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The Duke of Gatanga

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When David Kariuki was leaving his former workplace in 2002 he told Betty Wekesa, who also worked in the advertising department, “By the way, you, one day I will marry you.” Betty laughed out loud. She had this characteristic loud laughter. The type you want to join in. They were standing outside in the street, at the entrance of the building. He had been checking her out for a while, but you know how it is when you work with a chick you like? You try keep it under your hat. Besides, Betty wasn’t keen on or even aware of his affection. He found her very fetching. Like his mom, she had a gap between her teeth that he absolutely loved. And then there was her laughter. After laughing at his marriage prediction she said, “You? Ai, never. You Kikuyus aren’t romantic enough.” Those were early days. He hadn’t started calling himself “The Duke of Gatanga” on Twitter, an aspiring ranch owner.

He started a new job at Marshalls East Africa. They lost touch. A year or so later he rung her and they had coffee. He took her to a ka-joint where Four Points By Sheraton now sits. It was called Kwality Bar and restaurant, or something. Two months later they had another date at Kwality, a longer date this time. They did lunch twice in CBD. They then went on a third proper date, lunch in town followed by an evening at Kwality. (I guess you could say David was a Kwality time kinda guy). Betty was thawing under his charm and he kept his foot on the gas pedal. While picking up her purse at the end of one of their dates, she said, “You are not such a bad guy after all. It’s a bit late for you to go all the way back home [he lived in Thika], do you want to come back to my place?” He heard the angels sing. Really, he did. He answered “Yes!” very quickly before she changed her mind.

They started dating. He really liked her. Her heart was always in the right place. She was loving and fun to be around and she filled him with that laughter of hers. What else do you do; when it’s right it’s right, right? So he proposed to her. She said yes. On May 30th, 2008, he slipped a ring on her finger at their wedding in Karen and she became Mrs Betty Wekesa Ndung’u. David says, “That night I told her, ‘Didn’t I tell you that I would marry you one day?’ and she laughed out loud – that laughter of hers.”.

What happens when people get married? They either buy a toaster or they start making a baby. Since they already had a toaster, they started making a baby. They tried for a year but nothing happened. Then they tried for another year and nothing happened. He really put his back into it, literally and figuratively, nothing. It then occurred to them that there was a problem.

“Did you, at some point, think that perhaps you were shooting blanks?” I ask.

He says indignantly, “Of course not! It never crossed my mind.”

We laugh.

“Of course it never did, how could it have?” I chide. “You’re a man. No man thinks it could be them.”

They started seeing specialists. They saw a handful, all giving different diagnoses. They gave him iron tablets and sperm boosters. They gave her dozens of supplements. Then they tried again. Nothing. They saw more specialists, maybe nine of them in total, and they were given more supplements and more hope and they kept trying and finally one specialist told them that her ova were not getting to full maturity, which meant that by the time they met the sperms they could not fertilize.

“Oh, so it wasn’t a problem with your sperm,” I say.

“Oh, no. Mine were very active, they still are,” he says laughing. At our table also sits Ronnie, the editor-in-chief at Futaa.com. He had come to pick a copy of my book from the office and we had decided to have tea downstairs. I had invited him to sit in the interview later, to see how the sausage is made.

They tried Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) which involved synchronising her ovulation calendar and then physically inserting his sperm in her. It set them back some 350K. It failed. They gathered more funds over months and did a second one and it, too, failed. That’s almost a meter in the ground so they decided to chill because they had no more money to spend.

“How did that affect your relationship?” I ask him. “Was it ever like an elephant in the room?”

“It was unspoken. We rarely spoke about it. But there was frustration for sure, frustration in trying and failing consistently. Financial frustrations that came with it. Frustration in going to parties and seeing other people’s children running around, children that belonged to people who got married after you. But there was never any blame involved, I wouldn’t even say that it affected our marriage. We were in it together, that’s how it felt. But there’s some sense of insecurity on the woman’s part when she’s the one with the problem, especially now that we were like five years into the marriage and no baby. There was societal pressure, subtle, but there. For instance we would go to a function and someone would ask, ‘What are you guys waiting for?’ I’d tell them, ‘We are still on happy hour, guys.’”

“What’s happy hour?”

“It’s that ka-time after the wedding when you guys are just chilling, enjoying yourselves until you are ready for kids.”

Ronnie chuckles at that. Ronnie is not married so he would find that amusing.

In June 2004, when they took a stab at another procedure, it cost them a cool half a million bob. (I have never known why people refer to lots of money as “a cool.”) This time round they did a procedure where fertilisation is done outside the woman’s body, in a lab, and the product is transferred into the woman’s body.

A month after the procedure they did a pregnancy test and guess what, they were pregnant! He was over the moon and over Saturn and Jupiter and he was bouncing off walls. The next couple of months he walked while whistling under his breath. He smiled at strangers. When he saw a child he rubbed his hair playfully. He called them “son,” or “sweetheart.” He went online and read websites on the development of babies. He dreamed of cute naked babies with double chins tickling his undersoles with a feather. (I’ve made this one up, bear with me). He felt like God had finally listened to him. Like God was his homeboy, his wingman. He was grateful to Him and to modern science. Mornings were suddenly brighter and full of promise. The air smelled good. He was going to be a father! He couldn’t even wrap his head around that concept. Would he now be expected to wear trousers with turn-ups? Would he have to own more coats? Would he have to learn how to fix the sink, because isn’t that what fathers are good for? (Apart from scaring away the thief?)

But God wasn’t done.

Three months later they discover they are expecting triplets.

Triplets!

As in, three shundrens!

They wanted one baby but God said, “Aii, we have to replicate Betty’s beautiful laughter so that we can have three children with that laughter filling the world with mirth, so have an extra two.” But they are also scared because Betty has a small body and they wonder if three lito people with big heads can fit in there, eating and moving and yawning and kicking and fist pumping. But Betty is a trooper. They buy baby stuff. In threes. Weeks fall off the calendar. They get to 36th week and they are all packed to go see the doctor in the 37th week. They have booked a bed at Aga Khan, forms are filled, the overnight delivery bag is ready by the foot of the bed and Betty is heavy, yes, she rolls around like a walrus, yes, but she is fine and she is happy and he is happy and they are happy.

One Tuesday evening a couple, their friends, come over to visit them at their digs in Nyayo Estate. He sees them off. They watch some late-night TV under duvets because Betty’s feet would get cold. They brush their teeth and get into bed. He switches off the light. He falls asleep with his hand on her belly. If you have a child you will know that feeling of placing your hand on your pregnant woman’s belly – it’s tight and stretched like a traditional drum- and it’s a great feeling to feel your child kick therein once in a while, as if to say, “Stop holding my mummy! You made her nose big and she eats soil all the time. You have done enough, let go of her, let my mummy sleep!” It’s a special feeling especially because you can’t believe that you, small insignificant you, who can’t even cut his nails properly, made a human being with eyes and ankles! That you are going to be a father and you don’t even know the half of it. You feel so unworthy to raise another human being. When Tamms was an infant and she looked at me I thought she could tell I was clueless and that I was planning to just wing it with her.

When he wakes up with a start, the lights are on and Betty is pacing up and down. She’s saying, “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe!” It’s just after 1am, according to the bedside clock. He jumps out of bed. She walks out of the bedroom, into the living room where she paces up and down catching her breath. He runs to the kitchen to get a glass of water while he calls the doctor. The doctor says it could be embolism (Oh, I know this bastard, it killed my mother), that she needs to come to the hospital immediately. Can they come to Aga Khan? “No, we live in Nyayo,” he says, carrying the water into the sitting room, “can we meet at Mater? Sawa. Mater it is. I’m rushing there now.”

He steps on red vomit. She has been vomiting blood. He finds her slouched on the couch, foaming at the mouth. He panics. He dashes out of the house, taking three stairs at a time, bangs on a neighbour’s door downstairs. The neighbour opens the door squinting. My wife doesn’t look so good. They rush up. The neighbour has a contact with Kenya Red Cross, who dispatches an ambulance. On the couch, Betty is lying on her side, listless. The neighbour performs CPR. In 12 minutes the guys from Red Cross burst into the room. Two gentlemen. They come bearing equipment, those medical things that look important, and they try to resuscitate her using these important looking machines. He looks at what’s going on like he’s watching ER. At one point, one of the chaps, a medic, feels her pulse and his finger stays on her wrist for a while, and while still holding her hand he looks up at David and their eyes lock momentarily and David sees something in the man’s eyes, and suddenly he feels his whole world crack under his feet and he just knows.

His wife is dead. The realisation is short and heavy and intense and it grabs his throat, cutting off air. His wife is gone. Gone with the beautiful gap between her teeth. Gone with her wonderful laughter.

“I just knew from his look that Betty had died,” he says.

Ronnie folds his hands across his chest, as if a chill just came over him. At this point I’m thinking; shit, how does God pick who gets the rotten cards?

But they had the babies to think of.

