind, it's very quiet and pleasant there, and I'm happy to visit with her family.)  But she is with me all the time.

I realized that I'm constantly in contact with her: seeking her approval, celebrating congrats, picking stupid fights.  She has not left me at all!  In fact, she has more time to devote to me and Toa Nafasi than ever....

So, what I had been planning to mark with some gloomy yearly reminder is actually just the new normal.  This is how it is with Vumi these days.  And it's okay.

No comments:

Post a Comment