One journey, One Purpose: To Claire and Placide

Today I’m invited to eat and drink while my best friend a.k.a my Tante is getting married.
Our story began in 2009, when I first saw her during the Ingando. I knew from the start that there was something special about her. Her weird light shone bright and I instantly knew that she was that crazy girl that I wanted to get to know. Then when we got to campus, I met her again and this time she was one of my roommates. I was happy to share a room with her.

However, I don’t know how we became friends…it just happened and now she’s one of my very few but close friends. I’ve been given many blessings and I’m thankful for whatever brought us together. 

Claire has been and is an incredible friend. Her amazing soul, the depth of her heart, her little quirks, her ability to be honest and upfront yet supportive…Claire is, quite simply, the best! She’s one of the most amazing people ever! She is reliable…I’ve always counted on her, which is always nice to have in a friend. I have a few wonderful women in my life and she’s definitely one of them. She’s one of the very few people I don’t know how my life would have been without them. No matter how dark any day got, she was always a bright light that shined. She was always there with a smile, and a word or two of encouragement. 

As I still spent time kissing toads (hehe), she met her soulmate. Then it finally happened…he got down on one knee and asked her the four-word question. And she said yes. My heart was filled with happiness when she told me about the engagement. Now, she’s getting married (sounds weird to say that).

Today, she embarks on the next stage of her life with her Mr Right, Placide. As I watch her live the fairy tale that we read about as kids, I’m reminded just how important she is to me…how much I love her, how much I admire her, how much I’m proud of the woman that she is.

To you my Tante Kler, you’re my role model in so many ways. You inspire me just by being yourself. I love you. Thank you for always being closest to me even when we were in separate stages of life. We all get distant to a certain degree when we make huge transitions in life. However, you didn’t drift away and let me get very far. Thank you for never giving up on our friendship.

I want you to know that you are an amazing human being that deserves the best in the world. You are worthy of all the love in the world and I believe you have found it in him. I’m so glad you found the one who makes your heart and soul happy.

Marriage won’t be easy, but I know you are a strong woman. God made you extra special and made your husband especially for you, so together you will overcome any challenge that your future faces. 

I don’t need to tell Placide everything wonderful about you, because he already knows all. I want to thank him. Thank him for making your dreams a reality. Thank him for giving you the fairytale that you so very much deserve. I hope that he loves you in a way that makes you believe in love every single day.  

The moment you both said “I do” you became one. One marriage, one journey, one purpose. My wish is that your love for another grows every single day. 

I love you, always my Tante.

To Claire & Placide.

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Wings clipped

The time: 11 AM. 

Mom gets a phone call. The kind of call that gives you some shivers even before you answer it. 

“She just passed on”

Death has never been a comfortable topic for me, but recently that discomfort has intensified. I’ve wanted to write about Agnes for quite some time. I wasn’t planning on doing it today, but last evening when I read a post about death, I knew I had to write about her today.

Agnes. Very beautiful. God must have been showing off when He created her. She indeed was a lovely woman. She was just 26 years old. She was a student at KIM, in the final year. She had recently got married, last August. She had vowed to have and to hold her husband, for better or worse. Agnes was ready for her happily ever after. But the worst was coming without warning and even so fast, just weeks later.

It’s hard to see someone finally happy in their life and it’s gone so fast. The week after her wedding, she became ill. It started with a complaint of headache. Then it got worse and worse till she fell into a coma. A coma that she never woke up from. Despite all the hard work of doctors, nothing could keep her alive. What pains me the most is that she never even got a chance to enjoy her honeymoon.

We are neighbors with her uncle. That’s how we know her. Mom attended her wedding. After she fell ill, the auntie informed her. Whenever she came from the hospital to visit her, she told Mom about her condition. So, I felt some kind of connection to her because they kept updating Mom on her condition. 

It might sound like cliché but I was devastated after learning of her untimely death. While the loss was not mine, I felt great heartache because I knew there are her loved ones out there whose lives had just been flipped upside down. Her friends who will never get to say that last thing. Her husband who now has an empty seat at the table. Her father who will never hug her again. I ached because I could relate to her as a daughter, a sister, a wife. I can imagine no greater pain than to lose a child. No greater pain than to lose your wife, even more unbearable just after getting married.

