Tag Archives: Haiti

R.I.P. Lulu

One of the thousands of casualties of the earthquake was our kitten Lulu.  While it may seem insignificant compared to the human suffering that is occurring now in Haiti, Lulu was a source of solace for Jillian before I moved down, and our first pet.

She was an amazing kitten, only 5 months old, she loved to snuggle and love you, but then moments later playfully attack your leg and leave scratch marks that would remain for days.  She loved to sleep on Jillian’s laptop, and head butt you if you weren’t giving her any attention.  She loved playing with ping pong balls and pen caps, but most of all she loved to sleep in the craziest positions (and always on my side of the bed)…

On Flickr this picture was uploaded as “Day 1” just before I left to travel north before the quake.  It was supposed to be the first of years of pictures that we took of our little Princess Petunia sleeping (as I called her and Jillian hated it).  Jillian had even taken dozens of pictures of her sleeping in weird positions before I moved down which were slated to be a blog post when I got back from my trip. That camera was lost with everything else.

Every time I would talk to Jillian on the phone before I moved down to Haiti Jillian would always ask, “Guess what Lulu’s doing?”  and the answer was ALWAYS, “She’s sleeping!”  Even though I only knew her for about a week total, I miss her so much.  I don’t know what it is, I have never had such a connection with an animal.  Maybe it’s because she meant so much to Jillian, but I am crying while I write this.

After we got Jillian and Chuck out of the rubble, Jillian asked me to look for her.  She had heard her crying and digging while they were trapped.  I wanted so badly to find her for Jillian, to be able to hand Lulu to her and say everything was OK.  It would prove that there was hope, that there was life.  I made the kissing noise that she would come to all around the rubble of the house hoping to hear something, a meow, anything.  But there was nothing.  I walked back to Jillian and she looked at me with hope, “Did you find her?!” and I had to tell her “no”.  It was heartbreaking on so many levels.

But maybe this will help me to understand a little of what Jillian is going through.  I was able to connect to Lulu through Jillian even when I wasn’t there.  I understand that lost, it rips me apart in ways I can’t explain.  But for Jillian, she had connections with so much more than just this one cat.  It was with the country, with it’s people, a connection I had yet to truly make.

I can’t imagine the sorrow that pulses through Jillian during this time, it must be so hard for her.  I wish that I could understand it, but at the same time it might be a blessing that I can support her through it.  The detachment can help in that way.  If we were both messes it would be hard for us to use each other to make it through.  Maybe?

The loss of Lulu will resonate for a long time, even for the visitors to the mission house that she would terrorized with random attacks to the legs.  And now we know that she is doing the thing that she loved the very most…she’s sleeping.  I miss you Lulu.

What’s in a Name

It never occurred to me that the name of this blog would ever be anything more than a joke.  My life was pretty low key: Jillian had left for Haiti, I was working a pretty exciting job, but you could never define my situation as dire.  So when people would ask why it was called “This is an Emergency”, I would explain that it was a spur of the moment thing, and was meant to be slightly ironic.  I mean, I write posts about my brother’s soccer games and live shots with Senators.

Well, THIS is an emergency.  There is no other way to explain it.  And now the name of this blog seems to fit my life, and the situation in Haiti, in a way that I never really intended.

There are few times when a single event can define your purpose in life, and this is one of those times.  The earthquake that hit Port-au-Prince on January 12, 2010 will be an event that will define what Jillian and I do forever.  Jillian was trapped under the rubble of our house for 10 hours, I was 100 miles north of Port-au-Prince and 6 hours away.  She felt that she was going to die, I felt that I was going to lose her, therefore losing everything.  We pulled Jillian from the rubble alive, and I am the luckiest man alive.  There were so many that were not as lucky as us.

I’m going to try to dissect my feelings here and describe what happened.  It is all so vivid and yet a blur at the same time.  While Jillian and I have all the pieces to the puzzle, it’s going to take time to put them together.  We have done this puzzle before, and we know where the pieces go, it’s just that some of those pieces are here in the States, and the others have been left in Haiti.  While Jillian has healing to do here, I think there is some truth that it won’t be complete until we return.

