A Pause, And A Lament for Mohammed

A photo of an infant recovering in the ICU

'Passed away.'


Or just the simple ‘gone.’

I’ve heard most of the typical substitutes about Mohammed today. Why is it so hard for us to even say the word… death?

It’s because of days like today, with a mother sprawled across the linoleum floor, bawling her child’s name through the hospital halls, and her husband slumped to his knees, just looking at her.

They knew the risk, we might reason. Doctors said their baby’s chances were slim at best. But logic is cheap. The ‘there-there’ pats on the shoulder are cheap. The perfunctory “trust God’s will” reminders are cheap.

Her 19 day-old baby is dead.

Almost everything you read from us is about silver linings, hope, and smiles. I think Iraq is one of the most beautiful, love-worthy places on earth, and my friends and I are out to convince you of that and, if possible, to convince you to join us in remaking it.

But being a part of this long-term, in-the-flesh work means pain. We don’t fly in and out with the journalists, we live here and we’re in this for the long haul. And that means we get all the fun, sweet little moments that only a person without a return ticket “home” can truly experience.

But it also means sorrow, death, and learning how to lament.

Things aren’t what they should be. Despite partnering with some of the most skilled and gracious doctors on the planet, things don’t always go the way we hope.

So instead of marching on and showing you another cute smile, I wanted to take a minute to remember a baby named Mohammed. He was his parents’ dream, loved by his sisters, and their first son.

He was beautiful.

About Matthew Willingham

Matt Willingham is Preemptive Love's Senior Field Editor and writes primarily on politics, history, general updates and visual peacemaking through photography and film.

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A Pause, And A Lament for Mohammed
A Pause, And A Lament for Mohammed
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