Just like a scene straight from the movies, in the twinkling of an eye, Faustine Lipuku Lukale found himself widowed and with a two-year-old daughter fighting for dear life in the ICU. His 22-year-old wife (pictured above) succumbed to a fatal road accident on Thika Road on August 15, 2020 while his daughter suffered severe injuries in the crash that left her hospitalized for weeks. Since then the CEO of Faux Arts Production has put his focus on bringing up their daughter Talisha.
With over 44 sessions of physiotherapy and millions of shillings in hospital bills, Faustine is doing what it takes to restore his daughter’s health and complete life. This Father’s Day Woman Kenya Network caught up with him to check on the progress of both daddy and daughter.
How is Baby Talisha?
Her health is gradually improving but we are still on therapy to aid her walking, talking and restore complete motor skills that disappeared after the accident. The therapy costs an average of Sh10,000 weekly and approximately Sh40,000 per month which is a challenge for me to raise.
Do you talk to her about her mother?
She is still very young and learning how to talk again and so I can’t say that’s a conversation I have had with her, but I will try my level best to keep her mum’s memory alive; for her. I can’t really explain to her clearly considering her age. Besides, she has not fully regained the capacity to grasp the events of the fateful day; but I will definitely make her understand as she comes of age. Her memory is gradually being restored and she remembers her mum especially if she sees her in a video or picture. She calls her Milka.
For those who have never heard your story, who is Baba Talisha?
Baba Tanisha is 25-year-old single dad to my beautiful daughter aged three years. I am loving and caring man who is passionate about photography. I run a company called Faux Arts Production that focuses on photography and videography. I also have a YouTube channel called Malkia Faustine, in honour of my late wife. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Science in Health Records and Information Management from Kenyatta university.
What kind of person was your late wife?
She was best thing I ever had in life; which makes the reality of knowing she is no more very hard to cope with. Milka was hardworking, loving, prayerful and a great mum. Very supportive wife who pushed me towards achieving my goals and She was very good at baking.
What do you miss most about not having her around?
She was my first love and we grew up together. She was patient with me, understanding and willing to go the extra mile to make our family comfortable. Her laughter was infectious and she was always singing; something I really miss a lot. I feel her presence every time I see Talisha, when we go to places we had previously visited together, when I see couples and when I visit her grave. During such times, I mostly indulge in editing or creating content for my YouTube channel.
How did you feel the first time you met your daughter Talisha?
That was the best feeling any father can feel. It was honouring and I immediately knew I had to make sure she has everything she needs in life. She has made me push myself more to afford her a comfortable life.
Is she more of you or your late wife?
Well she resembles her mum a lot and she loves dancing as well as singing like her mum did.... Just like her mom, she is ever in the kitchen trying to cook or do something. We share some interest in photography and she is also fascinated about cars.
Describe the unfortunate day when you lost your wife to road accident; how did you feel?
This is the one memory I wish to erase from my mind. I watched my favourite person take her last breath, watched her lifeless body lying on the highway and I couldn’t do anything. My world went dark and I was numb with pain. Talisha was lying next to her mum in the cold and for a moment I thought I had lost her too. The events of that day are always fresh in my brain and I don’t like reliving them.
So sorry about that, how do you keep Milka’s memory alive?
We documented our life on social media in form of pictures and videos and no single day passes without a Facebook reminder. I also talk about her a lot and I am in touch with her friends and family.
For mother’s day I took Talisha and my small sister out and for Milka’s birthday we celebrated with her friends as we remembered her. For our anniversary which is on June 1, I celebrated alone and in silence to honour her in heaven.
Do children also grieve?
They can feel the gap. Talisha has developed a coping mechanism of getting comfortable around people a lot and she doesn’t nag like she used. When her mum was around, we wouldn’t leave her behind or with someone else.
Do you think you have done Milka proud?
I am trying to do my best with our daughter. I am not yet there but so far she must be.
How is your relationship with in-laws?
I have always been close with some relatives with my late wife. Currently, I live with Milka’s brother who has been very helpful in helping me raise Talisha. I also talk to Milka’s mum quite often. Recently, I took Talisha to see her.
What do you wish people understood about grieving?
Being a parent hardly gives you the window to be weak; when the going gets tough you dry your tears before walking out the door, just to get by the day. In the evening you put on the happy dad face as she meets you at the door. You only cry behind closed doors with no one to open up to. And yeah, you don’t even know when it will get better.
What are some of the challenges of being a single dad?
Trying to strike work-life balance is a big challenge. I have to make sure Talisha is comfortable before I leave the house and at times I bring her to work. Also, one gets insecure with the child because you are afraid she might be treated differently or mishandled. I must also say that grief is a such a lonely journey, the world keeps moving on and so do people. Some friends and relatives take off, leaving you alone. Right now my biggest challenge is how to raise cash for Talisha’s therapy which is quite expensive.
BabyTalisha has been through a lot, let's help her recover fully by contributing to her medical fund.
RAISE YOUR VOICE SO THAT THOSE WITHOUT A VOICE CAN BE HEARD
My name is Queenter Mbori but my friends call me Queen. I am the CEO and Publisher of Woman Kenya. I am also a seasoned editor, gender equality advocate and acclaimed...Read more