“They had a stretcher, these guys from Red Cross,” David continues, “and getting my wife’s body on it was difficult because she was heavy, maybe 90-plus kilograms. But we heaved her on it. I don’t remember if I helped or they did it alone. I honestly don’t recall much at this point. But I remember the difficulty of going down the narrow staircase with her heavy body on it. The Red Cross guys were rushing down it seems, like there was a chance of saving my babies. I don’t remember the drive to Mater.”

He says it takes about eight minutes to save babies after the death of the mother. They take over 15 minutes to get into Mater. At the Emergency unit they place her on a table. A doctor checks her airways and vitals then turns to him and tells him, “I’m so sorry, she’s no longer with us.” She’s wearing a brown deera. He stares at her feet, the ones that were cold earlier in the evening when they were watching TV. They wheel her into an adjacent windowless holding room of sorts. “All the while I was numb, but when I saw her being wheeled into that room I started crying,” he says, then pauses. He looks away. “I really cried at that point.”

“What are you wearing at this time?” I ask him.

“I’m in my sleeping shorts and a t-shirt.”

“Do they have pockets?” I ask.

He gives me a strange look. I don’t know why I ask that, to be honest. But I want to picture him. I want to know where his hands are, is he hugging himself? Are his hands in his pockets? How cold is it? The cold of loss and the cold of 2:46am. Is the moon out? What can he smell? He doesn’t remember if they had pockets but he remembers that he had her phone which had died when he was calling her people from it. He had his phone too and he called his sister, her best buddy, tried calling her sister, told his own sister to tell his mom that Betty had died and they were at Mater. He makes these calls tearfully, standing before that small church at Mater, holding onto the railings. It’s a church I know too well, I saw my brother cry in there a few times when my mom was hanging on a string in HDU some eight years ago. It’s a church where hope and grief sit on the same side of the pew.

His best buddy showed up and took charge. He’s called Peter Maingi, and he’s a Clinical Officer at KNH. He took him to the cops to report the death. Then he took him back home in the small hours of the morning. The house help opened the door with a smile, thinking that perhaps he had good news of the baby’s birth given that she had slept through the commotion of the previous night. He walked right past her and into their bedroom. His bedroom now.

The lights were still on. The room smelled of her. The room felt like her. The room still had her heat. Pieces of her clothing, pieces of herself dotted the room because bedrooms ideally belong to the wives. We just keep our socks there. Her sandals were at the foot of the bed, on her side. There was a cup on her bedside table. The cord of her charger ran from the socket. Her flat pregnancy shoes were by the wardrobe, with one of its doors half open. He looked around the room, like a stranger. He stared at her side of the bed, a rumpled bed sheet, the space where she had slept a few hours back, taking her shape. The pillow, depressed under with the shape of her head, was thrust against the headboard. His lips trembled and he bit them. His eyes got misty.

He walked over and slipped into the side of the bed that belonged to his dead wife. He slipped into the shape of her 90kgs, six of which belonged to his three children, now dead. Children he would never meet. He would never take them to school, or colour with then. Fatherhood had become a mirage. He slipped into his dead wife’s shape, placed his head on the depression of her own head in the pillow. It smelled of her hair, of her face. And there, waves upon waves of grief, deep hungry grief, beat him and ate at him and as exhaustion took over his body and mind and sleep stole him, he wondered how he would ever be the same again, not even as a man but as a human being.

When he woke up, sunlight was beating through the window, but it didn’t feel bright. Because you can be in sunlight but still be in darkness. The light overhead was still burning. He heard voices in the next room- his relatives and her relatives and neighbours and people who had been called by loss. They were voices of sorrow, low voices because death lowers our voices. He didn’t want to get up. He wanted to lie there until he was old, until he also died and joined his wife and his three children. He didn’t want anyone opening that door. He wanted to lie in this bedroom that had become an incubator of pain and hopelessness.

There was this prayer he had written on the third month of their pregnancy. It was a prayer for a safe pregnancy. He had read it throughout the pregnancy. The first thing (and the only thing) he did when he got off the bed was to tear it up.

“I hated God,” he says. “I questioned him. I mean, I have prayed for children, begged you for them, and then you have made me wait for eight years to give me, not one, or two, but three children.” He pauses. “Then you keep these children for all these months and then just a few days to delivery you decide that, you know what David, you don’t deserve these children. I thought to myself, you know what, this guy [God] is a joker. He was never serious about helping me. He was playing with me and in the cruellest of ways; taking my wife and even my children. If he didn’t want me to have those children, if I was not deserving of them, he should have at least left me my wife.”

He didn’t leave the bedroom the entire day. He went back and slept on his wife’s side. But when he finally came out in his shorts and he started grieving, he hated it when people told him, “It is well.” He absolutely hated it. “How do you know it is well?” he asks me. “Have you lost a wife and three kids? How can you say it is well? I think the only person who can say it is well is me and I can only say it when I feel it is well right here,” he points at his heart.

He was only 37-years old then (now he’s 40), and a widower. (“There is no age to be a widower. As long as your are married you are a potential candidate for the widower slot,” he says.)

I want to ask him if he saw his children but I’m so conflicted about it. On one hand it feels so intrusive and on the other hand, the parent in me doesn’t want to know. It fills me with dread. I really don’t want to know because I’m also burdened as it were with this story and honestly, I want to finish it and go away. I don’t want to burden him with those horrible memories but I’m also anxious for it to stay in my head and infect me with fear as a father.

“Did you ever see your children?” I finally ask him, secretly hoping that he says he doesn’t want to talk about that. But he does.

He did. He saw them. Two days after the death. Chief Government pathologist – Dr Johansen Oduor – asked him if he wanted to see his children. “Are you very sure?” he asked him. His children were in a room. He left everybody else outside and went in alone. He tiptoed in. The room was so cold. His babies were placed on a table with a lime green cover. Two girls and one boy. The boy was between his sisters. They were naked. They each weighed around 1.8kgs. They had small feet and cheeks and small hands folded in small fists. They could have been asleep.

“Imani, Keith and Neema,” he says in a new voice that he hasn’t been speaking in.

I glance over at Ronnie, he’s staring at him like he’s superhuman. I hope he doesn’t continue, I hope he stops there. I don’t want to hear anymore about these children. But he doesn’t.

“I stood there for maybe 15 minutes hoping that they would jolt to life and start crying and I could take them home.”

We sit in a very brief silence that could have quickly gotten awkward.

“Did you touch them?” I ask.

“No. You know us Kikuyus don’t even view bodies that much. But these were my children, I had to see them. Even during burials coffins always remain closed.”

“Us we view, sometimes leave the coffin open.” I say, then I look at Ronnie and say, “Ronnie, what tribe are you, by the way?” He says Luhya.

“I remember that they were light-skinned, like my wife. She was light-skinned,” he continues, then adds with a mischievous look, “but mostly I remember how good looking they were, just like I am.”

We laugh at that. We laugh at death. And it feels good. It’s a f*k you to death and the ugliness the world brings.

His wife and children were buried in Gatanga, his shags. They were buried in the same coffin. One child was placed on his wife’s chest and the other two in the crook of each arm. Sleep tight, angels.

Why am I fascinated by these stories of pain and grief, I have been asked many times. I think it’s because I want to know how far down a human being can plunge, how below rock bottom we can go before we rise again. I want a glimpse at the fighting spirit of man. I want to be assured that whatever shit life throws our way, we can rise, we can triumph. I want to see humans rise and triumph.

And the Duke of Gatanga rose. Gradually. One day at a time. It was difficult, ghosts filled his days and he felt his heart pump pain, but he rose.

“Grief for me was an extreme emotion, the very end of hell,” he says. “Your head is heavy. You have questions. You cry a lot. You, (pause) I don’t know. You’re just…lost in space…in thoughts, [pause]…in everything.” His best buddy, Maingi, was there for him. Always.

“For a while he moved into my house, for a week, in fact, until the day we buried,” he says. “He’s married with children but he knew that I was useless standing on my own two feet, so he moved in and he somehow took care of stuff I couldn’t until I was strong enough to face life on my own. And during this time he didn’t say much, we would just sit in silence, we didn’t even drink. Just TV and silence.”

“That’s the coolest stuff I have heard today,” I tell him. “Right, Ronnie?” Ronnie says, “Very.” You know those guys you ask something and they say “very”? That’s Ronnie.

“Si today is cold?”

“Very.”

“Kwani jana you slept early how?”

“Very.”

[Peter Maingi, if you are reading this huko at KNH, you deserve a big trophy, one of those elephants that curiomakers carve in maasai market. That and a bottle of your favourite.]

What do you do with your dead wife’s clothes and stuff? Do you give them away and when? I ask David.

“They were in my house for two years. I never touched them. We had lots of baby stuff, clothes and lots and lots of diapers and shoes. Many! I just didn’t want to give them to anyone, I didn’t want to dump them in a children’s home and leave. I wanted to give them to someone who would appreciate them for their taste – my wife had very good taste in clothes. I gave them away in pieces, one at a time.” He never moved out of their house because, well, he owns it. The house is now rid of her stuff, but there is a pair of earrings he still hangs onto. And the first X-ray scan that showed the triplets.

