To say Lerato and I were close would be an understatement. Really we were more like sisters from different mother's, born countries apart. It was easy to call each other “sister”, and it just felt like the natural progression of things when she started calling my parents "Mom" and "Dad". It's strange, when I meet new people and talk to them about my family I always want to add, "...also, I had another sister, she died a few years ago." I feel like anyone who really wants to know me should know this important fact. But if I'm being honest, I rarely mention Lerato. Not because I don't think about her, but because it's impossible to explain our friendship, and who she was as a person in just one conversation. It's like trying to describe a beautiful sunset or the way a song makes you feel. Impossible.
Lerato passed away suddenly in January of 2015, leaving behind an incredible story, woven with threads of heartbreak, joy and resilience. After her death I struggled with grief, guilt and anger at God, but God found a miraculous way to bring me closure, and show me that through it all, He still sees me and knows me.
I've wanted to talk about Lerato for quite some time, but I'm certain that no matter what I say or write, I will never be able to do justice to her beautiful life. Nonetheless, it was time for this part of her story to be shared. I hope someone is encouraged, and I'm certain Lerato would hope for the same thing, too.