Part of what made last year difficult was losing loved ones. Few things hurt more than that. The year has just begun and one of my longest serving and loyal clients sent me a text on Friday last week telling me she has lost her dad. That got me thinking. Is it that more folks are passing away now or is it that more folks we know are passing away?

Growing up, the funerals I remember attending were for my grandparents and few other very old people. These were rare. Now in my 40s I’m attending funerals more often than I’m comfortable. I had a chat in the parking lot after church service last Sunday (we call it cabro fellowship) with a friend. She said something that gave me some clarity on this issue. She told me we have grown old at 40. Of course, I join you all in disagreeing with that school of thought, but hear me out.

This lady (who turned 40 last December) said when she was growing up; she would use matatus as her main means of transport. The makanga would usher her in, “Sasa Siste,” when she was in her twenties. Later on in her thirties, the tout would welcome her aboard the matatu shouting, “Sasa Auntie.” Nowadays the few times she uses a matatu (she has a nice, big car now) the welcome greeting is, “Sasa Mathe.” She’s officially old if that’s what they see her as. To cement this perception, teenagers and young people in their twenties whom she works with call her mum. Iko shida. My young pals, please if you meet me and salimia me as uncle or daddy, I’ll just pass you like a packed No. 46 mathree headed to Kawangware. Those titles are reserved for my baby sharks and their cousins. Mzee ni wewe. See I’m already catching feelings.

Now you see why my friend says we are old. Maybe the sobering reality we need to accept and live with is that we are slowly taking over from our parents. Parenting parents 101. That means we have to confront and deal with the grief they sheltered us from as we grew up. My parents are like my kids now. Maybe I see it that way because I’ve named my baby sharks after both my mums and my dad. I feel responsible for my folks despite them still being very active and independent. I like checking on them. They complain when I don’t touch base with them after few days (yes days, not weeks or months). Initially I would see it as fussing but now I’ve grown to appreciate that I have them and I do all I can to spend time with them. I decided years back that I will let them know that I value and appreciate them. I’m grateful for the turmoil they went through bringing up this random character that is me. Plus my two siblings of course, who are better humans I must admit.

Where am I going with this story? I’m sure we’ve all noticed at funerals, all that is said of the departed is tons of the good they did and how wonderful they were. No one says anything negative even if we are burying a criminal. I often wonder; if the departed knew what we thought about them, would it have made a difference in their lives? I’m sure it would have. In life, it seems our default setting is to compete and highlight shortcomings in people we interact with at home, work or elsewhere. We find it much easier to criticize than to praise people. I guess it’s part of our human nature.

As I said about my folks, I want to be more intentional and let people I meet know that I appreciate them. While they are still here with us, let us cultivate a habit of giving live tributes to people when they can hear and see our gratitude. That’s what makes life beautiful. When I’m appreciated for something I did or said, I want to do it again and again because it touches a part of my soul that confirms doing good is what I’m here for.

For starters, let me thank you all who take your precious time to read my blog posts and comment. Even for the majority who do not say a word, I value your readership. For the many who give me content unknowingly as you let me into your mind and then allow me to share it here with the world, shukran sana. These are the thoughts of many, not just mine.

I hope most of us will change our default setting this year and choose to deliberately make a fuss about the good in people we interact with. From our spouses and kids to our superiors and subordinates; even the watchie at your gate or the cop stopping you to check your DL. Let’s not wait to say good stuff at funerals. In fact, I dare say a lot of sadness is from people wishing they funguad roho to the dearly departed when they were amongst us. At that point it’s too late. The power of a living tribute is powerful and the benefits come back to you in many ways.

Let us spread (say) the love especially now that we are old and 40 (pun fully intended).


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8 thoughts on “Living Tributes.”

  1. Ann says:

    Give live tributes. I like that Lucas

  2. Levi says:

    Awesome bro. Good personal challenge to make it a habit. Be blessed bro and love you big. You are a change agent and God is happy with you!!!

  3. Angie Ireri says:

    Lucas I appreciate you!!

  4. Omoth Ohuru says:

    Thanks, Lucas. Very insightful on living every day with people. Appreciating people for what they do right or efforts to do right builds them and us even more.

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