Several years ago my friend Joy (better known to the interwebz as Sherpa or Ruby G) introduced me to the blog of a little girl with cancer. Her name was Rebekah. I don't remember how or why Joy and I started reading "cancer kid" blogs, but we did. Within a few months I found myself following the stories of Rebekah, Joshua, Maggie, Gage, and some other little kids. All of these children had something called Ewings Sarcoma, a particularly awful type of cancer. One with a horrible morbidity rate.
My heart got wrapped into their stories. I found myself adding each other names and families into my prayers. When the first of these little children, Maggie, died, my heart broke. But then, amazingly, the other children began to fight the odds. Rebekah and Joshua are 9 years old now and cancer free (but not without significant impairments).
For a while it looked like Gage was going to be a survivor as well. I've prayed for this little boy nightly for six years. But a few months ago the cancer returned, and in spite of heroic efforts by his parents to provide him with the best care possible, the tumors took over.
He passed away today at age 9. He fought cancer for 6 years. He lived an incredibly full life for a child who endured so much.
I've learned it is possible to feel love and pain for a family you have never met. I feel overwhelming sorrow for Gage's parents, and yet I feel relief for them that their only son is finally released from so much pain.
I will never understand where the suffering and pain of small children fits into God's plan. But that won't stop me from praying for those who must live with it.
Goodbye Little Gage. You have been an inspiration to me many times over the years. Your parents strength has helped me find the patience I needed to endure my own trials. Your short little life served more good than you will ever know.
If you need something good to do in the world today, consider making a small donation to CaringBridge. It is a service that provides free websites to families and individuals in a health crisis. They have helped many families reach out and share their experiences with their friends and families. As well as provide a vehicle for others to show their love and support the families going through these crisis.