He joined a group of other widowers. Yes, widowers have a whatsapp Group. He’s in one called Brothers. They talk about grief, adjustments and everything that comes with loss of a spouse. They share experiences and challenges like family, healing, dating and things: When do you introduce your kids to a woman? What do you do if your kids like her more than you do or you like her but your kids hate her? Things like that.

“How long should one wait after the death of a spouse before they start dating?” I ask him. “Because you can start too soon and guys are like, aii, Duke of Gatanga, yaani you couldn’t wait?”

He laughs. “Funny you should ask, I used to have a neighbour who lived across from us, a lady, she must have been 52, or something, as soon as we buried she started inviting me for dates and stuff. Of course I know when it’s more than an innocent date, but she was relentless, man,” he laughs. “You get a lot of women – some of who knew your wife – wanting something. They offer to come help in the house or want to feed you. Some are too forward others not so much.”

“Are you seeing someone now?” I ask. Mostly because I’m nosy. Because really it doesn’t matter. But I’m sure you guys also want to know. Stop pretending. You do.

“I am.”

“Does she have a gap between her teeth?”

“No,” he laughs. “But she also has a big laugh, just not so pronounced.”

“How do you make sure that when you are dating you don’t go looking for your dead wife in these women?”

He pauses. I like when people pause when I ask them a question. It means I have asked a good question.

“It’s a tad difficult.” He sighs. “It’s difficult, even though I try and seek the good and the uniqueness of an individual.”

“Does your current chick ask about your departed wife?”

“No, she doesn’t,” he says.

He wants to get married and have children one day and if his wife lets him keep the wedding band that he now wears on a finger in his right hand, he will. He says grief doesn’t get better but it gets easier to handle. You have to learn to wake up daily and face life, he says, even on days you don’t want to. You learn different ways of getting off the bed. Some days are harder than others, but you get up. Then it gets better. You meet new people. You make plans.

He still thinks of the children. They would have been three today. He would be picking them from school. Driving him crazy with toys all over the house. Some days he thinks of his late wife’s laughter. But the thoughts are not as dark as they used to be. Some days are tough, but most days not so tough.

I ask Ronny to ask him one question. He asks something about lessons.

“Appreciate what you have when you have it,” he tells Ronnie. “Anyone can go at any time, without warning, so appreciate anything and everything and let them know. Say you love them, show them that you genuinely love them, appreciation is very important.”

“Ronnie,” I say, “in short he’s saying just marry that chic and stop this dilly dallying.” The Duke of Gatanga laughs and says, “What chick, Ronnie?”

248 Responses
  • Pius Ndeti
    10.07.2018

    Am the first to comment! I deserve an award Biko. I wouldn’t mind a Casillero Del Diablo. The red is my favorite. Thanks. Let me now read this.

    24
  • The beginning brings a lot of memories

    7
    • derrick
      10.07.2018

      This is a sad story. It’s one that transcends across any heart in a human being.This story speaks volume about how men and women really behave: to say how we experience grief, how we love and how we rage(sometimes at God), how we fail, how we retreat, start all over again and how we overcome.And all the stories i have read, we all seem to share one thing in common irregardless of what social class we hold: ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning – even during our darkest nights.

      174
      • Faith K.
        10.07.2018

        Yes Derrick. Yes.

        4
      • Barnabas Nyatigo,
        11.07.2018

        I broke down.I cried. May God give you the strength to pick yourself up .

        4
      • Nancy Dickson
        19.07.2018

        This got directly to my heart, so painful but at the same time full of lessons. Let’s always continue appreciating life coz it’s a priceless gift.

        1
      • Eve
        08.08.2018

        I am a bit mad at God.

        2
    • Yvonne okeyo
      10.07.2018

      This story is so painful but educative. Loosing a loved one is never easy I have lost a nephew I adopted from my sister and till now I have never gotten over it. Biko you are a legend in telling stories and writing. May God bless Duke of Gatanga for sharing

      31
      • Mwende
        23.08.2018

        God gives, God takes… He has a daughter that the” Duke” doesn’t give a sec about… The same God we qtn is the same God who answers…

    • Betty
      11.07.2018

      Wow….feeling your pain. Life’s so unpredictable. But with faith and hope, God’s on the throne. May your late wife and the little angels rest in peace.

      3
    • Kent Mwokoz
      11.07.2018

      This made me cry… Fatherhood is a like a paradox feeling.. U don’t want to show u’re happy then when it leaves u just fall to pieces coz u really really loved them
      I could feel the sad part coming when Biko was celebrating the triplets… I was like “This is gonna hurt… And its gonna hurt real BAD”
      WELL DONE, BIKO. LOVE YOUR WORK AS ALWAYS

      30
  • Tina
    10.07.2018

    I love this, appreciate what you have when you have it. For no one knows about tomorrow or even where you might be the next minute. Nice one Jacko

    16
    • Rajwayi
      10.07.2018

      I have gone through a roller-coaster of emotions (wait, is this how you spell it? anyway…) while reading this. So painful yet I still had my moments of laughter (but not like Betty’s)

      21
      • Bumble Bee
        11.07.2018

        I literally held my breath when he first broke the news about the triplets. I was so genuinely happy. I said hi back to David as he whistled across the street with his spirits high. I was happy for him. I crossed my fingers that this is not a sad sorry. That he couldn’t stop showing you pictures of Imani and Neema! That Keith is already feeling overwhelmed by having two sisters! I hang on tightly, but sometimes, the universe doesn’t swing in our favour.
        Take heart Dave, take heart ( the second one is more to myself than it is to him because now I’m heart broken too)

        45
  • Pius Ndeti
    10.07.2018

    Am the first to comment! I deserve an award Biko. I wouldn’t mind a Casillero Del Diablo. The chardonnay is my favorite. Thanks. Let me now read this.

    5
    • Payshow
      11.07.2018

      Seriously?! What’s with this juvenile compe to be the first to comment?! This story does not call for the jubilation you are coming in with!

      18
  • Shee
    10.07.2018

    I honestly thought this would be a happy story. Now I’m crying buckets .

    14
  • Natareen
    10.07.2018

    Biko, I love the stories you are telling, they are raw, you prod right into people’s emotional and mental space and you share it, it’s Bold writing and you are my favourite blogger. You tell us stories that snap us out of oblivious thinking and have us sizing people up on the street wondering “sasa wewe what’s your life about?”

    Asante

    47
  • Wesh - Peter Wesh
    10.07.2018

    “Appreciate what you have when you have it,” …….. “Anyone can go at any time, without warning, so appreciate anything and everything and let them know. Say you love them, show them that you genuinely love them, appreciation is very important.”

    This gave the story such a landing.

    46
  • Edna Ko
    10.07.2018

    Sob, sob, sob.
    Great read despite the tears.

    3
  • David
    10.07.2018

    Beautiful piece. A pinch of reality.

    4
  • Kris
    10.07.2018

    Waaaaah, all teary!! Life! “You have to learn to wake up daily and face life, he says, even on days you don’t want to”. Wish you well Duke of Gatanga, wish you well..

    5
  • Elsie
    10.07.2018

    So sad and sorry to the Duke of Gatanga. But also happy that he could rise beyond the grief and triumph. I love the lesson that “whatever shit life throws our way, we can rise, we can triumph”. Thanks for sharing.

    4
  • Klaiv
    10.07.2018

    Absolute tear jerker! I hope the Duke has made peace with God.

    4
  • Ivy
    10.07.2018

    This just goes to show that nothing is guaranteed in life. To Duke of Gatanga, grief is going to take some time. Just take it a day at a time.

    3
  • Oluoch Akinyi
    10.07.2018

    I just left Kenya for my Univeraity in the States with a joke (Super serious promise) to a fellow genius that I call my Migori One #Complex_Syndrome that I will return to marry him. He must have thought very little of my hilarious joke but when he comes here later today just before we review this together, I hope he realises with his humorous genes that it all is going to end in my favour. And gosh shall I not thank the gods and the ancestors for that!!!
    But then I read on and kept wondering how far God is willing to take his jokes sometimes.( Just made a mental not to ask Him when I get to heaven. Oh If I get to heaven that is. Better yet I will ask my mum to ask him. That woman sure is going to get to heaven). I’m just wondering though, does he have photos of his beautiful babies? Does he still look for the gaps and the huge laughter?
    Otherwise Great Read Biko!

    19
  • Viki
    10.07.2018

    I kept reading this waiting for the big BANG!! that was about to happen. I even stumbled through some words wanting to get to the BANG and get it over with!! Then WHAM frozen solid!!!

    Aki Biko, why do you do this to us? Anyone can go at any time, without warning, so appreciate and let them know. Powerful!!

    11
    • Monari
      10.07.2018

      This is exactly how I felt. Like I was running into an ambush and sure enough… my heart jamani!

