by Kayla Raymond
Where does one begin when the story you want to tell doesn’t even seem real? None of the details make sense and the outcome is surreal.
It was like any other Sunday morning. Getting ready for church, chowing down on some pancakes and arguing with Loveson over which clothes to wear – he’s a total fashionista and always wanting to wear his best. I got a call from some staff at Tytoo that they were rushing my godchild, Rosie, daughter to a ViBella employee, to the hospital. She didn’t look good and was told to pray. I posted a quick message to Facebook saying we needed prayers and headed to church.
After church I had received another message that we should consider coming to the hospital with mom, Judeline, because things were not looking better. I really didn’t take the severity in their tone very seriously. I mean, Rosie came to visit us all the time at ViBella. She was only 13-months-old, beautiful and healthy. She had just started walking two weeks ago. The possibility of saying good-bye was so irrational; I couldn’t wrap my head around it.
We arrived at the hospital to only hear a very depressing diagnosis. Her pneumonia had turned into an acute respiratory infection and her body was in shock. Two nurses stood beside her as a machine was breathing for her. Mom didn’t even want to see the baby.
We prayed. We prayed one of those prayers where you just cry for God to show up. We prayed for miracles and grace.
My hands shook and body trembled as I knelt on my knees next to Judeline. This really couldn’t be happening, could it?
This past Thursday morning Judeline had asked for money to take Rosie to a clinic because she had a fever and cough. They gave her antibiotics, if something was seriously wrong we would have known it then, shouldn’t we have? Friday and Saturday were really busy days, I hadn’t heard anything, I figured it was a small bug and I would see Rosie struttin’ around next week.
We headed home from the hospital. Dad had decided to take the night shift and we would switch out in the morning. I dropped Judeline off at her house and went home. I couldn’t just sit there, though, so I decided to head back to Simonette. I rounded up a few other ViBella employees and we decided to go and pray with her.
Judeline has a small house. Her bed is in the back room with a table next to it. All of Rosie’s shoes were lined up perfectly on top, a reminder that she’s a good mom. This all had to be a mistake. Judeline sat on her bed with her tattered Bible on her lap as the three ladies began to sing and pray.
As they were praying, a song came to me that we always sing in Creole, it translates to:
Lord, we believe that you are God.
Yes, I believe you reign on high.
Yes, I believe that you died
And, I believe that you rose again.
Yes, you are Lord of my life.
Yes, you are the presence of peace.
Yes, I believe you have power,
And, I believe you are reigning on high.
And this image of God reigning on high came to me; an image that he reins among us and his spirit is on us. His spirit and presence was in that room as Judeline trembled and cried on her bed.
A few moments later I was tapped on the shoulder and was told we had to go get Rosie and the dad. It was over. God had taken her home. The worst part was that I had to tell mom now.
I had a flashback to the day when I took Rosie home from the hospital. It was the first baby I had ever brought home. Judeline had gone into labor that morning, we rushed her to the hospital and by the end of the workday we have a baby girl. I carried her in my arms as the family welcomed her home.
How was this coming full circle? I watched Judeline receive the news; she wanted to run away from me, run from it all. I told her I was going to go get Rosie for her, which really, was the last thing in the world I wanted to do.
After picking up baby and dad, we asked him how he was doing. He responded, “It says in the Bible in the book of Job, God gives and he can take away. Today he took away Rosie.” Shivers ran through my spine.
We eventually made it back to Simonette. The event had drawn a large crowd around Judeline’s home. There was screaming and crying. It was dark. I didn’t know what to make of the event. It all still seemed so surreal.
I knelt before her and said I see Rosie dancing with Jesus tonight. I don’t know why she’s gone and I’m so so sorry she is. I told her I loved her. I would be back tomorrow.
It’s 4:30 in the morning now. Tomorrow morning is getting closer. We will say good-bye to Rosie soon. I’ve never been a to a Haitian funeral, let alone one for a baby, a baby that I loved and knew from day one. When I started writing, I thought by the end I would have made sense of this all. But, I haven’t.
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” -Job 1:21
It is Tuesday afternoon now. Yesterday we said good-bye to Rosie. This is really the hardest blog to write. I have so much to say, yet no words are coming to me. The only thing I do know is that Judeline and I are so incredibly blessed by our Vi Bella family.
Sometimes Vi Bella seems like some propaganda scheme, a nice story about helping women in poverty. Giving people a nice excuse to buy jewelry. But, I tell you what, it is so much more than that. Yesterday we cried together. Yesterday we stood behind our sister. We spent the day together it was amazing to feel like such a real family as we gathered in my home. I’m not saying these things just to say something nice, but saying it all because I mean it with my whole heart.
I find it incredible that God chose 9 broken people, He turned us into artists and allows us to do life together. Most days consist of stringing jewelry on a balcony porch in an atmosphere of laughter and joy. Yesterday was a hard day for us all. But, I wouldn’t have, and I’m sure Judeline wouldn’t have, been able to get through this tragedy without our Vi Bella family.
After dinner, everyone began to get ready to go home and Judeline shyly confessed to me that she’s didn’t feel ready to sleep in her bed without Rosie quite yet. (Most Haitian babies won’t ever sleep in a crib, but sleep in bed with mom.) So, we prepared a bed for Judeline, ate a turkey sandwich and I watched Judeline fall asleep on my couch on her first night without her baby daughter.
Today was a quiet day at Vi Bella. I’m not sure where we go from here, but I find comfort that we are going to go there together.
I miss you baby Rosie and I love you. I will try to take care of your mom the best I can, she loves and misses you, too.