Antoine Leiris lost his wife of 12 years, Helene Muyal-Leiris, in the attacks in Paris last Friday.

Below,  his heart-wrenching tribute to her and defiant message to the terrorists (who I will not give the dignity of naming)


“Friday night, you took an exceptional life – the love of my life, the mother of my son – but you will not have my hatred. I don’t know who you are and I don’t want to know, you are dead souls. If this God, for whom you kill blindly, made us in his image, every bullet in the body of my wife would have been one more wound in his heart.

So, no, I will not grant you the gift of my hatred. You’re asking for it, but responding to hatred with anger is falling victim to the same ignorance that has made you what you are. You want me to be scared, to view my countrymen with mistrust, to sacrifice my liberty for my security. You lost.

I saw her this morning. Finally, after nights and days of waiting. She was just as beautiful as when she left on Friday night, just as beautiful as when I fell hopelessly in love over 12 years ago. Of course I am devastated by this pain, I give you this little victory, but the pain will be short-lived. I know that she will be with us every day and that we will find ourselves again in this paradise of free love to which you have no access.

We are just two, my son and me, but we are stronger than all the armies in the world. I don’t have any more time to devote to you, I have to join Melvil who is waking up from his nap. He is barely 17-months-old. He will eat his meals as usual, and then we are going to play as usual, and for his whole life this little boy will threaten you by being happy and free. Because no, you will not have his hatred either.”

Antoine Leiris Tribute 


  1. I am speechless. That was an absolutely beautiful and beautifully worded tribute. I am so sorry for both his and his son’s loss. They, and the other victims, have my deepest sympathies. I hope this tribute is reposted for everyone to see and follow.

  2. I live near the border of Belgium, where these terrorists came from. There is a lot of fear and, sadly, an increase of distrust and hatred to the refugees that come to my country. So i can only say: CHAPEAU to this amazing man! A man who lost the love of his life but does not let hate into his heart. A great example to us all….

  3. Thank you so much for posting this. My family and I spoke about “what to do” in the face of terrorism. Although we have been taught to “fight back” – I think we all should know by now that this only escalates the violence and hatred. It is going to take a huge shift in consciousness to address all that is happening in the world. We must also remember that there is such sweetness and beauty and so many wonderful people doing their best.

  4. If only the men that took Helene’s life, could begin to comprehend Antoine’s words,……how can we reach and teach men and women that are so lost in this world, filled with hatred, evil and despise?….. they do not see how life can be so beautiful, and that laughter and love is so easily achieved……they need to see the earth that we live on for such a very short time is indeed a wonder, and an adventure………the question is: how do we reach them and have them understand this ? I am sorry baby Melvil, you are innocent………

    We must not run from this evil, We must stand up against it, freedom is not free.

  5. I can not imagine his pain. God, I hope I will never have to. But, his message is one of surviving an horrific act of violence, and making a life for himself and his son. His love, and his memory of his wife, will transcend this act of hatred. My heart goes out to all of the victims of this horrific attack on humanity.

  6. Heartbreaking! What a beautiful response to this horrid hatred. Like Martin Luther King said, ” Hate cannot drive out hatred, only love can do that.” I hope the whole world see this. Love you for sharing this. Kim

  7. Slim,
    This literally sent chills from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet. I am so very sad that we as loving citizens do not feel safe. It makes me sad for my children, my grandchildren, my friends both here and afar. We must stand up to these monsters. I love Beryl’s comment above. If only those filled with hatred could understand the beauty that is life. Thank you for posting this my dear friend. xxxooo kb

  8. So moving! So full of truth and passion. There is a Holy anger…that is righteous and pure! I feel this in the wake of terrorism. May we all have this kind of anger….one that will stand against evil in the world and within ourselves, no matter how small it is.

  9. What an amazing man. This brought tears to my eyes. As I sit here watching my two sons eat breakfast, I’m reminded of how blessed I am and hope that someday our world will be a better place.

