One of my biggest fears about moving to South Africa was receiving news that there was a death in the family.

How would I respond? What would I do? How would I feel?

Should I just drop everything that I am doing and book a plane ticket with money I don’t have to be there to memorialize my loved one?

Would it be enough to just put a few deep sentences as my status and close it with #RIP or change my profile picture on Facebook to a picture of my loved one?

What is the protocol to mourn a family member when you are thousands and thousands of miles away?

I don’t know.

Should I bring it up in every conversation or desperately wait for someone to mention the fact that my family member has died? I don’t want to burden someone else with my burden…

I want others to bring up the fact that my family is dying…my loved one is gone. I want someone to empathize with me and ask me how I am doing because this is my family, these are my people. These are people.

I need people to see this just doesn’t affect me but them too. Yes, death is unpredictable but the fear and ignorance that pulled the trigger is preventable.

I feel helpless. I am one senseless murder away from running through the streets screaming and pulling out my hair! I am afraid to turn on the news or get online because I am not sure what I will see. I can’t take this anymore! Why are they killing my family?!

This is not just my family’s problem. This is a world problem and a spiritual battle.

Sometimes I feel like there is nothing I can do or say that will be enough to express my anger and pain. To express my frustration. Years from now when I am back home, will there be judgmental whispers like, “She didn’t make it to the funeral. She wasn’t here.”

I am afraid that it will hang over my head that I didn’t and couldn’t do more. To be more present. To mourn and heal with my family over our great loss. If I had any regrets about moving to South Africa it would be this, but I know that this was a risk I had to risk in order to answer the call that was on my life.

So to my family: I mourn with you. I pray with you and for you. I pray for the lives that were slain. I pray for the lives of those who stole those lives.

To honor the memory of all those who were taken I promise to be great! To shine! To slay!

I promise to build others up and teach children of their greatness. I promise to be proud of my family. I promise to let my hair grow thick and wild. I promise to sing and dance the song of reformation. I promise to love like Jesus loves!

A love that drives out hate. A love that redeems and reconciles. A love that turns the other cheek and embraces enemies. A love that sees past a uniform and into the soul. A love that reminds me that Jesus came to die for me and you. A love that unites and not divides. Help me Holy Spirit to keep this love unbroken!

But, don’t confuse my mourning for weakness. I don’t feel no ways tired…


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