Her body lay in a coma on her hospital bed, for weeks. Death was lurking around her. It stayed behind the shadows. It was a matter of when and not if. They knew it was coming. But one can never be ready for it. It still was a surprise when she passed on. Like it had come without warning…

Her demise crushed my heart and made me reflect on life. It reminded me how much of a blessing it is to wake up in the morning and/or return to bed at night. While I have been to many funerals, I have never truly experienced the grief of loss through death. The funerals I have attended have been those of distant relatives or of relatives of close friends. I have so far been spared the loss of someone so close to my heart. But the fear of waking up one day to a gone loved one, still keeps me up. 

I have always felt grief and pain for the losses suffered by those I care about. Though it’s impossible to bear it all, I have felt sorrow for their families. I have felt that heaviness in my chest like someone laid a suitcase on it.

Even after she has been laid to rest, I’m still not over the fact that she’s gone. I deeply hoped that she would get better and they go on their honeymoon. I hoped she would finish her dissertation and defend it. Graduate and get a job. Have babies. Enjoy her married life. Cross that item off her bucket list. I hoped she would wake up to celebrate her 26th birthday, this November. 

But instead, death stole her. Like a thief in the night. It left pain and hopelessness. It brutally kicked her husband into a single life, again. Death robbed him of his love. Sad thing about losing a loved one, you are shaken to the core. He had known her for a not so long time. He loved her much. He wanted to marry her right after completing high school. But she asked him to let her go through college first. He agreed to wait and even paid her college tuition fees. Now that she was almost through, they got married. Then all of a sudden, death reared its ugly head. He had questions but no answers.

The only certain thing in this life is that it will end one day. Yes, it is a fact. No matter what precautions we may take, death happens. Sooner or later. And the best we can do is accept death as a fact of life. It happens. We can’t do anything to change that.

So, live for all the other days, for tomorrow we will all die. 

May God grant Agnes a peaceful rest and be with her family.

Gone But Not Forgotten: Tribute To The Late Old Lady Who Didn’t Know Me

My memory of you is on your funeral. I saw a picture of you (well, Y has shown me many). The one they carried at your funeral. It sat proudly on the coffin. I remember you by that picture. And the stories that Y has told me about you. Lots of stories. You were the wisest woman Y told me. You were loving and very smart. You were strong and hardworking. You were kind and a woman of God. You were a mother figure to him. But you broke his heart by your passing. I can’t imagine any loss more crushing than yours.

The day you passed, I remember it vividly like it was yesterday. We were in Gisenyi (good old days) when P called Y and told him to come home. But Y being the stubborn guy he is, asked why he was being called home. Then P told him about your demise. And his world went dark. The hours that followed were filled with tears. Not knowing what to do (Do I hold him in my arms? Hug him? I gave him a tissue though), nor how to react to that (I’d never seen Y in such terrible pain) the one thing I could do was to make sure he got home safe as he might not have been thinking straight since he was grieving over your death.

Your home was filled with the anguish felt by your loved ones and whispers of your life and imminent death (because no matter how much preparation and how ready one thinks they are for the death of a loved one, it truly stings when they actually pass and you realize that you can never be ready for the blow). Your passing called attention to the fragility of life. It was another awakening that one could slip away in an instant. That the 3 minutes passed could be the last. That the next minute or hour or even tomorrow is not promised. That death could arrive this same morning which has every hour filled in advance. I may forget it on a regular basis but it slips into my mind at times, when I board a motorbike or while crossing a street or when someone passes away. I’m mindful of how quickly life can be taken away.

Your funeral services were heartbreaking but beautiful. The attendance spoke volumes about the impact you had on every one present. They all knew you in different ways and had their own special memories. Memories created that will last a lifetime. Several eulogies were given at your funeral. Beautifully written eulogies which gave us a wonderful image of a vibrant loving woman you were. A woman who fully lived her life. A lovely service it was.

I won’t say there is not a day that has passed without me thinking about you, that would be an overstatement. But there are times I find myself wondering what it would have been meeting you in-person. On those days, I see your picture. A picture of you that has stayed ingrained in my mind. That picture on which you’re smiling. A picture that portrays the happy woman you were. It feels like I’ve known you for ages. The people you never met (like me) know you through stories. Stories that your loved ones readily recount. So your legendary lives on. Whenever I think of you, it’s that picture that comes to my mind.

There were days I wished you were there, like when Y said he misses you. I thought about how unconditionally a grandma’s (read: your) love is and imagined how lucky he was to have you as his grandma. You’ve had a deep and lasting impact on his life. You’re such an integrated and ingrained part of his life. I can only hope that he’s reached an easier place now, one where he can smile as the memories of you arise in his mind. One where with each passing day he can carry your memory with a little more joy and a little less sorrow than the day before.

