Dear Joel, I used to find eulogises posted on blogs and social media platforms really weird. I doubt people in heaven get a break from whatever people in heaven do, to check their facebook notifications or something.
Then you died and for the life of me, I can’t stop posting things about you and that’s when I realized , it really was about me. I don’t know how else to mourn your death except through lots of words posted everywhere.
I skipped the first stage of grief and went straight to rage. I found out a few hours after your passing when #RIPNevender was already trending on twitter.
For all your denial of being a big wig, you really have people sad. Out here where pain still exists.
The day you died, I had just finished reading your review of the queen of Katwe. I wanted to text you and say I agree with you but I was low-key mad because you hadn’t responded to my last text.
You were never the friend who didn’t respond to texts, so I figured it’s because you were busy with the Uganda Blogging Community meet up. I told myself I would call you later because I didn’t want to explain why I didn’t show up and as it turns out neither did you.
You were somewhere, dying. When I specifically asked you not to. You can understand why I started by being mad.
But today, as I travel for your burial, the anger towards you has been replaced by pain. It’s like physical pain without the specific body part to match. It’s in my chest then in my head. Then in my stomach. It’s everywhere and nowhere.
You were incredible. I doubt I told you enough, because God forbid you took my compliments. You were always too busy building people up that you didn’t allow yourself to be the center of all my cheering. Or maybe I knew that and milked your selflessness for everything it was worth.
I can’t believe I am writing about you in past tense. We have so much unfinished business like going to great burgers and me replacing your tired purple scarf.
I even saw a purple scarf the day before you died but it just didn’t feel like the one. I guess I should thank you for saving my money.
I miss you;
Your conversations about God.
Your poetry. Oh your poetry.
Your ability to be strong in the face of excruciating pain.
Your resolve to write through it.
The quiet way you paid attention.
Watching you steer the conversation about writing and reading in Uganda at all the bloggers happy hours.
For gathering us and making sure we stayed.
For being honest.
For being vulnerable when you needed to be and being strong when you didn’t have to be.
For checking on me.
For allowing me to call you Jajja.
For calling me muzukulu.
For writing that book even though we haven’t had a party to launch it.
For introducing me to the song, “Learning to breath”
That there are grapes in heaven and music by switchfoot and lots of paper and pen.
That you are allowed to check your social media pages , so that you know how much you touched thousands of lives through your gift.
That we can uphold your legacy as a blogging community.
That your death doesn’t tear us apart.
Rest in Power Jajja Nevender.
Photo Credit: No idea. It was on social media.