Anyone can slay a dragon, she told me, but try waking up every morning & loving the world all over again. That’s what takes a real hero.
- Brian Andreas, StoryPeople®
Life is challenging enough. The end of life takes a real hero—especially when it’s the end of a child’s life.
Increasingly these days, the advance directives of ailing adults spare loved ones some of the angst associated with end-of-life decisions. But the parents of critically ill children are left to their own devices—and faith—when doctors announce that they’ve exhausted all treatment options.
Occasionally (though fortunately, not often), families here must decide what to do for a child who requires 24-hour medical support—and for whom no further intervention can avert the inevitable. It’s painful to watch distraught parents agonize over questions that have no clear answers (even for medical ethicists, who are at least compensated for their wrestling).
In such circumstances—where answers are elusive and understanding impossible—I pray for strength and grace. Strength to persevere, and grace to embrace the inherent mystery of our precious yet fleeting nature.
For the parents of children whose short lives are nearing an end, a looming dragon would seem far less daunting than having to wake up in the morning and love the world all over again. But somehow, these courageous men and women manage to rise—and find a way to keep on loving. Which makes them real heroes in my book.
Tom Soma, Executive Director