Over the past couple of months, through Little More Love, some of us have had the amazing opportunity to visit the kids at Kidwai Hospital. These children suffer from cancer, and through a project called Lifeline, we hope to help them and their families in the little ways that we can.
A couple of weekends back, we planned a visit to the hospital again, to organize a little coloring and sketching activity for the kids there. We were quite excited because honestly, these little ones have got so much energy and are so full of life, that they make you forget that they’re actually suffering. Every time we’ve been to the hospital, we have left carrying their energy with us. Spending time with them has been a true joy, which is why we were looking forward to meeting them; and we were prepared : –
- Color pencils – check
- Drawing sheets – check
- Guitar – check
- A good night’s sleep – check
But no amount of preparation would’ve helped us for what we were going to see that day. As we arrived at the hospital, we were asked to sing for a patient – a little boy who had been diagnosed with cancer four months back, and who, while suffering immensely, had touched the lives of many who had visited him.
We were told his parents were devastated that he was dying, and we were asked not to cry in their presence. And so we walked to his room, armed with a guitar and a few hymns and songs of encouragement.
As we entered the room, we saw the mother’s boy, carrying him out of the shower. We could only see his back, as we heard the sound of struggled breathing coming from his mouth.
And then she turned, and we saw him – four-year-old Nithilan
Nithilan had a tumor growing on his face. It had grown through his eyes and ears, blinding him, and had caused him to go deaf in one ear. The tumor had covered his nostrils, and half his mouth, making breathing nearly an impossible task. His face was completely disfigured.
We stood speechless. None of us were prepared for this. I glanced at my teammates and I could see them struggle to hold back their tears. It was horrible!
We did what we had come to do – we sang, and we smiled, or at least tried to, and we prayed over the little boy.
He responded with a little noise of acknowledgment.
We found out that since he had been disfigured, his parents’ families had also disowned them, and they were now looking for a place to stay, as the hospital, who said that nothing can be done, had also asked them to leave. The parents cried, and there was nothing we could say.
None of us walked out of that room the same.
I remember going home and just sobbing, and I’m sure that’s what my teammates did too. Throughout the week, the team members sent messages asking how he is. Finally, one of them decided that we just had to see him again.
The following week, despite being a working day, we made a plan to visit him.. But just like when we first so Nithilan, none of us were prepared…
Nithilan passed away that afternoon.
I’m not quite sure how it happened. One of the team members called me to tell me, and when she couldn’t find the strength to do it on the phone, she sent a text.
We were hit bad. Some of us blamed God. Others couldn’t help but question His existence. We were all shattered.
I honestly can’t even figure out why I’m writing all this down right now. Maybe it’s a release, I don’t know.
All I know is that there is so much we don’t understand. There’s pain and suffering all around us, and it just seems like it’s so unfair, because it seems unexplainable.
It’s horrible when we have to see a four year old suffer – unable to see or hear or breath when he has done nothing to deserve it.
Why did he have to suffer? What did he do to deserve it?
It’s times like these that I wish I had some answers. I wish I had some words to give – to his family, to my team, or even to myself.
But it’s also times like these that I remember why the team exists. Why we – you, me, all of us, were called.
This world is a dark place. It’s not for us to decide where darkness strikes and why. But it is up to us to be a light in this broken world – to reach out to those who suffer, and pour out love. To encourage them with words and hugs and actions, and when we just can’t find the right words or actions to do that, to simply weep with them.
This is our calling – to step out of our diluted lives, and become salt and light.