The past 4 days have been hard. Full of sorrow, full of planning, full of love. Monday morning, we got a call that one of the little girls at the orphanage had died in her sleep.
7 1/2 year old Gasalina was healthy and playing Sunday night before she went to sleep and she never woke up Monday morning. The girls who share her room found her not breathing when they woke up. Mme Soliette said that Gasalina struggled with asthma, and in this heat, that is the only thing we can come up with about any reason she may have died. We will probably never know because an autopsy will not be performed.
Craig and I spent most of Monday afternoon crying with and holding Mme Soliette, the other women workers and lots of the kiddos up at the orphanage. It was an honor to be able to be with them during this awful time. So many of them have gone through so much already and to lose a sister is just heartbreaking. Gasalina's little 4 year old sister Lovenchise was also in Mme Soliette's care and Craig and I were able to snuggle her and love on her as well.
Not all of the children at the orphanage are actual "orphans." Some of the parents make a tremendously difficult decision to transfer custody to Mme Soliette because they don't feel that they can adequately care for their child for a number of reasons - mental health, poverty, illness, etc. Mme. Soliette then has the difficult task of either accepting the children or turning them away. A year ago, Mme Soliette was asked to consider taking these two girls in at the orphanage from a village at the other side of the island. Their mother did not have enough money to care for them properly and their father was not in the picture. This past Monday, Mme Soliette had to contact their mother and tell her the news which I'm sure you can imagine was very difficult. A meeting will take place tomorrow to discuss if the little sister will stay at the orphanage or move back with her mother.
Wednesday morning, Craig and I met with Mme Soliette, Joanne, Bee (our interpreter) and the pastor of the church where the funeral would take place. We were honored that Mme Soliette and Joanne asked us to be a part of planning the service. Mme Soliette also asked if Craig and I would either say something or sing a song at the service. Again we were overwhelmed that they would ask and said that we would be happy to. Craig drove Mme Soliette around all morning buying supplies for the dinners that she would have to provide for family and friends who traveled to town for the funeral.
Today was the funeral. It was so very sad to see all of the children grieving. Funerals in Haiti are a lot different than in the United States. I almost think that their grieving process is healthier that ours back home. We repress so much. They just let it out. There was a lot of crying, wailing, screaming, etc. Some think that this is a show, which it may be, but I feel that it is a healthy way to get your sorrow out - deal with it.
Gasalina's body will be taken back to her village to be buried. Life will go on. The children will grieve, and they will remember, but they'll be okay. I'm so thankful that we were able to be here for them this week. We really didn't know what this last week would have in store for us. We were wrapping things up...finishing what needed finished and really just counting the days. God had a plan and His timing is perfect. We had a purpose this week. We were supposed to be here for this time.
Hannah Spear played violin and Craig played the piano
We debated bringing Morgan, but she was insistent. Love this pic.
Some of the kiddos from the orphanage singing a song.
Leaving the church.
In Haiti, there is a parade/processional with a band, etc. after the funeral. Usually you would walk to the grave site, but since it's an hour and a half drive, we won't try to walk there :)
I read some verses last night that I wanted to add this morning that really spoke to my heart -
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 & 16-18
"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."