We were not prepared for 10 year old Yarely’s death yesterday. She had been steadily improving in ICU. At 10:30 am (HN time) she suddenly went into cardiac arrest and could not be revived. Shocking and heartbreaking.
Still, in the midst of unimaginable tragedy, there are grace notes. Some huge and some small, but all tangible reminders that the Lord is faithful.
Yesterday, Sunday morning, I dropped Misti (Yarely’s mom) off at the hospital a couple hours early for the morning visiting hour. I wanted to go to church at the Children’s Home for the annual Bible Trivia contest on the Honduran “Day of the Bible” Sunday. Normally, I would have accompanied Misti but who wants to miss the kids fiercely competing about Bible Trivia? David and Evelyn normally go to their church on Sunday morning and visit Yarely in the evening. Yesterday, they showed up in the waiting room unexpectedly. Minutes later, the doctor came out with the terrible news. Through God’s grace and mercy, Misti was not alone. I was at church, which had just begun, and could tell Suzy immediately. Suzy was able to switch to pastoring her flock of little lambs while everyone was together in the place they needed to be to learn of this loss. Shock turned to grief, yet in their hearts they hear, “Don’t be afraid, I will help you and give you peace.”
As we were standing, stunned, by Yarely’s wrapped body, the nurse asked if we had clothes for her. Misti asked me, “Are these clothes just to get her to the funeral home or…permanent ones?” I answered, “permanent clothes.” Misti announced, “Well, we have to go shopping. She needs a pink dress.” We headed to City Mall looking for a pink dress, pretty shoes and a hat to cover Yarely’s shaved head. After looking in several stores we found an adorable pink dress. Next we found pretty little ivory patent leather shoes with a bow. Misti asked, “Do you think we can find little lacy socks?” I hemmed and hawed. I didn’t want to say no to a newly grieving mother. “Um. I’m not sure. Alot of times they don’t wear socks.” We went to the last store and found the perfect hat – pink on one side and polka dots on the other. I asked the sales clerk if they had socks. There on one of the racks filled with athletic socks, way in the back, we saw pink lace poking out. We pulled out the perfect pair of pink, lacy socks. The only ones in all the stores we visited in Central America’s biggest mall. It is a tiny thing, maybe not worth mentioning, but to Misti it was a gift. She was able to dress her precious child in the perfect outfit. One last time. A tiny whisper, “I am here with you. I will not let you go.”
After the funeral service, we processed to the burial site. It is a cemetery on the side of a mountain in the village of San Buenaventura. Although the path was long and a bit treacherous, the view over the valley was beautiful. “Just like the view from our mountain home in Tennessee!” exclaimed Brad, Yarely’s father. Off to the left was a beautiful view of a valley with a town at the far end. It was cloudy and dark when we arrived. (Thank you Lord for holding off the torrential rains during the burial.) Led by Angel and the small guitar, we began singing a beautiful, meditative song called, “Aleluya” praising God. I looked up to see the town, just the town, illuminated, shining in the midst of the grey, cloudy mountains. As the song ended, the clouds returned. For a moment the Lord reveals, “Yarely is with me, in my Holy City.”