Many of you reading this are familiar with Olez and Marc Lory, her handicapped 12 year old son. Many of you have visited her house with us in the community of Corail and have met Olez and Marc Lory. He often could be found lying on a sheet on the cement floor. Clearly he had medical issues, but every time one of you took time to bend down and interact with him, you could see his excitement and the light in his eyes. I’m sorry to write that this special young boy, who had been ill for several days, died Monday evening of undetermined causes. Olez had taken him to several hospitals but nothing seemed have helped, and sadly Marc Lory passed away. Beth writes below about Olez and her family.
Like many Haitians Olez goes by a few names: Rose Marie and Olez are two of them. I would name her Persistence, Strong, Bent but not Broken, Staying the Course, Fighting the Fight, Weary Yet Pursuing.
We met after the earthquake when the landscape was dotted with tents. On every vacant plot of land a community of tents sprung up all over the city. Olez and her large family lived in one. The baby, her grandchild, got stepped on in the tent so she came to the Heartline field hospital by night to find help for the baby. The child’s mother, Olez’s daughter, had died in that night of all nights on January 12, 2010. Crushed beneath the weight of cement she lost her life. Life itself almost crushed Olez. Hardship and loss are exacting their price, as weighty as the cement blocks when the earth shook.
At the hospital Olez met Lise, (pictured left) a Canadian nurse volunteering at Heartline. Lise had been a child raised by her own grandmother after the death of her mom. Their shared grief instantly bonded them. They love each other still.
We have kept a relationship going with Olez. We moved her from the tent to a cement house in “Jerusalem” in the land of “Canaan”. A tribute to Haitian wit, this area was thus named after hundreds of tent cities were closed and families were relocated to this desert plain.
Unfortunately the old poverty moved into the new Jerusalem but in safer surroundings. Olez relocated with several family members. Her elderly mom, her husband, a few daughters, a deaf son, another son, and Marc Lory who looked like he had CP, all moved in together.
Our field hospital closed and we couldn’t keep up with the mounting health issues this family had. One young adult daughter was emaciated and in and out of the hospital. The husband had a variety of ailments. Grandma seemed ok. Olez worked on keeping them all together. Then one by one death took them. The emaciated daughter gone, the husband gone, a son gone, six in total since we met this dear woman. Their quality of life was poor, hospitals are over crowded, lab work was left undone, meds are often not understood-too little care too late. Doctors write prescriptions for medicines people can’t afford. Pills can’t cure a lifetime of bad nutrition and little health care.
The crowded house dwindled down to the sweet, twisted body of 12 year old Marc Lory and her deaf son. I sat with Olez once and asked her the story of Marc Lory, her handicapped son. This boy has spent his life on a sheet on a cement or dirt floor. He was often soiled and undressed but his hair was braided. Braids of love. Braids that said his mom cared about him even if she couldn’t keep up with keeping him clean. Braids that said his life mattered.
She told me she had a uterine rupture and she lifted her blouse revealing a ragged, vertical cesarean section scar. The doctors at the government hospital got the baby out in time to keep him alive but not without profound damage. My midwife’s heart sank. Preventing such obstetrical catastrophes is one of the reasons we exist. Hospitals are crowded offering too little, too late once again.
Olez deeply cared, but she had to work and provide for the few people left in her household so Marc Lory was often left unattended for hours. We offered to try to help find a place that would care for this little guy and get him therapy and meet his medical needs. He died in the wait.
This little guy’s brokenness touched our own. I had a visitor to Haiti say to me recently that meeting him was the most profound thing that happened to her during her entire stay. Seeing injustice, seeing unrelieved pain, seeing brokenness brings us to the cross where we look to the kingdom where things will be made right.
Come Lord Jesus. Come.
I have said often, that of all the people I know in Haiti, Olez has suffered the most. We would like to help her with the funeral cost which is way beyond her means. The cost of the funeral will be $2000.00. This is for the services of the funeral home, the casket, the burial service, the location and food for a reception. Perhaps you have met Olez and Marc Lory and would like to help. If so please click here and designate your donation to “OLEZ-FUNERAL EXPENSE”, which you can do before sending the donation. This morning Olez came to the office and she looked so tired, so weary. Please, as well, lift Olez and her family up in prayer. Pray for strength in this difficult time.