Reub's journey

21 September 2013

She's fine



Parents see their child enter the world as innocent and pure as new-fallen snow. We worry about lots of things both big and little that could conceivably go wrong.


But I've always found "worry" to be an unproductive thing. It can grab hold of a person with a vivid imagination in a really bad way, so long ago I shook loose from guessing what fortune might befall my kids. Still...this morning...



"I'm fine!" was the subject line. The email was from J, in Nairobi.

Just out of bed, a faint feeling of anxiety had driven me to check my email before brushing my teeth.




Of all the things I ever worried about...the night in an ER when she was 7 weeks old, the time she did a handspring as a teenager and landed on her head, the dangerous bush taxi rides in Niger as a Peace Corps volunteer... I never thought much about her being a possible victim of a terrorist attack. No, that one didn't count for much, even after she was evacuated from her Nigerien village in 2009.





The shopping mall that is under attack today, as I write this, is  a stone's throw from her apartment in Nairobi. The cafe that lays strewn with bodies was where she had lunch 2 weeks ago. The groceries in her kitchen were purchased at this market 48 hours ago. There are helicopters over her head right now. I know this because we've been able to talk via cell phone.

And so it is true that terrible things can happen to very good people. I watch the news in real-time as it reports at least two, eleventwenty, twenty two, twenty five, thirty, thirty one, thirty nine, fifty nine, sixty eight people are dead, and I imagine whose babies they once were. I am flooded with relief for all of the people who are not dead, and know that it's just dumb luck that my daughter is one of them.


Update: J will be leaving Nairobi on October 1.

32 comments:

  1. oh, kerry. that is far too close. i read that news and thought, how very sad. but to know someone so close to the tragedy...

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    1. Yes, much too close for comfort, and a reminder that wherever you are, there are no guaranties.

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  2. Such a sorrowful thing. I admire your daughter and am pleased to hear that she was not one of the unlucky victims. Giving you a virtual hug, as you must be very shaken.

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    1. All hugs gratefully accepted, thanks.

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  3. Oh my goodness...I'm so glad your daughter is okay and I'm having...sympathy butterflies for you because I know you want to grab her and hold her tight. You're both very brave.
    I'm sad for those poor families, I hate this...

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    1. I don't feel too brave. It's a weird feeling, like when there is an impending weather disaster & there's tension waiting for it to end.

      Thank you for the sympathy butterflies: that's an accurate description of what I'm feeling too:)

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  4. Oh, Kerry. Passing this on. XO

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    1. Heart you too Dan. Hug those little girls tight.

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  5. Keeping you and your daughter tucked in my prayer sleeve - I can only imagine how worried and frightened you both must be. Please keep us posted. Lots of us will be worrying with you.

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    1. Thank you Pauline. She remains safely inside. No stepping out of the building until it quiets down. Don't know yet if she will be leaving Kenya earlier than anticipated.

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  6. I think of having kids (which I haven't done) as like having dogs (which I've done a lot of) in that there are upsides and there are downsides, and at my age, I'm just as happy to not have either because I don't have the energy for the downsides.

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    1. Nice analogy, Snow. Luckily as kids age they become more independent and launch their own lives. Not so with dogs.

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  7. It's just dumb luck that any of us are alive on any given day. but I understand the fear and anxiety.

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    1. Yeah, true. But the chances of somebody coming in and blowing up Safeway while I'm buying a bag of flour? I've never worried about that.

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    2. considering that there is a mass shooting (defined as four or more victims I think) nearly every day in this country, it's something to think about.

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    3. Every chance I get I fight for better gun control. It's all I can do, and then the rest of the time try to not live in fear.

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  8. I read this with my hair standing on end. I saw that news this morning and it was just another terrible news story, but for you it was everything. I see it differently now. Kerry, I am so glad she's OK.

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    1. Thank you Stephanie. I took her dog (who is with us while she's in Kenya) and went on a long run in the rain to help wash away the horror just a bit.

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  9. Hey Sweetie. I've been out of touch so knew nothing about this latest. So glad to hear J is OK, and this makes me think of the worrying our parents did when we were in Peace Corps! So far from home, so far from hugs and sight. Breathe deeply and know you are loved and are being thought of by many people.

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    1. My parents never knew the half of it.

      Thank you Merry.

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  10. It does not ease your concern to point out that we could be hit by a car or catch a serious disease...because you are far away from her and cannot see her and watch her. She is safe and sound, but you will worry.

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    1. Thank you for your comforting words.

      The dangers I face are really low compared to what people in other parts of the world are up against. There just aren't the same risks. I'm really lucky.

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  11. Kerry, I've just read this because I saw the first few words of your latest post on my dashboard and scrolled back to see what I've missed. I'm faint with a lack of what to say that could possibly be meaningful, thinking of your words on my post about the sub. I literally feel too tiny and insignificant to be able to say anything that could speak to what you must have been going through the last few days. All I can say is that I've read it and that if I were anywhere near you, I'd just grasp your hand.

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    1. Ah Suze, we're both moms and are feeling some similar things these days. Even if the scale is different, the pain we wish to absorb is real. I am so touched by your words. From across this strange technology of the internet, I grasp your hand in return.

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  12. Oh my goodness, I can't imagine the fear that crept into your very being. How blessed you are to be able to talk to your daughter via phone. Hope and pray that she will remain safe.

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    1. We just got off the phone again. Cell phones are magic! It's Monday and there are still explosions and gunfire, helicopters and smoke visible outside her window. She is, however, feeling safe on the street.

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  13. Thank God she is safe.I also understand the nightmarish time you are going through right now. Tough times for both of you. Let us hope the crisis subsides soon !

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    1. Thank you RR. We just learned that she was able to get a ticket OUT on October 1. (And thank you Delta, for waiving the $250 change fee.)

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  14. I can't imagine the worry you can't help but feel knowing what's going on so very close to your baby. My neighbour, her daughter and newborn grandson just left for Nairobi to introduce the baby to his late father's family. They've had enough tragedy recently. I hope they're all okay. I'm glad your girl is fine. Hugs to you.

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    1. Thank you Hilary. May your neighbor, daughter, and grandson have a safe and joyful visit. Aside from the area around Westgate, the city is carrying on quite normally, so hopefully their trip will be peaceful. And without further tragedy.

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  15. Wow. This was a whole new perspective on that event. Thank you.

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  16. Thanks dbs. I am still shocked by the closeness of this encounter.

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