Today, Emory Wilson, a missionary friend of mine picked me up in Titanyen to go to Port au Prince with him and hang out for part of the day. Then, we would go back to Titanyen, pick up my wife and kids, and head out to Berci to spend the night at an orphanage.
When he picked me up, the first thing I noticed as I got in the back seat was a tiny and precious little baby boy named Edner who looked like he was about 3 months old. I found out that he was more like 10 months old. The only thing that was of normal size on this emaciated baby was his big beautiful brown eyes. The rest was skin sagging on bones, especially his tiny belly that was just a wrinkled pile of skin. The story of Edner was that he was brought into one of the medical clinics that my missionary friend was hosting in Gonaives. The mother obviously had not been caring for him properly. The mother knew that Edner needed proper care, so she allowed my friend to bring him to Port au Prince where he would be brought to a home run by another missionary who specifically cares for ailing infants and tries to nurse them back to health so that they can be reunited with their mothers.
I was privileged to be able to hold Edner for part of the ride and kiss him and try to get him to smile, even though he would not smile or cry because he was so emaciated. We fed him some pedi-lite and we were happy to see that he finally started taking it, even though it was just in small drops.
The doctor that was with us stated that Edner will be ok and that he should grow up to be a big strong boy. We dropped off Edner at the home where he would be nursed back to health. We placed him in good hands with a missionary that has devoted her life to nursing sick children back to health. We said goodbye to Edner with strong hopes of seeing him again soon.
Just a few hours later, we got a phone call that Edner died. I am shocked. I am sad. It was surreal. I was just holding Edner. I was just kissing Edner. I was just making funny faces at him and trying to get him to squeeze my fingers. And now he is gone. The only thing that I can rejoice in is that he is in heaven with the Lord of glory and the Father of the fatherless. I can also rejoice to know that the last few hours of Edner’s life may very well have been his best. He was held by many loving arms. He was caressed all over his tiny little body. He was “adopted” or “claimed” by many of the people that held him. He got a new momma, grandma, daddy, cousins, etc. Everybody wanted to share a part of Edner’s life. We all just hoped that that part would have lasted much longer. But we rejoice because Edner was loved just before he left this world. And we will see Edner again in heaven. He is a beautiful baby boy.
This is just all too real and all too common here in Haiti. It is so common that mothers don’t really get attached to an infant because there is a good chance that the infant will not survive. That is so sad. I am glad that I got attached to Edner. Perhaps we were serving as angels to him ushering him into glory. I wouldn’t trade that for the world.