  10. Such a beautiful tribute. This man will miss his wife every day for the rest of his life. . God willing, he will meet someone who will not replace her but who will bring he and his son happiness.

    The terrorists have no respect for human life. They deserve any and all harm that comes to them.


  11. Wow. I’ll tell you one thing Slim:that man is WAY stronger than me on the inside. If I were a man and I lost a wife like that, I would start plotting my own revenge (if you know what I mean.)

  12. Thank you for sharing this. Too often we ignore those left behind, especially when the headlines cycle off the Facebook threads and newscasts. These are the other victims of that horrible night in Paris and, I fear, other times and places to come. A sobering reminder of how precious life is.

  13. I don’t even know what to say . . . there is so much grace in his response. Amazing. And he’s right; he has to go on for himself and the baby and her memory and for what’s right in the world! Thank you for sharing! And yes; I think of all the victims and their families and loved ones. It is so so difficult to try to understand why and how people live with so much hate in their heads and hearts!? One can’t understand it, I guess.

  14. So beautifully worded but I am afraid it falls on deaf ears. We must not hate and we must not hide but we must fight back so that his little Melvil does not have to deal with this when he grows up. And what a lucky woman she was to be loved like that!

  15. Thank you for sharing this. I feel shamed that I feel hatred for these soulless, barbaric, weak, men and women. Love will win in the end. It has to.

  16. Antoine is living the way GOD wants us to live. Antoine knows that GOD is going to see that he and is little boy will live happy here on earth until they meet their loved one again. AND, yes they will meet again because of Antoine’s heart, living the GODLY way……AND yes they will meet again!!!! SATAN never wins when you live for GOD………..
    Great testament from Antoine!
    Thank you Slim for this post, just a refresher how to live ever day.

  17. Such a beautiful woman in her prime. Antoine is at a whole other level of intelligence. His love and comprehension of his loss is so pure and tugs at the heart strings. May he and his son be continued to be blessed with this incredible gift.
    Helen Tilston

  18. Sad but thoughtful epitaph…He’s a more forgiving person than me…I understand it’s about not wasting his energy on hate….

  19. Yes! We will live our lives to the fullest at each moment. Not giving an ounce to these individuals who have lost their humanity. We will be receptive to the refugees who seek asylum within the safety of our borders because we have been incredibly blessed. We will silence those politicians who seek to advance their political agendas with our votes against their bigotry.

  20. Beautiful tribute and very moving….and a poignant reminded to us that life is indeed so short and we could be gone in a blink of an eye. I am sure he didn’t expect his wife to be taken away at this point in her life especially having a toddler and all of that. Thanks for sharing this Slim. Btw, I found your blog a couple of years back and though I only left a comment a few times before, I’ve been following you and love your blog. I especially like your sense of humour and impeccable style.

  21. This amazing man and his beautiful letter show exactly what grace looks like. May God bless him and little Melvil as they continue on. They interviewed Antoine on CNN yesterday and he was so full of peace. One thing he said over and over that will stay with me, along with his letter: “We stand.” I stand with him, as I know we all do. Thanks for posting, Slim. It’s so important that we honor love and kindness in these times. xoxo

  22. That was very beautiful in the face of such an ugly senseless act. Although, I know because my son’s father was killed when our son was 15, that in that moment of disbelief and horror you are determined to keep a level keel. But it rarely works that way. Grief has it’s own life-force and it doesn’t respond to will power, I’ve found anyway. But I wish this husband and son all the healing and grace that Paris offers in abundance.

    My son is a French citizen who attended grad school in Paris and lived in the 10th. He still lives in Europe and both of us said we’d go back to Paris in a second unafraid. I’d esp love to be in the Church of Mary the Miracle on Rue du Bac.

    These attacks all follow a formula. Same military precision by those dressed in black, innocents attacked, passports left at each spot: 911, 711, Charlie Hebdo, the Bataclan.

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