The story of Samuel Gitimo Njoka, 31, a businessman, and Ruth Wambui Gitimo, 25, a farmer, is one that inspires. It is a story of selfless love that saw this couple give their time, love and effort to their ailing mother, even during their wedding preparations. They share their story with LAURA KIBIRU.
It is not always that women get along with their mothers-in-law, but Ruth Wambui’s relationship with her late mother-in-law is a lesson in love. “My mother-in-law was my best friend. We loved each other very much. I still haven’t come to terms with her death,” says Wambui, as she is fondly called at home. “My wife and my mother were inseparable. They spent so much time together. We both miss her very much,” adds Gitimo, her husband of less than a year. The couple affirms that their late mother’s friendship solidified their relationship.
Beginning of a love affair…
Gitimo met Wambui at her birthday party on September 5, 2009 in her home in Gitwe, Kiambu County. She was warm, kind and hospitable enough to chat with him despite being a gatecrasher at the party. “He asked me out on a date before the end of the party. I gave him my phone number but didn’t expect him to remember it because he did not write it down or put it on his phone. I was impressed with his good memory when he called me the following day,” Wambui recalls how their love started. They started dating and a strong friendship developed blossoming into a deep love. Wambui was a university student at the time. They courted for two years before taking the bold step of living together.
Bonding with mother-in-law…
Wambui moved into Gitimo’s family home in February 2011, after both families accepted and blessed their relationship. Gitimo’s mother was at the time ailing with breast cancer and Wambui abandoned everything to take care of her. Her cancer was at advanced stage having spread to the spine. Wambui’s routine included accompanying her mother-in-law for chemotherapy and radiotherapy sessions at the MP Shah and the Nairobi hospitals.
“I would drive mum to hospital very early in the morning as the treatment sessions started at 9am. She was very brave despite the excruciating pain from the disease. In fact, she never lost her smile and warmth despite her condition. She preferred us going shopping after treatment instead of returning home. She loved life and enjoyed it to the last minute,” says Wambui as her husband looks at her adoringly.
Wambui also accompanied her mother-in-law to India for further treatment. “Being close to my mother-in-law and taking care of her not only made me a better person, but also a good wife. I learnt so much from her,” she says.
“The bond between my wife and my mother brought me so much joy. It reinforced and strengthened my relationship with my wife. After she took over the responsibility of caring for my mother, I was able to concentrate on the family businesses and other family matters,” explains Gitimo.
Wedding plans amidst mother’s illness…
Despite her illness, the late Mrs. Njoka, Gitimo’s mother, played a big role during the couple’s formal wedding preparations, which started in July 2011. It was her desire to see her son marry the woman who had become a best friend to her. There were three organizing committees for the wedding – Wambui’s family, Gitimo’s family, and friends. Mrs. Njoka coordinated the family committees and chaired some of the meetings, despite doctors having given her a few months to live.
A beautiful black and red themed wedding took place at PCEA Rev. Ayub Kinywa Church in Githunguri, on December 3, 2011. The joyous occasion was only dampened by the fact that Mrs. Njoka was very sick but she still managed to make it to the wedding. “She was on a drip and couldn’t stand but I could sense her joy in seeing her son walk me down the aisle. I shed tears of joy for my mother-in-law. She was a very courageous woman and I thank God for allowing her to live long enough to witness our wedding,” says Wambui with obvious sadness on her face.
The church ceremony was followed by a reception at Dimham Gardens in Tigoni in Limuru. “We proceeded to the Serena Hotel in Nairobi to start our planned honeymoon, which we had planned to be a countrywide adventure through game parks, the coast and other holiday destinations but, sadly, it was not to be. We received news on our wedding night that my mother’s condition had worsened and she had been admitted at the Nairobi Hospital. We cancelled our honeymoon plans to be with her. She died ten days later,” says a sad Gitimo.
“We owe our love and marriage to our late mum whom we miss dearly,” the couple concludes the interview, as we scan through their wedding album.
Published in May 2012