Memories We Will Keep

It always happens.

The morning after.

You wake after a night of crying, a day of loss, and you have one moment…one beautiful, solitary moment when everything is right in the world. Because THAT is the moment before the moment when reality crashes into you like a semi-truck in the wrong lane speeding at you in a nightmare.

And you are suddenly awake and without air.

It is close to impossible to breathe because you remember. And of all things you know in the world at that moment – you don’t want to remember.

My friend George died on Tuesday 26th January.

I started to write about him the next morning, but found myself at such a loss.

It only reminds me of the loss of my loved ones, most vividly my brother Khalid Bwanaheri who at only 23years died on 15th April, 2014 the morning that I had planned to visit him in the hospital. At 25 years of age, I don’t know whether it only happens to me that a death of an age-mate strikes my heart like the first sun ray direct to your eyes when you have been in the dark. My heart physically hurts.

When I found out, I was shocked, in fact, unable to process the news about his passing. My friends on the other side of the WhatsApp platform (Immediate Past Presidents of the different Rotaract clubs) I could tell were frozen, asking when? What happened? Was he sick?

George suffered from a disease I can hardly recall, given that I was already so shocked to ask for the details. But one thing I know for sure, it took less than a month to steal him away from everyone who loved him.

For 2 weeks, I’ve been struggling to find the right words to describe my friend, to tell you about him, to explain why this loss is so tragic. And, I can’t seem to find them. Any death of someone so young is a tremendous loss, I know.

George was special. Dare I say extraordinary….

How do I describe the most selfless person I know? How do I explain the multitude of ways he made people feel better, or how he never missed an opportunity to engage someone in a meaningful conversation? How do I begin to recount the dozens of people he helped, those he inspired, and the lives he touched? He was a young man who donated his time and talents to the service of the community through Rotaract, for free, because he felt called to do so.

“Ohh….. It’s been quiet long since we last met, how have you been?” I can’t be the only person who heard George say those words over and over again.

To call him a ‘giver’ doesn’t do him justice. Giving was simply part of his nature, a portion of his soul.

George was a son, a brother, a friend, a Rotaractor, a man of faith, a defender of those in need, a brilliant, talented leader and someone I can honestly say inspired his circles.

We will miss you dearly.

Rest in peace George Wagaba.


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