Sunsets are loved for the beauty and relaxation they offer and the way they usher in the end of a, sometimes, long day. We also use the word “sunset” to describe the ending of a part of a time in our lives. This evening held a beautiful sunset in Haiti but it also held the weight of mourning for a man who had died during the early morning hours.
As we walked to Gabby’s for breakfast this morning, I could feel a quiet that I have experienced in Haiti that can only be described as ”heavy”. The harbinger of a riot around the corner or a death. As we turned the corner, the heaviness grew and I saw people standing around and the familiar wailing from a home. All eyes directed at the mourners, I stopped saying “bonjou” and fell quiet as we passed the home. Gabby explained that a man had fallen from a tree and died. He was about my age and probably believed he had many years ahead of him. I hope that I have my best years ahead, but we really never know.
We had a good day at the clinic but too many babies with high fevers. The pall of the man’s death made me fear for these vulnerable little ones even more. As we walked back at the end of the day, I heard the wailing behind me. I turned and it was the man’s mother. She was wandering the streets alone. I wrapped my arms around her and walked her home. As we walked, she had a rhythmic cry and words that came deep from her broken heart. Neighbors watched as she neared her home with tears in their eyes and gathered in the street once again.
When we returned back to Son-Son’s home, the wailing had faded in the distance and a beautiful sunset colored the sky.