Tag Archives: Pain
Savannah Aulger will never have snapshots with her father on her first birthday, on Christmas or at a school event.
The only picture she will ever have of them is the one as sweet as it is heartbreaking. Hooked up to an oxygen mask at the hospital, the man she would call dad cradled her in his arms for 45 minutes.
He sobbed. He smiled. And there was no doubt that he loved her.
“He would talk to my stomach when I was pregnant,” Diane Aulger said of her husband. “He was so excited for her.”
The next day, Mark Aulger slipped into a coma.
The Aulger family of The Colony, Texas, had a lot to rejoice about in the weeks before Savannah’s Jan. 18 birth, which was induced two weeks early so her father could hold her.
A home movie on Christmas showed a pregnant Diane Aulger, 31, handing out gifts to their four children, the oldest of whom is 15. Mark, 52, who had just received the news that he had beaten cancer, played the guitar, providing a soundtrack for the Christmas morning festivities.
On Jan. 3, life threw a curveball.Mark Aulger was admitted to the hospital, unable to breathe.
Doctors told him that eight months of chemotherapy had ravaged his lungs and diagnosed him with pulmonary fibrosis. “We thought he could get on steroid treatment and oxygen and live for years,” Diane Aulger said.
But on Jan. 16, Mark Aulger found out those treatments would be fruitless. He had one week left to live.
“He was awake and alert, himself. I really didn’t believe the doctor [at first],” Diane Aulger said. “The next day his doctor came in and said: ‘When are you going to have this baby?’”
On Jan. 18, in a larger-than-normal delivery room, Mark rested in his bed, a supportive presence for Diane as their baby girl entered the world.
“The day she was born his oxygen levels were really high,” Aulger said. “He held her for 45 minutes. Him and I just cried that whole time.”
As Diane was recovering, Mark tried holding his daughter again the next day, but was only able to last one minute. “He just couldn’t take it,” Diane Aulger said.
The devoted husband and father of five slipped into a coma.
“If she cried, he would shake his head and moan. I put her on him when he was in the coma a few times and his hand would move toward her,” Aulger said.
On January 23rd, with his family by his side, Mark Aulger died in his hospital bed.
“The kids go on as if dad is really still here,” Diane Aulger said. “Mark was a very funny guy. My kids still tell jokes how they would when he was around. He would have been a wonderful daddy to Savannah.”
One of the worst droughts in a century, compounded by high food prices and unremitting political strife, is spawning an immense humanitarian crisis on the Horn of Africa. Thousands of Somalis are fleeing their homeland each week; most of those who survive the brutal journey end up in refugee camps in neighboring Kenya. Aid agencies are calling it the worst drought in 60 years. Although centered on Somalia, which lacks a functioning government and suffers from constant battles with Islamic rebels, the crisis has also affected people in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda. Reports suggest parts of Somalia may already be on the verge of famine, a repeat of the emergency situation two decades ago. Resources are woefully inadequate. “Desperate hunger is looming across the Horn of Africa and threatening the lives of millions who are struggling to survive in the face of rising food prices and conflict,” World Food Programme executive director Josette Sheeran said in a release.
You can see the rest of the pictures which are very hard to bear here.
Please pray. And help if and where you can.
Here’s the English translation of the exchange between the two reporters in the clip (translation courtesy of Toshiyuki Kitamura):
We are in Arahama area. Looks like there is a dog. There is a dog. He looks tired and dirty. He must have been caught in the tsunami. He looks very dirty.
He has a collar. He must be someone’s pet. He has a silver collar. He is shaking. He seems very afraid.
Oh, there is another dog. I wonder if he is dead.
Right there. There is another dog right next to the one sitting down. He is not moving. I wonder. I wonder if he is alright.
The dog is protecting him.
Yes. He is protecting the dog. That is why he did not want us to approach them. He was trying to keep us at bay.
I can’t watch this. This is a very difficult to watch.
Oh. Look. He is moving. He is alive. I am so happy to see that he is alive.
Yes! Yes! He is alive.
He looks to be weakened. We need to them to be rescued soon. We really want them rescued soon.
Oh good. He’s getting up.
It is amazing how they survived the tremendous earthquake and tsunami. It’s just amazing that they survived through this all.