Friday, September 9, 2011

Once was already too often. Twice is unbearable.

In late November last year, my friend's baby, Christopher, died of meningitis partly due to my mistakes in his care. It was an awful day; I will never forget weeping with his mother, Christine, and with my friend and clinic manager, Lucson.

A beautiful new beginning came in early summer when Christine gave birth to Chrystel. Baby Chrystel didn't only fill the void in Christine's heart; she also became the second chance for her older sister, Christina, to be "Other Mother". I met Chrystel upon my return to Haiti this August and I was deeply touched by the joy I saw in their faces.

On Wednesday, Christine came to pick up some formula for Chrystel who has been off the breast since she was hospitalized shortly after birth. Christine told me that the baby had cholera and was in a treatment center but when I responded with shock and concern, my friend assured me that the danger was past and the doctors said Chrystel was doing great. When I hugged Christine good-bye, I told her to please call me when Chrystel was discharged so that I would be at ease.

The call came the following morning at 7am. I was in a taptap going to clinic and I knew as soon as I heard Christine's voice on the line: Chrystel had died.

In some ways, it was worse than Christopher's death because I wasn't there to hold Christine and to cry with her. I walked to clinic, hid in one of the unfinished rooms, and cried for 20 minutes. And then I got up and started working. Because this is Haiti. We live with death in our faces every day. It's awful, but it keeps our compassion alive and our eyes on the only true constant that exists: Jesus.


tomgranowitz said...

i love you

The Carrolls said...

Thank you for sharing your story Kez. I wish I could have hugged you and cried with you! I am grateful for your perspective and the way you allow God to steer you toward him through your joys and sorrows. Love you!

rach said...

there is no prayer that does not end with an amen. i am sorry kez

GrowinginHim said...

Oh my heart! to have known and loved to babies and watch them both die. This is NOT just Haiti, this is third world countries around the world. Heartbreaking and so sad. I hurt for you all and pray that others will hear your story and decide to help!


Jenny Baldwin said...

Kez, i just this moment read about Christine's loss of yet another child. I found out about Christopher while working at the hospital and literally fell on the floor and sobbed. It was then I knew I would have to come back and keep coming back as long as I am able. My heart is broken for Christine. I told my partners I thought she was pregnant again but nobody else thought she was. how is she now and how is her family. If you see them please tell Christine I love her and am so sorry for her loss. I miss our nights watching the babies and playing "Crazy Eights" She won the next three hands after Lauren and I taught her the game. Keeping you ever in my prayers.