Grief Etiquette 101.

You know how we usually say you do not know someone’s truth until you walk in their shoes, or are in their situation? It is true, especially so when it comes to death.

Yes, DEATH. The one who’s touch leaves us cold, bitter, in anguish and turmoil. But sometimes the touch of death does also leave us relieved. Yes, it does if a person was in a lot of pain…. wouldn’t you rather have them suffer no more? And I mean all pain, not just the physical.

I know it sounds a bit cold to write that, but think about it… you the one left behind is in pain of loving a loved one which is natural, but there is nothing wrong in also letting them go and accepting that they are in a much better place where they are no longer suffering.

My family and I are still reeling in shock over losing several loved ones last year, more so my younger sister who died suddenly in August. What pains me the most is H, our kids and I were enroute to go see her. Sigh. IT HURTS SO BAD, and I do not know who said time heals because every single day I feel more pain.

As we planned her funeral a few things happened that pissed me off and made me come up with a few pointers on what one can do when others are grieving. I know some will be hard to do especially in my culture where death itself is a taboo subject. We do not talk of death openly and this makes us uncomfortable and most of the time we do not know how to console each other.

Here is what I came up with, in no particular order:-

• When you visit a bereaved person be conscious of what you say and ask. Let them speak first if they want to. If they do not want to give more information on what happened, DO NOT PRY. It is perfectly fine to sit there in silence.
• It is not the time to bring gossip and what other people are saying into a grieving home. Why would you even do that? Why?
• Do not say “ I know how you feel,” you don’t. You may have lost a loved one too but the pain is different. You could have both lost spouses and can console each other on the same without assuming the pain and anguish is the same.
• Don’t force the grieving person to tell you what they will do next. If a spouse dies, do you tell widows and widowers to change beds and houses immediately? It is NONE of your business.
• Don’t tell a grieving person “vumilia!” If they want to laugh, scream, roll let them do it as long as they are not endangering themselves and others. There is no textbook way to mourn.
• Respect the grieving person’s culture. Every culture has a way they deal with grief and bereavement. Don’t be condescending. Seek clarity from a friend familiar to that culture instead.
• Grieving is not a platform to compete about who knew the deceased better and who knows the family more. Hatushindani kwa machozi tafadhali. Be sensitive to the loss.
• Some help to the family goes a long way, be it financial or just helping out take out trash, stock groceries cleaning up etc. For the love of God help from the heart. And you do not have to help if you do not want to. Do not give any kind of help and expect to be rewarded for it. You help from the heart. Don’t expect a medal for it!
• Let the family determine the legacy they want for their loved one. AT their own time. Do NOT rush them into making decisions. God knows I can write a whole book on this!
• If the deceased person had indicated how they would want to be disposed. RESPECT IT! Who are you to question how and why someone is being cremated or buried in a certain way or at a certain place?
• After the funeral, it is ok to check on the family but don’t linger. Sometimes they also need some privacy in their Mourning as they try to cope in the absence of their loved one. If I’m bereaved and you come and find me out shopping don’t accuse me or make me feel guilty of doing normal things. There is no textbook way to grieve so if a long drive, retail therapy, or swimming will help me cope, let me be! Stop making people feel guilty for doing normal things. Life continues for them no matter how hard it is.
• Be silent and open to non verbal nuances. If the bereaved person wants to talk about the deceased, let them do it at their OWN time and shut up and listen. Do not offer opinions and answers unless asked as sometimes the person just wants to be listened to.
• Confidentiality and sensitivity is so important. Recording committee meetings or conversations taking place, taking photos and sharing them without express family permission is a BIG NO! Only vile human beings derive pleasure from sharing others’ anguish. Are you the type? Please stay away from grieving families if you answered yes.
• There are different stages of grief and family members and friends who have lost a loved one are rarely at the same stage at the same time. Respect that too.

Y’all can add your own….

 

 

 

Advertisements

Birthday Month. 

February is almost over! 

Is the year rushing by or what? 

This is not only the month of Love, Black History Month, Black Panther Month but also my birthday month. Yippee!!!

I will not lie about being excited about growing older. Forty is edging real fast and I am not ready folks I am NOT ready! 😪😪😪

There is a lot I had purposed to have accomplished by now and I have been pretty hard on myself about it recently. 

