I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It was weeks and weeks ago, but still. Today it crossed my mind again.
25 nurses and staff lining the hall as a dead child was wheeled into her private room.
The child didn’t belong there. No child does, but still, that child didn’t belong there. Hurt, neglected, abused, whatever the word that would connote innocence to that child and the dark truths betrayed by a bruised body.
As that child took a last breath alone, the staff, just as I, found themselves looking for answers that would be too late for that child. But 25 people lined the hallway from a trauma room to a private room.
Processionals are for massive funerals, memorials, or commemorations where pomp and circumstance belong. Perhaps this is what that the child would have gotten crossing the graduation stage, or after winning a little league title, but not this way. Processionals suggest importance and glamour, as in a queen being crowned or a princess buried. Not children.
But this little one deserved this processional. 25 people who because of their sheer helplessness medically lined a hall to helpfully honor a child whose last breath could not be in vain. No, we lined the hall for a processional, guiding the way of a child to a legacy, a memory, and further a presence. The processional in this case was a sign not that something simply tragic happened, but that those 25 wouldn’t forget. This child was ours too at this time, and they received this one with utter dignity.
Their last breath took ours away. The negligence and lack of love before that last breath was dignified by people who knew that the child deserved that very something it lacked: love. In this case, we processed…down the hall, into the room, and into God’s arms.
A processional of tears, towards Gods outstretched arms, shouting its love for this child far stronger than the neglect could speak.
One step at a time, one step, one step, one step…tragedy seemed to win…until those processional steps.