I write this blog post with a heavy heart as I recount the immense pain the Kirabo Seeds family experienced this past week. Although the emotions are still very near, I don’t think I will be able to fully portray the mix of emotions our family experienced and is still experiencing. On Thursday afternoon, we lost one of our boys, Boniface.
Boniface had been sick with HIV, and he got the chicken pox about a week ago. We didn’t think much of it, since he was the sixth or seventh one in our home to get it, but we found out later that chicken pox can be very serious for those with HIV. Last Monday, Boniface was complaining about a pain in his lower back. Robert took him to the hospital to get everything checked out, but the doctors didn’t seem concerned about anything, so he came back home. For the rest of the evening and the whole next day, Bonny just stayed in bed. He wasn’t really able to sleep though because of the pain he was experiencing. When he didn’t sleep at all Tuesday night, we decided to take him back to the hospital. Robert and Phiona took him early Wednesday morning, and I came later that morning.
When I walked into his room, Bonny looked miserable. He was so exhausted, but he wasn’t able to sleep because he was hurting so badly. He would sleep for about 5-10 minutes and then wake up crying out for one of us to help him. We took turns holding his hand and massaging his lower back to ease some of the pain. Nothing seemed to truly help, though. That afternoon his grandmother came to stay with him, so we were able to go home and take care of the rest of the kids. When we talked to the doctors that day, none of them showed any sort of indication that Bonny’s situation was really serious. Robert, Phiona, and I all had a strong feeling that the situation was worse than the doctors were saying, though.
The next morning (Thursday) Robert and I went to check on him. He looked even more miserable than the day before. He didn’t sleep again the whole night. His body was so worn out. His eyes were fighting to close, but the pain was forcing them to stay open. The expression on his face was so unfamiliar to me. It wasn’t the Boniface that I knew. I sat there holding his hand and massaging his back for the majority of that morning, praying that his pain would disappear and he would be able to sleep peacefully. The doctors told us that morning that the pain in his back was a pinched nerve. I still felt like the situation was worse than the doctors made it out to be, but I didn’t want to argue with the doctors. So after a few hours at the hospital, Robert and I went back home.
As I was sitting in the living room with a few of the younger kids a couple of hours later, Aunt Julie came in to tell me that Boniface was gone. I was in shock. I couldn’t believe it. I had just been there holding his hand and talking to him. How could that sweet boy be gone? He was supposed to get better. I didn’t have time to process everything, because we found out soon after that we needed to go get his body from the hospital. When we got there, we found his grandmother in the grass on her hands and knees wailing. Pain exploded in her cries. There is no person that could have listened to her and not have begun to mourn with her.
We took Bonny’s body to his grandmother’s house, and there were already several neighbors gathered there to mourn with his grandmother. When someone dies here, the whole community is there to support the family. Later that evening Robert and Phiona came with some of the older boys. They were heartbroken. I was so overwhelmed thinking about the pain these boys were experiencing at such a young age. It didn’t seem fair. I had to keep reminding myself about the truths of Scripture. God is sovereign. God always knows what He’s doing even when we don’t understand. God is the Healer, and He ultimately healed Boniface. He will never be sick or in pain again.
The next day we had the burial in a place about three hours away. The service was very similar to many other funerals I’ve attended. Several people spoke about Boniface’s life and the truths of Scripture, and we sang a few songs. As I looked at the picture of Boniface that was resting on his coffin, I was reminded of the incredible person Boniface was. He was one of the sweetest kids you could ever meet. He always had a smile on his face, or he was making you laugh because of his contagious laughter. He knew how to love others well. Sometimes he would come up to me, grab my hand, lean his head against my arm, and look up into my eyes, smiling. He didn’t have to speak for you to feel his love and care. He loved to play the drums. He loved to sing loud during worship time. I never found Bonny doing anything wrong. He loved to help others. I could write all day about Boniface’s character.
After a long few days, everyone got some rest, and we went to church this morning. Many of the songs we sang talked of God being our anchor in the midst of the flood, and God being our light in the darkness. I needed those reminders. The sermon was about worship. God is ALWAYS worthy of our praise. Worship is a lifestyle, not just something we do on Sunday mornings. When times are good, we praise God. When times are bad, we praise God. We are praising God for the life that Boniface lived and the joy of salvation.
Please pray for our family here as we figure out what life looks like with Boniface gone. This will be something the kids deal with for the rest of their lives. They lost a brother and a friend. Please pray for healing and peace and that we will be reminded of the joy that heaven brings. Pray that we will never forget that God is sovereign.
Boniface, we love you so much. Words can’t describe how much we will miss you. Thank you for being an incredible brother and friend. No one can ever replace you. Continue to play those drums and sing loudly for Jesus. I know He loves listening to you. Thank you for everything you have taught me by the way you lived your life. I thank God that someday I will see you again.