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It was a beautiful Monday morning, full of promise. I slipped on my surprisingly comfortable pink leather pumps. I have very fussy feet. I was given a diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy, fancy words for when doctors don’t know why numbness occurs in the feet. C’est la vie. Needless to say, I’m very selective about choosing my shoes.

The pink pumps completed my outfit rather nicely, if I do say so myself. Off I went to a meeting that I hoped would end with an invitation to speak to employees of a corporate call centre. I was excited and feeling rather confident. The CEO had heard my talk, #kindspeak, and hoped I’d inspire her employees to have more tolerance for each other. Our time together went well and – spoiler alert – I got the gig, which later proved special in a tender sort of way.

On my way out of the building I had to stop and breathe deeply as I experienced a sharp pain in my chest. Trying not to panic, I leaned against my car a little confused as to what the pain was about. After some time, it eased. I called Russell, my husband, to tell him about the meeting and also about this strange pain. It lingered through the rest of my day, even while preparing dinner, although not bad enough to cause serious concern.

Dinner was delicious. Halfway through the meal Russell’s cell phone rang and he cut the call because we don’t take calls during family meals. It rang again and when he looked at the caller ID, he got up and walked away from the table with a puzzled look on his face. Curious, I followed him to our office as he listened. His face had gone pale. I knew it was not good!

Russell didn’t say much, he just listened, but his body language spoke volumes. When he put the phone down, I whispered “It’s my daddy isn’t it?” and he nodded. I called out from the depths of my soul “Is it a car accident, a heart attack… what? Please tell me, my love!” He could barely get the words past his lips. “He was killed” he said, “at home.”

What? By now I was sobbing. I needed to know more, but did I really want to know more? Yes! No!

My heart shattered into a million pieces. My dad had been my mainstay growing up, especially after my mom’s lost battle with depression. We loved her dearly and, together, we slowly recovered to reclaim the joy of living.

Now he was gone too!

A missionary all his life, daddy loved people and he especially loved seeing them restored from brokenness. He’d been caring for a friend whose life had been hurt by a satanic cult, a cult that ultimately sent members to kill my father. He was murdered because he cared too much.

I ‘felt’ the wounds inflicted upon his chest that Monday afternoon, despite being hundreds of miles apart.

Seven years later, the guilty parties have been caught and all have been sentenced for their crime. It’s been a long and challenging journey, but I find peace in the closure. While there have been many days that I wondered if my heart would ever recover, daddy left me something no one can ever take away: a legacy of love!

He taught me, all my life, that love conquers all and that when we love unconditionally, without judgment, we make the world a better place, one soul at a time.

And so, my pretty pink pumps hold memories of a day I would rather forget. Yet they also remind me of love, the kind that lives on and continues to grow within me; the kind that adds strength and light to this world.

Written by: Stella Upneck, South Africa

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