Last year, on September 22, 2019 I was involved in a very traumatic experience that ended in the loss of a precious Ecuadorian baby boy to a fatal accident. I tried to blog about it last year, to write about it, but I had a really difficult time wrapping my head around serving a good God, but experiencing a loss of this magnitude, a loss of innocence and purity in a baby. Here was the first email I wrote to my bosses explaining what happened:
We were driving to Mindo to go ziplining with my best friend and she had never been and were stopped due to an accident. There were a lot of people and they were running around frantically, so I went to see if I could help. There was a woman and a man who were on a motorcycle with a baby and they had cut in front of a bus trying to pass the bus and the bus clipped them. When I arrived, they baby was on the ground, crying and clearly in distress. Probably not more than a couple of months old. The baby had a severe head injury and I knew it would likely not make it. The baby decompensated and eventually needed CPR. Once police, paramedics and ambulance arrived we made a make shift immobilization and they had me carry the baby in the back of a police car, doing CPR while they took us, with the dad who arrived with the ambulance, to Nanegalito to the “hospital”. The physicians there had not seemed to see anything like before and after 45 minutes at the hospital, the baby was pronounced dead. It has been quite traumatic for me to be honest. I had nightmares and flashbacks the first few nights. I did better and then the protests hit so we kind of had a one track mind with that. This week I have had a few nights where I have had nightmares and some difficulty sleeping.
Soon after this happened, the protests started happening here in Ecuador, and grieving got put on the back burner a bit. Of course in my practice as a nurse and Nurse Practitioner, I have lost patients, I have even lost children and babies, but never as a first responder as I did last year. It changed me. It made me question, it made me grieve in a way I had not and I experienced a bit of PTSD from it which I didn’t realize at the time. Here is a journal entry I wrote a few days after the accident:
In reading “A book of prayers”, one line struck me…”In bread and wine we taste the great homecoming feast, and in the midst of death, we are in life”. This resonates with me as I feel so much of life continues in the midst of carrying death. I see life, love, growth, service all around me and there are times I just picture the little boy and flashback to being on the road, praying over him to live, then praying just crying out Jesus’ name in my head and out loud. Sometimes it seems a little too heavy to carry; death and life all at the same time. I keep hearing God’s goodness, provision throughout this story. I know God is good, it’s just hard reconciling a good, loving God taking a baby from the earth in such a traumatic and painful way. It just hurts my heart, my mom heart that a good and loving Father would do that.
Lamentations 3:22-23, 31, 55-57
In all honesty, I still struggle with this reconciliation of a good God allowing this. I know the Sunday school answer is that sin is in the world. Bad things happen and are allowed to happen. But that doesn’t always cushion the bad that does happen. That is OK.
Ironically, the song that was going in my head even in the midst of this accident was called Good and Loved. “I am good, you are loved” are the words that kept going over and over during the CPR, during rescue breaths. So, I know God knew that trying to reconcile this in my own heart and head would be difficult. I have resolved in my mind that I will likely not be able to reconcile it and that is OK. I know God is good and I know His heart breaks at the death of this baby, more than mine. He understands and carries the tears cried over this baby. I know God is still good and I know God cares and loves and that is enough.
I hesitated writing something as I knew it would bring up a lot of emotions. But I have also realized over the last few days that my demeanor has been different and I didn’t know why. But I now know it is still carrying this grief with me. As the 1st anniversary passed of this accident, it was almost not spoken of, but I am glad I am now able to give voice and words to the grief. Even after a year I can still carry death and life at the same time. Yes it is still hard and yes I see things that remind me of this day and allowing it to be felt is not easy. I would rather push that pain away, but to feel it and carry it reminds me to not forget. I never heard the baby’s name, only that he was a little boy and I guessed his age as 2 to 3 months. But I remember and I won’t forget.