The Heartbreak

It was the way he cried that unnerved me.

Wednesday morning, just two hours before Corey and I had to leave for the airport to attend the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit in Louisville, Kieran fell. And he cried a cry I’ve never heard before. And he didn’t really stop.

I tried holding him. He kept crying. I tried showing him a toy. He kept crying. I tried a pacifier. He kept crying. I tried nursing him (normally, the panacea). He kept crying.

I couldn’t see what was wrong. He wasn’t bleeding or swelling or bruising. He was just in pain. And I couldn’t fix it.

I was completely undone.

Eventually, it being morning nap time, he fell into an uneasy sleep in my arms. I Googled “signs of a concussion” from my iPhone and sought medical advice from Twitter and tried to figure out if his foot was swollen or if it was just the way I was holding him.

Meanwhile, the clock kept ticking.

About 45 minutes after he fell asleep, he woke up. He wasn’t crying anymore. But he wouldn’t let me put him down. He screeched every time I tried to set him on the floor.

Something. Was. Wrong.

And I was getting ready to leave.

I talked to a nurse in our pediatrician’s office. I told her I didn’t think he had a concussion, given he had no signs. But I was worried about his left leg, since his heel and ankle appeared to be slightly swollen and he wouldn’t stand up. She guessed he had probably twisted or even sprained his ankle. The treatment for a sprain is ice, elevation and rest, “which I know is virtually impossible with a one-year-old,” she acknowledged. Of course, we could bring him in if we wanted, she said. But the best course of action was to wait and see.

Wait and see. With time I didn’t have.

Corey and I made the uneasy decision to go ahead and leave. We were both heartbroken, but Corey and I had been looking forward to this trip for months. (Or, in Corey’s case, years. He loves it when I travel with him, and I hadn’t been able to do something like this since before Teyla was born.) A lot of money had been spent for us to attend the Summit, and because Corey had many duties there, he would have to attend, with or without me.

So our wonderful babysitter arrived. We passed on all the information (including Kieran’s insurance card, should she feel he warranted medical attention) and we got in our car and drove away.

I never like leaving my kids. But this? This was something altogether different. My soul was grieved. I was silent the whole way to the airport. (Ask Corey. This is highly unusual.) My heart was heavy with sadness that my little guy, who is normally so happy and busy, was hurting and he wouldn’t have his mommy the next few days to comfort him.

The fact that I was leaving to attend a Summit on orphans wasn’t lost on me.

All around the world, millions of children, this very second, are hurting. They are dealing with things much worse than a sprained ankle.

And they have no mommy to comfort them at all.

This kills me. Leaving Kieran on Wednesday, I think I felt a sampling of God’s grief, His deep sadness that millions of His children have no parents, no protection, no peace. They are crying. He hears. He wants His body on this earth to do something.

I would do anything to restore Kieran.

What will I do for them?

When I got home from the Summit Saturday afternoon, Kieran still wouldn't stand on his injured leg. I took him to the ER to find out he has a small fracture on his tibia. Poor baby. For the next few weeks, he will be sporting a small, soft cast. Someday soon, he'll be walking again, and his leg will be healed. But my heart will always bear this scar.


  1. Poor Kieran. I hope he's feeling better. I know it tore you apart to leave him.

    I admire your heart for orphans and your passionate desire to ease their suffering. It hits home when you see how even when a kid has a loving family, they are still so vulnerable! How much more for a little one without the love and protection of family.

  2. Poor you. I know it would have been so hard to leave my baby when he wasn't totally right. I'm so glad you are able to see some of God's insight through this experience though.

  3. This was beautiful and heartbreaking. I think God likes us to live in that place of beauty and pain so we won't forget. Loved getting to spend time with you. Praying Kieran is better in no time!

  4. Oh lady, wow. I love how you shared this. The way it is interwoven with thoughts of orphans who have no mom to worry over them. It's so heartbreaking, as it should be.

    I'm glad you figured out what was wrong. He'll be better soon!

  5. Oh Kelly, I'm so sorry! Praying quick healing for his little leg and for his mama's heart. *Big hug*

  6. Oh that's so hard I can't even imagine. With Noah's surgery last week I just had to suck it up and get him to "try" and be calm for the gas mask. But then when he was asleep I lost it. And I was only going to be in the next room.
    Thankfully he will probably never remember this (either Noah or Kieran), but we will.
    I do hope the conference was good too. :)

  7. Oh, sweet, sweet boy. I'm so sorry you had to leave but what a beautiful picture God gave you. Thank you for sharing in your post.