Oliver Waindi’s wife died eight years ago after a short illness. Left with the responsibility of taking care of their 10-year-old son, he took it all in stride, remarrying never in his priorities. And as we celebrate Father’s Day this weekend, Oliver’s story is one of triumph over loss
Couples get together with the very best of intensions, full of hopes and dreams. A life together, a future as a team, and perhaps some children to crown the union. But sometimes, the happily-ever-after dream remains just that, a dream. Sometimes, fate charts a different path.
Such is the case of Oliver Waindi. He had met the woman of his dreams and eventually made her his wife in 1996. Four years later, they got a baby boy. Theirs was a family full of love and laughter. Until July 2010, a day that Oliver vividly recalls. “My wife got sick and went for a simple injection.
Little did the doctors know that she was allergic to aspirin. She badly reacted to the drug? She never came out of the hospital alive. She spent 110 days at the Nairobi Hospital, 95 days in ICU. The total bill was Sh13.5 million, which I am still paying to date,” says Oliver.
Months following the sudden death of his wife, Oliver contemplated on how best he could raise their child. Memories running through his mind on how his wife had been the family’s nerve centre, managing their child day-to-day’s life while he was busy at work kept on occurring.
Now the responsibilities of raising their child fell entirely on him. For Oliver, putting on two hats and playing the role of a mother and father to his child proved to be more challenging. He had to balance between work and taking care of his child.
“I had to be strong for my son, Craig, who was 10 years then. My family was always supportive whenever I asked for their help. And most importantly, my housegirl has been there all along,” says Oliver, a management consultant.
He adds: “I also take care of two orphans who make me proud. I adopted them to keep my child company. However, it has been a long journey and the most emotional time of my life. ”In as much as it turned out okay for his child to grow up in such an environment, it was quite challenging for Oliver to adjust to his new life.
He missed and loved his wife more even in her death. Eight years later, Oliver looks back at his journey as a single father with pride. His son, Craig is now a first year student at a local university. His last adopted son is in Class Seven.
“When my wife passed on, I was heartbroken. I didn’t know how best I could come out of that cocoon. How I would face my child and tell him that everything was okay even when I knew clearly things weren’t okay. It really drained me; physically, emotionally and even financially, but with time I learnt to love and respect her more in her death,” says Oliver.
Oliver, however says he had been having a lot of pressure, especially from his family to remarry. “It’s hard to keep on telling them that I’m not ready for another commitment. Remarrying is not a priority to me. Top on my list now is to see my children grow, stand on their own and be successful in their lives,” he adds.
And when he interacts with women, many get him wrong. “They assume I am in love with them, which in real sense isn’t the case,” says Oliver.
Despite the pressure from friends and relatives, Oliver strongly believes that it is not right to rush and fill the gaps of your loved one. “You may destabilise your children’s life if you rush to replace their mum. Also, remarrying due to pressure turns out bad,” he notes.
His parting shot: Love your partner when they are still alive, for it means nothing to give moving eulogies when they are gone if you never cared about them,” he says.
As we celebrate the role of fathers and the importance of active fatherhood during Father’s Day this coming weekend, here at PD we toast to all the dads such as Oliver for raising great kids.