by Kayla Raymond
Two months after baby Noel’s death, baby Rosie came home safely from the hospital. I had had our driver take mama Judeline to the hospital early that morning with a cousin, knowing I wasn’t fit to be a part of another delivery. We got news early afternoon that baby had been born and I was honored to go pick up mom and baby from the hospital and bring them both home safely. I just went and dug through pictures to reminisce on this homecoming.
A year later, we celebrated her first birthday and I gifted her a little pair of Nike tennis shoes as she had just started walking.
It was a Thursday in the following month; I was headed to the beach with a group of friends. I had made a stop by my workplace to check in before heading out for the day. Before leaving, Judeline pulled me aside before I left and told me how Rosie wasn’t feeling well and she wanted to take her to a clinic. I never heard from her again over the week-end, so I assumed everything was fine.
Sunday morning I got a call from the nurse who was living and working at Tytoo at the time that Rosie’s dad had shown up at the gate with Rosie and she was in pretty critical condition. They were rushing her to the hospital and would update me once they got there. I headed to church and after the service was done, I received news that things did not look good for little Rosie. So, at that point I headed to Judeline’s house to take her to the hospital and visit with the doctor.
Webert and I, along with both of the parents, sat in a small room as the doctor explained how Rosie’s pneumonia had gone septic and it was going to be very hard for her to recover from. The dad decided he would spend the night at the hospital with Rosie and we would bring Judeline back in the morning.
Haitian hospitals don’t have nurses to tend to you, like we have here in America. They also don’t have food services or bathrooms with showers. So, if you know you’re going to be spending a few days at the hospital, you need to come prepared with clothes, food, etc. I say that all to explain why Judeline made the decision to leave the hospital; she was going home to pack bags as she intended to be at the hospital until Rosie had recovered.
After returning back to Simonette with Judeline, I went and gathered up some of the women we worked with and we headed to her house to pray with her and for Rosie. Our time together ended with some worship and as we were singing, chills swept through me from head to toes. I’ll never forget how intense those chills were and today I believe it was Rosie’s spirit passing through before going to be with Jesus.
A few moments after the chills passed, I felt a gentle tap on my shoulders. I stepped outside of Judeline’s small home as her cousin told me she had received a phone call and Rosie had passed away. I’ll never forget the way Judeline collapsed into Yolande’s arms and screamed as we told her the news. Since there wasn’t enough room in the small truck I had at the time, Judeline asked me to go to the hospital and pick up Rosie and dad.
We buried Rosie the next morning and I’ll also never forget the way Judeline wept inside her home as the funeral took place outside her home on a small slab of cement. I sat on her bed and asked her if she wanted to go to the cometary and bury Rosie, but she said she just couldn’t. So, she curled into my lap as they walked away with a homemade casket made of wood, wrapped in white linens.
Rosie’s funeral was my first Haitian funeral and it was a culture shock to see how quickly they bury little ones. Maybe you’re wondering what happened to baby Noel? His body was left at the hospital and we never even had a funeral for him. It’s still something I’ll never understand: why they bury the little ones so quickly.
People always ask me where the name Rosie comes from for my boutique and it’s in her honor. It’s been a privilege to run my business in her honor, knowing her legacy lives on through a business that brings hope and change to so many other lives.
Today, Judeline manages the production of Beljoy jewelry and we both have daughters the same age. Some of my favorite moments have been watching Rubie and Gracie play as Judeline and I do quality control and work side by side. I never thought we would recover after that painful day, but we sure have made it a full circle story of redemption.