Growing up in my era was fun. When chilling with family we used to be told many stories and some of the stories were frightening. The other myth I had was not to play with our shadow because you will experience nightmares when sleeping.
I cannot say I feared the dark, I love the dark until today. The problem is now as a man when you are always walking at night people will start thinking you are a thief. My favourite colour is also black and am comfortable in black attire.
I remember when we were young growing up we had some relatives who used to live close to us. We did not stay around each other for long cause when their dad died they had to move from where they stayed. That was the first time I saw someone who was deseeded. I was curious and wanted to see him for the last time. I was still young back then. I saw him he was not just lying there peacefully but was darker than usual. The other thing I noticed was the cotton wool that was protruding out of his nose. Still was not scary at all I was just okay with it.
Then another time I saw a lady who had also died. She was well groomed and they had done some makeup on her. Things were stuck okay nothing was frightening me. We had this aunt who had to make stories about which craft at home reserve. The stories of the dead refusing to go home to be buried or bus stop on the way home until some alight and it starts moving. With my wild imagination, I believed the dead were still with us and had not moved on.
My brain overworks with many thoughts. I cannot control my imagination at times. And from that day I never went close to coffins. My thought is maybe if the dead don’t know you very well they might haunt you. If I saw a coffin I was not even able to shower with my eyes closed. When am washing my hair the belief that maybe someone was standing behind me came into my head and I opened my eyes to confirm. Soap would just enter my eyes and now am trying to wash it off at the same time keeping my eyes open saw I could see my attacker.
This was a big problem for me, even when my grandfather died I just saw the coffin but was too scared to see him. The thought in my head was we never used to go home and now is when I show up when he’s gone. I don’t fear walking in the dark and being attached or animals like snakes but the dead was my fear. I remember as Luos at night after the burial there is normally a party. We call it disco “matanga”, celebrating the life of the departed. We had to spend the night outside the home. Because we were young we had to sleep in my uncle’s house. The house was at the gate of the boma. In Kenya, many communities call the place where a father has built where he stays with his family is called a Boma. There can be several houses inside the Boma. Some of the Bomas are fenced while others are open.
As my brother was sleeping beside me, I was wide awake. Hat is a small round house made of clay and cow dang with a roof made of grass. That is how we used to build houses back then. Nowadays it is not easy to find hats in many Bomas. I could not sleep easily, the noise from outside was too much and there was a lantern that was in the middle of the house. I felt like someone would open the door and come inside the house. I do not know when I slept but the next day I just wanted to go home. But the next day during the day was so exciting that I forgot about the drama of sleeping at night.
I have grown up knowing my fear was the dead but never told anyone. When I lost my dad the shock made me forget my fear completely. I now know my fear came because of the scary stories and not that the dead could do something to me. The fact that I loved my dad so much and I knew him I never felt that he could do something to hurt me. I remember opening the cover to see him for the last time before I left to travel home in advance.
From that day onwards my fear disappeared completely and this was confirmed when I started working in a hospital. When we had our first casualty I assisted the morgue attendant in parking the deceased for transportation. I felt the way he was cold and his body was stiff but I did not fear anything. None of the nurses came close when we were packing the body. After putting him in the pack and metallic that when they assisted us in carrying him. The second time again I did it with ease. And the ward remained unoccupied for a while. I used to sleep inside that ward at night when I remained for the night shift. No nurse wanted to stay there because two people who stayed there passed. So I could lock myself inside and sleep peacefully and the room had a hot shower.
Everybody will die one day. You cannot hide from it. Though we do not know what happens next after death we all know will die. Hope it is peaceful and not it is paining.