Losing Simiyu – a lesson in grief

I dreamt that we were face to face once more, laughing at nothing outside T-mall. You were so happy, so honest, and I whiffed in the fresh air that was your authenticity. It always was an odd combination- your charm and sincerity. You were dressed immaculately, something like a king. In your absurdly large hands (yes, even now I will make fun of you) you clutched your car keys. Then you smiled down at me. Your eyes were glittering with hope and the determination that is your hallmark. I took it all in, standing next to you, talking to you. Life was making sense once more and there was no strange ache in my heart. I closed my eyes in the sun but yours were open.

Somewhere in the back of my mind I pictured your mother and sisters waiting for you to take home the groceries. Their world wasn’t shattered and we all weren’t hurting for them. You were going to go to med school, and finally decide on a girlfriend, whom I swore to loathe! We laughed at this, knowing fully well that I would in fact stand up for her if you ever fought. And you were going to ‘sort me out’ with your sister’s clothes any time I was sent back by a fashion cop. It always amused you, this concept of students being sent away from school because they weren’t dressed ‘decently’ enough. I could see the laughter dancing in your eyes when I complained about my encounters with them. We were no longer kids in primary school; even high school seemed like a life time ago. All those tough times- boarding school, drama at home, they were all behind us. What a laugh it all was now! Our lives stretched out before us, two green carpets leading to an orange sunset with a blue sky all the way. I dreamt in colour… Colour. So much colour.

Then I woke up, elated, sure of it all. But it wasn’t true. Your eyes were closed, our plans ruined, the pain of losing you real and harsh. When I crossed the street outside T-mall that morning I was bewildered, not seeing you there as I was sure I would. It was a mean joke and I’m sure you’d have laughed at me. Isn’t it funny, how you are gone, yet it is we who have to learn to live again? For a while I was angry that you had to leave, seemingly so soon and so tragically. I felt that though you had fought long and hard, the rest of us hadn’t done enough. Not yet. There were still fundraisers and treatments and prayers to be said. So I refused to believe it, even when your cousins printed out T-shirts labelled ‘the king is dead’. And when I saw you one last time I told our friend, he looks like he’s just asleep. I didn’t say goodbye.


David Simiyu was a kind and brilliant young man. A great sportsman, he was captain of his high school rugby team. He was a bright student who was set to pursue a career in medicine. Above all, he was loyal friend and loving son and brother. He always put others before him and carried himself with integrity and bravery. David lived well. He died after a two year battle with Leukemia, ending his most inspiring run yet. His life is a testimony of how precious the human life is, and that even in strife; we can still love and overcome. Man, even at such a young age, you really set the bar high as far as legacies go. Until we meet again, we miss you.


In celebration of the life of David Simiyu, who was an excellent person. These words are still not enough to express the void you left. The king still lives.

Jentrix Wanyama