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“Love your wife when she is alive gent, she is incredibly priceless”

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By Nyainda Manaseh

Were it not for the sudden death of his wife in 2019, this would be Brian Tanui’s 9th year in marriage. During their time at the University of Nairobi in 2011, Brian and Wamboi began cohabiting. And in 2012, they exchanged vows in a pompous wedding.

In his vivid description, the first year of their marriage was pure bliss. They used to hang out together; confided in each other; supported each other emotionally; and inspired each other in their professional aspirations.

And towards the end of 2014, they got their first child whom they named Gloria. They loved and celebrated her. Little did they know that the entry of Gloria would be the beginning of Brian’s waning affection for her.

Suddenly, Brian started becoming too busy to be with his family. He neither had time for his wife nor his kid. Beyond financial support, he didn’t lend a hand to raise their child within the atmosphere of paternal love. He had withdrawn his emotions from the family.

Before his eyes, the wife had grown fatter and her tantalizing beauty was slowly fading.

He came home late and drunk, insulted the wife before ordering her around to warm him the food. He would then scratch through the food and go sleeping, ostensibly because he had lost appetite. The once delicious Wambo’s food had become sour in his mouth.

When the child got to kindergarten, it was Wambo who woke up early to prepare her, and braved the breezing cold to take her out to get chauffeured to school. She would then come back and prepare her husband’s breakfast, despite his continued streak of morning scolds for no apparent reasons.

Even in bed, Brian was too lazy for conjugal engagement. He was always tired, so goes the excuse when the wife wanted them to exchange body fluids.

And when the wife asked of his whereabouts, he would switch off the phone and come home later outraged to the cheek bone.

From growing fond of each other to dead silence in the house.

Then one Saturday morning in 2019 while going to visit her parents, Wamboi was involved in a grisly road accident in Murang’a. She died on the spot. Her body was actually pulled out of the mangled wreckage lifeless.

On arrival, Brian didn’t believe when he set his eyes on his one-time wife. He wept. Wailed. And even screamed. But Wamboi had reached a fatal end; dead and gone.

Once the funeral was over and the relatives had gone home, the reality of loneliness began setting in. A cloud of despondency levitated around the house. For the first time, Brian had been left with Gloria for the rest of his life.

And he had to step in and take over the responsibilities. He couldn’t afford the services of a full time house help

That is when he painfully realized how much it took his wife to run and sustain their home. Forced to cook, clean the house, wash dishes, prepare Gloria for bed and classes, he also had to come back home before Gloria arrived in the evening.

The friends he once used to hang out with started dead-dropping one by one. Since their friendship was anchored on liquor bottles, and Brian didn’t have the luxury of time to quaff liquor around, they did what they often do best in the darkest of hours: dessert him.

Brian missed his wife. Her smile. Thoughtfulness. Questions. Concern. Tempers. Hugs. Kisses. Attitude. Her body. The food he despised became nostalgic. Anytime he prepared a meal, Gloria repeatedly asked where mum’s food was because dad’s culinary skills were way too low.

He now had to wake up in the wee hours of the morning to do routine house chores before preparing Gloria for school. He never understood how the wife would juggle between these things. During the days when Gloria was expected to put on sports kits, he would want to clothe her in school uniform.

On refusing to have them on because she had mastered her weekly clad, Gloria would often remind her father that mum was better than him; that she knew what she was supposed to put on unlike him.

Brian did not know how to respond because he had immensely contributed to this by detaching himself emotionally from the family. But once the kid left for school, he cried silly and begged Wambo for forgiveness even in her death.

The seemingly little things that held the house together then turned out to be the most complicated, cumbersome and energy sapping because the shoe was finally on the other foot. This was his moment of reckoning.

The socks that he threw around the house and he could not trace them but which Wambo could pinpoint in a snap of a finger, eluded him even for weeks. Even the questioning and rants he would receive from the wife when he came home late was a now a wish

He really wished Wambo could give her another shot at life and in their marriage. Within one year, he had grown feeble. I meet Brian today and his biggest and only regret is that he did not love, cherish and adore Wambo as his wife. He is traumatized.

Brain Tanui and Wamboi are hypothetical figures, they do not exist; only in my imagination. But Brayo brings to us one lesson: Love your wife when she is alive gent, she is incredibly priceless. When she goes, you’ll be distraught.

(The writer is a Public Relations consultant)

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