Life is short

In the past month I have been so reminded of this fact.

My dear sister’s husband came down with a horrid illness that led to hospitalization, then acute rehab, and now home.  He has a long road of recovery & we are all praying  that he recovers all of his language and brain function.  Life changes in a second…..even when you live in a place like the US that seems relatively safe and routine with state of the art medicine, and technology and all of the things we surround ourselves with.

A friend returned from Kenya this last week.  She is a regular supporter of Karibu Centre and conducts regular trainings with the staff there.  A wonderful woman.  She brought with her the news that the husband of our househelp Elizabeth, had died.  I’m guessing he’s a few years older than I.  She lived right next door to our home at Karibu Centre, in the slum.  I met Elizabeth early on during our time in Kenya, she was one of 5 core women from the slum that volunteered to help Ian and I cook food for the feeding program that started Karibu Centre.  Elizabeth had spunk.  A tough woman who was interested in these wazungu.  A woman willing to pound stone all day long into ballast (gravel) just to earn a $1.50….because idle hands don’t feed  a family.  A few months before we left Kenya, and before Ameena arrived, Elizabeth came to work in our home.  It was an adjustment for both of us.  For her to be privy to American customs and ways of interacting.  For me to have this rough and slightly awkward woman in my business.    I am trying to imagine the circumstances that might have led to his death.  Thinking of Kenya, it could have been a sudden case of cholera, a misunderstanding that led to being beat to death, a matatu/truck accident, or trouble at work (he was a security guard).

And then dear Ameena.  My sweet baby is approaching a year old this next week and I can hardly believe it has come and gone so fast.  She truly is a unique baby.  Happy in spirit almost all of the time, quick to smile and laugh.   Easy going and pleasant.   She is the product of  such longing and hope, and a pregnancy experienced in a different culture and place.  Truly she had to end up a special baby!  I squeeze her, take in a breath of her smell as I rub my nose on her cheek and close my eyes capturing it all in a memory.

With Ian’s temporary job ending after May, it is easy to get wrapped up in worry and anticipation of what might be next.  But, in remembering how life is short, and unexpected, and never what you think…..I’ll choose instead to be grateful and thankful for the moments of today.

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