On April 20, one of my colleagues from the Consulate was murdered.
It’s taken me a long time to be able to process, and I’m still kind of trying to wrap my head around it. Victor was one of the guys on the maintenance staff at the Consulate. He worked on the team that does all the maintenance in the homes of officers, so most of us knew him well. Actually, he was in our house the week before he died, fixing our struggling air conditioner and testing our iodine filter.
2 weeks ago today, Victor was at a children’s party in his neighborhood with his wife and kids. Mid-party, a group of gunmen burst into the house and demanded to see one of the men who was attending the party. Victor tried to diffuse the situation by talking calmly to the gunmen but they weren’t having it and they shot him, in cold blood, in front of his wife and at least one of his 4 children. According to news reports he died at the scene along with 2 other men who were attending the party. I don’t know anything about the other men who died that night–who they were, or what they were involved in–but I know that Victor was a law-abiding, brave, dedicated man and I don’t and probably will never understand what could possibly have been so important that it was necessary or worth it to take his life. It just doesn’t make any sense.
The Consulate had a memorial service for Victor the last Friday in April. In addition to memorializing Victor, speaking of his kindness, his valor, and his dedication to his work and family, the Consulate presented his wife and children with the generous donations that had been collected in the preceding week. Funds are still being collected, as the family not only has to pay for Victor’s funeral and all the costs surrounding that, but they now are without a primary breadwinner and all of his 4 children are still in school.**
We missed Victor’s memorial service because we were on the east coast celebrating the marriage of one of my husband’s cousins. It was a gorgeous wedding ceremony: sunny skies, sparkling water, bright pink flowers, beautiful vows, and lots and lots of love. While I wish we could have been present at Victor’s memorial service, it was heartening to get to watch the happy couple say their vows, exchange rings, and start their new life together. I wish them a long and happy life together and I pray that they won’t ever have to go through the heartache and grief that Victor’s family is experiencing.
Life is fragile and precious. Don’t take it for granted.
**If you’re interested in donating to Victor’s family, please email me at the address found in my About section and I’ll tell you how.