By Hannah Ege
World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims is a sacred day where we allow ourselves to pause, mourn and tell the stories of our loved ones who lost their lives too early due to fatal crashes. It is a day to remember and an opportunity to demand action in their names.
My name is Hannah Ege and I will be marking this WDoR remembering Sheria Musyoka. Since Sheria’s death, my life has changed in such drastic and profound ways. Grief is all consuming and seemingly endless. It wraps its cold, suffocating arms around you in a grip you feel like you’ll never escape. Sometimes that grip is the only thing you’re able to hold onto to ground you in reality.
My world was ripped apart on February 4th, 2021, when my husband, Sheria Musyoka, was hit and killed by a driver going 75 mph on Lake Merced Blvd in San Francisco while out for his morning run. We had just relocated with Theo, our 3-year-old son, to sunny San Francisco from a cold and snowy Connecticut. With boxes of our belongings from the East Coast still arriving in the mail, we had been in our new home only a matter of days but they had been some of the happiest days we’d had in a while. With Covid leaving us both unemployed, the first year and a half of marriage had been filled with unforeseen hardships.
Getting a job offer and chance to relocate to San Francisco was our ticket to a new life that we had worked tirelessly to get. Sheria, a proud Kenyan, had received his green card in the mail mere days before our move; everything was finally falling into place for us.
But his life was taken in an instant and the world lost a remarkable human being. I lost my soulmate. Our then 3-year-old son, Theo, lost their father. Jerry Leyons, the man who caused the crash, lost his freedom and any support for recovery. We all lost. We all were hurt.
But one thing that has become abundantly clear and important to me is that storytelling is key to our shared humanity. Knowing people’s stories, listening to their trauma and their development of worldview and perspective is how we can expand compassion and empathy. Honoring each other’s stories is the start to any revolution.
This is Sheria’s story
Born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, Sheria singlehandedly supported and financed his way into Dartmouth College where he graduated in the top 2% of his class. Soon after graduation, Sheria discovered his passion in recruiting and helping people find their place in the world. His skill set and undeniable talent of connecting with people attracted a company in San Francisco who hired and relocated Sheria which led our young family to leave Connecticut and pursue our dreams of West Coast living.
Sheria had many dreams. Being raised by a family strongly involved in Kenyan politics, Sheria envisioned creating resources for Black communities in America and Kenya that would help break generational cycles of poverty and would build a more just and equitable world. Sheria cared deeply about justice and Black Liberation both in his homeland and his new home in America. He thought deeply about his political stances and was constantly reading and engaging in discussions to better understand the world.
Sheria was a father to our son Theodore, an avid soccer fan, a lover of philosophy and good food. He was curious, grounded and compassionate. Sheria loved me so well and was my best friend from our very first date. Sheria was a good person; he should not have died and is missed dearly by his community that continues to remember his story and grieve his loss.
Finding power in storytelling is just one way my life has changed since losing Sheria. Being able to tell the world about this remarkable man has allowed me to make a practical difference in the communities I am a part of. From speaking at town halls, to conversations with Senators, I have found power and purpose in advocating for safer streets in San Francisco, Philadelphia and beyond.
Getting involved in Families for Safe Streets in this way has deeply changed me as it’s allowed me to connect with people I might never have met otherwise. Attending local grief support groups and virtual grief spaces held by Families for Safe Streets has expanded my compassion and understanding of trauma and grief. Getting to speak with other survivors about the harrowing survivor’s guilt we all hold has been healing as I’ve seen the love of our departed ones continually shine through in our collective grief.
Thank you for making space for Sheria’s story. Let us honor and remember each and every story and push for the changes needed to prevent more stories like Sheria’s from ending too soon. Please consider holding a WDoR event in your community and supporting these events nationally.