Yesterday my older daughter met me at the door after school to share some news with me, it was not happy news.
"Mom", she said, "Alex P. died this weekend. They sent a note around to all the students. There's a visitation on Thursday. I knew you'd want to know".
I was stunned. I have been talking to his mom weekly for over a year now, his little sister has had gymnastics the same day as Christi and we would sit and talk and laugh and she'd share details about Alex's progress. The last time we had talked he was coming home from the hospital because they had finally adjusted his meds to help him. You see, he had a type of cancer that affected his kidneys, requiring a kidney transplant in 4th grade and again last summer as he was finishing 7th grade. He remained in the hospital the required 10 weeks and then was able to come home. A month and a half ago he was returned to the hospital because he was having trouble keeping food down, but they felt like it was just a medicine issue. After all this, they found out that he needed a bone marrow transplant, but a match was never found. He died Saturday.
I sat around all day yesterday and last night with a broken heart for his family. Alex was adored. He had lead a tough life and in the process became a heroic and strong boy. I am still sad for his family, for hopes dashed, dreams unfulfilled and life left unlived....but the joy of Alex now as he enters the continual presence of the One who made him, who welcomed him with open arms and now cradles this perfectly healthy spirit. I know it will be a long road for this family for healing, but am committed to helping with as much as possible, even if it's only to sit by their side and be silent.
As I thought about their loss, I held my children a little tighter and thanked God for their health, for a blessed life and prayed for us to have many more years in this life that I so love.