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Thank You to the Family of Nelson Mandela

There's not much I can say about the passing of Nelson Mandela that hasn't already been said.  I don't have the encyclopedic knowledge about him that historians and Wikipedia have.  I participated in anti-apartheid sit-ins once or twice, not with the same commitment to the cause as some of my college and law school classmates.  Much of what I know about him comes from accounts about him, not from what I observed first hand.

But there is something I can say that may not be said enough during this time of grief and mourning:  Thank you to the family of Nelson Mandela.

We often forget that when someone accepts the mantle of leadership, they serve their cause, their country, or both, usually at the expense of their family.

Nelson Mandela's leadership of the ANC, his imprisonment, and his leadership of his country meant that his family was deprived of time that might otherwise have been spent with him. I doubt he would have had it any other way.  His sacrifice was his family's sacrifice, too.  They were deprived of him by imprisonment and then had to share him not only with the nation of South Africa, but with the world.

Thank you to the family of Nelson Mandela.  At a time when you probably most wanted to hold him close and savor however many years he would have left after leaving Robben Island, you shared him with the world.  The world is all the better for your sacrifice and his.

Godspeed, Madiba.  My prayers, condolences, and deepest gratitude to the family of Nelson Mandela.


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