It’s been a year since your passing.
I am just a girl seated somewhere remembering you today. I’m just a girl who wished to have met you in person (had the circumstances allowed). I was not fortunate to know you before your passing, but I enjoyed the stories Y told me about you. And though you didn’t get to know me, know that we share something in common: we both love Y.

You’re deeply missed and always remembered.

Rest in peace.

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HE WILL BREAK YOUR HEART

When I started this blog, I asked a friend of mine to write a guest post.
“About what?”
“Anything. Anything that comes to your mind”
Today, she called me and sent me this.

I always thought that if my boyfriend cheated on me, I would dump him there and then, without any regret. Cheating is a deal-breaker. I imagined it would be “We’re over. Leave”. I thought I would stick to this if he cheated. Well, he did. And I didn’t.
It’s so easy to judge someone who decides to stand by their SO who’s cheated. I’ve always been such a great judge of people’s behavior.
“I’d never stay with someone who betrayed my trust” That’s what I thought. But the truth is, you never know how you’ll respond to finding out about an infidelity until you’re in that unenviable situation.

A few weeks ago, I learnt the unthinkable: my 2-years boyfriend confessed to cheating on me. And got the girl pregnant. He’s expecting a baby, in months to come. I was in extreme shock when he told me. My world was shattered. I trusted love not to leave me hanging. But that’s what happened. It was as if the world stopped turning while I was left to make sense of how the person I had such faith in, could hurt me like that. This is a twist everyone in a committed relationship dreads facing the most, and now it’s happening to me. I spent hours struggling to come up with a solution. That night I cried myself to sleep. I spent the following day in bed, crying…my eyes were red and swollen.
One of the reasons I grew to love him as much as I did and still do, was because I never would’ve expected him to do anything like that. To say that I was devastated is an understatement. The trust is gone. I can’t describe the hurt I feel.
I cried for days…and I still cry. I’m having sleep and appetite disruptions and I am losing weight. Every morning, I wake up thinking…and all the emotions I am suppressing begin to bubble up and I can’t help it but think “How could he do that to me?” My mind has a massive amount of conflicting painful feelings.

However, as worse as it feels, it has certainly helped me grow. I’ve realized how strong I am, stronger than I thought. When he dropped the bomb on me, things felt like they were at their absolute worst. But I am not dead yet. Through this painful process, I’m learning a lot about myself. I’m extremely confused by how understanding and compassionate I feel towards him.
I could punish him for the way he hurt me and refuse to let him back in. I could ignore the feeling in my gut that tells me we could fix it. I could listen to the other voice telling me that people who hurt me don’t deserve a second chance. Or I could listen to my gut feeling…as complicated as things are, the love I feel isn’t complicated at all. And that’s what is making it easier to give it another try. I know what I feel. My heart still beats for him. My feelings are still strong. And I know that whatever gain or lesson is meant to come from our story, I won’t have to live with a what-if.
My love for him has rendered me very weak. 7 years ago, I too was offered a second chance. I lied to some people, knowing that it broke their hearts. But instead of giving up on me, they tried even harder to help me. By not giving up on me, they taught me what unconditional love really is. And now I want to help my boyfriend. I love him, and I don’t want to throw it all away without giving it another try. I’m a firm believer of second chances. I put myself in his shoes, and realized that I would want a second chance too, a chance to prove that I could change. That’s what everyone deserves.
These weeks are difficult. Especially because I have to pretend to be fine. I have to smile at everyone at work. I haven’t told anyone about this, not even the closest friend I have, my mom. As much as I want to be heard and comforted, I don’t think I am ready yet to handle the advice coming from every one, blasting in my ears. For now, I just write down everything in my diary. So, this is also a way of venting out.
There’s always been an emotional block between us. Even before the incident, sometimes I felt like shaking him and saying “Open up! We’ve been together for 2 years and we’re going nowhere”. I want us to have a healthy open discussion to let bygones be bygones, figure out why the cheating happened, what led to it in the first place, how we both may have contributed to it, and about how we can avoid our relationship failings in the future. But I can’t do all the work in figuring out how to get our relationship back on track. He has to step up and work to make our relationship better.

