Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Today I'm speaking at D's fifth grade class about my experiences in Rwanda.  They are studying central Africa.  I actually did this for E's class when she was in 5th grade and repeated it for A and M a few years ago.  Talking about genocide in an age appropriate way is difficult.  It's something beyond their realm of understanding.  In order to help with this, my friend Serge wrote a letter that I'll read, telling his story and what happened to his family.

Since I've done it before, I think I'll be able to handle it okay.  The only tough part is going to be talking about Serge's mom, Florence.  She died two days ago.  Serge is on his way to Kigali with his little sister as I type this.  I don't think I can tell his story without adding this footnote.

I hope I don't cry.

Today, I also get to write the eulogy for my high school soccer coach.  He died week before last in Texas.  His ex-wife asked me yesterday to speak at the service.  I really couldn't say no.

Here's the catch.  The memorial service is at the same church where we had Jeanne and Mike's funeral.  I've been back to the church for E's confirmation and graduation.  Tomorrow I'll have to give a eulogy standing the exact same pulpit that I gave the eulogy for my sister.  I'm not worried about writing out my thoughts and reading them.  I'm worried I'm going to freeze and get thrown back to one of the worst days of my life.

I feel heavy with grief today.

I hope I have the strength to carry on.


  1. I am so sorry. That's a lot to weigh on you. If it means anything, I'm sure your well-chosen words will be important for those they reach, even as they are hard for you to say.

  2. You're doing a wonderful thing for your children and the world that they will live in by teaching them and their classmates lessons that should never be forgotten. I'm sure it comes at some real personal cost to revisit the tragedy of the Rwandan genocide repeatedly, though. Be gentle with yourself.

    As for your coach, I'm sorry for your loss, and for the stress that you're going through in anticipation of the event itself. I hope that it isn't as awful as you fear.

  3. I'm so sorry I missed this as I would have been saying prayers of strength for you. I hope all went well.

  4. I'm sorry to just be seeing this. I'm sorry about your coach. About your friend's mother. I hope you are being gentle with yourself. I also hope that if you did cry while doing the school presentation, you realize that something things are worth crying about. Genocide is one of them. Even if you're talking about it in front of children. Sending prayers for you right now.