My happy moment today stems from the worst moment of my life. But I was thinking this morning, how much has changed in my life since that day 10 years ago, and how much of my life is because of that moment.
When I arrived in Burkina Faso in the spring of 2004, I was a bright eyed, well traveled, optimistic 23 year old. I was ready to tackle my teaching assignment. Sure, I was scared, but I was mostly excited for the next 2 years in Africa. I remember the red dirt, the small huts, the friendly locals, and the extremely warm and talented other volunteers I was sent with.
The call home to update my parents on my safe arrival and my happy anticipation turned into a phone call with the news of my brother’s car accident. I won’t forget that moment. I won’t forget walking back through the red dirt roads to pack my bags. And I won’t forget the phone call from the Paris airport on the way home, telling me of my younger brother’s death.
His death is the reason I went to medical school. It is the reason I went to residency training. And therefore, it is the reason I was able to meet my husband. Other than time, it’s the only way to get through something terrible. To find the happy moments, the good outcomes of such a tragic event.
So thank you, Philip. Thank you, through your heartbreaking, mysterious way of introducing me to the love of my life. I am, in most ways, a more complete person today than I was 10 years ago. But there will always be that one part of my heart that’s missing. I just chose to fill it with happy memories of you.
James Charles Philip Perry 1/21/1983 – 4/10/2004