      2
  • Wango
    10.07.2018

    That the human spirit must rise beyond all adversity…

    3
  • Fiona
    10.07.2018

    Duke of Gatanga despite everything you’re still alive and can afford to laugh. That should count for something.i wish you all the best in your endevours.i like what he told ronnie,, ‘Appreciation is very important’

    2
    • Victor
      11.07.2018

      The now annoying phrase “cha muhimu ni uhai” might actually apply in this case

      1
  • Vallen
    10.07.2018

    I like that you write stories of pain and grief because to me they expose the real human being within the person. Not the CEO, not the guy who drives a V8, not the celeb who always looks glam and freshly made up but the human; flesh and blood. We live in a world where our identity as humans is masked in titles, ideologies etc but grief has a way of shedding off these masks and revealing the raw human being within.

    27
  • Sunshine
    10.07.2018

    The weight of grief does not get lighter..but you do get stronger

    5
  • Merci Jowi
    10.07.2018

    Gripping! But why?

  • mukiri wa mkuu
    10.07.2018

    I don’t like it when you bring on sad stories. Especially where children are involved. It kills me from the inside.
    But the stories bring up a side of human being so resilient,and willing to pick themselves up.

    13
  • Jennifer
    10.07.2018

    I have not cried this much in a long time, and the concoction of emotions accompanying those tears!! Wacha tu!
    Thank you for this series Biko.

    2
  • Zetti
    10.07.2018

    Why am I fascinated by these stories of pain and grief, I have been asked many times. I think it’s because I want to know how far down a human being can plunge, how below rock bottom we can go before we rise again. I want a glimpse at the fighting spirit of man. I want to be assured that whatever shit life throws our way, we can rise, we can triumph. I want to see humans rise and triumph.

    6
  • Dymphina Okwaro
    10.07.2018

    Biko,
    You write your stories so well. Thank you

    4
  • Duprez Okello
    10.07.2018

    Be anxious for nothing but in everything through prayer & supplication, let your request be made known to God & the peace of God which surpasses all understanding may guide your hearts & minds through Jesus Christ ….. Phillipians 4: 6-7 Take heart the duke of Gatanga & all those mourning

    11
  • Steve
    10.07.2018

    Great read as always. What a tragedy. This is literally the definition of living through hell. Mpe pole Sana huyo jamaa.

    2
  • Noel Zetti
    10.07.2018

    I want to know how far down a human being can plunge, how below rock bottom we can go before we rise again. I want a glimpse at the fighting spirit of man. I want to be assured that whatever shit life throws our way, we can rise, we can triumph. I want to see humans rise and triumph.

    2
  • Robert
    10.07.2018

    “We laugh at that. We laugh at death. And it feels good. It’s a f*k you to death and the ugliness the world brings.”……. Biko man, onions in the office, do you know how many times I had to fake call someone to stop the onion cutting business?

    8
  • Ken Kago
    10.07.2018

    “Life is a surgeon. It wounds, and administers no anaesthetic. It cuts out almost the heart of us sometimes.”
    Very. Moving!
    I am encouraged though that the Duke of Gatanga is not broken & shattered! He will be a comforter to one who goes through similar. Be a ‘ Peter Maingi’ to someone else.

    8
  • Bree
    10.07.2018

    Grief doesn’t get better but it gets easier to handle. You have to learn to wake up daily and face life even on days you don’t want to ……

    My heart and my tears!!!

    🙁

    1
  • Kadonye
    10.07.2018

    “I ask Ronny to ask him one question. He asks something about lessons.” I hope Ronny saw the shade there.
    That was a sad but beautiful story – thank you for sharing it with us Duke.

    2
  • Mel
    10.07.2018

    Rest in Peace ,Betty!
    Duke, may your sun shine again!

    1
  • Mo
    10.07.2018

    You have to learn to wake up daily and face life he says even on days when you don’t want to. Good lesson.

    1
  • Savannah
    10.07.2018

    How does one live with hope but not expect too much out of life?

  • musa
    10.07.2018

    May God fulfil your dream of getting kids and a happy family, be strong David.

    4
  • kioko
    10.07.2018

    do you want to come back to my place?” He heard the angels sing. Really, he did. He answered “Yes!” very quickly before she changed her mind.

    1
  • Bernadette
    10.07.2018

    Such a heart wrenching story, waiting for eight long years and just when you think you are there it’s all gone in a flash including what you had before. It’s all vanity

    1
  • Moses
    10.07.2018

    Deep Biko, and sad. I cant wait to get home and just hug those little monsters I left . You really never know what you have till you lose it

    8
  • Anne komen
    10.07.2018

    Biko you are the master of articulating sadness. It was just yesterday that I read ‘They come with cups’ I was hoping it would be a happy story today. You made me cry in an interview today because I had read about the Duke of Gatanga half way. I bet they think I am so passionate about the job haha.
    Sad how people go through hardships in life. They say God gives and takes. But at times I think he takes people at a bad time and makes others miserable.

    10
  • lucianne limo
    10.07.2018

    Most painful i have read in many years!somehow God is gracious enough to give us strength to rise up again !May he find comfort eternally!

    2
  • Maina
    10.07.2018

    Duke brought me into the group of brothers. Last Saturday made it 1 year. At least God let me keep my triplets

    31
    • Thesh
      23.07.2018

      Thanks David for walking with this brother

  • tina
    10.07.2018

    I am undone. God is God. All by Himself. Even now, I do not understand; I simply TRUST HIM. Thank you for sharing this Biko.

    9
    • Ben
      13.07.2018

      Look for PEACE song by Hillsong.

  • Cindy
    10.07.2018

    This story is sad it has that twist of bittersweet.it can make one weep

  • Maina
    10.07.2018

    Duke…a man that embraced me into the brotherhood.

    5
  • Zee
    10.07.2018

    It took a minute to load this article, I think mother nature was trying to warn me but I wouldn’t listen. Now my githeri is a bit cold and flavored with salty tears & my tongue numb,

    Well written Biko, may God show up with a rainbow for this storm.

    4
  • Xi
    10.07.2018

    One Tuesday morning…Oh God! I don’t like where this is headed.

    1
  • Maxine
    10.07.2018

    You have welled up my eyes with tears, that is a strong Duke right there.

  • Wangeci
    10.07.2018

    What a resilient man Duke is… I chocked while reading.

  • Nyawira
    10.07.2018

    Nimelia. Wah. Who are these people with so much strength? Biko, leo… the way you have told this story. It’s sad and painful but hats off.

    3
  • Dyshaun Dee
    10.07.2018

    Deep story! sure life is full of uncertainties . We got to live each day with no guarantee of tomorrow.
    On this part Biko i take a lesson
    I want to know how far down a human being can plunge, how below rock bottom we can go before we rise again. I want a glimpse at the fighting spirit of man. I want to be assured that whatever shit life throws our way, we can rise, we can triumph. I want to see humans rise and triumph.

    1
  • Liz
    10.07.2018

    Waaah…..so sad…..it gives you a new perspective of how life is delicate.. to the Duke…a day at a time..

    1
  • Mushie
    10.07.2018

    …I want to know how far down a human being can plunge, how below rock bottom we can go before we rise again. I want a glimpse at the fighting spirit of man. I want to be assured that whatever shit life throws our way, we can rise, we can triumph. I want to see humans rise and triumph…

    And humans rise and they triumph.Though it may take a while but it gets better and easier.

    Appreciate what you have when you have it!!!

    1
  • David Mwenda
    10.07.2018

    He deserves the name Duke Of Gatanga. He has so much resilience . Good read biko I had missed the 40s stories when are we getting back to the millennial stories though? Just a question

    4
  • Lyndon Orato
    10.07.2018

    So much soul inspiring. It warms, it waxes, you pick yourself up and keep walking, and swimming, and flying. Keep on swimming DK, keep on swimming! To Betty

    2
  • Moize
    10.07.2018

    Life so cruel and surreal.. John 16:33 in the world you will have tribulation but take courage ; I have conquered the world….

    5
  • Antony
    10.07.2018

    I do not want to comment. I am not worthy to piece together a thought about such a harrowing tragedy. May The Duke find peace, recovery and happiness.

    2
  • Moize
    10.07.2018

    Life so cruel and surreal.. But John 16:33 in the world you will have tribulation but take courage for I have conquered the world…

  • Marete
    10.07.2018

    He was going to be a father! …………….. Would he now be expected to wear trousers with turn-ups? Would he have to own more coats? Would he have to learn how to fix the sink, because isn’t that what fathers are good for? (Apart from scaring away the thief?)

    …… He dreamed of cute naked babies with double chins tickling his under soles with a feather.

    He he he he he . !

    2
  • Gakinya Leah Muchahi
    10.07.2018

    This touched me,it hit close to home..also how do people get added to that whatsapp group.My dad would definitely benefit from it.

  • Dottie
    10.07.2018

    This is a very sad story indeed:-( wow Biko you hit me right between the eye.The Duke of Gatanga everything happens for a reason,you might not understand now but eventually you will for God has your back

  • catherine namikoye
    10.07.2018

    I knew Betty. She was a colleague, it is so surreal to read her story here. May Betty and the babies continue to rest in peace!

