Last night Pipo came home from school and went straight up to his room. Not like him at all, especially since it was dinner time. Fitz followed him up and said he had been crying, and turned the light off and pulled the covers over his head. We let him stay there for a while, knowing he needed the space, but I went up close to bedtime, and woke him to take his medicine. He came down with me to have the plate of food Fitz saved for him, but was still very quiet. He just looks broken.
We have always planned to take Pipo back to Haiti to visit his grandmother, and we will eventually. But we won't be taking him back to the Haiti he remembers. The picture above is of Pipo pre-sickness. He didn't have much, and often didn't know when the next meal was coming, but he had a grandmother who loved him and took care of him. I love the little smile on his face. He looks so hopeful, like he knows things are going to be okay. I would and will do anything to bring that smile back.
But what do I do, what do I say? As much as we try to filter the information he sees and hears, it's impossible. He knows now that Haiti will never be the same. He knows that his village did not have much structural damage, and that the hospital where he spent most of his young life is still standing. He even knows his grandmother was not hurt. But he is old enough, wise enough from his younger years of surviving in such a place, that he knows much of Haiti revolves around Port au Prince. He knows that that is where the medical supplies come from. He knows that the times he was very, very sick, it was PaP that our friend Conor would have to rush to to get him life saving meds. He knows that much of the food supplies came from PaP. And what is left of PaP now?
Charlie, probably my most sensitive kid, and the one who idolizes his oldest brother, announcing from his first days home that we were now a "Irish/Haitian" family, was up very early today, telling me he had a nightmare that the world was being destroyed. What can you say to that?
One of the things that Fitz and I have always prided ourselves on is that we are raising happy kids. Not that we have completely sheltered them, they know that there are many places in the world who have it hard. But they all have an incredible optimism about them, a sense that whatever is wrong in the world, we can all fix together someday. I have vivid memories of The kids selling Sunflowers on the corner downtown to raise funds after hurricane Katrina. They knew it was bad down there, but they had the utter faith of childhood that we could rebuild.
I want them to keep this optimism, I want to them to always think they can help make it okay. But this is so, so hard right now. We will do everything we can to help, but with every news report, every phone call or email asking about Pipo, a piece of me dies. The look in my sons eyes last night came very close to putting me over the edge. We all want to 'make it all better for our kids'. But how do I do this? What do I tell him?