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WHEN MY BILLIONAIRE MOTHER DIED, the responsibility of burying her fell on me, her love child, by default.  

The obsequies were stunning and also touching. Mama Lucy Kibaki choir graced the occasion with heavenly melodies. As the requiem service ended, we all stood and sang my mother’s favourite—Nilianza Safari by Rose Jeffa. Rose was there herself, now an old lady immortalized by her music, and she was honoured to perform her song for my mother, she said.

On the material day, the whole compound was a bazaar of automobiles. The gamut ranged from stretch limos for waheshimiwas to latest Mercs and Sports Utilities for businessmen and celebrities. It was more of a celebration (of a life well lived) than a funeral.

Everyone who’s anybody, or thought is, was there—cabinet ministers and their assistants, the VP and the Premier, famous actors and producers, real estate tycoons and investors, high and low—all to bid my mother thee farewell.

As I watched the casket being lowered to her final resting place, memories of another life, back when she was alive and I was her only source of happiness—as she had told me on her death bed—all came back to me. I couldn’t help but cry quarts.

Nonetheless, that was then, and this is now. Ghost family members have sprouted up from phantom family trees, including a dad who’d been MIA since sowing his wild oats in my mother, have come demanding their share of my mother’s wealth even before the dust has settled off.

I stopped crying the minute the ground swallowed my mother up, leaving no trace of her save for her photos that constantly reminded me of her. The mourning period turned into a tussle over what my loving mother bequeathed me.

‘Women don’t own property’ has been the mantra.

Even business partners, lawyers, and confidants—people my mother trusted most in her lifetime—are after a share of what she tirelessly worked for.

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