Yesterday evening I found out a friend had been murdered. Honestly, I don’t think you ever fully process something like that but it has made me think back on who she was.
At 5 foot nothing I never thought I’d find a friend who was shorter than me in heels. Sylvia Gift was that friend. Even with her small frame, she contained more personality in her than most people I know. She was giving, sharp, kind and real. It’s a combination you don’t find evenly balanced very often.
During the most hectic day at work, Sylvia would shoot me an email saying “People need to eat”- her way of asking if I was ready for lunch. Being co-workers mean daily conversations about professional dilemmas, current events and every so often a Katt William imitation she had picked up since moving here from Uganda.
Sylvia was killed in Nairobi, Kenya where she was interviewing for a NGO that helped children facing obstacles much like the ones she had growing up. She was supposed to go see her siblings who she hadn’t seen in five years since taking an accounting scholarship in the states.
And that makes no sense in my head. It makes no sense for most of us who talked via email last night and this morning. It makes no sense that in a world full of people who don’t have good intentions, that someone who was living through good actions would go before.
Though she would always make fun of me for my Nook, this morning I came across a package that sums up making sense of it all.
“She wanted to tell him so much, on the tarmac, the day he left. The world is run by brutal men and the surest proof is their armies. If they ask you to stand still, you should dance. If they ask you to burn the flag, wave it. If they ask you to murder, re-create.” -Colum McCann, ‘Let the Great World Spin’
We’ll miss you Miss Sylvia Gift. You truly were your name to us.