On the Passing of Chika

Apr 7, 2017 | News | 13 comments

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

13 Comments

  1. pointe

    Love to Chika …

    “Close your eyes,
    Have no fear,
    The monster’s gone,
    He’s on the run
    And your daddy’s here,

    [2x]
    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful,
    Beautiful boy,

    Before you go to sleep,
    Say a little prayer,
    Every day
    In every way,
    It’s getting better and better,

    [2x]
    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful,
    Beautiful boy,

    Out on the ocean sailing away,
    I can hardly wait
    To see you to come of age,
    But I guess we’ll both
    Just have to be patient,

    ‘Cause it’s a long way to go,
    A hard row to hoe
    Yes, it’s a long way to go
    But in the meantime,

    Before you cross the street,
    Take my hand,
    Life is what happens to you,
    While you’re busy making other plans,

    [2x]
    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful,
    Beautiful boy,

    Before you go to sleep,
    Say a little prayer,
    Every day
    In every way,
    It’s getting better and better,

    [2x]
    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful,
    Beautiful boy,

    Darling, darling,
    Darling Sean.”

    Reply
    • Nubecita

      This is the perfect time to find Chika… my paths had not crossed you until yesterday. You, and Janine and Chika, you let me shed some tears that have been there for who knows how long. I heard a replay of an interview yesterday April fools Day 2020, she would have liked that, yes? where you said that you can never lose a child. I don’t think we ever lose anyone really. But a child so young is an impossible void to fill. When my husband died of a brain tumor we asked that the donations go to St Jude’s for children like Chika facing the unimaginable. But now, every year on his anniversary, Valentines Day, they really must find one another over there!!, I will give in Albert’s name to your children in Haiti. And if you ever need a volunteer or two or three to help on a project, please do let us know. With much love, Nubecita.

      Reply
  2. Joan

    She was your sunshine. May you be comforted knowing you did all that was possible to save her.
    May you find peace.

    Reply
  3. Anita Posey

    Our prayers and love are with you and your wife, Mitch. She seems to have been a pure joy to be blessed with for even a short time. May Our Father comfort and strengthen you both as you carry on in His service.

    Reply
  4. Theresa Ramus

    My sympathies to you guys. Mitch you did everything that you could for her. Poor Chika this song she sings in this video is so sad to see her sing it. Her suffering is now over and may your days get easier and you find peace and joy again my friend.

    Reply
  5. Linda S

    Blessed be God who has shown us the wonders of His love!
    Ps31:22

    Reply
  6. Cindy z

    She is a precious child of God and sits with Him in complete healing, but my heart is so sad for you. My sympathies.

    Reply
  7. Jennifer Bond

    I listened to your stories of her on my way home today, and I was so touched to hear all about Chika. What a gift you and your wife were to her, but it is clear she was a gift to you too! My heart goes out to you, and I will keep you in my prayers. Enjoy spending time with the kids in Haiti!

    Reply
  8. Debi Ritter

    I also listened yesterday on the way home from work, holding back the tears, as you told her story. May God comfort you and Janine in the coming days and months as time passes and Chika looks upon you from Heaven. You are in my thoughts and prayers!

    Reply
  9. Diane

    I also listen to you on the radio yesterday, as I do almost
    every day. I know Chika gave you love and made you and Janine a
    family. I am so sad for your loss and will have you in my thoughts
    and prayers! God bless you for all you gave Chika, what a special
    little girl.

    Reply
  10. Barbara

    It’s said that we are all put on this earth for a purpose. You and Janine found yours, and Chika found hers. God bless you.

    Reply
  11. Mitch Albom

    Just wanted to thank you all for your very kind words and thoughts and prayers.

    Reply
  12. Nubecita

    This is the perfect time to find Chika… my paths had not crossed you until yesterday. You, and Janine and Chika, you let me shed some tears that have been there for who knows how long. I heard a replay of an interview yesterday April fools Day 2020, she would have liked that, yes? where you said that you can never lose a child. I don’t think we ever lose anyone really. But a child so young is an impossible void to fill. When my husband died of a brain tumor we asked that the donations go to St Jude’s for children like Chika facing the unimaginable. But now, every year on his anniversary, Valentines Day, they really must find one another over there!!, I will give in Albert’s name to your children in Haiti. And if you ever need a volunteer or two or three to help on a project, please do let us know. With much love, Nubecita.

    Reply

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Mitch Albom writes about running an orphanage in impoverished Port-au-Prince, Haiti, his kids, their hardships, laughs and challenges, and the life lessons he’s learned there every day.

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