How else can one feel about things when a four year old is taken from us for no reason while 65 families have more wealth than billions of people combined?
It was a typical Sunday morning for Joy and me. We started out at Appleseed then went over to the football pitch to watch our under 15 team play. The other team did not show up so we decided to run over to Lucy, Jenni and Colette’s house to bring them some clothes and shoes that had been in the car for a while. When I approached the house I heard it. It was clear, utterly familiar and unmistakable. I had heard these sounds before, but I was still confused. I think we are always confused when we are facing something so horrible that our brain doesn’t let us see clearly no matter how obvious. It was the wailing. It was the chorus of women mourning an unimaginable loss.
Joy and I first witnessed this when we escorted Moses, an AISL employee, home to inform his mother that her husband had just been killed in a terrifying bike accident in front of the American school. The outpouring of grief, loss and utter despair is something that stays with you … forever. So when I heard it yesterday I should not have been confused, but I was.
What was going on? And then it hit me … like a sledgehammer. Someone was gone … and it was a member of Lucy, Jenni, Colette, Patrick, and Shadreck’s family! Please, not grandma. We just saw her. She was fine. Who will take care of the girls?
No, it wasn’t grandma. Whew! But who, what was going on?
And then another sledgehammer and more confusion when the Aunt came out from the “wailing room” and came up to me and said, “Ken, we have lost Colette.” What? Of course I did not hear that correctly. Colette is the youngest in the family. She’s only 4. Colette was at Appleseed in her preschool class on Friday. Colette was playing with her older brother Patrick on Saturday. This is Sunday morning. Surely, I must have lost something in translation. Please, I must have heard wrong … but I didn’t. Colette was gone. COLETTE! The reality hit and I staggered, fell to my knees and began to sob. Apparently, she woke up during the night with a high fever and Grandma took her to the clinic but by morning she was gone.
I know this is not the end of days. And I know that time, as it always does, will soften this blow. I don’t care about the concentration of wealth and the inordinate suffering in the world. I don’t give a shit. I just want to hug Colette again. I just want to watch her smile and laugh when she is playing with her friends at Appleseed. I just want to watch her grow up. I want, I want, I want … I feel so selfish.
Ken and Joy Hoffman. See the'Who We Are' page.