Death and Life

There are so many stories that have yet to be told…I don’t know where to begin, or how to unpack it all.

Getting back to life as normal isn’t so hard, washing clothes, seeing friends, paying bills, cleaning the house. What’s hard… is taking the time to let the last week sink in.

Friday alone was too much to handle, too much to process all at once.

We brought a little boy across the river Wednesday, Nelson. He was 1-year-old, 13 pounds, malnutrition and diarrhea. And to be honest, his condition wasn’t the worst we were seeing that day.

In fact, he seemed relatively stable compared to the other children.

So Friday morning was unexpected. As we rode the bus, hearing how he had started having trouble breathing the night before, and how he passed away as they were rushing to the hospital, I couldn’t stop my tears.

I thought about Kevin, how the last time I had been in Guatemala, we lost him… and now, here we are, too late for another.

It’s tiresome.

The constant battle between life and death. I don’t know how Carlos and his team handle it every day. I feel so weak compared to them.

Friday afternoon we had a funeral for Nelson. No sooner had we gotten to the rescue center to honor his short life, we were pulled away…. 4 babies coming in from a mountain rescue… go get them… bring them in.

This was the first time I carried one of these children in. I’ve always been in the background, observing, working, making sure I have the information, the photos. And I wasn’t expecting to carry this one in.

I carried him right past the little white casket.

We evaluated, check temp’s, eyesight, weight, parasites, infections….

Then we walked back out, stood with Nelson’s mother, and started a funeral.

The bouncing between death and life was too much for me.

I lost it. 

I stood, yards away from the service, and had a meltdown. Is this really what I do for a living? My day to day work is so that we don’t have to have any more funerals… how frustrating it was to be too late, to see this young mother bury her firstborn son.

It makes me work harder, it changes the everyday.

By the end of the afternoon, Noel and I just looked at each other, exhausted from tears, overwhelmed by the conditions of these children, and left not knowing what to say.

All in all, there were 16 rescues in the course of those two days. 15 are still there, still fighting.

I fear hearing that another may lose the battle. I hate hearing it each time it happens, but there’s something about knowing it was a child that you saw, carried, held…

And even though there are hard losses, there are big victories. And so many children who are happy and healthy now. Who thrive because of Operation Baby Rescue.

What now?

I’ll continue to go to work each day, sharing stories, helping people reach their goals, planning events… the everyday tasks that rescue lives.

But here is where you come in.

I don’t share with you, my community for no reason. I want you to be moved, I want to see this affect you, I want you to realize that we all need to be engaged if these lives, communities and circumstances are ever going to change.

So I’m asking you to do any or all of the following:

  • Join the Rescue – start your own campaign, raise funds, throw an event… to raise funds for our goal of 1,000 lives rescued this year. Go here and learn more, or email me:
  • Share the Story – Find ways to tell the stories to your communities, share blog posts, find us on Facebook and Twitter, share what Operation Baby Rescue is doing with your friends and families.
  • Go – We have another trip in the spring, find out more information here. And if you want to go, let me know.
  • Give – Our goal is to raise the funds to rescue 1,000 lives. We’re so far behind. and the goal seems so big with only 3 months left. If you want to contribute to the campaign, click here– this is my personal campaign page. I’d love for my community to help rescue at least 3 babies.


This week, we blog, live from Guatemala.

We’re covering stories like Kevin’s, and we’re talking about how you can get involved.

Please don’t just stop with reading the stories… do something with them.

One thought on “Death and Life

  1. I haven’t been able to write this story. “Tiresome” as you say. That’s how I feel just thinking about writing it. Then I think how tired that mom’s reality must be, and it wrecks. Figuring out how to unpack it all with you, friend.

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