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On the Passing of Chika

It is with a broken heart that I share that our beloved Chika went home to heaven today at 1:43 in the afternoon. She was 7. She went breathing slower and slower until she drifted off like the magical child she was. No morphine. No drama. Just love.

She was diagnosed with a DIPG brain tumor in May of 2015 in Haiti, and lived 23 months battling it every step of the way. Doctors expected a five-month survival. Chika stunned them all. Even yesterday, when she was down to one breath a minute, she suddenly rallied and came back to stable form, 33 breaths a minute, leaving the experts shaking their heads and giving us one more blessed day with her.

She left this earth while snuggled in her bed between Janine and me, her favorite spot, something she called “cozy fluffy bed camp.” In her two years with us she touched so many people, delighted so many nurses, technicians, waiters and flight attendants, and gave Janine and me the greatest gift of all: a family.

We will miss that every moment of life that we have left.

Chika told me once, when I said I had to go to my job, that what I did for a living was not really my job.

“Your job,” she said, “is carrying me.”

She was right. Carrying her to the end of her journey was my job, and today I carried her beautiful little body out of our room and down the hall and finally out the door. We will have a funeral here next week in Michigan, but she will be buried in Haiti, where she belongs, where she is from, and where she longed to return.

We thank all of you for your prayers and support throughout her journey. We ask for no condolence cards nor flowers or things like that. If you wish to do something in her honor, you can make a contribution to her home in Haiti, the Have Faith Haiti Mission/Orphanage, to take care of the 39 other children like her. The website is www.havefaithhaiti.org.

I have no doubt where Chika is, because she had no doubt. One night, Janine walked into the bedroom to find Chika singing alone, no music, no TV. Even Janine’s entrance didn’t stop her from continuing, by herself, for eight minutes. It was true, mesmerized devotion.. The faith of a child. Here is a piece of it.

She is, and always will be, a child of God.

-Mitch Albom, 4/7/17

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