How death robbed me half of my family

By Sandra Wekesa
Wednesday, August 19th, 2020
Nelly Kemuma, her late husband Patrick Mumbo and their children. RIGHT: The late Patrick and Natalie died in a road crash. Photo/PD/COURTESY
In summary

Nelly Kemuma’s husband of seven years and their three-year-old daughter died in a road accident early this year.

Mornings were always the favourite part of Nelly Kemuma’s day. Not only would she be dropped off to work by her husband, while their daughter tagged along, but she would get to prepare their first meal of the day and watch them as they started sunlight hours.

For the past three years their routine rarely changed, especially since she was the only person in her family who always had an early morning.

Nelly’s husband, Patrick Mumbo, being a businessman and a commercial model, had flexible working hours, so he often would spare some time to drop her off at work in Upperhill Nairobi, where she works at an insurance company.

Their three-year-old daughter, Natalie would tag along. He would then pick her up in the evening. 

However, on February 26, this year, she woke up feeling something was odd, but could’nt place a finger on it.

On this morning, she found her husband, and their daughter, cuddled up on the couch. Natalie was fast asleep.

Nelly took her to bed, but she didn’t sleep a wink. “Due to the movement and a change in comfort, she woke up as soon as I placed her to bed and asked for her favourite meal, Indomie.

Although I was getting late for work, I quickly dashed into the kitchen and let the Indomie cook as I picked out clothes for the day. I left the two playing and went ahead to dress,” she recalls.

Final goodbye

As soon as she was done they left for work. Jovial as usual, her daughter kept on jamming to songs.

The late Patrick and Natalie died in a road crash. Photo/PD/COURTESY

Her husband on the other hand concentrated on the road as he carefully drove.

When they arrived at her place of work, she bid the two goodbye and left. “I remember I told them ‘goodbye’.

This was quite unusual because I was used to saying ‘have a great day’. But as I was left recollecting my thoughts on the parking lot, the two had already sped off and were on their way home,” she says.

She entered her place of work, but immediately after sitting down, her phone rang.

“Checking, it was a call from Patrick. I thought I had left something in the car.

After picking the call, a voice that was not familiar to me said, ‘the owner of this phone has been involved in an accident at Haile Selasse Avenue and is dead, he has actually been taken to City Mortuary!

In a state of confusion, I broke down in the office and rushed to the toilet. I felt like my world had come crashing down on me,” she remembers. 

After a few seconds she called to confirm the condition of her daughter and the caller bluntly told her that she was nowhere to be seen.

As her colleagues comforted her, they implored her to go to the accident scene. 

“We left the office and managed to get there before the police cleared the scene.

I was later told by an eyewitness that Natalie was rushed to Mater Hospital by a Good Samaritan,” she says amidst sobs.

As she rushed to Mater, she was hoping against hope that Natalie would survive the gruesome accident.

But as fate could have it, her daughter was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.

“I thought she would make it— because at least she hadn’t died on the spot. So when I heard the news, I was shattered,” recalls the 33-year-old.

She later found out that her husband’s car had been run over by a speeding bus. 

Overcoming grief has been difficult for Nelly. Losing half of her family at ago was devastating.

If her daughter had slept that morning, probably she couldn’t have died.

For weeks, she contemplated on so many things, like how she would just go back to her mother’s place and start all over again.

Her son, who was five months old then,  on the other hand, would cry most of the times. “Ours was a close-knit family. So even though my son was young, he missed his dad and sister.

You would see him looking around for them and cry after failing to find them,” Nelly says.

Nelly and Patrick had been married for seven years. He was her confidant, her rock and stood with her through thick and thin. 

Patrick was also a responsible father. He played a major role in raising their children.

“As an accountant, I would spend so much energy at work, but Patrick would always do the honours of ensuring that I was well rested and spend quality time with the children,” Nelly says of her late husband, 

Although the past seven months have been hard on Nelly, she has found peace through talking to her family members and close friends, and most importantly her in-laws who have walked with her through the dark moments.

Also, moving houses was her way to start again and finding peace with the fact that her husband and her daughter are in a better place.