Monday, April 9, 2012

My Journey to an Emotional Easter Week-End

I can say that I am rather pleased to get back to work today after a quite emotional week-end. It has been a very long time since I cried the way I did these last few days.

As I was about to go to bed last Friday, around midnight, I received a phone call from a good friend of mine. At first I was surprised to hear the phone ring at that time. I thought it was an early long distance call as it was Saturday morning back home. I picked up the phone, and my friend on the other side of line asked me if I was sleeping already, to which I responded no. She then asked me to go to a place I could be alone. I went upstairs, and all this time my wife was asking me what was going on. I did not tell her at first (myself I did not know what was going on).

Five minutes later, she joined me upstairs to find me crying on the phone. She asked me what happened, and I broke the news: My good friend Gentille had passed away...

A few weeks ago I wrote about her in my blog. For over two years, Gentille had been fighting cancer, and we thought she had won. She was full of hope, she had tons of projects she wanted to take on, she was once again active. She was not 100% yet, but she wasn't where she used to be.

About two weeks ago, she went back to see her doctor for her regular check up, to her surprise, they told her she had to go back to the hospital. She couldn't believe it. After crying a lot, she called me to let me know about the news. I was devastated. She had to start from scratch again, for another two years. I didn't know what to say.

She went back to the hospital and we kept in touch regularly. I was supposed to go to see her on Thursday, but at the last minute I couldn't. That is my biggest regret. The next day...she was gone.
If there is a good way to die, Gentille experienced it. She had peace in her heart, she was at peace with God, she was, for a very long time, looking forward to the future...She did not know which future.

I learned so much from Gentille. She taught me how to look at the bright side in the face of adversity, one more time she reminded me that everything happens for a reason (even though we do not understand why at the moment they are happening). I learned to appreciate every moment, to live life to the fullest, and above all, cherish every moment I spend with my loved ones. We do not know what the future holds.

After I had sent her an e-mail notifying her that I could not come to visit her on Thursday, this is what she e-mailed back

“Its all good papa BOY,so r u happy??? I just wish your future kid to have a big heart just like his daddy :-) “

Few hours later...she was gone. You will be missed Gentille.

Always a pleasure

The Journeyman


  1. My condolences to you Patrick...and to the family of this young woman.

  2. Dear Patrick,
    I heard so much about you through gentille especially these last days, she told me how she was inspired by you, that she was enjoying reading, commenting on books and debating ...
    When i read your title, i just knew it was about her and as i was reading it felt like i was reading my own journal.
    Gentille was just gifted. i am not sure i would have enough space to describe her but she had this capacity of making someone feel special. She was a good listener, a person you would tell everything, absolutely everything without her judging or rejecting you. She was...SPECIAL!! I spent the last 2 days crying, only had this word in my mind "WHY?” why her, why now, why, why, why...
    She was fine Thursday, she wrote to me, she asked our mum to call her but like you and like many others my mother didn’t! She wasn’t feeling well so she postponed it to Friday, myself i only wrote her back to tell her i would call friday and guess what i did! The whole afternoon but there was no answer. i called her again exactly at the time of her death! For some reason I had failed to sleep. I didn’t want to sleep without talking to her.
    So when my mum announced me of her passing, i simply hanged the phone on her and called gentille back, praying for an answer, praying for a mistake...this couldn't happen, this shouldn't happen, not now, that was just inacceptable, she had promised me to fight, she had promised me to be out from hospital by the time i would come, she was going to keep fighting had explained to her the chances of one of us being compatible with her for the bone marrow transplant she needed so then WHY???
    My only comfort is that she did not suffer; she just died peacefully but is it enough for me to accept it, honestly NO. it is easy to say, but the emptiness , the pain i have in my heart is just too big.
    I know she wouldn't want me to feel this way, i think it would have been worse if i had talked to her friday. So like you, i went back to work but was my day productive? you can guess the answer.
    she was my baby sister but she would protect me as if i was the youngest. She would have been a great mother for sure, she would have been so many things… oh yes, she will truly be missed.
    My biggest regret is not burying her because i know my mourning will only last longer but i know she had a bigger family in Canada, people like you, christelle, Marie Noelle and many many others who will escort her body with dignity.
    God bless you

    Isabelle Sindayirwanya AKA Titina

  3. So sorry to hear about your loss Patrick. I hope you are keeping happy memories of your friend and alive and well each and every day.