Today was a tough day. It is hard to write this blog as really I am at a loss of words to say. Today was the first day I visited the mass grave. I have not been able to emotionally visit it before now but it was time. Laurens and I slipped away together for some private closure and Laurens was reminded of the last time he had been. That time he had seen the rows and rows of pits full of bodies.
|The massive area more than 70 000 people are dumped to rest in mass graves|
The crosses stood in rows and I was reminded of the poem “In Flanders Fields”. They represent almost 300 000 people who lost their lives 1 year ago. A large cross sits atop the hill that looks over the site of the mass grave like a soldier standing firm. The banner stretching out beside it reads, "12 Janvye Nou Pap Janm Bliye" (12 January We Will Never Forget...). Another large cross commemorates those lost; the base it stands on only partially finished by the time the anniversary comes around, a small reminder that is typical of Haiti.
|Hundreds of crosses commemorate the dead|
|Cross on the hill|
People are scattered around, some curious visitors but most grieving people like us, mourning the loss of so many. We connect with a lady who cries out, “Se’m te mouri!!” which means, “My sister died”. She shares her story of how her sister’s house fell on her, her body lying limp in the street. She tells us of the dump trucks coming and picking up all the bodies including her sister’s before she could figure out how to do a funeral for her. No closure.
I think that is what we are all looking for today. Closure. We are ready to move on but it is hard and today is a grim reminder of the pain. The memories of the injured and dead flood back while looking across the graves. The memories of the stench of decaying bodies under buildings flood back and I question the why behind the bible telling us in the days before the Lord returns there will be earthquakes in the lands.
This morning I left my ER radio and phone behind for 2 hours. I thought I could get away with it. I mostly could but nearing the 2 hour mark, I was summoned out of church to help with an ER case.
Our visiting paramedic, doc and resident nurses dealt with the emergency under Laurens' direction/help so thankfully I was only needed to secure a transfer location. I was surprised by my mind's reaction. There was nothing out of the ordinary with this case and I did not have to be involved much but for a short time, it brought back the fear of the earthquake and the sorrow and pain of the more than 150 trauma victims we treated exactly one year ago today. Seeing this woman lying there under a white clinic sheet not responsive was a grave reminder of the past.
Our mission had two special church services today. I am struck again by the tenacity of our Haitian friends' lives. Their strength to move on. The joy in their worship of God who by His grace allowed us all to be standing in the church today. Their thankfulness to be alive, to have crawled out of broken buildings or to have just stepped outside moments before their building crashed down. Their thankfulness to be walking and breathing when so many are not. Their praise of God in His awesome power that they have a chance to still make a difference in the lives of others. We have been given a second chance. Life is so precious and can be gone in a second. We have learned over the past 2 1/2 years here in Haiti that each day is a gift and we must use it wisely.
As we looked out across the vast gravesite today we mourned. We wept. We prayed. We have been forever changed and we hope never to forget......