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How Dare The Sun Shine

How dare the sun shine? On the day my Father died. Does it not know? That Frederick Boaz Abidjah Mutwale, the last of his nuclear family, is gone?


And how dare my phone work? As it always does, only this time to bear the bad news of my dad’s death. Does it not know?


How dare those dishes need to be washed, bags packed, and flights to be booked? Does the world not stop when one’s father dies?


How dare the sun shine on the day I have to go home and meet my family as we mourn? How dare it?


How dare life go on as though we have just not lost our family storyteller, the kind, funny, gentle, intelligent “Uncle Fred”? Does the world not know that he is no more? How dare hours turn to days, turn to weeks, turn to months, and to years? Will they? Perhaps not. Maybe time is the one thing that will know to stop because Dad is no more.


How dare my unborn children not know their shikulu? How dare they miss out on how he would have bounced them on his lap, singing in his own rhythmic way, “ndu ndu ndu, ndu ndu ndu, ndu ndu ndu, ndu ndu ndu ndu ndu”?


How dare the sun shine on the day after we bury him, as though we have not just buried 80 years of laughter, joy, memories, wisdom, and knowledge?

How dare my body not shut down? Demanding food and water and sleep? Does it not know? That the one who birthed it is no more?


How dare we have to change to the past tense when referring to my father? How dare we have to say my father “was” a good man? Is he still not a good man?


Oh! How dare the sun shine!



In 2021, my father lost his last surviving sibling. Coincidentally, that was the year my aunt, his oldest sister (whom of course, I never met), would have turned 100 years old.


I am glad I got to know my father as an adult. He was no longer that strict parent, but my roommate, as I fondly referred to him and my mother when I moved back home with them for three years. I knew I was on borrowed time, and so I was deliberate about making memories with them.



We danced together on New Year’s Eve in the sitting room. We went on holiday for Christmas. We ate pizza on Fridays and drank Coca-Cola. We celebrated their anniversaries and his birthdays. We got massages together. We drove around together. We took lots of pictures. We had “computer” lessons so he could learn his new phone. We made fun of people and “shared information” (teeheehee, that man had the TEA). We surprised him and sometimes surprised others. We gifted each other. We hugged and we laughed and we cried together.



Now, all we have are memories. Go well, you man with the weirdly Senegalese-sounding name, Abidjah, go well.



Thank you for EVERYTHING. You gave me the tools and the freedom to leave home and be great. I looked forward to telling you EVERYTHING about my travels. I am glad I got to tell you of the rainforest. What a weird trip that one will now be. The first one I took after losing big sis and the last one I took before becoming fatherless.



Come and visit in my dreams. That would be nice.



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mwapeahkkaunda
Jul 04

I knew Grandpa Fred and grandma personally for a short time...they were such a vibe.. how I loved being in their company. Grandpa Fred impacted my life with his wisdom, witt, his intelligence, his profound love for His God. going to the clinic was a joyful experience even if I was not feeling well. The stories, the advice the jokes..ahhh we have lost...we have lost. My heartfelt condolences for this huge loss. We celebrate a life well and fully lived. Stay comforted my little sister ( aunt).💐💐💐

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makusajulietowani
Jul 03

My heart aches as I struggle to find the words to express my condolences for your loss. I have failed to convey my sorrow, for it feels like a cruel dream from which I cannot awaken. The silence within me only serves to shield me from the harsh reality that our loved one (my grandpa)is truly gone. But in my quietness, I realize that my reluctance to speak does not change the truth of his absence. I am here, holding onto the hope that my words, carry the weight of my love and sympathy for you in this time of profound grief.

My dear friend, your words resonate deeply with the raw emotions and pain of losing your beloved father,…


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