She Is A Princess! The world deserves to know!

If you have visited my blog more than once, I’m sure you have met my siblings that I honorably call my children. This is not by coincidence. Since after God spared my life during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, He entrusted me with the 3 most amazing siblings on this planet. Although they were all less than 10 years old at the time, I cannot imagine my life differently. Even though I have never been young and never got a chance to be selfish, I don’t have a regret.

This year, 2014, marks 20 years since after we lost our parents and two siblings, and how long I have been raising my siblings: Eric, Alice and Mireille. If I had to start all over again, I would do it in a blink of an eye. These 3 are the best thing that has ever happened to me.

Every single moment and breath I take, I praise God for honoring me with such great and important responsibility: to love and be a mother to an incredible man and two beautiful women anyone can ever wish for in their lives. I call them my TREASURE! Just shortly after the Genocide ended, the day I learned that my 3 siblings had survived, too, was my first sunshine of hope to give me a reason to live for, thrive and strive in this life.

It was the best day of my life!

My Adorable Baby. Isn't she a beauty?

My Adorable Baby Mireille Noella. Isn’t she a beauty?

You may have read the article I wrote about my brother Eric “Inconceivable Heroism Amid Horror” and another post about my sister Alice “She is A Pure Beauty. And a woman of God“. However, this specific post is unique in its own way, because I get to talk about my youngest sister, our princess Mireille Noella. She is my baby and I don’t feel any different than if I had birthed her myself!! This is very true. During the Genocide, Mireille was only 3 years old. I certainly owe everything to my little brother Eric who, at 8, kept both Alice (6) and Mireille (3) safe, when it was a matter of life and death and everyone running for their own lives. He sure is my hero!

When I share my story, people often ask me what I struggled most with since after the loss of my parents. My audiences wonder if it has been forgiving those who killed my family members or raising my siblings. Surprisingly, it is neither. My greatest life challenge has been to slowly realize how much Mireille doesn’t have many memories about our parents or life before the Genocide. Sadly, things she can recall most about is during the Genocide. For 13 years that my life was a paradise with the most incredible parents that ever existed, my baby does not remember much about her portion.

It can range from simple things like our family childhood dog’s name. Or routine things like the fact that we used to pray together every night as a family. She absolutely doesn’t remember this at all. When I sing our Mom’s favorite Gospel songs that she always sang to us when we were little, it sounds made up to her. Instead, she randomly remembers things that none of us knows where she got it from.

Few treasured photos we have of our parents and two siblings we lost in 1994, my little sister is unable to connect those images to our childhood before the tragedy. She’s completely disconnected from memories I hold onto so dearly! It breaks my heart. This is the deepest wound that I will probably carry for the rest of my life.

I will never find words to express to my readers that can accurately describe how much it hurt when Mireille speculated her greatest wish in this life: to see our parents again so she can get to call them “Mommy and Daddy“. Undoubtedly, this is a precious part of her life that has been snatched from her before she could get to live it. No wonder why she didn’t really talk much until after high school. It’s very touching when she calls me MOM; it absolutely melts my heart.

Very Stylist and Chic. She can easily be a model!

Very Elegant. She can easily be a model!

Mireille and I are almost 10 years apart; for this reason, she will always be young in my eyes, and simply a PRINCESS. I already accepted the fact that I can never replace our parents’ empty spot in her heart, but I know one thing: I love her with all my heart, for the rest of my life. There is simply nothing she can ever need that I am able to provide. She’s not only the youngest of 5 siblings. I watched her growing from a malnourished 3 year old out of the orphanage where the government placed my 3 siblings after the Genocide ended, to the most beautiful woman she is today!

Absolutely gorgeous and a fashionista from head to toe that I often wonder how we are possibly related, she is smart, a hard worker, intelligent, creative, loves God and people, very funny, although she may appear to be shy sometime. She is also spoiled, not only by me who would give her this planet if it was mine, but also by Eric and Alice who love her endlessly.

I will probably never fully understand why my little sister had to grow up without parents, but there is one thing that sustains me: GOD Who has been our Father, Comforter, Redeemer, Provider and everything we ever need to this day. I owe to the Lord every good possession and health that my siblings and I have.

Mireille may have been deprived of her precious childhood and forced to grow up in a hurry, but today she is finishing up her college senior project to graduate this December with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting. And there are so many opportunities that await her ahead. I know very well that she will do amazing things in life!

Even if I have children of my own in the future, Mireille will always remain my oldest child as long as I shall live! Her, Eric and Alice will never, EVER need anything within my capability. This is my standing PROMISE to my parents in heaven and Jesus who has them with him. The Holy Spirit bears me witness! Although it may sound unreasonable to say, I praise God who has allowed me to somehow remain single this long so that my siblings can enjoy my full attention, which I certainly have for them, undivided.

I love them beyond comprehension. Mireille will always be my baby and spoiled until God calls me home. When I will see my parents in another life, I will be eager to narrate everything to them!

My love for my 3 siblings is unconditional, all my days!!

