ALICE MUSABENDE'S STORY (UNEDITED)
My name is Alice Musabende and I was born and raised in Rwanda. Almost twenty years ago, in 1994, during the one hundred days of the Rwandan genocide against the Tutsis, my world was shattered, and I lost everyone and everything that was my life.
The pain is there, has always been there, and will always be there.
I still remember it all, just as if it was yesterday. I remember my mother’s beautiful smile, the last day that I saw her. Her smile seemed to say as it had many times before, that everything was going to be alright.
I remember my little brother’s baby face, he was two years old when he was killed... today I love to think that I see his eyes on my six-month-old baby boy. I remember my grandfather, his voice, and every now and then I feel him walking next to me, just like we did when I was young.
And I remember everyone else: my grandmother and her beautiful yellow shoes, my sister with her deep eyes that seemed to look down into your soul. I remember all of them today; there are so many I can’t name them all. I remember them every day and I dream about them every day.
Some days I can’t help but let tears roll down on my cheeks silently and some other days I wake up in the morning and tell myself that I’m going to make it, because I know I will.
I haven’t been able to forgive the people who, one early morning of April 1994, decided to take the lives of the people who were my world just because they were Tutsis. Ever since that day, I have been trying to understand what kind of people who couldn’t just be seduced by my baby brother’s smile or my mother’s beauty and let them live. Some days, I think that all that I am left with is my anger and my sorrow, so I hold onto them; they keep me moving.
But most days, I like to think that what keeps me moving is the unbroken chain of love that has wrapped itself all over me for the last twenty years, that has kept me sane and taught me to live again, and to smile.
Ross, thank you for creating the beautiful pendant that also happens to be the proof of the love that has kept me going over the last years.
At the request of my friends, who are now my new family, your hands made it possible to create something that shows both the love that Helen, Brooke, Kimberly and Steve have for me, and how protected I feel for having them in this new life after life. This pendant was offered to me with love and with the awareness that when we hold people we love in memory, they live on with us. Every step in life we take, every journey we make, they walk with us.
So many times before, people have asked me how I was able to make it. I don’t know how one “makes it” after tragedies like the genocide that took away my family. I’m still trying to figure it out myself. I do, however, know that there is one thing that helps close the scars, and that is love.
And today, here and now, but also tomorrow, I’m hoping that Ross’s The Structure of Love is Indestructible sculpture also reminds people that love heals. Ross, thank you for being part of my healing journey. I am forever grateful.