  • N
    10.07.2018

    Is the Brothers group open to more people?

    I know someone who may need it, they lost the wife on sunday.

  • Alice K
    10.07.2018

    The way you captured every moment, emotion and space ;( I started with laughs & grabbed a box of tissues from “One tuesday evening…” Almost didn’t continue.

    This is super sad & heartbreaking, I could almost feel his pain reading this but could never understand it ofcourse. May God heal him through & through & bless him with another family.

    Thank you for well articulating this & thanks to David for being vulnerable enough to share it with you & us.

    3
  • Kwamboka
    10.07.2018

    Such heartbreaking story….looking at your dead child(ren) is something I would never wish anyone go through. I lost my son due to a pre-eclampsia complication 18/03/2014. Slowly you learn to live with the grief and life happens. I have Baraka 3yrs and almost 2 months and Zawadi turned 2yrs, my days are happy and busy and full with these two feisty boys but then i wonder what my older son would have turned out like.

    3
  • Patsy Mugabi
    10.07.2018

    Like my auntie, Maya Angelou says STILL I RISE!
    This is something definitely not a story but kudos to Duke of Gitanga for sharing his story!
    It is literally raining in my eyes! In awe of Davis’s wealth of experience when grief met him!
    Mental health matters, matter!

  • Tichie Gitau
    10.07.2018

    Duke of Gatanga, he really deserves the name, so much resilience and heart, for him to tell the story even though time has passed, shows a strong heart. Much respect and love to him, and to you Biko for telling the story. Been balancing tears.

  • wanjiku
    10.07.2018

    Wah…sad.
    It’s always good to have friends like Peter Maingi.

  • Mama Joan
    10.07.2018

    I’ve lost my parents and I agree that grief doesn’t get better, only easier. And yes, let’s appreciate people and let them know, life is actually very temporary.
    Glad that he is dating again. I wish him God’s blessings.

    2
  • abdullah omar
    10.07.2018

    its a thin line between life and death but at one time it has to be crossed no matter the costs

    1
  • Elizabeth
    10.07.2018

    Here today, gone tomorrow. Witnessing a loved one go into the next world is most humbling and brings out how helpless we are as human beings. One literally survives, not live, one day at a time, one moment at a time. May peace and comfort find you, Duke of Gatanga.

    1
  • cindy
    10.07.2018

    what a story, thanks Duke for sharing your sorrow with us. Chocolate man Asenti !

  • Faith K.
    10.07.2018

    “…Why am I fascinated by these stories of pain and grief, I have been asked many times. I think it’s because I want to know how far down a human being can plunge, how below rock bottom we can go before we rise again. I want a glimpse at the fighting spirit of man. I want to be assured that whatever shit life throws our way, we can rise, we can triumph. I want to see humans rise and triumph.”
    We rise, we triumph, because no matter how dark a night is, the sun must rise. Heavy nice read Biko, thank you.

  • Eric
    10.07.2018

    I can relate to the first part of childlessness. We are in the tenth year now and have just about every procedure on assisted reproductive technology on Earth draining every last coin.
    The questions are hard and unfortunately very few people can relate or understand what you are going through especially when childbirth to them was natural no fuss. In the end try live your life as much as you can because your problems and situations can take over until you wake up one morning and you are 60 and have no clue what happened in between.

    21
    • Irene
      10.07.2018

      True, will pray for your grace to survive all that

  • Sare
    10.07.2018

    I found myself bracing for what I did not know at the second paragraph, I thought to myself this one is one of those ones.

  • Pesh
    10.07.2018

    Soo sad. Am crying.

  • Alice
    10.07.2018

    Watched him on TV, to date I am still crying for him

  • Carolyne
    10.07.2018

    What kind of pain is this? My heart goes to this guy. I have no words

    1
  • Kaceey
    10.07.2018

    It’s a church where hope and grief sit on the same side of the pew.

    1
  • Robert Kamaru
    10.07.2018

    Biko, this is one of the saddest stories I have read in a very long time! I normally skim through stories when they don’t interest me much. I skimmed through this one somewhere in the middle, not because I found it boring, but because I was anxious for a happy ending.

    It is unfortunate how things can swiftly move from worse to nightmarish. How Mr. Kariuki got to keep his life and sanity after all he went through is baffling, to say the least. It is hard to hold on to either. I don’t know what I’d do. I guess it’s just fine that way–that I don’t know.

    1
  • Bittok
    10.07.2018

    What a sad story….It is inspiring to see how the Duke is able to pick himself up

  • Angela
    10.07.2018

    She was buried with her babies. Absolutely broke my heart.

  • Esther
    10.07.2018

    This Story Reminds me of a monologue from my favorite show Greys anatomy.
    “They say death is hardest on the living. It’s tough to actually say goodbye. Sometimes it’s impossible. You never really stop feeling the loss. It’s what makes things so bitter sweet. We leave little bits of ourselves behind, little reminders. A lifetime of memories, photos, trinkets. Things to remember us by even when were gone”
    “I think it’s important to take the time to tell the people you love how much you love them while they can still hear you.”

    5
  • Its Marcel
    10.07.2018

    And this is to say that even as you shed tears while your heart tears apart, there’s a part where healing surfaces and a smiles resurface upon faces. The rage encompassed in your dashed hopes become of age and you rise to find a new compass, a new direction. Your life doesn’t lock, watch the clock and do what it does, Keep moving.

    2
  • Irene
    10.07.2018

    Wauh Biko, just had my evening weep for the Duke and all those of us who have lost people we love. Fuck you death.

  • Dee
    10.07.2018

    Good God….I’ve sobbed through the reading
    Its amazing how David rose after that. Wooow

  • Bilqis
    10.07.2018

    Sob
    Though you meant 2014 not 2004? Cause that made me scroll up real fast..

  • Cynthia Wasike
    10.07.2018

    Wow amazing Biko…

  • Bosibori
    10.07.2018

    Peter Maingi, I salute you.
    True friendship and the love of The Duke’s family is something I am thankful for, from this story, through the tears.
    May Betty, Imani, Neema and Keith rest with the angels, always. ❤️

    7
  • Brian Muguro
    10.07.2018

    The way the story started with wit, I didn’t expect it to be a sad story. Amazing story though.

  • Fay
    10.07.2018

    Lesson
    Appreciate every single moment in this life..
    Thanks Duke for your courage to share ,God is the master of our destinies…
    He got you in His palms..

  • Millicent
    10.07.2018

    Your comment*
    A sad narration. The Duke of Gatanga should not feel hopeless. let him rise above the grief as he grows in strength towards the recovery path

  • Joe
    11.07.2018

    I related to the story.. Until ‘one Tuesday evening’…. Thanks for sharing.

  • Sylo
    11.07.2018

    I can literally swear that ths is the saddest thing i have read in my breathing days.
    How does one get through ths?,how did he do it? Will i ever blame him for being faithless?
    Waaaah i just kent.
    Pain pain and pain

  • Kib3
    11.07.2018

    This life,man,it can wear someone out sometimes, a good read right there,I can relate,it gets easier, never better.

  • Lamoy
    11.07.2018

    When I started reading this I didn’t know what to expect. I’ll be honest and say I was waiting for something very bad to happen. And it’s your fault, Biko. Your stories rarely have ‘and they lived happily thereafter’. But those are for fairy tales, no?
    Very, very sad story. I just hope that the Duke finally heals, if it’s possible.

  • Bosibori
    11.07.2018

    Sad indeed ,couldn’t sleep wanted something that can make me laugh and lure me to sleep ,have ended up crying in my bed …Duke is a strong man …

  • Jenni
    11.07.2018

    It’s a church where hope and grief sit on the same side of the pew.
    Deep!!!
    Reading this on Wednesday morning (yesterday was a crazy day) and I’m all sob sob sob
    Now I’ll go all red eyed to work.
    Biko, I love how you reach deep down to our emotions and let us face our sorrows.
    And give us hope…..

    1
  • cate
    11.07.2018

    I shed tears coz of this. reminded me of my grandpas demise. how we almost lost our mama to pressure, her frustrations all through. God is always faithful no matter what. Hope the duke finally healed. Peter Maingi, God be with you always.

    1
  • Muigai
    11.07.2018

    This is deep.Bless you Biko for putting up such an emotional but educative peace.Duke,the lord reigns.

  • Rolyn
    11.07.2018

    It is true. Grief doesn’t get better but it gets easier to handle. You have to learn to wake up daily and face life, even on days you don’t want to. My boy would be 4 in November and I still hold on to some of his stuff and I still cry for him and more so after reading this piece.

    1
  • Melissa
    11.07.2018

    Great story, I always wonder how you coin all these stories to keep us glued all through. Good stuff Biko.
    Just a concern though: he met her 2002, a few years later they met again then got married the year 2008. Then she conceives 2004,I think you meant 2014. Edit that maybe.

  • Wandia
    11.07.2018

    Telling a person who has lost a loved one “it is well” doesn’t make sense to them. Their heart screams it is not well and it will never get well and there’s alot of why me God! Why make an example of me? I get him. Went through the same motions when I lost my husband.

  • Tatu
    11.07.2018

    Pierced my heart like a sword

  • Doreen Atoi
    11.07.2018

    Read this in a mat, bad choice. Couldn’t stop sniffing and wiping off tears such that the guy next asked if am ok. Told him I am, only I am reading a sad story narrated in a deep beautiful way. Reminded me of the phrase, “Nobody really dies a virgin coz’ life f***s us all.”

  • Mose
    11.07.2018

    Jackson Biko pain has no boundaries. I sometimes compare it to this phenomenon called faith..it begins where reasoning stops. When we try to dissect pain and the threshold that a human can fathom, we get to that point of pain I christened as “Faith”.. it passes all understanding and for the duke of gatanga, there is a realm that even he cannot describe. Great write as always.

  • Ecarg viv
    11.07.2018

    Hi,quite painful but though we have to move on.I lost my hubby when we had our first born gal,almost immediately my hubby got a road accident but fortunately he didn’t die instant,it took quite sometime then he let us,the pain of flooding someone you love descent erase easily,it has taken 7years but I can tell the wound is fresh but as humanbeing we must move on.kindly add me in that group,the widor/widowers,cell;+254723274786,

  • Switch
    11.07.2018

    (Better late than never)
    Come to believe that at some point if we suffered pain, serendipity in turn comes to pay and wash away the tears. We may fail to realize because not every pay is worth the tussle.

  • muthoni chege
    11.07.2018

    This is soo Heavy on the Heart …yet Light on the soul..

  • Skyler
    11.07.2018

    I didn’t cry… I couldn’t… But that’s the worst part. This story is now etched in my heart and mind and forever in my memory, this is not the end of it, I’m sure. The tears have got to flow otherwise I’ll b a wreck on ‘those days.

  • Joab
    11.07.2018

    Hurting deeply!

  • Jen
    11.07.2018

    “Appreciate what you have when you have it,” he tells Ronnie. “Anyone can go at any time, without warning, so appreciate anything and everything and let them know. Say you love them, show them that you genuinely love them, appreciation is very important.”

    Man, this hit home so hard.

  • Janet kavutha
    11.07.2018

    Life in whatever it throws to you as long as you breathing you have to look for hope in the deeper darker areas keep assuring yourself that tomorrow will be different above all HOPE keeps us alive and the fact that u know things will get better not today or tomorrow but maybe even next year. Currently look for what makes you smile and hold to that.

  • Eligash Mbugua
    11.07.2018

    When i read “What happens when people get married?” I knew things will go tits up!!

    1
  • Brian
    11.07.2018

    Aii Biko, a touch of happy ending next time please. Yani I read this from first paragraph and I just knew it portended something bad, either the wife dying or the kids. I even feared might be the Duke only he was the narrator. Prove us wrong next time bana. Yani iwe against all odds, someone made it to a happy ending. An uplifting storo for old times sake at least jo! Moja tu. But pole sana for the Duke. Good thing you are back up to your feet. And thumbs up to that great pal you have

  • Shu
    11.07.2018

    I am in a mat to sum dusty village bordering mbeere and ukambani.. And this lady seated next to me is wondering . ..why this guy in a suit is reading so seriously, then start tearing up.. Niko na running nose..it making it worse.. So I am literally crying n the tears won’t stop.. I can’t remember the last time I cried ..must have been a buddy’s funeral way back…she is asking kama Niko mazuri..she must be guessing I have received sum bad news…dem. Its a beautiful ugly world… This worse that “there were birds.. And they didn’t sing”

    1
    • Wambura
      12.07.2018

      …oh “”there were birds…And they didn’t sing” was my saddest saddest read ever…i cried cried cried….

      2
  • Parto
    11.07.2018

    “Appreciate what you have when you have it. Anyone can go at any time, without warning, so appreciate anything and everything and let them know. Say you love them, show them that you genuinely love them, appreciation is very important.”

    I felt that.

  • Lilian
    11.07.2018

    oh my God.betty and your lito angels,rest in peace. i love the name, duke of gatanga.Biko your narration is up there

  • Risper Mwangi
    11.07.2018

    I am in tears……wow! This is so sad, too sad, too many questions, too much grief, and yet in the midst of it all, there is continuity, there is laughter, there is peace.

  • Louis Wamukoya
    11.07.2018

    “I want to be assured that whatever shit life throws our way, we can rise, we can triumph”. Thank you for sharing, Duke of Gatanga.

  • Betty
    11.07.2018

    Wow….feeling your pain. Life’s so unpredictable. But with faith and hope, God’s on the throne. May your late wife and the little angels rest in peace.

  • Jossy
    11.07.2018

    It’s never easy, it’s not easy and it will never be easy loosing a loved one, i lost my close cousin more of a brother to me , my grandmother and my nephew in a span of a month it was the darkest time of my life its about 4 years now and the pain is still fresh like it happened yesterday.
    I miss them everyday life is not the same without them but we have to move one , one step at a time. #peace

  • Judy
    11.07.2018

    “Appreciate what you have when you have it. Anyone can go at any time, without warning, so appreciate anything and everything and let them know. Say you love them, show them that you genuinely love them, appreciation is very important.”………………………how true!!!!

    Kudos to Maingi. Good friends are hard to find.

  • Muranga
    11.07.2018

    This Dude has gone through tough stuff. My wife and I struggled to get kids and the miscarriages were very hard. Thank God I did not lose her also, I adopted and also got our own. However, any health issue with kids can bring extreme scares!

  • Namu
    11.07.2018

    Such a great piece…..sad,deep and Intense.
    Good Job Biko,I hope the Duke finally got his shining star.

  • Meridah
    11.07.2018

    Biko
    Am a big fan of sad but happy too because the presence of either makes is appreciate the absence of the other.
    But I always have faith in the resilience of man.
    Still crying.
    Duke of Gatanga…be blessed.

  • Chela
    11.07.2018

    All teary. I remember when I lost my girl, I never thought I will ever wake up another day and face the world. It was more than empty, lifeless. I felt like the world has been burnt to ashes and I was the only survivor. But God has been good, today I can afford to smile and sometimes laugh or even cry. Appreciate whatever you have whole you still have it because you never know when the creator decides to call them home.

    • Zahra
      11.07.2018

      May God continue wrapping you in His comfort.

      1
  • MAGDALYN
    11.07.2018

    Nice piece.
    Appreciate the ones you love, people can go any time.

  • Sophie
    11.07.2018

    I read this in utter trepidation, waiting for something bad to happen. And it did. Many warm thoughts for the Duke, glad he has found light and laughter again.

    1
  • Ryhab
    11.07.2018

    I don’t know who is cutting onions in the office

  • Victor
    11.07.2018

    Great read with loaded real life lessons. Thanks Biko.

  • Anonymous
    11.07.2018

    I knew Betty,She was a special angel. Im glad David has found tune in this meaningless song coz there is no explaining why? Thanks David for being brave to share, it has answered so many questions we couldn’t ask

  • Majeshi
    11.07.2018

    Lakini ebu edit kidogo bwana Biko. They could not have gone for another procedure in June 2004, maybe you meant 2014. Because you tell us David slid a ring on it on 30 May 2008. They possibly could not have been trying for a baby before their wedding.

    Otherwise, heart wrenching story. Serious lessons learnt. huyu ndiye mwanaume. Indeed appreciate who you have around you and what you have

  • Jesse
    11.07.2018

    “It’s well….” How do you know it’s well. I don’t know how to comfort somebody incase of loss, maybe I will just be there and literary offer a should to cry on while I pat your back to make sure you cry out all the pain and grief.

    1
  • Joan
    11.07.2018

    This is too sad. Whom does God choose to give the rotten cards???

  • Sad story..
    As I read, I said “Sounds familiar!”
    Then I recalled Victoria’s Lounge..where she was interviewing widowers.
    I think David is very strong. How does one go on after all that?
    My conclusion when we face grief, is that this world with all it’s separation, pain asnd sorrow is temporary. Let’s make it count by trusting God even when we don’t understand.
    God is no robber. David will marry and have children, at least three to take the place of the three that God has with Him in heaven.

    1
    • Concerned.
      11.07.2018

      Hebrews 2:14,1 Cor 15:26,God does not cause death.

  • Just ME
    11.07.2018

    I know right. I feel like I was at the burial of someone I knew personally and loved so deeply. ooh have I cried through this read. Woi!

  • Maya
    11.07.2018

    I have cried so much reading this… I too can relate with the childlessness part, its been 3 years of trying and waiting upon God… i have had a miscarriage, it was early on even before it could show… only family and a few friends learnt about it.. the questions, they get harder especially when everyone who got married after you has a kid, the longing when you see someone holding a baby… or the pain you feel when suddenly everyone in church, workplace is getting pregnant like it was some flu that you are immune to… I hold on to the faith that as God did it for Sarah and Hannah.. i too will carry my child.
    I Pray that God will continue comforting the Duke of Gatanga… and give him peace that surpasses human understanding.