“To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power.” — Maya Angelou

“But behind all your stories is always your mother’s story, because hers is where yours begin.” ~ Mitch Albom

It still bothers me sometime when I meet people who say that they aren’t really that close to their parents or siblings. It also breaks my heart when I read or hear stories about abandoned children by abusive or drug addicted parents and taken away by social services. I understand that some people grow apart; but it hurts because ultimately, children have to pay the price, when indeed they did not even ask to be born. In my home country Rwanda, you are normally expected to stay in touch with everyone who is related to you by blood, all the way to your extended family.

My Mom Colette was a mother who would do whatever it takes to be there for me and my siblings. If she ever had a problem, although being the second children (in a family of 6) and the oldest girl, I never learned or knew about it. She perhaps kept the pain or trouble to herself, and we, children never realized it. If my parents ever had a fight, I never found out. In the nutshell, our world was a paradise. We were given everything they could afford, and if they struggled in any way, we never learned the details.

When I was growing up, it was uncommon for parents to be emotional in front of their children. My parents never told me that they loved me; it’s still the same in many families in Rwanda. Regardless, I knew that they loved me so deeply. While gifts exchanging was uncommon, whenever we achieved a milestone in our lives (doing well in school, learning how to do chores at home), we would get small prizes. Learning how to do some chores was a big deal, particularly because even to this day, many families can afford housemaids/nannies/helpers. When I was little, we had 2-3 workers around the house, and they lived with us.

My Lovely Mother, in 1976, shortly before her wedding.

My Mom, my inspiration! Weeks after her engagement to my Dad (Late 70s)

I was spoiled pretty much. I knew how to do just a few things. It was the same for all my siblings. No wonder why from the day the genocide began in Rwanda (April 7th,1994) to the day she surrendered her final breath, this was my brave mother’s daily prayer: her entire family to die all together in a painless, fastest death possible. I don’t remember if she prayed to be shot instead of being cut into pieces, but I know that her prayer was answered differently, 17 days later (April 24th,1994). Perhaps she thought, and I am entirely sure, that none of her children would be able to survive on their own. She did not have to explain.

Dear Mommy, not only that four of us survived, we also rose above the storms. The God you loved and thought us to pray, Has been everything we ever need! We miss you with deep sorrow but we know that God loved you more than we did, and wanted you by His side. All your surviving children truly praise Him with gratitude! You dwell in heavenly eternal peace. We will finish what you started!

My mother was a selfless mother, everything to us, and an inspiration. She loved and treated everyone like a family, even those who didn’t like our family. Actually, one of my mother’s sisters-in-law had a dream in 1993. In it, a tragedy was coming to Rwanda where she saw many people getting killed. As she was about to die, she prayed that my mother would survive. In the dream, she was convinced that if my mother survived, that she would raise my aunt’s children as her own. That’s the caliber of a mother I am proud to call a woman who brought me into this life! Although I only got to know her for a few years, she remains my hero and role model, all my life!

After the genocide ended, I vowed that I would not call anyone mom or dad ever again. I actually despised hearing some fortunate classmates at my high school bragging about their parents. I was extremely bitter. I kept my word though, until August 2008 when I met the most amazing woman at a mutual friend’s dinner, in Rochester, New York. Her name is Glori Lovall. Few months later, she gave me the greatest possible honor: to call her my MOM. To make things even better, she’s only two years younger than my mother Colette would be. For the first time since I lost my parents, someone called me “daughter.” I rejoice everyday!

Maman et moi. Mars 2014

My Mom & I on my birthday: March 2014

In a few words, I raised myself. I never had a role model, or just someone to give me an advice on how things work. It’s ironic how I still struggle to adjust to a life where my new Mom tells me things, and when it exactly turns out as she told me, she says: “may be you should start listening to your mother”. Or something like reminding me to eat, visit some people, print out directions to get to places even when I have both a smartphone and a regular GPS, simple things like that. I can’t imagine a life without hers in mine. I am truly humbled by God’s wonders.

One small town in upstate New York has captured my heart forever! The kind of feeling that overwhelms my soul with joy each time I set my foot on the grounds of its airport cannot be expressed in words!

When I go back home, my new home in Rochester, my Mom always has a calendar of things I would do while there: visiting friends, family and friends coming over to see me etc. I don’t set the alarm clock when I am home. She exactly knows how much time it takes me to get ready. She knocks at my door until she hears my response because she knows how much I love my sleep. She cooks the best food and I eat so much when I am home. My Mom flies in to see me every year around my birthday! She is exceptional!

I know my mother would have done exactly the same. Glori is full of life and very loving. Each day that passes, I’m amazed by how my Mom and I find things we have in common, from physical aspects to life’s passions. It blows my mind, and brings me down to my knees before the Lord. From Colette’s ashes, God blessed me with a new mother, an incredible one!

If your Mom is incredible and still alive, hug her today and tell her that she means the world to you. If she is in heaven with God, treasure your memories of her. Write it down and do never stop talking about her. Colette is my hero, and she is alive as long as I shall live, and beyond. Glori is my gift from heaven, and Jesus’ love on display in my life.

I’m forever thankful to both of them, but more importantly, I praise GOD who loved me so much and honored me with two most amazing Mothers in my life! I am BLESSED!