Monday, March 23, 2009

His name was Widelson Michel

He was five years old. This is him. His body was filled with so much fluid, he looked 8 months pregnant.

He was from Jacmel. His mother, Bienaise, 27, slept by his crib Wednesday night. She didn't really sleep because she was so worried about him. Instead, she watched, waited, while Widelson slept in her arms.

She told us, "I am afraid for him. I have no money. I don't know what I can do for him. Only God knows what will happen to my son. I cry a lot because I'm not able to help him."

A mother's worst fear... and she had no money. Her husband was injured in an accident while farming with a machete. So he can't work right now.

No money, a severely ill child.

Widelson is the little boy with the severe liver problem. The doctor treating him told us that his liver shrank to the size of a small plum.

The only thing that could save him was a liver transplant. But we had to do something. The doctor who was treating him said he could do surgery to drain the fluids from his body, but eventually he'd suffer from the same since his liver was failing. The doctor is a good guy, who cares.

We left Haiti and today I'm back at the office. I heard from our Haiti office.

The doctor did the surgery on Friday. Widelson died as a result of complications. The doctor said that with his condition, it was a miracle every 15 seconds he lived.

I heard the news, broke into tears and left the office to recover. I sat outside for a long while, trying not to think.

See, you think too much about stuff like this, little boys who never even had a fighting chance because they contracted hepatitis or they were malnourished and their immune system shot to s**t or simply because they were poor...

And you could just go nuts.

Sometimes it feels like it doesn't matter what we do. You try your best, and they die anyway. They slip through your fingers like tiny grains of sand, invisible to most of the world.

I felt like I had to mention his name here, post his photo, to validate his 5 years on this planet. To make him count, instead of being another sad statistic that's rattled off in a blizzard of sad statistics.

I realize some people want to read romance authors' blogs for the fun of it, to see what they're working on, to get an idea of what goes on, to celebrate the fun of romance. I know other authors have blogs where they talk about their WIP, or their contracts, or their kudos, their great news.

And I talk about kids I've met who died. This is the reality of my life... some days I really, really wish I wouldn't have the faces of little kids like Widelson haunting my sleep and hopeless feeling that what I do, some days, doesn't mean anything because they die anyway. Sometimes the futility of it all just overwhelms me.

I'm definitely taking a break from blogging. I have nothing good to report, and this blog is just too depressing, anyway.


Mary Ricksen said...

Bonnie, I am no expert in anything, but it sounds to me like you are doing the best you can to help. Some people go through life never even thinking about people like him, what a sad thing that is.
If you made one person more comfortable, if you gave one person a shoulder to cry on, if you spent time caring or crying about some one less fortunate, or had a job that put you in the middle of it, if you did any of these things you did something. In the long run, you of all people know why you do it, it's your heart.
There are those who don't care, they are the losers.
Who would have been with that boys mother, to comfort her? Who was there?
You are such a good person Bonnie, and in this world the reward for that is purely personal.
But there is a reason you went there, a reason you do this, and that is so hard to understand. Unless you sit where I am sitting. Then it's is just because you are amazing.

Gillian Layne said...

You're amazing to me too, Bonnie. And I really believe all those little differences you say you make are just as important. God Bless you.

Norah Wilson said...

I'm so sorry about that little boy. And that poor mother. But you were there to care about him and abouther. And what you do, personalizing these stories to lift the rest of us momentarily out of our petty, self-involved lifes, is PRICELESS. It's a horrible injustice that that child died, merely because of his circumstances. You should be angry. We should all be angry and appalled. I know it takes a terrible toll on you, but what you do matters enormously. Because if you didn't do it, the world goes blithely on, and it would never know about this boy or his mother or the other children.
Big hugs.