Today is not April 23, 2014…but last week, when I didn’t link this post, was!
- Today’s math…
- 2+3= 5 (adding the digits of the date) 5+ 4=9 (adding the digit of the month)=9 sentences, today.
- Then add another 7, in a different story, for the seven days since I meant to share this!
Ubunta is 14, newly homeless, and with a pressing problem..here’s her excerpt:
Ubunta ran, her eyes unseeing, in her mind the memory of the long grassy plains of the veldt, where it seemed she could run forever, and never find an end to the land.
She stumbled, tripped, fell hard, sand in her eyes and her mouth. Panting, she rose to hands and knees, then knelt, sandy hands cradling her middle, staring around her, her mind groping for reason. She looked upon an endless stretch, not of grasses, but of water. The sun shone down upon it, as it rose and fell, as though breathing with its own life, and it glittered like false promises in Ubunta’s eyes, searing her mind, making it impossible to think.
Ubunta knelt there, not understanding, and held to the hardened swelling of her belly.
Warning: Raw Honesty and Potential Grief Triggers past this point. Please proceed with caution.
Let’s all give a loving WIPeteer welcome to Mauve Carson…
Mauve is two months old, and she’s dying. She’s lived her entire life in a coma. Her story is told from the point of view of the NICU nurse assigned to her care.
Doctor Harris held the baby gently, at an arm’s length, her feet against his chest, then firmly manipulated her tiny body. Even though Lara knew that it was impossible, she still rooted for baby Mauve to push into the man’s burly chest, or cry-
Anything at all.
But, of course, she didn’t. Couldn’t.
Her mother sat in the upholstered rocker, her gaze fixed on the man who held her infant daughter, her face faraway and expressionless. She hunched over her own middle, thin arms wrapped around herself as though to shield her. She couldn’t be more than twenty, but the marks on her arms said that she was very determined at escaping- or had been, until reality presented itself in the form of a beautiful baby girl.
Mauve is very close to my soul. Her story is the most autobiographical I’ve written for this challenge.
On July 13,2003, after a textbook pregnancy, our second child, Elijah James, was born. It was a hard labor, and, eventually, forceps were used, because he was in distress. He wasn’t breathing, and, once, he was resuscitated, he was whisked off to the NICU before I even saw his face.
I was luckier than Mauve’s mother. When Elijah was four hours old, I met him. Our gazes met. I knew that he recognized my voice, and his were the wisest, most accepting, most peaceful eyes I have ever seen.
The next day, Elijah was put into a medically induced coma, in the hopes that his seizures could be abated.
Four days after that, still in a coma, he had a massive, two-minute grand mal seizure. I feel that whatever made him unique and human vanished in that violent electrical storm of the brain.
Five days after that, we were told by the neuroneonatologist – a specialist who made grand rounds in the NICU monthly – that Elijah had “a nearly flat brain wave architecture” – not brain dead, but very near.
The next afternoon, Elijah died peacefully in my husband’s arms. He never woke up, never cried. He simply slipped away.
There’s not much more to say, except that he is with me always, every moment. He makes me a better mother, and a better person, because I know how very precious life is, and how fragile.
Will you do something for me, for us? Will you do something sweet, right now, for someone you love?
Will Ubunta find a home, and answers? Will Mauve’s family find peace and healing? Will they be shattered by her life, and her death? Can there be meaning, when a newborn dies?
Last question: Have you done that something sweet and loving yet? If not, please do. I’ll wait.
Want more Kifo Island Chronicles posts?
These posts are the seeds of a project that will germinate over the next months, so input is especially valuable. No need to feel shy; I’m a friendly sort, and will keep my talons sheathed…for the most part.
I’ll leave you with the one song I have sung to all three of my babies…
And a song for Ubunta, as well…