Now that I have had a day to process this information, I am still stunned. How do we make sense of a child dying at such a young age?
Cancer is a familiar term to me. I was diagnosed with cancer the first time at the age of 25. After surgery and months of chemotherapy treatments, I finally emerged victorious from the battle. The physical and emotional scars remain, but I have been blessed with an additional three decades of life. Why do some survive and some do not? That is a question for which I have no answer.
After I finished chemo treatments back in 1986, I helped the chaplain at the hospital begin a support group for families coping with life-threatening illnesses. The group was called, "Make Today Count." That is exactly what we tried to do.
My involvement with that group lasted ten years. I met many wonderful people going through some very difficult times. It was uplifting to see many people survive and win the battle against their disease. Unfortunately, it was not always a success story that we witnessed. I saw a number of people just a few years younger than me succumb to their illness. The question would always come back to my mind, "Why did I survive?"
I met my future wife at the support group. On the day of our wedding, a 20 year old nursing student from the University of Missouri lost her battle. I just sat with her in the hospital lobby a few months earlier watching the Fourth of July fireworks over the Missouri River in St. Charles, Missouri. My life continued; hers was cut short. Once again, "Why did I survive?"
I do not have answers to all of the big philosophical questions. I am simply trying my best to live life in accord with God's will. I don't always do it well, but the goal of my daily pursuits is to constantly improve. That is my hope. The reason for the title of my website and my book, "ARTICULATING HOPE," is that I know many people are hurting from the challenges of day-to-day life. I want to encourage each person that is struggling to keep up the good fight.
As I ponder Yaretzy's death, I can't even imagine the anguish her family must be feeling. I know our school community and others will offer support, but the loss will certainly be overwhelming. I ask my dear readers to please wrap this family in a blanket of prayer.
Who needs your love and support today? Reach out to them and give it.