I don’t know if the name “This is an Emergency” will remain, it almost sounds like a cliche now.  We will see.

If anyone reads this and feels the urge to donate towards the cause, Jillian and I have started a non-profit in an effort to raise funds to rebuild Haitians homes after the dust has settle and the aid agencies leave, as they surely will.  It’s called Haitian Emergency Rebuilding Operation (H.E.R.O).

History Repeats Itself

I spoke with my Father-in-law, Clay, just before he left a couple days ago for his trip to Haiti to visit Jillian.  “My bags are already filled with stuff and I haven’t even packed my clothes!” he said.  I asked him to send me pictures and it appears that no one is excluded from Jillian’s stranglehold on visitor’s baggage-space.

This is nothing new

So much stuff!

OMG!

While I have complete and utter sympathy for Jillian’s predicament, how is she going to bring all this stuff back?!  “FULL suitcase, full Large North Face Duffle and a Laptop backpack about to hold 2 laptops! Yeesh!” Clay wrote to me in an email.  I’m getting nervous.

I suppose I should prepare to move down to Haiti with about 1/4 of a bag of my personal belongings.  The rest will, of course, be filled with toys for Lulu.

Miss Petunia

Let’s Fly Away

I have always been a really big fan of isle seats when I fly.  Like everyone else in the world, I hate being crammed in an airplane, and if I can have a little extra space while the drink cart isn’t smashing into my leg, I’ll take it.

But on my way to Haiti 2 weeks ago I was put in a window seat and the view made the small amount of space I had totally worth it.  It turns out there are islands everywhere in the waters between Miami and Port-au-Prince.  That plus a beautifully clear day equals cool pictures. 

Next time I’m going to try and sit in a west-facing window seat when I fly during a sunset.  I didn’t this time around, and I regretted it after seeing the view through someone else’s window.  The colors you see from the air are amazing.

On a different note, American Airlines is a QUALITY airline.  Not only were my flights comfortable and semi-on-time, but the flight attendants are wonderful and the pilots are the best in the world.  Did you hear that?  The pilots are top-notch!  Have I ever mentioned that my Father-in-law is a pilot for American Airlines?  The only downside is they give you the weirdest food combinations ever when you fly to Haiti:

FYI

A couple of people have been asking who this Devon person is that I keep writing about in recent posts about Haiti.  Well, I’m going to answer a few questions for you right now:

On the right is Devon, she’s a Nurse from Connecticut that has moved down to Haiti to do medical work in Jeremie, which is a coastal town west of Port-au-Prince.  She came down with a medical mission that Jillian was running, and is sticking around the mission house until she leaves later this month.  She’s a blast to hang out with, and Jillian, her, and I had a pretty great time just kickin’ it old school (no, I am not cool enough to say that).

In the middle is Mathieu, who is a Haitian friend of one of Jillian’s co-workers.  He was the one who brought us to the cemetary and showed us the voodoo celebrations.  If it weren’t for him we would have had NO idea where to go, and we would probably still be lost in the labyrinth of graves now.  He was really great, and it was nice to have someone with us that we could trust.

On the left is a random woman named Jillian.  We found her walking on the side of the road and picked her up because she was pretty.  While Mathieu and Devon recommended we not pick up a stranger, she turned out to be a really nice person, and apparently she has a really cool husband.  I’m looking forward to meeting him.

I hope this answers all of your questions.

Love, Your Esteemed Author

Just Hanging Out

These flowers were hanging over the pool at the Hotel Montana in Haiti.  I loved the depth in these flowers, and maybe because there isn’t really much vegetation on the streets of Port-au-Prince, these flowers made the pool that much more of an oasis.

A Floating Casket

This picture has been haunting me ever since I took it on Sunday.  It’s a grave in the National Cemetary in Port-au-Prince that had been opened.  For some reason, to think that this grave was just sitting there open with the casket floating in the water stuck with me.

The idea that there is a body in there was really creepy too, and I felt sad for the family of the person inside.  I guess it’s one of the cold realities of Haiti though, this was not the only grave that had been opened.  The worst part was that many of the other open graves were left empty.