Left to Tell

Left to Tell Summary and Analysis of the Epilogue


Back in Kigali for good, Immaculée keeps working at the UN while living with Sarah. She also volunteers at an orphanage. In 1995, Aimable is finally able to return to Rwanda. They great each other tentatively, worried about the emotions that will spill forth if they let down their guard.

Their time together gets easier, but they operate under an unspoken rule to not talk about the fate of the rest of their family. They only share memories and talk about them as if they have not died. For two years, the siblings communicate over phone and email, and when Aimable returns two years later to be a veterinary doctor, their method of dealing with their pain is the same, despite their physical and emotional closeness. “After more than a decade, we never talk about our family in the past tense,” Immaculée writes. “I suppose it’s our way of keeping their memory alive” (206).

Immaculée wants to find love again, and asks God to bring her “the man of my dream” (206). She makes a list of the traits she wants, including that he be Catholic. She then practices positive visualization and prays to God to meet this man. She soon does: Bryan Bleck comes to Rwanda from the US to set up the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda under the auspices of the UN. She fell in love at once, and they married two years later.

In 1998 they moved to the US and had two children, Nikeisha and Bryan Jr. In New York, Immaculée pursued a career at the UN in Manhattan, again practicing positive visualization to achieve her goals. Immaculée plans to use her life to share her story and show people how they can achieve forgiveness through God.

Immaculée writes about how the greatest message she wants to pass on is that one can always forgive those who have harmed one. She tells the story of a woman who reconciled with her estranged father after hearing Immaculée’s story.

Additionally Immaculée coaches a Rwandan through the steps necessary to forgive her family’s killers. “But the pain and bitterness I’ve been carrying in my heart for 11 years is about to kill me,” the woman says. “I’ve been so miserable for so long that I don’t have the energy to live any more” (209).

Immaculée writes the story of a woman whose parents were killed in the Nazi Holocaust and who lived her life full of bitterness and anger, but was finally able to find peace after hearing Immaculée talk. At that seminar, an elderly woman tells her that she has finally been able to “forgive the unforgivable” (210). All these stories lead to Immaculée’s final message, which is that Rwanda can heal itself through forgiveness.


This final epilogue wraps up Immaculée’s life after the genocide and makes a final entreatment to readers to hear her message of forgiveness. This theme of the whole memoir is most important as the book wraps up and Immaculée shares stories of others who, like her, have learned to forgive the unforgivable.

“God’s message extends beyond borders: Anyone in the world can learn to forgive those who have injured them, however great or small that injury may be. I see the truth of this every day,” Immaculée writes. This quote shows her faith that the message she received from God can effect goodness in the world far beyond her own ability to forgive. It applied not just to her specific situation, or to the Rwandan genocide as a whole, but to anyone in the world who has been wronged and has suffered because of their anger.

The examples of people who have forgiven highlight this idea. The women have all found peace after years of suffering through the agony of hatred. “But the pain and bitterness I’ve been carrying in my heart for 11 years is about to kill me. I’ve been so miserable for so long that I don’t have the energy to live any more,” (209) one woman whose family was murdered in Rwanda says to Immaculée. This quote shows how destructive hatred is for the person who holds that hatred, and how much better their life (and, scaled to a country or ethnic group, the lives of many people) can be when they forgive instead of hate.

“The love of a single heart can make a world of difference,” Immaculée writes at the end of her memoir, “I believe that we can heal the Rwanda – and our world – by healing one heart at a time. I hope my story helps.”

This quote sums up many of the central themes of the book, namely forgiveness and the power of narrative. Only through forgiveness can one hope to find peace, and only through telling personal narratives of forgiveness can Immaculée’s message, that is it better to forgive than to hate, be spread.