||June 19th, 2008|
This is one of an occasional series of columns from Desiree,
serving an orphanage in the Republic of Uzbekistan, (formerly part of the USSR).
Should I have stayed and watched the child die? What could I have done? There’s something about a life leaving that as much as I wanted to turn and run, something held me in the room, as if I were whipped around in a vacuum. The doctors rushed in, two women were weeping off to the side and all the other children had already been put in the sleeping room for their afternoon nap. It was deathly quiet.
The stethoscope hung useless over the doctor’s neck and I stood the same. The room stood still, but I was spinning inside its vacuum. My body wouldn’t budge, not even one step closer to the child. Something in me only allowed me to stand at the other end of the room. Time, though fading for this child, seemed to standstill in the room. How can that be?
Everyone spoke in whispers. The child’s body was unearthly; more like a pile of misplaced bones with a person somewhere near, but not close enough to occupy the frame. He looked cold though it was more than 100 degrees in the room. My tears were indistinguishable from my sweat. I prayed for mercy. There was nothing I could do. My desire to hold him was dashed by some idea that it was better not to touch him; not to cause him any discomfort of movement (or maybe I was thinking about myself) – besides my body stood at the other side of the room.
My attention turned to the women sniffling; they had only been here once before and I was worried this would now be their last. As if we all knew, and without a word spoken, we exited the room in one motion. To watch visual suffering and to be helpless to do anything about it only added to the pain of losing this child. We debriefed on the ride home and again prayed: prayed for the strength to respond out of love, rather than fear; prayed that a child abandoned, would be a child welcomed Home.
sponsored by Uzbekistan and Humanity, Inc
(in partnership with People International - www.GoPeople.org)
All contributions can be sent to:
Uzbekistan & Humanity Inc
Mission Viejo, CA 92690-4224