Truth is, I am terrified we might never be able to get back what we had. Because, I don’t trust him anymore, and trust is such a large part of love. And it’s of course impossible to predict the future and know if settling down for a second time is 100% the right move. I’m risking it and I am scared.
If he does screw up again, I am confident I’ll be able to walk away from this with dignity, knowing that I gave it everything I could. Relationships take real effort, and I’m ready to get to work.

Weird together

I have a friend, and I hope she won’t hate me for using her as an example here. I met her about two years ago. She’s gorgeous. She’s about half my size (so, miniscule) with such a sweet pretty face and a great personality. She studies hard. We talked a few times, and then I start learning things about her.

So here is her story:

She’s been in a relationship for over 5 years, and still counting.

“I love him with all my soul, I love him in the most sincere way” she professes her love for him.

He’s taught her so many things along the way. And the most important being ‘how to love’. “I’ve learned how to love him, and I’m still learning” she adds.

Their relationship is wonderful. And if asked to rate it on a scale of 1 to 10, she says it’s definitely an 8 or 9. She is happy with him. He’s the best thing that has ever happened to her. And she doesn’t doubt her love for him. And just like every other relationship, they have had their ups and downs…

Sometimes, she sees things that make her doubt. And she has lots of unanswered questions ─ which, by the way, might never be answered. I won’t try to paint the guy bad ─ I’m here talking about my friend’s part of the story.

She is a crazy girl. She loves in a maddening way. And she can act very weird sometimes. There are things she has always wanted to ask him ─ things that disturb her, things that bring out her demons. And by asking don’t think it meant nagging. They say that no matter how sure you are of someone’s love, it is always nice to be reminded of it. She just wants to be reassured that there was nothing to worry about. She wants to be comforted. He has had such questions as well, and she always made it clear that he’s the one she chose.

One or two times, she tried to ask him…not only did she not get an answer, but she felt much worse than before. He went into self-defense mode and all he told her was to deal with it cause there was absolutely NOTHING she could change/do about it. She was so devastated. She felt a wreck after that. She has cried herself to sleep several times.

On other attempts she made to ask him about anything, his reaction was nearly posing like a ninja. And if she tried to talk to him about the way she felt, she always ended up feeling worse than before because of his reaction. Whenever she is hurting, she gives herself the necessary space and time to hurt, but can’t be open about it. After all that she vowed never to pose any questions, or tell him when he’d hurt her feelings. She started to bottle up her feelings, emotions, everything. She is afraid to speak up.

He says she ‘interrogates’ like a detective. She still hasn’t figured out how to express her feelings, she just bottles them up inside. Some re-surface from time to time and then she has a gloomy day. When she lets those thoughts get to her…and sometimes she does…she wants to cry and give up. She allows the buttons she already has from some past experience to be pushed. Sometimes when she is having a gloomy day, he notices it (he can read her like an open book) and asks what’s bothering her. She always say it’s nothing (and try to put on a smile) cause she can’t express herself without getting hurt even worse. Few times she can’t help it but cry…and when he asks what’s wrong she feels an urge to tell him but then she can’t. And then she is forced to lie to him about something sad, so that he leaves her alone.

She can’t come clean with him. She has been like this almost the entire relationship. And the result…she a walking bomb! The bottled up emotions/feelings are becoming such a burden. She might explode one time. The only way to avoid the possibility of exploding is talking to someone. She would prefer talking to him, as he’s the one behind all that. Hélas, that is never happening.

Inspite of the hurt feelings, she still loves him…more with each passing day.

I was so surprised that so much trouble and worry could fit into such a pretty, small, and joyful person. But truly, we are all the same. Fighting our inner demons (and outer ones too) trying to make it through each day as happily as we can. She confides in me. But I think after reading this, she will never again.

So,

To the most crazy couple I know,

Sometimes it may seem like a man and a woman are on totally different pages in all aspects, yet always seem to meet in the middle, find love, and a future with one another.

bear-black-couple-crazy-Favim.com-619064

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something you’ll never have…

You are not the first, you know this.

You are not the first your beloved has been in love with.

Your hand is not the first to have been held.

You are not the first to taste their good food.

You are not the first to teach them how to love.

You are not the first they have wrote a love letter.

You are not the one they have had the most profound relationship with.

There is so much that you will not know about the person you love; there is so much that you will never experience with them.

You are not the first to hang out with their friends.

You are not the first they have went on trips with or took long walks with.

You are not the first they have did dumb stuff with.

