Death Of a Queen: Why We Mourn Differently

For many, she was a beloved and respected head of state.

For others, she was the leader of a monarchy that brutalized and terrorized.

She was a beloved woman, a mom, a wife, a grandmother. For others, she was the one, on whose watch their parents, siblings, and spouses died, got maimed, or went missing.

Death of a queen

The way trauma works, the death of the oppressor/its visible representation

  • The injustice
  • The lies, coverups and zero accountability
  • The beatings and deaths
  • The assaults, castrations, rapes and hangings
  • The theft of land and resources
  • The displacement of people
  • The detentions and labor camps
  • The murders and grisly “trophies”
  • The outrageous strategies like “divide and rule” that ruptured cultures

These are my stories. These are Kenyan stories.

Similar stories echo from around the world – from Africa to the Americas to Australia to India. People and lands forever scarred.

Darker tales are still inarticulated and unpenned. Accounts are still locked up in souls and bodies as unprocessed and unreleased trauma. Raw. Ever present.

I dream of space for those mourning differently: That they’d have freedom and dignity to speak and name and remember.


  • Their stories matter.
  • Their memories matter.
  • Their history matters.
  • Their pain matters.
  • Their lands matter.
  • Their people matter.

Let them mourn their dead. Let them lament injustices. Let them mourn the death of who they used to be and what they were forced to become.

Let them remember how the past still envelops the present day. Let them tell their stories out loud.

Some believe it’s picking a side and dishonoring the moment to recall and thus mourn differently.

But the reality is, there’s no “picking a side” when you had no choice. You did not pick a side. The side picked you.

They had no say. No choice. They never wanted to be on this side of reality.

It is not disrespect. It is reality. It’s not history. It’s the present day.

The reality is that an individual/institution can be beloved by many AND be considered a source of darkness by others. Both things can be true at the same time.

Death of a queen: We mourn differently because we remember differently.