    3
  • ngina
    11.07.2018

    Kwality Bar was my nook and cranny, too bad that relationship went under, along with it.

    Sigh, all the best Duke.

    1
  • Meg
    11.07.2018

    These bruises, make for better conversations. Though sometimes out of this world and utterly crippling, that we can never understand nature’s course in our lives, sitting down and letting God take control is the ultimate decision to let loose and let go. What else to do. Take heart, David. Damn!

  • Kenyan Lawyer
    11.07.2018

    ……………….David and their eyes lock momentarily and David sees something in the man’s eyes, and suddenly he feels his whole world crack under his feet and he just knows.

    His wife is dead. The realisation is short and heavy and intense and it grabs his throat, cutting off air. His wife is gone. Gone with the beautiful gap between her teeth. Gone with her wonderful laughter.

    This made me tear. so so sad.

    1
  • Mama Muthoni
    11.07.2018

    This is so so sad! Well written Biko! May we all identify “Peter Maingi” in our lives.

    2
  • Jossy
    11.07.2018

    Just to say but the least,am in grief too.
    Death takes the best from out life’s…

  • L. W. Muiruri
    11.07.2018

    I was genuinely overjoyed when I read about the triplets. Seated with my wife at a children’s clinic at Doctor’s Plaza, I even started telling her this story that has such a happy ending. Little did I know that moments later, my heart would be so badly broken . I sympathise and stand with the ‘Duke of Gatanga’. I wish him well in his future endeavours.

  • Nilah
    11.07.2018

    This got me so emotional

  • Miriam
    11.07.2018

    “Appreciate what you have when you have it,” he tells Ronnie. “Anyone can go at any time, without warning, so appreciate anything and everything and let them know. Say you love them, show them that you genuinely love them, appreciation is very important.”

    Yeah……. appreciate what you have when you have it…

  • Sue
    11.07.2018

    I have really cried reading this story. Soo sad after waiting many years and praying for safe delivery. Duke of Gatanga may the lord bless you and keep you give you so much joy for the rest of your life. Biko thank you for yet another story.

  • Jeff
    11.07.2018

    ” appreciate anything and everything” Emotional story.

  • Wambui JL
    11.07.2018

    I knew I had to be ready for this one…. I wasn’t!

  • Grace
    11.07.2018

    As i read, it was like in a movie i could create the scene back in my head!! I have learnt a lot, no matter what we face we got to move on thanking God for all!! Everything happens with (for) a reason!

  • Rita
    11.07.2018

    … I had invited him to sit in the interview later, to see how the sausage is made … I’ve never heard of this expression … maybe how the cookie crumbles …? A truely sad story but very well told: you have a sense of humour … Duke of Gatanga … 🙂 and a way of holding me captive until the end.

  • James
    11.07.2018

    I became a widower at the age of 35……road traffic accident. Life has never been the same again. But yes….it gets a little easier every passing day…..courtesy of a very loving family. I salute the Duke…keep strong man!

    1
  • Sheillah
    11.07.2018

    A story of resilience
    Relates to my fiancé’s story.

  • June
    11.07.2018

    Was Duke of Gatanga at Victoria Rubadiri’s show the episode for widowers..coz the story sounds familiar!!!

  • Stephen
    11.07.2018

    I love your art of writing.

  • Emmy
    11.07.2018

    I pray for the Duke, that it can get easier and that he can hapily settle in the new relationship. Biko kudos….

  • Stan Ngure
    12.07.2018

    Deep stuff Biko! Nuff said.

  • Anna
    12.07.2018

    A big sigh,this story depressed me even more cause it got me thinking about loss something I’ve always never wanted to experience,indeed appreciate what you have now cause tomorrow is never promised..

  • Mwenginator
    12.07.2018

    Sad but glad guy is doing well.

  • Pamela Chemelil
    12.07.2018

    Woi….I have cried

    Duke of Gatanga…I am sorry…aki my hear it broken.

    Biko…Good read as always!!!

  • BroKenn
    12.07.2018

    Almost cried in the workshop/office…and you know us kikuyu men shouldnt cry in public…God loves you Duke of Gatanga

  • N
    12.07.2018

    Biko, I’d like to recommend the brothers group to a guy who lost his wife this week, is it open?

  • Jojo
    12.07.2018

    woaaa at some point ,atear dropped as I imagined the amount of grief that hit Mr Dukes heart,no amount of words can strap off such pain,its aprocess #”Duke of Gatanga”,,,,
    love your creativity and captivity of every moment Biko…thanks

  • Bee
    12.07.2018

    Such a good read!
    More grace to the Duke of Gatanga, and all the widowers out there!

  • Williab
    12.07.2018

    @Duke of Gatanga, you are a man of Substance.@Biko the narration is emotive, Kudos.

  • MwangiwaChege
    12.07.2018

    ”I can hear the wind blow
    I can hear the screams and cries
    Slamming doors, running for cover
    Praying this rage goes by
    Now everything we’ve worked for
    It’s gone in a moments glance
    I need something to believe
    I need a second change

    With injured souls and wounded hands
    We’ll carry on, we’ll struggle, we’ll rebuild the land

    We’ve been knocked down… we’ll get up
    From the ashes we rise…”

  • Mshiriki
    12.07.2018

    “Appreciate what you have when you have it,”…….This has moved me. It has made me get out of the office, get some niceties, and go home to make a reconciliation with the Missus after days of misunderstandings. We are expecting twins in a few weeks, and Duke’s experience is an eye opener to what is important.

    4
  • Merab Omollo
    12.07.2018

    This is so heart wrenching….so many emotions at play. Life throws so much at us and we still have to work it somehow.

  • Nyeresa Wafula
    12.07.2018

    Betty was my cousin. May her soul rest in eternal peace….

    1
  • Merab Omollo
    12.07.2018

    This so heart wrenching….so many emotions in play. Life throws so much , we wonder if we can survive it and we somehow have to work it.

    1
  • Jaxon
    12.07.2018

    Biko, thank you for this… “Why am I fascinated by these stories of pain and grief, I have been asked many times. I think it’s because I want to know how far down a human being can plunge, how below rock bottom we can go before we rise again. I want a glimpse at the fighting spirit of man. I want to be assured that whatever shit life throws our way, we can rise, we can triumph. I want to see humans rise and triumph.” As Always, good read.

    I love stories of triumph over grief and adversity. Duke of Gatanga, you are the embodiment of strength. I wish you well.

  • Ndathe
    12.07.2018

    It is one thing to wait for 8 years without baring any fruits. But it is something utterly big to wait for 8 years, be blessed with Triplets, wait another 9 months for you to hold them and then they disappear in a matter of 8 minutes.

    All in all, God is the answer…

    Great great read Mr. Zulu. Thank you.

  • LoeCira
    12.07.2018

    I have shed a thousand tears. No one can prepare you for death and the immense loss and pain that comes with it. You can only continue to wake up each day determined to make it better than yesterday.
    Duke of Gatanga may restoration be your second name.

  • Vee
    12.07.2018

    Is the 2004 procedure an error? They got married in 2008 and started making babies then…

  • Loice Odul
    12.07.2018

    ‘They were buried in the same coffin. One child was placed on his wife’s chest and the other two in the crook of each arm. Sleep tight, angels.’
    So heart wrenching……May God give you strength Duke of Gatanga…

    1
  • Trudie
    12.07.2018

    Broke down and cried, paused the reading for a few minutes but I had to complete it.
    It contains a lot of emotions. Its a great story. Didn’t know I could finish reading it thou…

  • Emilly grace
    12.07.2018

    This story is so touching……. It’s more of a feeling than just a mere piece…. Duke of Gatanga…. I won’t say that there are people who have been through worse than this ….. Each and everyone’s pain is known by the person himself ….. Each human knows what weight his fate caries but still we have to carry on …..

  • Gathoni
    13.07.2018

    You write very well Biko… the vividness in the story is amazing!
    Too sad

  • Linda
    13.07.2018

    Very true and to the point .Amazing.
    Kindly recheck your years I think you meant 2014 not 2004 as the year she got pregnant.if he engaged her 2008 and are married after that ,then 2004 is incorrect.

  • Carola Jayne
    13.07.2018

    You know I keep off sad stories because they open the floodgates of my own sad boxes. Suppressed memories of loss, may be not as extreme as David’s but loss is loss right? Just like love is love. The weirdest part is knowing that facts won’t go away but still having that deep sadness threatening to devour your soul. The scariest part is as long as we are living and we have people we love, there is so much more we could lose. I pray to God that life is kind to us,that we don’t lose EVERYTHING we hold dear beacause is there coming back from that?

  • Pam
    13.07.2018

    I stopped reading several times, but then I kept coming back till I got to the end of it. It didn’t stop my tears. May the Duke, and others going through such horrible grief, find peace. Biko, your written acumen is exceptional.

