...And just like that, he was gone.
It's been a rough couple of days for Adam and I --- the longer we stayed with Akuma Cleveland, the more we realized how bad off he was -- turning him over revealed bruises all over his sternum... opening his hands showed us deep cuts and gashes. His left toe was extremely red and swollen (we figure it might have been broken), so, ever so ginger when we picked him up, we tried to make sure he didn't suffer pressure on it.
We tended to each of his ailments, putting neosporin on his cuts until they finally stopped pussing and started scabbing over.
The difficulty was, however, that for every improvement he seemed to make his overall condition did not seem to improve. He lay on the beds we made him in semi-catatonia, barely moving, sometimes awake, occasionally moving an arm or a leg.
Would he live or would he die? He lay in a limbo between the two, and the tension of not knowing -- it was killing us.
Feedings were becoming increasingly difficult -- about two days ago, Akuma had lost his urge to eat so we'd have to pry his mouth open and squirt milk into it using the nipple and the bottle. He would swallow, surely, but his appetite never increased. And his diarrhea was only getting worse.
Last night, I was continually awoken by the sounds of him wheezing and gagging. When I shone the light on his bed next to ours, though, he seemed to be sleeping.
Afterward his morning feeding today, he again started to wheeze and gag, but the gagging was accompanied by a gurgling noise as well. I tried to get him to spit up the milk, using what infant-CPR I could, but his tiny, fragile lungs finally gave out.
Hanging limply in my arms, he was dead.
We tried to resuscitate him, but I think his body had been through too much.
He was buried this morning at 8 am next to Kisanola, the first and only other orphan to die here a year ago.
No one here understands why Adam and I are crying. It feels like the air has suddenly gotten thicker. The walls of the house feel starker, and nothing feels real.
We tell ourselves that we tried everything we could to keep him alive (and we did) -- but it doesn't make the stark, cruel reality of his death any better. Watching him at the bottom of the grave, his ribs so protuberant and his tiny limbs so gaunt, there is nothing I wouldn't have given to have brought him back and to try again.
Adam and I sit here like ghosts in our house, immobilized by the quiet, wondering if anything will ever be the same.
My guess is, right now...
RIP AKUMA CLEVELAND
July(?) 2008- January 2009.