Thursday, September 26, 2013
[Insert Cliche about Keys and Hearts]
My brother Robbie would have been 53 today.
This flip flop keychain was a gift from the Waswa family--his family, really--when my sister and I visited Nairobi last summer. It means a lot to me. Not just because it was a gift from people my brother really cared about and who have become a part of my life, but because it was so thoughtful.
The first member of the family we met was sister Rose. We connected at a coffee shop in a mall, which I think was on the outskirts of town. (Since someone else was always driving, I never got my bearings in that city!). We talked for hours about all sorts of things. My brother, her family, our family, Kenya, her environmental work, my sister's writing, school, my work, travel. On and on we talked.
The next day we met up with the rest of the family at sister Esther's apartment, mostly to pass on my brother's ashes to sister Miriam, his love. But also to come to know one another, to share a meal, and to share memories of Robbie. Toward the end of the afternoon, we exchanged gifts, including gifts to take home to our parents and to Roger and Jack.
After the day was over and my sister and I were on our own again, talking about everything that had happened, and exclaiming that the gifts they had chosen for us suited us so well (okay, maybe the fertility statue for Roger was a bit of a mystery, lol!), we realized that Rose must have been carefully taking mental notes during our conversation the night before. Sandals, beach, how nice it would have been to have gotten to the coast on that trip.
Smart woman, that Rose. Thank you, and Miriam, and Esther, and the rest of your family for loving my brother and for taking us into your hearts as well. I think of all of you and him every day as I carry my keys.