  • Pam
    13.07.2018

    I abandoned this article more than once because I couldn’t bear it, but I kept coming back until I read to the end. I pray for peace for the Duke and others going through such terrible heartbreak. Biko, your writing acumen is exceptional.

  • Jo
    13.07.2018

    Wow Biko! Great piece and very emotional…… It is sad that this man had to endure this kind of cross. Life has taught me that there are things that God does that You and I cannot even begin to comprehend… I guesa we shall understand someday… I am glad that this man is on the path to healing and that he had people who loved and cared for him during the difficult time… Such friends are few… Happy that he shared this story…. Thanks

  • Peter Abok
    13.07.2018

    This is deep Biko. Thanks for sharing. Thank you Duke of Gatanga for allowing your story to be shared. May God strengthen you each day.

  • Sheila
    13.07.2018

    Quite a sad story I really looked forward to a good ending with them receiving their triplet’s only God knows better. I would have loved to know where he’s relationship with God is now.

  • N.O.W
    13.07.2018

    The emotions i have gone through reading this article i cannot comprehend,APPRECIATE what you have when you have it

  • Edwin Ruhiu
    13.07.2018

    very good piece

  • Nick Bor
    13.07.2018

    It is beautiful when men share their stories. We get wounded along the way but sharing makes the load abit lighter.

  • Gracie
    13.07.2018

    I relate to this story. Quite painfully sad.

  • Sara Pietrzak
    13.07.2018

    Why did the rescuers spend time on CPR at home??????….that is not standard practice. Our health systems and emergency medicine has a looooooong way to go. ….i cannot help but think that the triplets had a goood chance of survival if the system was efficient enough. Emergency c-section(in the ambulance ) might have made all the difference.

  • Joan
    13.07.2018

    Heeey Biko….awesome story as always.
    I think you changed your website How can i add someone so that you can be emailing them directly ama it’s no longer possible

  • Cindy
    13.07.2018

    I was so stoked( beendying to use this word) that finally you had a happy ever after story. But nooooo, another tear jacker. It is harder when it is a man that gets torn down and so much harder when tois are involved. Great Sad piece, sigh

  • Lilly of the Valley
    13.07.2018

    I have cried and cried and cried. This is such a sad story. Took me three days to reach the end…Was kinda hoping for some surprise about Betty and the kids at some point. May their souls rest in eternal peace.

  • Nix
    14.07.2018

    Damn! The pain people go through, how people get over it …..
    Interesting!

  • LT
    14.07.2018

    Wow !!! and life is supposed to just go on……

  • Ghost reader
    14.07.2018

    Troubles and yearnings people go through to get babies, personally I don’t need kids in my life; colleagues and friends ask why did you work so hard to be a doctor then ?…..maybe it eternally satisfies me that way. He will be well, the most painful thing is to find solace in despair,attain or die exhausted in the endeavor.

  • Zawadi
    14.07.2018

    When i started reading the story i remembered a promise someone made me and i took a screenshot hoping to share the link and photo with him, but reading further, the pain that shadows duke’s life strips the urge to share the photo and it dresses me in fear.The most normal of occurences can invite tragedy into your life. My heart goes out to him and his family.
    I hope it gets to a point he appreciates the chance he had to walk through this life’s challenges with a woman he loved and celebrates her life more than he griefs. I hope he gets a second chance to be a dad again. Maingi is a hero,cheers!

    • SIPHO
      16.07.2018

      I kept reading the part where you explain why you have this focus on pain and grief, it hit me and I just realised whatever challenge we can rise and triumph. Loved this Biko, well done we appreciate.

  • Mueni
    15.07.2018

    Wish you would have asked him about the daughter he has now abandoned, 1 year old

  • Pat
    15.07.2018

    Oh my, I am all tears. May God heal the broken heart of the Duke of Gatanga. Maingi, you are a special friend and such are not easy to find.

  • Oscar
    16.07.2018

    “Appreciate what you have when you have it,” he tells Ronnie. “Anyone can go at any time, without warning, so appreciate anything and everything and let them know. Say you love them, show them that you genuinely love them, appreciation is very important.”

    this is a powerful statement from a man who has tasted grief. I’m glad that he’s slowly finding his feet again.

  • Jacqueline Muthoga
    16.07.2018

    Buckets. Viewing the three children, hoping for a twitch… too painful.

  • Mouse
    16.07.2018

    Great writing as always, and a sad story. I am from Gatanga, and I stand with the duke. Major loss, but am glad that he can now tell the story and is living again. Give flowers now, when the recipients can see and smell them, and not a truck load, when they are gone. I question God too…

  • Bee
    17.07.2018

    Hae Biko. My brother lost his wife last year and I believe he would benefit from a widower group.
    Could you help him get in the Brothers group

  • Victor
    17.07.2018

    An awesome, heart-touching read. Thanks!

  • Vera
    17.07.2018

    Wow I knew Betty and this has brought memories and tears in my eyes. Gone but not forgotten.

    • Paula
      17.07.2018

      Maze his story imenihurt tu Sana.It has taken me back to the very burial day,the pains and griefs but Y God?am hurting afresh it’s painfull.

  • Nyakako
    17.07.2018

    This very sad piece Biko. This got me ‘At this point I’m thinking; shit, how does God pick who gets the rotten cards?’
    But life’s like that.

  • Bryan Njenga
    18.07.2018

    I was just hoping that i could handle the sadness of the story once you started using past tense. “She was”.. “she had”.. “they were”

  • Jenny
    18.07.2018

    I am glad to hear that David picked up the pieces and is now dating. All the best in his new relationship.

  • Kez
    18.07.2018

    Heart wrenching and still a lot of lessons on hope,faith and still rising from the ashes.

  • BlackBilly
    19.07.2018

    Wow! What a Masterpiece , Biko.

  • Ms mo-Mogire
    20.07.2018

    Sad story there. Biko you are so talented. Your stories are so captivating.

  • Wairimu
    20.07.2018

    Wow that’s deep yaani how I was all smiles at the beginning of the story. That’s one tough guy I hope he does find peace and love he deserves it .Biko….nice read as always
    How can one collect the book from your office ….asking for a friend

  • Kenemo Hudson
    22.07.2018

    Nice read… It’s a very inspiring.

  • Wairimu Kabutha
    22.07.2018

    Biko..
    Thanks for the explanation on why you do these tear jerkers…Ive always wondered.. I wept almost all through.

    Oh how we take the gift of babies for granted sometimes!

    Thanks for telling this in a way only you can. We are neighbour’s of Betty’s brother and his family.. and I can’t begin to explain the sadness that was witnessed.
    May Betty and the beautiful children RIP with the angels.
    May you find happiness again Duke.
    Blessings.

  • matatamwas
    25.07.2018

    A great read, appreciate what you have.. for a moment there I lived the story got emotional.

  • Emma
    25.07.2018

    A very touching story. My heart was literary crying while reading the sad part.But am glad has learned how to cope with the loss. There is hope at the end of the tunnel.
    ‘It doesnt get better, it gets easier to handle the loss’, I like that.
    Thankyou for sharing this story

  • Cindy Makau
    27.07.2018

    These days I read such stories, books and watch as many gut wrenching films as I can because I want to be prepared, I want to be desentisized. Deep down I know one can never be prepared enough for when death creeps up and snatches your loved ones. I dread the day it happens, I don’t think I’ll survive it.

  • Wanzaa
    29.07.2018

    This broke me down. Cant remember the last time i felt such pain!

  • bushie
    02.08.2018

    fall down seven time wake up 8…. such is life and God never gives a man more than he can handle

  • Chemutai
    04.08.2018

    I cried so much my eyes are swollen. This is so heartbreaking. Duke of Gatanga may you find the strength to push on. I would like to meet you in person someday.

  • Lish
    05.08.2018

    Biko I also have a motivating personal story I would like to tell. Can I get you to help me do a beautiful and educative piece like this one

  • Kabbz
    10.08.2018

    It is sad for a man to lose a child but it is very sad for a man to lose his wife and children, the pain is very hard to bear. Despite the kind of questions we ask God during these times he still our refuge through friends like Peter Maingi.

  • Richie Rwogera
    11.08.2018

    I’ve cried like a baby. Biko i want to invite you to Rwanda. People here have seen pain and Grief of the lowest levels…..but also experienced triumphs. Something tells me you’d craft an amazing piece to share with your fans. Keep up the good work.

  • Njoki
    18.08.2018

    Biko u back to the eye wetting ones. To the Duke of Gatanga, God’s peace be upon u always.. This life……

  • Victor Oria
    21.08.2018

    Biko…The moment you said God was not done and gave them 3 instead of 1, I knew this was the beginning of madness. All I have is empathy for the Duke of Gatanga. This is not only a crush but a huge blast. It is true, we never really know what God has in store for us. we could choose blame, lament, and anger or we could accept his will and let the pain heal. The same God who took them will replenish you with more than you expected. Keep the faith, Keep the trust. It shall be well

  • Johnson
    26.08.2018

    I have never been this tearful. This story is so sad.

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