by Lindsay Culbert
Sometimes, if you have been in ministry for a while, or even if you work with people in general, it seems like every story repeats itself just with a different plot line. You become accustomed to listening for the con, the hidden ask, or the ploy for sympathy. They become routine in a way.
However, occasionally, the Lord drops a Tasha in your life to remind you that each person is different, and each person is irreplaceable to God.
I was walking on the sidewalk beside The LOT Project when a tiny person started running full throttle at me assuming I’m going to catch her. I dropped my phone on the pavement and yelled at my friend on the other end of the line that I’d have to call her back. I braced for impact. The little girl is Tasha’s four-year-old named Semone.
Before I knew what happened to me, Semone had me sitting cross-legged on the curb while she braided my hair. (She’s really good for only being four years old.) I looked at her mom who was watching me with her daughter.
I felt like I had spoken to her before, but I couldn’t remember her name. She’d been coming to The LOT Project off and on for three years. I had to find out her name was Tasha from a guest after the conversation I’m about to tell you took place.
Before I could ask her anything, Tasha point blank asked me, “Do you remember my other baby?”
I was completely caught off guard. The question was so honest and vulnerable.
“No, I don’t. I’m sorry,” I said. A bad feeling started rising in my stomach, like I had missed something really important.
“You have to remember my other baby,” She seemed to be getting a little upset. “You don’t remember her?”
I started to regret having to shake my head “no.” Tasha didn’t seem like the type to draw attention to herself. When I saw her at The LOT Project, she was shy and mostly stayed around the women she came with.
I’ll never forget her face. She wasn’t angry or disgusted standing there staring at me, waiting for me to recall.
“You don’t even remember me being pregnant? You have to remember my other baby.” I felt like she was almost pleading with me. She dropped her hands to her side in disbelief.
There was no way I was going to recover from this one, so I just said, “Do you want to tell me about her?”
Tasha told me about her baby: Averryonna Keasha Storri Davis. (I promised her Id’ write her whole name in this newsletter, so you could know the baby’s name too.) Averyonna was born a little over a year ago and died four months later from a birth defect in her heart.
When she finished telling me her story, it felt like the whole world went silent. I felt like God was silent too standing there with us. His heart was breaking right along with mine. Tasha never made me feel guilty for not remembering her baby. I did that all on my own. I could have melted onto the pavement. In the end, I was just glad that my heart could still be broken.
I had seen this woman for months and had no idea she was living in her own private prison. All she wanted was for someone to remember her baby because she still remembers her everyday.
So many things when through my head. How could this have happened in a world of modern medicine? And in the United States? It blew my mind how a person’s life could slip into and out of this world without a single echo on Facebook or on the prayer list at a local church. I hadn’t heard about the baby’s passing through the grapevine either.
Most of the time when I write these stories I have a punch line in mind, a moral to take away from my experience. I could wax poetic and tie all of this together into a bow. The truth is my heart is still broken over Tasha’s loss—but I think God’s is too. I don’t know what you will take away from this story, and I don’t feel like I want to define the end for you. I don’t think I have really defined it myself.
But this one thing I know for certain: There are more Tashas in this world and more Averyonnas. What will you do now that you know?