4pm on a Saturday evening, Kenneth calls.
"I'm putting you on a video call with Gideon shortly."
A minute later, the phone rings and I rush to a quiet corner of my house. It really is Gideon on the screen!
Oxygen mask on, and he gives me a thumbs up. I do the same. I can tell he's smiling. He gets unmasked briefly and makes a joke about his rather long beard, cracking me up. Even after a month-long stay at the hospital, this dude still has his humor intact. In the background his wife and brother can't suppress their laughter either.
Hearing and seeing Gidi gets me all giggly, I'm randomly hugging my wife and in an inexplicably happy place. It's a moment I had unknowingly waited for for a long time. I can't even imagine what his close family is feeling.
So I text his brother shortly after:
His reply comes the following morning, barely 12 hours later.
Gideon is gone.
Before that, the only other time I had had direct communication was exactly a month prior when he texted me.
On May 28th we scuttled before curfew-time having bid our Uganda-based colleague goodbye. Unknown to us, the hang out was really to say goodbye to Gideon.
A solid force at work - on top of the digital media hierarchy of genius - knew and was known by anyone worth knowing - calm under chaos - kind and very amiable. He and I spent the last few months talking about anything and everything - cars, family, work and his health.
Gideon made our digital space shine in a way it never had before.
I'll remember Gideon as the best digital media buying professional I have ever worked with. His efforts brought Sendy's digital footprint to a new high. I always admired his skills in this field and his eagerness to continue expanding his knowledge. For Gideon, gathering knowledge and expanding his networks were his priority. I learnt quite a great deal just from weekly interactions with him. I will forever cherish the moments I shared with Gideon.
~ Valerie, Snr. Graphic Designer
As a direct report, he often reminded me: "I'm a simple guy, once I understand exactly what you need, I'll think about it for some time and then take a very short time to execute." And he would do exactly that. His answer to questions like, "Gideon is it possible to.....," would be met by "very possible," and shortly after a solution. Even when inconvenienced he would respond with "all good," and he really meant it, because he was not the kind of person to let things bother him.
He liked to focus on one thing at a time, never allowing other people's emergencies to control his day. No matter how bad things were, Gideon remained extremely calm.
If 'calm during chaos' was a person, it would be you. The number of times in the day I would call about something that was “urgent” your response was always, “ Madam Yvone, relax, hii ni mambo rahisi!” and we would laugh off the craziness of everything that was going on.
~ Yvone, Marketing Manager
Gideon was patient with people and always ready to help.
In the short time we have worked together I came to see Gideon as a patient teacher and a good friend. He was ready with answers and ways to make his complicated work easy for us to understand. His kindness was not only at work but also outside . . .
~ Dennis, Graphic Designer.
We had met briefly, but not long after, he connected me to a side hustle and I was happy he remembered me, it was a 3 month deal . . .so for three months from Feb - April I had a side hustle which I felt was important for someone living in Nairobi and a single mum needed . . .
A hard worker who was always on call even when he didn't need to be.
Gideon was on top of his game, yet he was always eager to learn more.
"I don't want to be a one dimensional marketer, give me more work, expose me to other dimensions of marketing," he told me.
He was the kind of person you were lucky to have in your team.
I choose to celebrate your work ethos, something we will miss dearly. You never stopped working whether you were on leave or on a break, your famous words keep echoing in my mind “work has to be done.”
I choose to celebrate all the special meeting moments that occurred every time we would be on a call. Of interest is how you would dodge having your video camera on, how you would have the sound connected to the home theatre and the speakers would always have an echo and you would always dash to get your earphones on every meeting, how you would always have a solution to all the requests that would be thrown your way. Thank you for those moments, Gideon.
You had your family always come first and over the last few days, I have gotten to learn how dedicated you were to them.
~ Kevin, VP Marketing
Gideon has rested, and there is so much to reflect on: his wife who visited Mater Hospital daily since he got admitted, hoping that Gideon would stick around and grow old with her; his brother Kenneth who has been at his beck-and-call no matter what hour it was; his three kids each with a special bond to him and especially his 9-month-old girl who might hardly know the super dad she's lost.
This loss is heavy, but Gideon undoubtedly lives through each of them.
How does one express the amazing essence and spirit of Gideon - his positive energy, laughter. Words, even the very best of words, cannot truly capture the sense of loss that we are all feeling today. The loss is there, tangible and real within everyone. Gideon, I’ll remember you with the laughter and jokes that I was privileged to share with you. Now I'll grieve for you, cry for you and even smile because of you. And in all the tomorrows I’ll feel you – gone in some ways, but your presence ever near.
Go well…stay well…always.
~ Rachael, Procurement Manager
So close Gideon, so close to having you back. But just when we thought you had come back, you left. We celebrate you, Fare thee well Gidi.