Friday, December 04, 2009
Today marks two years since the death of our dear friend and colleague, Dr. Jonah Kule, from Ebola. Last year we had a formal church memorial service. This year we simply spent the afternoon with his family, his widow Melen, 5 girls, and toddler boy Jonah, plus Pat, a family day of lunch and hanging out. We've been through a lot together. And in spite of the soberness of the memories of loss, today was relaxing. Little Jonah is a babbling, active, laughing little boy, chasing balls and delighting his bevy of sisters. The older three girls are reserved, polite, finishing another year of school on scholarships provided through the Kule Family Care Fund. The two younger girls are playful and uninhibited. Julia as usual poured herself into drawing everyone into games, and sent them home with an armful of books to borrow and read. Melen, Pat, Scott and I reminisced and just sat with each other, giving Melen a chance to debrief. She has moved through the last two years with courage and grace and success-against-many-odds. The workers-compensation funds finally paid out by the government have led to hints of death threats against her, greedy people imagining taking over care of her children and assets, which she finds more distressing than the actual work of surviving or the weight of grief. I told her today that Jonah would be proud of her. Perhaps my favorite moment, I mentioned that a few days ago I was on the road an met a motorcyclist wearing a yellow helmet and for a second expected it to be Jonah, and she nodded and confessed that whenever she sees anyone approaching with a hint of yellow she thinks it could be him. Jonah laid down his life in a way that few people ever will. Today we honor his memory.