When I worked in Liverpool there was a couple I knew. I can’t pretend that we knew each other very well, but they were incredibly hospitable, even making an effort to have me and all of my colleagues around for lunch (nine of us!). I haven’t seen them for years. When I was just about to leave Liverpool and move to the Southwest, I believe that they were expecting their first baby – a daughter. In just over four years that number would quickly jump to three little girls. I casually knew what they were up to from facebook. He is a great photographer and would sometimes comment on my photos, but I knew it was quite likely that I would never see them again, not that I ever thought about my relationship with them in those terms.
It was a year and a half ago or so that I heard that their middle daughter (who was 17 months old at the time) was diagnosed with leukemia. I wasn’t a mother then, but knowing the couple, naturally, my heart went out to them. Over the period of her battle with cancer in a life foreign to ours, My and The Native’s lives changed when we became completely enraptured by the 8lb 3oz ball of life that would steal our hearts forever.
My old acquaintance, would give occasional updates about his middle daughter’s health, and after experiencing the great love that only a parent can have for a child, I read them differently. Naturally, imagining ourselves in that situation, imagining my daughter fighting for her life made me weep for them sometimes. But let me say, I can’t pretend I knew anything of their pain or struggle. I actually feel like it’s unfair or self-indulgent for me even to talk about because I can’t say that I’ve ever had to face that kind of fear, worry or complete helplessness. Through imagination, I only know what it might feel like.
Last month, at 3 years old, Ruth died. I never knew her. But I wish for her Mum and Dad — for her two sisters — that she was still healthy and here with them. Because while I am certain that they draw strength from their faith to get through each day, and their hearts quietly rejoice that her body is now alive and well in a far better place, while they still wait here – hearts never fully mend from that kind of loss.
I’m writing about Ruth because another blogger brought to my attention the need of a little girl called Aillidh. She, too, has leukemia and needs a bone marrow transplant and she needs to find a match. She needs it to have a chance at living. For these parents, for Ruth, for Aillidh, why not look into ways you can help?