Our beloved Yirgalem Gebrekidan Gebremedhen was born on September 1, 1960 in the Adi Kuala region of Eritrea. She was the daughter of the beloved Gebrekidan Gebremedhen and Dahab Gebregerghis and a loving sister to the beloved Dahab, Tsehainesh, Girmay, Habtom, the beloved Abraham, Asmarom and Yewhans Gebrekidan. She is also survived by her 5 beautiful daughters Meron, Eden, Mary, Asmara, Rahel and her 5 grandchildren.
In 1977, when she became of age, Yirgalem joined many Eritrean youth as a Harenet independence fighter, with the Eritrean Liberation Front. She joined the medical team treating her fellow, sick and wounded, freedom fighters. When the Harenet fighters were pushed out of the country, Yirgalem with her eldest daughter Meron, the daughter of a martyred freedom fighter, fled to Kassala, Sudan to begin a new life. It was at this time, Yirgalem met Abraham Andom and in 1982 they were married. During her time in Kassala, she continued to work in the medical field while her husband Abraham was a gardener and photographer; they built and lived a beautiful and comfortable life.
By 1983, Yirgalem’s Uncle, along with his daughter, provided assistance for her and her family to relocate closer to them in Port Sudan and on July 9, 1983 they welcomed their daughter Eden. In 1984, Yirgalem, Abraham and their 2 daughters left behind the country they loved, their family, their people and emigrated to the United States arriving in Grand Forks, North Dakota to once again begin their new life. In 1985, they welcomed their 3rd daughter Mary and in 1988 their daughter Asmara was born.
As expected, life in a new country can be difficult as you often reflect on the memories of what you left behind, your country, your culture and family; in Grand Folks, North Dakota, at the time, there were only two Eritrean families present so it took the family even more time to acclimate. However, with time and patience they were able to adapt to the customs and culture of the American people and in 1990 they left North Dakota and arrived in Seattle, Washington, where they welcomed their youngest daughter Rahel.
Yirgalem and Abraham have raised their five daughters, while working, just as others within the community. Yirgalem was also known to be very smart and polished and proved to be a great sister to family and friends alike, she was loved by everyone in her community. It was in 2002, after a trip to Eritrea, when she discovered that both her kidneys had failed. Thereafter, she was on dialysis for 4 years and later became eligible for a kidney transplant, which allowed her to be surrounded by her family and friends for many more years to come. She was also able to fulfill her role as a mother and be a guiding light of hope to her daughters as she watched them grow and blossom into beautiful women. She was able to witness the birth of her 5 grandchildren and most recently the beautiful wedding of her daughter Rahel.
In her lifetime, Yirgalem was able to return to Eritrea 3 times and celebrate the freedom of the country she fought for, reuniting with her family and people she loved so much. In the fight for freedom, Yirgalem has always been a strong warrior. She was able to fight her illness for a long time, but in the end our beloved Yirgalem was taken from us on January 21, 2023.
The family would like to thank everyone who took the time to visit and care for Yirgalem, both in and out of the hospital. We also want to thank those who have grieved and mourned with us and provided us with support during this difficult time. May you all be forever blessed and may you let us return your favors in happier circumstances.
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