I’ve been in the dumps to be honest. Lousy mood swings, emotional about silly things, been a bit a anti social of late. I am tired, unhappy with myself and need to get back ontrack FAST? Will watching Black Panther help? It seems to be raising spirits all around I need a bit of that. Will T’Challa do it, I heard M’baku is awesome too and Killmonger…. 

Also girl power never fails in uplifting. Okoye? Nakia? Shuri? I hear she is the best Disney princess …. Can’t wait to watch it!

Seriously though, why is time moving so fast? I want to stay young – perfect excuse to get away with goofing off! 

Culinary Delight: Roasted Potatoes, Mutton and Stir fried vegetables.

It has been a while since I posted some food and yes, it is another potato dish. They are still a favorite. I just love potatoes 🙂

We do not dine out a lot but when we do, Mambo Italia pops up frequently. What’s not to love about their food? One of their options for sides are potatoes roasted with sage and garlic. Yum! Not only are their portions large, their food is down right delicious and filling.

Here is my attempt to recreate the potatoes:-

Oven Roasted Potatoes with Sage and Garlic.

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 5 large potatoes
  • I tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp dried sage
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method.

  • Peel and cut the potatoes into thick slices or wedges if you wish.
  • Boil the potatoes in salted water, together with the garlic and turmeric.
  • Boil for 8-10 minutes until almost but not quite cooked.
  • Drain and cool
  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius,
  • In a bowl, mix the olive oil, paprika and thyme.
  • Add the cooled potatoes and mix well, then arrange on a baking tray.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes.

Serve hot.

27067098_1772782186129005_6958041415165827027_n
Potatoes roasted in sage and garlic, boiled mutton and stir fried vegetables.

As the mutton was quite fatty, I boiled it with 2 chopped red onions, I tbsp of ginger- garlic paste, 1 tbsp of chopped coriander (include the stalks), 1 chopped tomato, salt and pepper to taste. You can add 1 tbsp of tomato paste to thicken a bit and add colour to the stew. Let it boil with two cups of water until thickened and reduced to your liking. The mutton was about 400g. This was my version of the famous “tumbukiza” where meat is boiled with all other ingredients you want in there and served hot and saucy.

The stir fried vegetables were carrots, courgette and green pepper (capsicum or hoho as we call it here) sliced into strips. I added a bit of soy sauce and honey to add flavour and a glossy finish.

Below is another potato dish I made weeks ago, only this time the I used mixed herbs, onion and garlic, and the side was some deep fried fish which I made a tomato based sauce for.

This was also very delicious and filling.

25588147_1728094527264438_8798410222607461194_o.jpg
Roasted potatoes with mixed herbs and garlic, deep fried fish in homemade tomato sauce.

Aren’t potatoes bae?

PS: I do make other healthier *cough cough* dishes, keep it locked for the recipes.

 

New Beginnings.

Since we moved, many friends and relatives have asked what we are going to do with our old living space; will we rent it out? will we demolish it?

I have an idea I have been toying with for a while but have not really gotten round to actually doing it. So H and I have decided we will use that space for it. I am good at procrastinating and have this fear of the unknown that makes me delay working on my ideas and getting started on projects.

So I will be blogging about this as a means of being accountable to myself. This is a dream I have had for years and I am excited to at least make one step towards realizing it. So here goes one step.

First, there are some repairs and changes to be done to some rooms, as well as paintwork. Cannot wait to see the ideas our artist/ painter comes up with. I am still in love with the murals he did in the kids rooms and the paintwork in the rest of the house is superb.

I also need licensing for my project and some new furniture, both indoor and outdoor. But one step at a time for this labour of love. I cannot wait to take before and after shots.

Here is to a new beginning!

 

Happy New Year

I cannot believe I did not do any post in December, such an awesome month. Enjoyed the time off just spent most of it at home with family and friends. Abscondita also got some time off to go visit her relatives upcountry, so let’s just fill in the blanks as to why I could not post. Yes, housework LOL.

Seriously though, I am glad 2017 is over and may it never come back. There is a lot I am grateful for in the past year, but there is a lot too that I would prefer to rot in the past. I thank God for good health, not lacking anything and the time spent with H and the kids. I loved the revelations too on which lane I should stick to cause oh the drama that past year!   I am relieved to have dropped some baggage and come to see some people for their dishonesty and downright nastiness. Yucky!

