On Courage

Keni Maati • August 9, 2019

My grandfather, I called him Acaca, spoke one language Afaan Oromoo. Unfortunately I could not.

So we never really had deep conversations.

He grew up in Ambo - a city in Ethiopia. A farmer by trade, he was in perfect health even in his 90s.

He was a strong man though I didn't realize just how strong then.

He was 93 years old when he noticed most people his age were dying. He realized that he had lived a complete life. So he decided to leave earth on his own terms.

He decided to stop eating.

His son, my father, was overseas when he was told about this decision. He took the first flight to Ethiopia to be by his father's bedside. My dad tried to dissuade him but Acaca's mind was made up.

So after 10 days without any food, my grandfather died the day after my father's arrival; surrounded by people who loved and respected him.

He passed away the same way he lived - bold, proud and with a purpose.

In this last gesture, my grandfather made me realize the immeasurable strength and courage I had in my DNA.

He spoke to me in a way that words never could.