We all go to college. Not all of us get out of college. For some its because death they pass on. I went to college too The first time I heard of a student die, I cried a lot. I cried for the parent who expected to receive the son a graduate but receives a coffin instead. I cried for the mother whose hopes had died with the death of this child. I remember how the student died. He was swimming, just a few metres from where most of us were as we took a refreshing swim in Lamu having had a tiring day of touring the Island. He was swimming then he was gone, swallowed up by the Indian ocean.
Every parent sends their child to school for many reasons. For a country that is struggling in building its economy, its mostly about a better living for this child. My father always encouraged us to work hard in school so that we could have a better life. He took us to school. He struggled to keep us there. He whipped us when we disappointed him with poor grades or with behaviours that would threaten our admission. For all that struggle I am. I thank God for that.
For the parents who sent their children to Garissa University College, their dreams were varied. Each parent has a dream with each child. All those dreams have been cut short. Stories have been told of how it happened. Gruesome pictures have been circulated. Frustrations of identifying one’s loved ones have been narrated. We have all expressed our anger,, which is justified. We have prayed and lit candles. For consolation, for repose of the souls.Amidst all this, there are stories that will never be heard. Stories of parents who will weep the loss of their children for the rest of their lives;parents who have lost their sole hope in family breadwinners, of parents who will walk with their children as they try to relieve the trauma and hope to God that someday they will be strong enough to forget the sound of a gunshot, the smell of fresh and drying blood, the sound of a dying friend, the sight of a lifeless body, the screams that will be etched in their heads. No one will hear of how life will become of all the families of the victims as they live each day mourning their beloved,not because they have not mourned enough today but because every day will be a journey of saying goodbye all over again. The readers will never know of the finality of burying a child. We have hopes and reams and the things we wish to do, and the promises these children represent, but it is all gone. We will never hear of the journey the wounded will make in struggling to forgive those who murdered their kin, their struggle to let go, and the questions they ask themselves that will never be answered; the what if they were still alive…
They are not dead those who still live in the hearts of the living. And true to that, those who are gone will forever live in our hearts. I lost a brother when I was eight years old, or there abouts. I once asked my mother of it has gotten any easier, and she said no. The child remains alive in her heart, she will forever remember those last moments when he breathed his last (sob sob)… These parents mourn their kin, their beloved. They will mourn them for the rest of their lives.
I always say that when you loose your beloved, you should remember the moments you sent with them, the memories you made, and that is what should remain in the heart to help us smile through the tears. The whole world is mourning these children.While we may not have lived with these children and may not have memories to help us smile, while we may not have the right words to even take away one drop of tear from the faces of these parents, guardians, brothers sisters, hope for the country at large, while we can not even begin to fathom the pain they are feeling, or the frustration they get to go through with every dawn of a new day, or the hopelessness they feel; while we may not even know what to do or say; we may surrender it all to our loving father in heaven. When all is hopeless, He is our hope. I wish all those affected Jesus. May He be with you, be your strength, be your consolation, be the answer to all those answered questions … Like Henri Nouwen said, I will be “The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing… not healing, not curing…”. I cannot do all this in person, but I go down on my knees and pray with you.