Watoto Wote Wazuri

Returning to Kenya……heavy hearted

Posted in AIDS in Africa, AIDS Orphans, Kenya, Nyumbani by Lynn Ouellette on 01/10/2014





In front of the Great Rift Valley

We are returning to Kenya in just five days in what I know will turn out to be another amazing trip filled with beautiful country, welcoming and gracious people, poignant moments, and abundant opportunities to give…and to receive. But I have struggled with how to write this post since my entries have always been devoted to being an authentic representation of the experience and I have poured my heart into them. I therefore cannot write this or any post about the trip without acknowledging the death of my son Brendan just three weeks ago. My heart is so heavy with sadness and missing him, with the tragedy of his sudden departure, that I cannot be genuine about any other experience without acknowledging this. I recall last year at this time him telling me that he did not want me to worry about him while Iwas away in Kenya and that he was making decisions with that in mind. He knew my passion for the work and the people there and wanted to me to continue that. And so I will go In spite of this tragedy in my life. Many people have helped out to ease the burden of my grief and the tasks of work and my practice that needed to be attended to before I could even consider departing. I am blessed with wonderful family, colleagues, and friends who have pitched in to make this possible for me. And many people have, as in years past, donated generously to help our friends in Kenya.

So as I depart in just a few days, I know that my fellow volunteers, all my dear friends, will share my sorrow, will hold me up, make me laugh, cry with me and carry me along when I need to be carried. And the many friends whom I have in Kenya, some of whom have reached out to me already will share my grief as we work together. With the hardships of living in Kenya and the AIDS pandemic, many there know grief like mine of losing children and I now know theirs far better than I ever imagined. So I will still depart knowing that every kindness I extend, every tear I cry, every song I sing or dance , and every hug I give will be with my son in my heart because I carry him with me to Kenya and everywhere…..

“i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart) i am never without it(anywhere i go you go…..”   e.e. cummings


My son Brendan

My three children, Ryan, Katie and Brendan



13 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Lloydie said, on 01/11/2014 at 5:40 am

    Brendan would be so proud of you! Your travel mates are ready to embrace you and your Kenyan friends wait to share their love. Thank you to all that made this trip possible for you. I can already hear the music and singing, see the beauty and bright colors, taste the mandazis and chapati, and feel the magic and passion of our second home. Let the healing begin…


    • Lynn Ouellette said, on 01/11/2014 at 6:00 am

      Thank you my soul sister! Despite my earlier doubts about being able to pull it off–thanks for being understanding–I’m going to get there and am uplifted just by the thought of being with you and Karen and Deb, not to mention our Kenyan friends. I know there may be some hard moments but I also trust that I’ll be in the very best company of dear friends. So looking forward to seeing you. Love you always.


      • Lloydie said, on 01/11/2014 at 6:06 am

        We have all now turned a corner as our prayers have been answered and you are returning to Kenya. Whatever lies ahead we will get through it together. Welcome aboard once more. Honestly, the trip would have been impossible without you, as we are all soul mates connected through every cell of our bodies. We are now complete and I thank you for that. Lots of work ahead before departure but we are gaining strength each hour that passes… All aboard!!!


      • sharon tardiff said, on 01/14/2014 at 9:46 am

        Dear Lynn, I have attempted to type a reply for a couple of days and can’t come up with the right words for some reason. But I do know you have great friends and loving friends that will take care and uplift you when you need it. Such a rare thing in life and almost impossible for me to grasp or understand. So with that being said as best I could………love..heal..trust..and most of all “BLAST OFF” and blog often if you are able too.


      • Lynn Ouellette said, on 01/15/2014 at 11:38 am

        Thank you Sharon. It’s nice to hear from you. Yes I do think it will be a comfort and a kind of healing to take this trip. I plan to blog Asa usual so stay tuned because there are always many wonderful stories to tell and lots of photos to take. I will see you sometime when I get back. Happy new year to you!


  2. LH said, on 01/11/2014 at 7:53 am

    in your heart he will always be, yes, and this is a perfect place for you to be this coming week. enjoy your time working with the people there, soak up their love and sincere compassion.

    Katrina and I see just talking about trying to see you before you left, but that may be too much of a challenge?


    • Lynn Ouellette said, on 01/11/2014 at 7:57 am

      Thank you Laurie. I actually am doing fairly well with getting ready and have to take breaks because it’s exhausting to keep working so depends on when you free. Tuesday is full for me but I could take a break this weekend, later on Monday, Wed morning or midday. (I was going to work that day but cleared it.) would love to see you.


  3. Patti Arata said, on 01/11/2014 at 8:13 am

    As Brendan is in your heart….yours is in ours. My hope is that you find some peace in the arms of others as you do so much for so many. I also pray that your profound heartache will ease with time. You inspire me Dear Lynn….love you!


  4. whitney said, on 01/11/2014 at 9:23 pm

    You are an inspiration, Dr. Ouellette. With hope and gratitude…W


  5. Averil Fessenden said, on 01/13/2014 at 4:33 pm


    You again have written so beautifully, in a heartfelt way, about losing Brendan, both what you express and the words you have chosen, make your experience so real. It is helpful that you remember Brendan being supportive of your going last year, even telling you that he was making his choices with you in mind. He knew you cared for him and he was able to care for you to the extent that he understood and wanted you to follow your passion. And so you will. The photos of your kids are so heartening and heartbreaking too.

    I am so glad that you will be surrounded by warmth and love and compassion on this trip, both from your travel mates and from the friends you have made in Kenya. Since your work in Kenya is so sustaining and uplifting, it is just the thing to be doing now.

    Love, Averil


    • Lynn Ouellette said, on 01/15/2014 at 11:36 am

      Thank you Averil. I do think it will be wonderful change of scenery for me and a comfort to be with my volunteer friends and in the spirit of Kenya. I’m sure as always I will have many stories to tell when I return.
      Love, Lynn


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: