Four Seconds

Yesterday as I was travelling back to Nairobi, just before we got to Gilgil, a fuel tanker collided with another vehicle which in turn shifted lanes and in the process hit a guy on a nduthi head-on. He died on the spot. In less than four seconds he had “crossed” over from life to death.  His wife will be called to hospital. She’ll leave work and rush to a hospital whose doctors are on strike. They’ll tell her he is no more.

She’ll weep because she’s just lost the love of his life. She’ll weep because their bed, even if it was a 4 by 6, will now be bigger. She’ll weep because she’ll not know how to break the news to their children. Often we are told we need to prepare for everything. How does one prepare for the death of a loved one? How does one prepare to break such news to their children?  She’ll weep because her children, who probably have a penchant for running into daddy’s arms after he gets home from work, will no longer do so. Feeling daddy’s cold jacket yet warm hug will have to be more reduced to a mere memory, etched at the back of their… Their two year old will most definitely not get why the rest are crying; the conundrum of life’s innocence failure to perceive death.

They will erect a tent outside their house and begin funeral arrangements. Friends and relatives will stream in offering their condolences most of which will lighten the burden but not heal them completely. They’ll organise a harambee and in a week or so, burry dad. They’ll get back home and begin learning to adjust to living without daddy. His wife will ponder on whether or not to delete his number on her phone. “Let me keep it until I fully heal,” she’ll say. She’ll then realise that it’s pointless since she had already crammed it; a realisation which will cause her to inevitably tear up. She’ll however cut out the section of the obituaries and hope to live long enough to explain it to her two year old.

Let’s not think about how they’ll put food on the table henceforth. Let’s not talk about the children being asked by their English teacher to write a composition about ‘My Father’. Let’s not talk about them having to write N/A in Father’s name field in countless forms they’ll fill for the better part of their lives. Let’s stop it at where they’ll be asked to bring a copy of their dad’s death certificate to prove that he died.

A whole family, maybe even a generation, affected. And it only took four seconds.

Driving is about making decisions within a short period of time, seconds to be more precise. The decision making process is significantly reduced to elemental time (read milliseconds) when we drive faster. Take care.