Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Suffering of Not Knowing

I sent an email to Jacques the day after. It was a expression of sorrow and sympathy though I had no idea if this had actually impacted him or his family. I assumed it did. I assumed it had to. I never heard back.

Yesterday and today, the chaplains of VNA Hospice Care conducted a service of "Support and Solidarity" for our coworkers, friend and patients whose lives have been permanently changed as a result of the earthquake in Haiti. Jacques has been very much on my mind. So much so that I called him to check in.

He told me of his cousin, a man who had visited here during the Christmas holiday and who has not been seen or heard from since. During my entire conversation with Jacques, I never caught the man's name... and now I wish I had.

Jacques told me of how his cousin's family members have searched frantically. How they have hoped for miracles, such as the one announced today of the day 27 survivor found alive. Wishing that he will show up dazed but ok in a hospital bed somewhere. But they fear the worst. More so each passing day.

They do no know where he now rests, which seems to be the more likely question now. Jacques, with a lilting voice and poetic tone, told me of the forms of suffering befallen his people. He spoke of "... the suffering of loss, the suffering of wishing life was again as the day before, the suffering of rebuilding without hope. But all these kinds are final. They persist, but you go on. For my cousin's family, there is the suffering of not knowing. And that only persists."

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