They have been there, they have done that.

You were not there that fateful night when they started the project and gained everything.

You were not there when they were going through a rough time. You were not there to console or to celebrate with.

This time was before you.

You know that the person you love has loved someone before you, perhaps just as wildly as they love you (or even more). They loved before you, in the deepest, most heartbreaking of ways. Without you, before you.

They have shared their lives with others. They have spent their days with another.

They have known another and still wanted them.

They have listened to the crappy parts and shared their little secrets with another.

You are not the first their parents have met.

You are not the first they have been more comfortable with.

Before you, there was someone ― baby, darling, sweetheart ― someone who occupied the space you now do.

When the person you love reminisces of moments you did not share, you will feel as though they have lived a whole entire life without you. And this is true ― they lived a life without you.

You are not the first they have cried over.

You will not be the one they loved in the most maddening way.

You will never have any of these things.

Inspired by true events

THINGS I WILL TEACH MY CHILDREN

 

  1. Forgiveness is giving up all hope of a better past.
  2. The most difficult challenges are often the most rewarding and satisfying.
  3. Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you wanted.
  4. To do great things, you have to go unrecognized, be under-appreciated and push to unreasonable lengths.
  5. You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you might find/get what you need.
  6. Loving someone and having them love you back is the most precious phenomenon in the world.
  7. A modest dose of self-love is entirely healthy (who would want to live in a world where everyone hated themselves?)
  8. Worrying about the future is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum.
  9. The real troubles in life are always things that never crossed our worried minds.
  10. Don’t be afraid of a broken heart. You’ll love again.
  11. There’s just one life for each of us: our own.
  12. There’s no such thing as perfect. Give people second chances.
  13. When one door closes, another opens.
  14. Each failure teaches us important lessons in life.
  15. Life is good when we accept failures and success.
  16. Look at life positively and you’ll find every hurdle a stepping stone to success.
  17. Good friends love you at ALL times. Period.
  18. Prince charming is a myth.
  19. Yesterday is history, Tomorrow is a mystery.
  20. Life ends up being really short, no matter how long you live.
  21. Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you.
  22. The word sorry loses its magic when you use it too often, especially for the same mistake.
  23. Difficult times help us to understand better how infinitely rich and beautiful life is, that so many things one goes worrying about are of no importance whatsoever.
  24. There will always be mean, inconsiderate people.
  25. Keep smiling.
  26. Remain true to yourself because there are even a few people who will always be true to you.
  27. Saying sorry when mistaken illustrates strength not weakness. Saying “I’m sorry” does not come easy for most people. If you have made a mistake, confess it and come clean. Seek forgiveness and be courageous to accept punishment.
  28. Don’t promise if you are not sure you’ll do, just say you’ll do your best.
  29. “Thank you” can be an incredibly powerful pair of words, especially if the person you’re thanking really needs to hear them, or isn’t expecting them.
  30. Life takes place only in this present moment. Living in the present moment has the power to open the door to joyful living.
  31. Never take anything for granted, be grateful for everything that you have.
  32. Love is a refuge for the lonely and depressed. With it almost nothing can go wrong.
  33. If you love someone, tell them (before it’s too late).
  34. Music, music, music…makes everything better.
  35. Enjoy the little thing in life, for someday you will realize they were the big things.
  36. (Sometimes) A good cry is great therapy.
  37. True wealth is the ability to fully experience life.
  38. You can’t control what others think of you. So let go.
  39. Jesus loves you.
  40. Make efforts everyday to be your best possible self for the good of all.
  41. The good life is one inspired by love.
  42. Home is not where we live, but who we love.
  43. Seek to love more than be loved and you will be loved much more than if you seek it directly.
  44. Respect is the root of all good things. Respect for authority shows obedience, respect for others covers kindness and respect for oneself shows self-control and self-worth.
  45. Take advantage of every opportunity you get, you never know how much you can learn.
  46. Be sure people always come before things.
  47. Never do in private what you would not want the public to find out about.
  48. You will never marry someone you don’t dated, so never date someone you wouldn’t marry.
  49. If you can’t sing, sing anyway. if you can’t dance, dance anyway.
  50. Always give a hand to the needy, because they suffer.
  51. There’s more joy in giving than in receiving.
  52. No matter how sure you are of someone’s love, it’s always nice to be reminded of it.
  53. Be kind, for everyone we meet is fighting a struggle we know nothing about.
  54. Above all, fear God.