2018 is here though. And I am looking forward to what my achievements will be this year. I have not set any resolutions and never do anyway. But I have set down some of the things I am keen on achieving this year, which I will be sharing as I work on them.

Leo started school too! So exciting. Seeing my lil man in his uniform with his small bag, looking all serious and organized. Only downer is his fro is gone, I will miss his big hair and he looks so much smaller now L

Njeri is excited about being in the last year of pre- school, already asking if this is the year her front teeth will fall off, and if she can get her ears pierced, and if she can start ballet and a never ending list of questions like most kids her age. I am loving her current phase where she has been walking around the house with a note book and pencil drawing things that interest her. I am really impressed at the young girl she is growing into.

H and I are fine too, still working on our other  projects bit by bit but glad the big one was completed well. We have been lucky to have had no major issues with the people we have been working with and anticipate more success in future projects. Taking our time, researching in and out, working with experts has really helped us and may it continue.

Here is to an exciting year filled with new projects, new learning and success!

Teach a child

H and I love being parents. It is a privilege, a gift, an opportunity accorded to us, not because we are the most deserving to be parents, but has given us an opportunity to learn so many things.

I for one have learnt patience.  Please, take a moment and let that sink in…. anyone who knows me knows I am not the most patient human being but my little ones have taught me to be patient. It is amazing I tell you, learning not to get worked up over trivial things, counting to ten (or even up to thirty) before responding.  Meditating no, not zoning off,

I have learnt how to let loose, yep, that stick up my butt fell off some time ago. Boy, I have become this spontaneous fun loving person I had no idea I could be.

It is not easy teaching kids though. Raising them right according to your values is no easy feat. It takes a village and a lot of trial and error. There is no parenting book that has the tips down easy. We are lucky to grow up with access to more parenting resources than our parents, though this can also be more confusing as you sift down what is in line with your values and discard the rest.

Then there are those times you feel you have no idea of what you are doing, so you just play along and cross your fingers. LOL. But God has been gracious to us in all this, and we are grateful for that.

What is our vision for our children?  Every parent wants their child to be healthy, successful and wise. Grow up into person of integrity and be self assured. How do we do it though?

I do not have the answers yet, all i can perfect right now is loving our children right and well, and teach them love, what is right, about God, about others, about nature. Even about bad things so they can know that all is not right out here. I will not scare them though, but teach them to see beyond what is in front of them. So help me God.

My Mum once gifted me a card similar to the one below, I know not everybody may agree with all it says, but there is some truth in it.

children learn
Source: Google search

Mommy Drives #DSFL

It has been a while but I am back to share what I learnt during the Ford DSFL Course.

After sharing the post on child safety, I saw this post by a Mum on FB. Support is so important, and her children’s lives were saved as they were strapped in correctly at the time. This really needs to be taken seriously by Kenyan parents.

We finished the theory part of the course with a brief discussion on what one should always have in their vehicle at all times.

  1. First Aid Kit
  2. Fire Extinguisher- this is to be changed once a year. To be stored clamped under the passenger seat for easy retrieval- should not be put in the boot.
  3. Torch
  4. Tow rope, gloves
  5. Safety triangles
  6. Cables
  7. A bottle of water (2litre is good) Handy when the car overheats and can also quench your thirst
  8. Car phone charger, you would not want to be stranded somewhere with a phone out of charge.
  9. Loose change, for parking and tipping
  10. Umbrella
  11. Note pad and pen
  12. Tissue

There are so many other things drivers keep in the vehicle, some have a complete tool box. (I did not mention H here LOL), but it’s all about being safe on the road and prepared for any eventuality. As a Mummy driver, we keep everything from a kikoy or khanga, or even a picnic blanket, hand lotion, wet wipes, sunglasses, shopping bags and a small bag or bin for trash.

It sounds like a lot but just check what you have in the car with you, you will be amazed. Some of us even have a bag of ready to wear clothes for spontaneous trips. Hehehehe!

With the recent plastic bag ban, my boot now has a kiondo or two (those sisal baskets we’re are given on our wedding day by our grandmas) which is a big help when shopping.

kiondo
Image source: Google.

What else do you keep in your car as a Mommy driver?