School buses make their way in the morning to pick up pupils to go to school as their parents speed away on the highway in their sleek cars. Others begin their walk to work at the crack of dawn so as to make it in time. Shops open for business longing for January to end so that they can rake in more profits. Life goes on as usual. But not for everyone. Some Kenyans are in distress. A young mother looks bleakly at an uncertain future , this was not part of the plan. She looks sadly at her children but she cannot cry, not in front of them. She needs to be strong lest she loses her mind. Her husband would want her to be strong. He would want her to take charge of the home. Problem is, he is no longer here and she will have to do it alone.
No parent should ever have to outlive her children. A mother’s joy is to see a child conquer the world and come back home victorious. A mother will prepare you for the next battle letting you know that you can do absolutely anything. But on this particular day she felt an emptiness . A nagging feeling that she just could not shake off. When news went round that Kenya Defence Forces soldiers (KDF) had lost their lives in El-Adde Somalia her doubts were confirmed. Her child was no more.The news that shocked the whole country saw Kenyans pour heartfelt compassion via broadcast and social media. We silently sang patriotic songs to the fallen soldiers. We demanded to know why our young men had to die. We were angry that the numbers keep soaring while the truth continues to diminish. We hoped that trending on twitter would show the appreciation we feel for you paying the ultimate price.
The government gave an official statement extending their condolences to families who lost their loved ones in the attack. We made videos with grateful messages to you for keeping us safe. We went back to our galleries for the photos of you from when you matched in your beautiful ceremonial uniforms as we commemorated our independence. Freedom that you were keen to protect with your life. You looked immortal ready to take on the enemy. Truth is you are only human. An extra ordinary one. One who would knowingly put their life in harms way to enable us walk freely in our beloved country . One who will put their needs and those of their families second while their country comes first. That is patriotism. Forget us replacing our profile pictures with those of the Kenyan flag. You understood the true meaning defending the honour of this country .
We did not raise the flags at half mast. We did not have a moment of silence. We only prayed on the day we heard of the reports. We have since moved on like nothing ever happened. Mostly because we are not sure what we can do to honour you the way you deserve. We are also plagued by fear that those left behind , may suffer the same fate that you did and we would rather not think about it. Deep down we have a stinging pain and when no one is looking we shed a tear. We are honestly tired of hearing that Kenyan soldiers have lost their lives in a war that many do not seem to understand.
No one feels this pain more than those who you loved. The young families that you left behind and now your children will grow without their father. A mother will mourn her child and it will eat her up inside. She might even question the existence of God. A father will mourn in privacy as he tries to keep strong for his family. He will console a daughter who has lost her brother. Assure her that all will be well though he does not believe his own words. The messages from fellow Kenyans will only bring them more pain wondering why it had to be their son , husband , brother who had to pay the price.
To you who has been left behind, you will be angry at the world. It does not seem like this pain will come to an end. We will not even pretend to understand how you feel. Amidst all the pain and anguish remember that they died heroes. Tell their children that their father died while keeping them safe. Do not take their photos down instead hang them up with pride knowing that they were good men. Take solace in knowing that they were noble in a world where there are few. Live to tell tales of how they did their country proud. To the fallen soldiers , Rest in perfect peace my brothers. We are forever indebted to you. Your legacy will forever live on.