I have this profoundly sad job that I must do almost every month.
I manage our foster home’s formula project, and one of my tasks is to keep our database up-to-date with each child’s growth records, latest pictures, and current information. When a child “graduates” our project, their record is archived. I particularly like archiving the records of children who have been adopted. I don’t even mind archiving the ones who have turned one year old (when most children graduate), especially when their growth records reflect a healthy start.
But almost every month, I must archive other children as well… the children who die. So many of the orphanages’ children have serious special needs. These children are in an uphill battle for survival, and no matter what we do, we can’t save them all. The death of these children is sad, but in some ways it is becoming “normal.” I don’t like it. But, it is reality. We do what we can, and we keep fighting even when we lose some battles. It is a bit disturbing to me that this has become “normal” to me. I haven’t taken the time to fully process all that it means if I’m existing in a world where children dying is a normal part of life. The reality is, we all exist in that kind of world — it’s just most of us can ignore it because it isn’t happening under our noses.
The thing that is really so profoundly sad to me is that most likely the sum total of their memorial service is me clicking the “archive” button. It’s like they just disappeared. No one misses them. If it weren’t for the archived record in our database, would anyone even know they existed?