At the End of your Tears

Nothing left.

Emotions pushed to the brink.

Tears shed until no more are left.

What do you do when you find yourself at the end of your tears?

Just two days ago we rescued a group of seven children. I tried to know each and every name and each and every heartbreaking story. How much did they weigh, what were their symptoms and prognosis? Did they have any family? Were they going to make it? Did the rescue come in time?

I feverishly took notes, but after helping rescue more than 16 children in less that 48 hours, I must confess, they started to run together. Each new story seemed worse than the one before. Little details of little lives …

Yeterday I heard the words, I never wanted to hear … “we lost one”. I didn’t want to believe it. “One of the ones we rescued?”, I asked. As if it really mattered whether I was part of the rescue or not. But, it mattered to me. I know that not all the children make it, but I didn’t want one of the ones I helped rescue to lose their battle.

He was one of the seven. He had almost gone unnoticed. There were so many children that day and he did not get to ride in the ambulance. He rode along in another truck and in the rush of activity and chaos in the rescue center, I barely noticed him or his condition.

I knew I had details on each child, so I looked up my notes only to find this:

Nelson Alexander | 1 year old | 13 pounds | Malnutrition | Diarrhea

While his condition was certainly not good, it paled in comparison to the other children rescued that day.

But overnight, he had developed some breathing problems. And, in the early morning hours as they rushed him to the hospital, he died.

This beautiful boy who had been alive only hours before, was gone. He was the only son of his young 19-year-old mother.

There are not enough tears or words to express what I experienced yesterday. I will never forget it as long as I live.

As another group of children were coming in on a rescue and the staff was rushing around to treat each and every one, a funeral was happening on the porch of the rescue center.

The small white casket sat alone. The mother sat nearby knowing that these were the last moments that she would ever see the face of her little boy.

When I glanced in the casket, I could barely stand the sight. He looked so alive … just like he was sleeping.

Carlos and I gathered around the casket with the mother. He asked me to say a few words … what do you say to a mother who has lost her first and only child?

My words were few and I felt totally unprepared … but who would be prepared for something like this.

As I leaned over the casket I could not control my emotion and had to walk away … it was simply too much.

My crying turned to sobbing and I struggled to pull myself together.

As I walked back in the rescue center and just as I had calmed down, I realized the entire center was full … full of babies struggling and fighting for their lives.

My crying stopped – there were no tears left.

So, what do you do when you are at the end of your tears – when you are emotionally spent … done … and simply overwhelmed?

You fight. You fight for the ones you can still fight for and you let the ones you lose inspire you to keep going. For some we will simply be too late, but for so many others we will be just in time.

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