This weekend, our family lost its eldest member, Dr. Rip Daman Singh; my paternal grandfather. He was 89 and had been ill for about 2-3 months, so this was not entirely unexpected, but it still came as something of a shock. He lived at home with us in Nairobi, and had been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.
Soon enough, the news spread far and wide, and his family members all over the globe were overwhelmed with calls, messages, and so much love and support. In these two days, I understood more than ever before how loved he was and just how many people looked up to him.
My grandfather was a doctor in Kenya during colonial times and after, and was in fact a British citizen. He travelled to quite a few places and made friends wherever he went. He was a ‘tale twister’ for Lions Club (quite an important distinction from ‘tail twister’ in a Lions’ Club!) I remember whenever people came home to visit, he was always ready to laugh and share a joke or story or two from back in the day, and it always surprised me to see the wealth of experience that someone I lived with everyday had.
Death is not an easy thing for humans to confront. In a society that has done as much as it can to make itself immortal, this final end is a harsh reminder of just how fleeting life can be.
At this time more than ever, I wished that I could be home with my parents and the rest of the family, but also realised just how united the family was. Over three continents, this past weekend, we came together stronger than ever to celebrate the legacy of a wonderful man who is one of the reasons we are so united, and that none of us is ever truly alone. Today, he and my grandmother celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary in the land beyond. They are together again after about 21 years, and those of us left here are all celebrating a life well lived with an abundance of love and laughter. Already, we’ve seen signs of him smiling down at us, and we know he’ll be watching over us forevermore.
“Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on the snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;I am not there.
I did not die.”
– Mary Elizabeth Frye, 1932
I’ve always loved reading, and pretty soon I realised that I enjoyed writing too. I started my blog as a way to update friends and family on the weddings that kept happening in the family, but soon enough it turned into a forum for me to share my thoughts, opinions, and journey of growth. Whether this means reviewing a cool restaurant, talking about where I am in life, featuring a really cool guest blogger or making a list that I think would be useful to others, I hope to do it all. Writing has given me a space to explore myself and the world around me.
I’m a proud Kenyan (and I hate to disappoint, but no, I can’t run very fast), and am absolutely lucky to have been born and brought up there. I got my honours degree in Economics from Sewanee: The University of the South, which I love dearly for all that it’s given me. Right now, I’m living in Nairobi, transitioning to ‘real life’ and all that that means. I love being around people, and the energy that people have. I enjoy travelling, and especially love visiting places that have a rich history!