Today I broke down, in tears not once but twice. Now, if you ask Mr Foodie, he will tell you I cry... a lot. That's probably one of the things I'm best at. I cry in front of anything, movies of course being one of the biggest triggers. I cried the morning after seeing 'Schindler's list', over breakfast, while telling my parents about the film. I cry reading books, I cry listening to music (Raglan Road used to get me crying my eyes out when I was pregnant with Noelie, just the first measures and I was gone). I just cry. Not the one tear that rolls down your cheek cry. The big crocodile tears cry, heaving and all. I can't help it. It starts as a heaviness in my chest, then moves its way up to my throat. And once it gets to the eyes that's it, I'm gone.
Today I cried twice. Once explaining to Marie about the Haiti earthquake and all the devastation it caused. I told her that I gave some money to help people of there, to help give them food, water, shelter, medical help, whatever the meagre amount I could give would provide. And if it saves only one life, at least I did something. She said that she would give the contents of her piggy bank too, that she doesn't need it. I was so proud of her, it made me cry. I was crying for the people over there and I was crying at the beauty of Marie's gesture. She is very sensitive and started crying too. In fact, she started crying first. Is she too young to understand? I don't think so. Should I have left her to her ignorance? I don't think either. I think it is a good thing to get our kids to understand that there are people worse off than we are, and that, if you are in a position to, you should help them. Using words they can understand, without too much drama. But explain it all and let them make their own decision as to whether they want to help or not. And I believe in leading by example.
You see, Marie and I, to our developed world standards, have been in a position where we lost everything. At some stage in my life, I decided that possessions were not as important as our safety and our happiness. And I took Marie, and whatever I could carry and left it all behind. But I was always able to provide us with a roof and food and heat and water. Yes, I lost my house and my car and countless material things, sentimental things and she lost her toys and was uprooted. But some immaterial things are paramount. Anyway, this is all behind us and we have rebuilt our lives, thanks to Mr Foodie and others.
I also cried this evening, watching the french news. I have to point out that it was the french news, and not the Irish ones as the angle at which they approach the whole Haiti disaster is completely different. A lot of French people adopt children in Haiti. At the moment, there are between 1200 and 1500 files for adoption in Haiti by french parents. Those people are struggling to find out the fate of their children and pleading with the government to fast track the adoption process, remove the red tape so they can be brought to their new homes in France. It seems that this is now going to happen. Tonight, on the news, they visited a devastated orphanage. A little boy , Jerry, 3 1/2 years old, had been pulled out of the wreckage. He had a head wound and a broken leg and was lying on the dusty ground with no medical assistance whatsoever. The director of the orphanage told the journalist that she was going to give him paracetamol to bring the fever down, that there was nothing else she could do. The reporter (a woman might I add) was very professional and still you could hear in her voice that this was hard on her. She told the woman that the poor child was going to die. The director looked at her with a emotionless look yet a sad look and said that this was all she could do. She had lost 53 children so far to the deadly shaky ground. By chance, a team of civil defense members arrived, sent by the french embassy. One of them was a doctor but they had only been sent to check what the needs were and didn't know that there were injured children, and they had no medical equipment, no ambulance, no escort. They tried to get an ambulance, to no avail and the poor little boy's condition was getting worse. So they took a decision that might land them in trouble, they took the reporter's car and drove Jerry to the hospital. It was touch and go. That was yesterday. Today, the reporter visited Jerry at the hospital and the doctors told her that he was going to be fine. She managed to get people to contact his adoptive parents in France and it was the first news they had managed to get. I had to leave the sitting room. I went into the kitchen and broke down. And Mr Foodie was here once more to pick up the pieces. I'm fine now.. Just about...But we have to help, no matter how little we can give, it will make a difference.