When I lived in Northern Uganda was the first time I realized that for all the shocking horrors in the world – the deaths out of nowhere, the violence that you can’t conceive, the pain that you can’t explain – there is just as shocking, more shocking, goodness. People who see their families murdered and then continue to care about their neighbors, who keep their capacity to love. That beautiful courage is just as unexplainable as the violence – more so, because it comes from a place of strength, not of weakness. In Congo I met people who lost everything in a natural disaster and then rebuilt, who keep the faith and the conviction that everything would turn out alright.
As for the funerals I will be missing – as I wrote to my aunt, I've always found the idea of funerals a little strange. Dead is dead, nothing less but nothing more. Funerals are about saying goodbye, but we never truly say goodbye to loved ones. They are always with us. I continually think about dead friends and relatives, and I don't think about them as gone. I think about them as ever existing influences on my life -- which they are. They helped to raise me and to foster my development as a person. Same with my uncle -- he is quite literally still with my family, as he helped to shape us. We would not be who we are without him. Therefore, while we will always miss him, he can never be gone.