Just in.... please remember Bernie and Celia in your prayers.
"Dear Friends and Family
We received the very sad and shocking news that Josephine, our senior teacher at the school, died last night. I only just found out yesterday afternoon that she was very ill and I phoned her straightaway. She was in the local district hospital waiting for the results of an X-ray they'd done on her chest. She was breathing in short breaths and sounded terrible. She told me that last week she had suddenly felt a sharp pain in her chest and then was unable to stand or walk. At the hospital they told her that her heart seemed to be getting bigger but they didn't really have a clue. I urged her to go to the mission hospital at Kijabe (about 40 minutes away from us) as it's a much better hospital. I was very worried about her and had a sense of foreboding. I rang her again in the evening when I knew that our cook, Joram, was going round to see her.
She was back at home. It turned out that they couldn't find anyone in the hospital to read the X-ray results and wanted to keep her in hospital until such a person turned up. She told them that she wanted to leave and try to go to Kijabe Hospital. She sounded better on the phone and told me she was planning to go to Kijabe Hospital the next day. I then received a call at 1.15 am telling me that she had died. Her husband also called me at 6 am to give me the news.
To be honest, I feel completely devastated. Josephine was more than a teacher in the school, she was a dear friend. I used to have lots of chats with her and trusted her and valued her wisdom. Somehow, after you'd spent a little time with Josephine you felt that the world was a better place. She had a strong faith which amazed and challenged me frequently. The children at the school also loved her: she was fun, caring and so concerned about each child's progress. I will miss her terribly. I know that all of her colleagues at work feel the same; we don't know quite what we're going to do without her. I wish that I had known about this sooner, I wish that I had done more, I wish, I wish. I feel full of self recriminations. We managed to rescue her at the beginning of the year during the clashes, so why couldn't we have done something to stop this happening?
If this is the way that we feel, then how much worse must her poor family feel? She leaves behind her husband, Philip; little Marianne, 3, who was coming to our school; Winnie, 8, who is Abbie's best friend; and Sharon, 14, her eldest daughter. Josephine and her family became intertwined with our lives especially from the beginning of this year when she came to take refuge here after the violence. Her family has suffered so much this year, they lost everything they owned and now they've lost their wife/mother. It's too sad.
The other day I dreamt that a Tsunami was coming. I was trying to warn people to get to higher ground but no one was listening. Maybe this is it. It certainly feels like a tidal wave has hit us. One thing is for certain: Josephine is in a place now where she won't be having to face life's Tsunamis anymore. I just wish that we could have got everyone to higher ground with this one.
It has surely been a tough year this year. And now, after we say goodbye to a colleague and friend, we will have to start looking for a suitable replacement, a task which fills me with dread.
Thank you for listening.