The Truth Told from a Heart in Love
Not every experience in life will turn out how you plan. Oftentimes, tragedy strikes when you least expect it—but sometimes, those are the moments when you learn to trust in your faith the most. Louise Troh found herself in the midst of heartache and pain last fall. What she thought was going to be a joyous occasion of her fiancé finally coming to the United States to be with her turned into an event that made the entire nation enter into a state of panic. Troh’s fiancé was Thomas Eric Duncan, who came to America from Liberia to be with the woman he loved. He was also the first patient to be diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S. For Troh, it’s not exactly a title she wants Duncan to be remembered by.
“Ebola is not something you want to say a loved one has,” Troh said. “It’s so disgusting for your loved one to bear a name like that: the first Ebola patient. It’s like a nightmare.”
Troh originally met Duncan almost 21 years ago in the Ivory Coast, but she moved to America in 1998 and found herself in Dallas in 2000. Over the years, Troh and Duncan kept in touch, and both had other relationships that didn’t last. The two have a son together, Karsiah, who came to live with Troh in America in 2006 when he was 10 years old. Last fall, Duncan was finally going to be reunited with his family. However, plans changed when Duncan soon found himself isolated in the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. It wasn’t long before Troh—and the rest of the country—learned that Duncan had contracted Ebola before he left Liberia.
There was much controversy and debate throughout the nation on whether or not the hospital handled everything correctly with Duncan as a patient. Troh felt afraid. She was unable to see the man she loved and was left with so many questions growing within her. Because Duncan had been in her apartment, she and her family were forced into their own isolation, while men in hazmat suits removed everything from her home. When Duncan died, Troh’s pain deepened, but she knew that it was a time to trust God and His ultimate plan more than ever.
“I was speechless, numb, dead within myself,” Troh said. “I was very afraid and kept asking God if I was going to die. What we don’t know, God knows. No one can question God, but I thank Him every time I recover from pain.”
This life-altering experience led Troh—along with New York Times bestselling author and journalist Christine Wicker—to write her first book, My Spirit Took You In: The Romance that Sparked an Epidemic of Fear, which she hopes will speak truth to others. She wants people to know the story and see her fiancé not as a man who brought Ebola to the United States, but as a man who endured a horrific illness as he fought to be with the woman he loved. In My Spirit Took You In, Troh speaks of her beloved in a way that makes the reader feel the pain of her loss.
“Eric was one of many people I loved in my life, but always I loved him in a special way,” she wrote. “I can’t say why; it was like God picked us for each other. Our spirits knew each other from that first day when he called out to me on a dusty road in Danané.”
Troh said the intent of her book is not meant to be vindictive or seek to blame or harm others—rather, she simply wants to bring to light the truth of her story. There are questions that have never been answered:
How did Troh and her family not contract Ebola, though Duncan stayed with them and shared meals and clothing with them? Was Duncan aware of his virus prior to coming to the U.S.?
Troh doesn’t have the answers, but she also knows she doesn’t have to have everything figured out. But, what she does know is that she doesn’t want what happened to Duncan to be misconstrued.
“Let people hear the truth—I want the truth to be heard,” Troh said. “We have no control over some of the things that happen in life. We just have to believe. Suing cannot bring a loved person back. Money can’t bring him back. I know God will remember him. The truth is in this book. God spoke to me that I need to get the truth out through this book, and I’ll give everything to God.”