What an honor to have known and even cared for Nikensly Pierre. I met Nik when I moved to Haiti in 2011 as COTP’s nurse. Most recently, Wilson and I were his house parents in the Promise House. It seems impossible to reduce everything that was so special about Nikensly to a blog post, but I also want everyone to see just how amazing our little boy was.
Nik was quite possibly the coolest kid I knew. He was cool in an I-know-who-I-am-and-don’t-need-to-apologize-for-it, I-do-what-I-want-to-do kind of way and he had this air of confidence and strength that you might miss if you were distracted by his laid-back, chill demeanor. Nikensly loved everyone and everyone loved Nikensly. His smile and laugh were so genuine and it was easy to get caught up in his good moods. Almost the only time he wasn’t in a good mood was when he got really hungry, which he always seemed to realize quite suddenly, and then quite loudly made sure everyone else realized it too. He was our built-in alarm clock for mealtimes and he never shirked that responsibility. He could really keep a beat, too, with his favorite drum being his belly, followed by a friend’s hand, and then the floor. He could pat-a-cake along for hours to whatever songs I could think of. I let him determine the tempo with his claps, and he always had a sly, gotcha giggle when he’d make me hold out one note for a really long time. When I first met Nik, he was a two-year-old roly-poly little guy with so little muscle tone and control that we had no idea what his capabilities might be. This year, as a seven-year-old, Nikensly could sit independently, he could hold his own water bottle to drink, he could get all around the house by laying on his belly and pulling himself with his arms or laying on his back and pushing himself with his feet. With the right motivation, he could surprise and impress all of us. And when he was done, he was done, as evidenced by his water bottle being flung across the room or the slow as molasses descent from sitting to lying that required more abdominal strength than I could ever hope to have. Sometimes he would disappear very quietly, exploring different things and different rooms, but it never took long for him to give away his location. First, he loved to slam doors. If there were no doors slamming to indicate where he was, he would eventually start his jolly babbling, which was often echoed by a chorus of grownups babbling along.
But there is no more babbling, no more sly giggling and no more endless games of pat-a-cake. On November 18, 2016 Nikensly passed away in his sleep. That day, like all the days before, was prepared in advance before Nikensly was even born. We have mourned the sudden loss of our sweet boy and will continue to do so, but though we mourn, we do not despair. Nikensly’s life is worthy of celebration but his new life with the one who knows him inside and out is perhaps even greater cause for celebration.
How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young—a place near your altar, O Lord Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you. Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere. (Psalm 84)
Blessed is Nikensly, who is ever praising the Lord Almighty.