When Death Comes Stealing
January 15, 2010
The numbers are incomprehensible — 50,000, 100,000, half a million. Perhaps we’ll never know — never have the accurate accounting of the unspeakable loss mother Haiti has suffered at the hands of a massive earthquake that shook the small, impoverished Caribbean country to its core.
There are small glimmers of hope — a church group lost and then found, a missionary and child advocate pulled from the rubble of the orphanage where she taught and inspired.
I try to hold on to those shiny pieces — need to. But the dark cloud of death hangs low and thick over the light, billowing over and under and all through mother Haiti. Mothers and fathers are burying their children. Aunties and uncles and cousins and neighbors are digging through the rubble, desperate for life to rise up from the ashes.
And all I can think about is the babies. The ones who lost all they had and knew and loved — in the quiet moment between one quick second, and then the next. My heart is absolutely shattered. Because as a mom, I know what I mean to my babies. The pain of loss the children of Haiti are suffering is visceral. Searing. Late at night, when those babies are on my mind, I can hear them crying out. And my heart breaks all over again.
I have no pretty words to make it all better — can’t find the nouns and verbs and adjectives to console. Because what has happened is an ugly thing. Something that’s hard to look in the face and take head on. Something that requires much more than our news-led drive-by concern.
This shouldn’t have happened.
And those babies shouldn’t be without their mamas and their daddies.
And though memories are great, having their parents here, in the presence of the living — to love and to hold and to cherish and to be with — is just better.
And being told to be strong in such a time of incredible vulnerability just seems so… so… trite.
These babies have the right to their parents. And their incredible sadness. And their deep wanting.
For things to be as they were.
But they never will be again.
Pray for Haiti—and especially its babies. God bless each and every one of you.
To help the people of Haiti:
Text YELE to 501501 to donate $5 to the Yele Haiti Earthquake Fund, an organization run by the Haitian-born, Grammy Award-winning singer and producer, Wycleff Jean.
Text HAITI to 90999 to give $10 to the Red Cross.
Text HAITI to 20222 and $10 will be donated to relief efforts by The Clinton Foundation.
Each of these donations will be charged to your cell phone bill.