They had just returned to  the country that day -after a year of gun shots, crawling on the underbelly of Somalia, fighting for this country.

And now they were back…the Kenya army.

They marched in their majestic form…perfection. not a step missed,  their shoes falling and rising to the ground in a uniform rhythm.

We the journalists watched from behind.

The national anthem played…dissolving the cold air of that day. The flag hoisted up high, being tossed on and on by the wind…kissing the skies…

It was too BEAUTIFUL.


(photo credits: Ministry of defense)

Women rushed to meet their husbands. Children ran to meet their fathers, lovers embraced and wept…others hugged in silence, perhaps because they couldn’t find the right words.

And then we spotted him. Dressed in full regalia…the jungle green, the combat of warriors…and he was CRYING.

Yes, tears were rolling down his face.

A man from the army, CRYING…you know, not the graceful cry but weeping like a baby.

He didn’t bother wiping them. He just cried when the anthem played.

On the other side, just on the opposite tent, his three sons stood watching. His sobs chocked him. He tried to wipe his tears, but more of it flowed.

Over and over, like a mighty sea…like an unstopped river that had broken its dykes.

There he was, a guy from the defense team was WEEPING.


(photo credits: google images)

You want to know something?

…the oldest of the soldier’s  son wasnt looking at his weeping dad. No.
His gaze was fixed on the flag. His hand was down, as if his father’s tears were the national anthem. He did not move…he stared too deeply into the sky…the flag was tossed again and again by the wind…

His father’s tears blown by the wind.

 It was painful.

A true son of a soldier. He couldnt look at his father cry…


I have seen it people. Even the strongest among us break down. Even they that wear combat, those who have licked and tasted gun powder, those who have heard echoes of gunshots, those who have come face to face with death. Even those who have trampled on the scorching earth of Somalia using their feet…even them can break down when they remember what they have been through.

Even they who have run across thorns and shrubs, who have fallen instinctively on their stomachs with eyes closed and have shot randomly to save their own skins. Even they that have made peace with the reality of death, and have been hardened by seeing their friends being felled as they watch – yes, even those who are hardened cry when the weight of the world weighs too heavy on their backs.


So, when you are overwhelmed by the things that are happening, when you look back and think about the pains that you are going through, the pains that you underwent, I say, my dear, it is okay to cry. It is okay to let tears roll, to let the salt inescapable happen. It is fine, it is okay to hug your friend and let tears flow…

It is fine to just break down and say: “I am in pain. I am struggling. I am sad. The sorrow is rising…”

It is not wrong.

Sometimes the eyes well up. Sometimes our eyelashes get moistened. Sometimes our nose run. Sometimes we get chocked up by the things that we cant control.

Sometimes we cry.

It is okay. Even soldiers cry. It is okay.

I too have cried. I have fallen on my knees, with a prayer stuck in my tongue…with the name of the Lord half uttered upon my tongue…and I have cried. I have raised my hands up, I have yelled KUMBAYAH from a place deep inside me, in a voice that perhaps only me can understand.


I have cried in a moving bus, with a doctor’s report in my purse.

I have cried for the loss of my friend. I have felt my heart being ripped from my body…I have sobbed in the arms of my mother, I have cried in front of my family, I have cried in the depth of the night when the world is asleep and I am awake nursing a heart break. I have cried from disappointment. I have cried when I was abused on the internet and I couldn’t defend myself among these people who did not know me, yet they spewed so much hate on me…and I knew my truth, yet I couldn’t explain it, and even if I did, they wouldn’t believe me.

I have cried when the world around me crushed. I have cried from so much hopelessness that I once felt. I have cried from a feeling of rejection. I have cried from sorrow rising. I have cried for new beginnings because I was scared. I have cried while tossing my yoyo and I cant find the right words. I have cried for my mama and the pains she went through. I have cried for redemption.  I have cried for love.


I too have cried…

And I have come to know, it is okay to cry. It is humanity’s way of getting rid of the many pent up emotions.

Dearest, it is okay to cry. It is okay to look back at the milestones you have covered, the many paths you have walked alone, the darkness, the void. Its okay. Think about what you are going through now, the misunderstanding, the emptiness, the need, the heartbreak, the ________


Think about the sorrow, your recent loss, of a loved one, of a job, of an opportunity, of a marriage, of a religion…think about it. Think about the defenses you created around yourself, the self-preservation, the “ninjaism” that you have created to give you a distraction. Break those barriers…CRY. Let it out, and then start again, start a journey of restoration.

Time on my clock: 4:01 am. The hour of restoration.


Categories: Uncategorized | 3 Comments

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  1. Hands Omboche

    I cried as I went through this piece, its reminder, it has woken up memories, memories that are quiet eventful, thank you Mercy for this,

  2. Sweetnes

    Some of us have been “raised” to believe crying is a sign of weakness the ultimate declaration of limitation and defeat… but still at times I still cry. I will do it in the dark with no living soul in sight and after it I plaster the smile back on my face.
    Thanks Mercy for reminding me its okay…

  3. Leah Wangari Dubs

    Wow, I love it, I love reading from you. I feel the tension, the emotions, it is real. I love. I cry as much as I can. I love to cry. Best thing that really makes me feel better. Best thing that i ever discovered to do. Cry.

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