Last week snatched the lives of many Ugandans - our parents, our children, relatives, friends, people we knew and did not know.
Sadly, that is our fate, as set out by the forces behind our existence in this world. Yet in these times of bereavement, the cruelty of death often overpowers many a strong soul to deliver a numbing reminder of our mortality.
But we still try to learn to take death with grace that would allow us to pick up a few last lessons from the lives we have just lost. Among the lives we lost last week, two particular individuals stood out, as great sons of this country - the academic administrator Bernard Onyango and the politician Chango Machyo w'Obanda.
Bernard Onyango distinguished himself in nearly 30 years in the academic registrar's office at Makerere University, and another decade as the founding registrar at Uganda Martyrs University. Chango Machyo, a former minister and later presidential advisor, was one of the intellectual lights of his generation, with a proud attachment to Uganda People's Congress and Marxism.
Both men have departed in their 80s. Although they followed different career paths, their lives offer some strikingly similar lessons, centred on the primacy of our humanity and of a commitment to the common good.
From people who knew Onyango and Chango, they never allowed their status and influence to strip them of their humanity - avoiding showy behaviour or airs of importance that preoccupy many of us today.
Tales of Onyango's heroics during the evening of the Idi Amin days, trying to find food for students, at a time when a meal could not be taken for granted, show a deep commitment to finding solutions for the people he served.
Chango Machyo's own approach to life flowed from his belief in social justice and a conviction that the whole is more important than any mortal individual, including himself.
This unassuming faith in service should inspire much more individualistic generations to rethink the place we give to the community and country, as we travel our individual journeys through this life, which has few certainties besides death.