Death isn’t supposed to be scary when you’re a Christian – at least, I feel like it shouldn’t be. We have the promise of eternal life, that when life passes away, we’ll be with Jesus.
And that sounds good, and I do believe that. And yet, when someone I know dies, I find myself wondering: Are they really in a better place? Is there really life after death? Or is the end, the end?
Last summer I wrote two stories about Cassidy, a little girl who was battling a brain tumor. When I interviewed her mother for the first story, it was only days after Cassidy’s grandfather had died in a car accident on his way to visit the hospital. Talking to Suzie about her father’s death was the first time I interviewed someone after the death of a loved one. When I called the next month to schedule a follow-up interview, I heard Suzie’s husband, Sean, shouting in the background: “Be sure that CJ is the one who comes! I want to meet CJ!”
That was one of the best compliments of my career.
Cassidy and her family captured my heart. They entrusted me with sharing their story, which was at once heart-wrenching and hopeful. I got to see the community rally around the family and I saw how the family clung to their hope in Christ through their daughter’s illness.
Cassidy died Friday night. She was 6 years old.
I gasped (literally gasped) when I opened to her picture in the Birmingham News obituaries this morning. I’d kept up with Cassidy’s health in the seven months since she left the hospital using a Web site her family had set up. But I hadn’t looked in on her in several months, and had no idea that she had checked back in.
Among the many, many people thanked in Cassidy’s obituary, her family included The Tuscaloosa News. It amazes me that in what surely must be the toughest time of their lives, Suzie and Sean would think of what I wrote as a blessing. They, and their precious daughter, were the ones who blessed me.