My father chose to stay when walking away was easier

Tuesday June 13 2017

Diana Kagwiria poses with her mother Martha Munjuri, who is partially blind, and her father Leonard Munjuri, who stood by his wife and took over roles she could not do because of her disability. PHOTO| COURTESY

“The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother” is a quote by American clergyman Theodore Hesburgh that must surely have been created with my dad Leonard Munjuri in mind.
When I was about two years old, my mum developed a severe complication in her eyes that rendered her partially blind to date but dad loved her through all of that. He really got the “for better, for worse” bit of his marriage vows.

Dad took over mum’s roles, like going to the market to buy us food, without a word of complaint or a hint of prejudice.

I never heard him say that what he was doing was a woman’s work.

He did everything he was supposed to do to make us comfortable while balancing his job as a teacher and later as a farmer after his retirement in 2004. Mum repeatedly told me it was because of my father’s attitude that she was able to deal with her disability.


Leonard Munjuri, who stood by his wife and took over roles she could not do because of her disability. PHOTO| DIANA KAGWIRIA

Dad could easily have run away or brought in a second wife, which is super-easy, but he chose to stay and work through all that we were facing.



Not long ago, I asked him how he has managed all this and he replied:

“Nobody can predict the future. You just have to give your all to the relationship you’re in and do your best to take care of your partner. The most important thing in any relationship is caring for your partner through good and bad times. Give them every last drop of love you have.”

From dad, I learnt the essence of holding family values and being there for one another. Whenever I encounter life’s challenges, his character shows up in my life, reminding me that I can surely do the same as he did.

He has passed on his mantra of life to me, doing whatever I do with sincerity regardless of the situation I am in.

On this Father’s Day, I choose to celebrate him. He has been supportive to me and my brothers in many ways. He gives us guidance, moral support and the education to propel us to achieve what we have today.

Dear dad, you are truly a thoughtful, hardworking and loving father. You have sacrificed a lot while being the best dad and for that, I take this day to honour God and to say, thank you and a happy Father’s Day. I love you dad!

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