I am overwhelmed by the compassionate outpouring of love and support our Kirabo Seeds family has received in our time of sorrow. Thank you for reaching us with your sweet love for our ministry and especially for our family now as they grieve the loss of a brother and son. Your words are eagerly welcomed and feel like soothing salve on a burn.
Being new to acute loss I am sensing new emotions that don’t have single word descriptions. How is it possible at the exact same moment to feel devastated and elated all twisted up as one explosive emotion that throbs in my chest? I occasionally seek for an off switch to my heart. Must make it stop because it is more than I can take at once. When I find the switch my mind goes into action and I can be the thinker for everyone and give them a chance to let their hearts go full force. In a way we all take turns in this for one another. An open faucet of these emotions is honestly unbearable and with many people at once wide open, well, that’s what it must have been like at the burial. I honestly doubt I could take it.
I’m one to keep my routine. Take my “furr therapy” as I fondly call my affection to working with animals. Canine: walk my dog with a pocket full of tissue and cry to the tree tops. Equine: groom, ride, sniff, hug, and enjoy being carried. Feline: cradle, stroke, and share my lap and pillow. Of course, no part of my routine is more grounding and effective than a quiet time with the scriptures. I can sink into the pages of my bible like falling into the arms of the lover of my soul and there I am like a small child in a strong daddy’s lap safe, secure and content. With that I can face anything. A N Y T H I N G. Even the death of a child.
Enough about me. I would like to share the intimate details of Boniface’s last moments with us here on earth. Tears will roll, so my computer might malfunction with the river seeping into the keys, but it won’t stop me from sharing how precious this boy was as he went to meet Jesus.
He was in great pain. He called out for Phiona, Robert and Christopher to hold him and keep his hand in theirs. When the pain was great he would show them where it hurt and ask them to put their hand there. With their touch the pain would cease and he would sleep until he woke up screaming with another great pain. This cycle would continue for a while. Boniface called out for each of the children in our home. His jjajjas were by his side and other neighbors witnessed his great love for our Kirabo Seeds family. We are not just an organization, we are family and our children know they are greatly loved in our home. This can only be possible because God loved us first and gave us the ability to pour love into these children. I’m so thankful to see how precious this was to our sweet Boniface in his last hours.
At one point he looked at Phiona and said, “I am dying.” I’m sure her eyes grew wide and her voice became urgent as she said, “no child, you are going to live.” He said, “no I am dying.” Then he began to describe things he could see that no one else could see. I wish I had that list. I so wish I knew what it looked like to walk towards Jesus. He said to his jjajjas’ , “I am sorry if I ever offended you in any way.” Naturally they assured him that was impossible, but his sweet respectful spirit towards the elders in his life was evident in his last moments. Then this sweet boy said “I want to eat cake and soda now.” (his final request brings me an outpouring of happy tears and raucous laughter.)
I exhaled and thought about that. People who loved him surrounded him and he didn’t experience any fear. And then he was not here, but somewhere better. We immediately experience it as “he’s gone”, the devastating part, but quickly remember, “he’s with Jesus”, the elating part. Hence the heart bursting wide open as we face this solid, absolute truth. Death is final, as far as we are able to see. But what does he see now? Oh the glories of heaven. I am so happy for him. Giddy and excited like he’s getting that thing he always wanted and never thought he would have. A really big present that lasts for eternity.
So I laugh and I cry, sink into scripture, dry my tears in furr and remember one important thing: Boniface mattered. When he lost his parents and his jjajjas were too sick to care for him God sent us to him and we made sure he knew he was a precious child with great value. H E K N E W.
Immediately after his passing preparations for burial sprang into action. I sent the funds. An ambulance took his little body to his grandmother’s house. They waited there for the postmortem technician to come and wrap the body. Robert searched in vain for a coffin the right size. When someone dies in the village everyone stops working, gathers to give condolences and helps with the cooking. Small gifts are given; small pieces of coins are tied into cloth and tied around the widow’s waist. They shopped for two hours for food that would be prepared and shared through the night. Everyone comes and spends the night with the body. (more about that tomorrow)
In the morning a coffin was found (a hand made plain wooden box in the traditional shape of an elongated trapezoid) and everyone journeyed a long way to the burial grounds of his ancestors. And within twenty-four hours of his passing his body was in the ground and the mourners returned home. As I write I think, I hope they are all catching up on their rest. I’m planning on staying up late (with kitties in my lap) so I can call in their morning and see how they are holding up.
I’m going to share tomorrow about how our children are all handling this loss. I thank you for praying for them, and I assure you your prayers have been answered. Their faith is strengthened and they are sad yet fearless. But I’ll save that story for tomorrow.