Monday, April 15, 2013

Notes from a Funeral

It is a no good, very bad, terrible, horrible thing to attend a funeral- especially a funeral of someone who dies young. I realized as I sat on a wooden, rickety church pew Sunday evening that I have had more friends & patients die during the past year of my life in Haiti then in the other 25 years in the U.S.

It is such an unnerving thing to see friends in Jubilee walk into a funeral service with their nicest clothes, their funeral clothes. Families who go through droughts of little money or food all own clothing to attend funerals. Bright white dresses, clean and ironed.

Yesterday I sat through a funeral of a dear woman who fought a great fight and lost. She was 35 and died of AIDS. She leaves behind three children. Their faces were so blank and unsure as they sat through the service. The screaming and hysteria that is such an integral part of the mourning process here is so eerie to my American ears and produces goosebumps on my skin, despite the fact that it is hot and sweaty in the church.

The church that is slowly being rebuilt after the flood that was almost 5 years ago. The walls are made of crumbling concrete or blocks, tin doors & roof, & the chaos of wires that gives the building electricity briefly catch fire in the middle of the service. 

Today in clinic, I saw a woman with shingles. Shingles is the same virus as chickenpox, but when it reactivates in adults, we refer to it as shingles. Her lesions were drying-up, healing after almost 2 weeks. On a last minute thought, we decided to HIV test her, just to make sure. Two lines, positive. She is 34 and living with HIV.
No good. Very bad. Terrible. Horrible thing.
"The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world."
-Paul Farmer-

No comments:

Post a Comment