Marquerite could not breathe. Her nostrils felt as though they were filled with dust. Her chest hurt and her whole left side felt numb. She remembered handing Dominque, her youngest child to her mother right before the earthquake hit. The floor of the little house came up simultaneously with the roof coming down. The noise that followed was horrific, it sounded like the whole earth was breaking in two. Before she could turn to run to her mother and daughter there was blackness.
The pain was so great throughout her body that she could only conclude that something was broken maybe her ribs or back. Nothing moved on her left side. She tried moving her right hand and arm. She could move them but not very far, not because of injury but lack of space. Marquerite felt above her and to her sides. She had about five inches from her face to whatever lay on top of her and about four or five inches on both sides.
Marquerite began to cry. "Help!" she screamed. "Please somebody, help me!" All she heard was silenced. "Ma-mam!" she yelled. "Please Ma-mam, can you hear me? Are you and the baby okay? Ma-mam, I am here! Somebody, anybody, I am here! Please help me!"
The hours dwindled by without any reply to Marquerite cries. She thought about her husband Jčan and her two other children. What was the time? Her boys, where could they be? She must try to think and remain calm. She had sent them to Port-au-Prince this morning to meet their father at the station. He was returning home after working in another town. She began to pray that they were all safe. She prayed for what seemed like hours, and continued to shush her soul, when the fear threaten to overtake her. Whenever she heard muffled voices she would continue to cry out. "Can anyone hear me? Please dear God, let someone hear me!"
Marquerite felt herself getting weaker. She was sure she had been entombed at least a day in a half. "Dear Lord." she cried out again. "Are you listening? I am tired and thirsty. I cannot hold on much longer, I ask only that you watch over my children and family. Keep them strong Lord, extend your mercy to them. I am not afraid to die now, I know to be with you is gain not loss. I do love you Lord." A sense of calm came to her and she drifted off to sleep.
When she awakened she thought she saw light to the right of her. She took her hand and felt in the direction of the light. She felt something, like a child's hand. It must be her Dominique! She heard sounds of a crying baby.
"Oh cherie, shhh, it's okay, Mama is here!"
The crying stopped and was replaced with the sounds of a cooing baby. Marquerite kept on patting the hand and making assuring noises to keep the baby calm. She would alternate between singing her favorite Creole lullabys to comforting words.
"Shhh, shhh, little cherie, go to sleep don't you cry, Mama's right here."
On the dawn of the third day while singing to the baby. Marquerite heard shovels digging and shouts of "She's over here!"
"Yes, Yes, we are here!" she yelled.
A tube came down with water, she had forgotten about her thirst when she had found her baby. It seemed to take forever before fresh air finally rushed in. She was pulled out and placed onto a stretcher. Her husband Jčan was standing there crying.
"I knew you were alive, I knew it!" he exclaimed. "I begged them to keep looking, because it couldn't be over."
"Yes Jčan, and the baby too, she's down there, I held her hand."
Jčan gave her a puzzled look. "No, Dominique is not down there. She and your mother are at the hospital being treated for broken bones, but thank God they are alive. The boys are still in Port-au-Prince with friends."
"But who then? There must be a baby there, I heard it." Marquerite turned to the rescuers and asked them to please check again.
As the ambulance drove her away, she raised her one good hand, and began singing songs of praise and thanksgiving.
Author's Note - Let's not forget to continue to pray for the people of Haiti, even when it's no longer front page news.
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