04-05-2019 9:15 am
In little over a month, it will be my 15th birthday. Last year I celebrated my 14th birthday, and was officially older than my sister, Sharidyn. This past year I dedicated to my sister - simply put, I chose to live for me and for Sharidyn.
For more than a year, I have had a blog where I have shared what's in my heart about Sharidyn, about what life has been like for families like mine, and all the things that I've done to create awareness and advocate for the victims. It has been a very long road, and it has NOT been easy. Not everyone I know, or met have been kind or compassionate. I've experienced things in the past year that would horrify most normal people.
My parents have fiercely supported me, and protected me - from criticism I have received because some people think that I am too young because of my age, which to me makes no sense. At 7 years old, I'm supposedly old enough to cope with losing my sister which I wasn't. But at 14 years old, I'm not old enough to advocate for her? When you've walked a mile in mine or my parents shoes - then lets talk!
Yes, I am young! But I have more experience about losing a sister, to hate and intolerance than most people I know - and I wouldn't wish my experience on anyone. I choose to focus on everything that is beautiful in my life, but I also choose to remember my beautiful sister! Because I miss her terribly, and she deserves that I advocate about everything I loved about her. I have grown stronger, and more confident because I have learn't how to be my sisters voice. Sharing my memories about my sister doesn't hurt me! Losing her hurts me, and I have to live with that for the rest of my life. To share my memories - good and bad means I have to open my heart, and let people in, even if it is only for a brief moment.
Yesterday, I gave a presentation at the 22-July Centre in Oslo for a group of students that were the same age as me. Their childhood has been different to mine. Their memories about 22nd July are different to mine. Inspite of the the differences in our childhood stories - I felt more compassion, empathy and tolerance than I have seen in a lot of adults, as sad as that sounds. Those group of students are my generation, and they give me hope for the future. There are a handful of people in my life that support me unconditionally, they are my friends and family who are always in my corner when the tv cameras are turned off. They are my village, who inspire me to continue to advocate for my sister, just as my parents have done and still do.
To those people, and the group of students I met and spoke to/with yesterday, I thank you! Thank you for your kindness - your humanity will be my inspiration for the future. ❤
Families like mine, are the keepers of the memories we have about the ones that we love, and have had brutally stolen from us because of hate. We are the only ones that can advocate for them, we are the only ones that can teach the future about what sort of people they were - so that no other brother, sister, son or daughter is killed because of the same hate that stole Sharidyn from me and my family.
I say NO!
No - to INDIFFERENCE!
No - to HATE!
No - to INTOLERANCE!
No - to TERRORISM'S HATEFUL EXISTENCE!