Please pray for my friends, Heather and Mike, and their 9-month-old daughter, Sarah.
Sarah has been diagnosed with a condition called hypotonia, a condition where the muscles do not become strong, and possibly spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a genetic condition. The baby had pneumonia last week, and just when they thought she was responding to the treatment, a lobe in her right lung collapsed and she had to be put on oxygen. Her parents began talking to Daniel’s Care, a branch of Hospice for children.
“We are not giving up hope and we are not stopping prayers, but we are preparing for the inevitable,” her father wrote in his church’s newsletter. “SMA is fatal and Sarah is dying. There is no time table; she could be here for a few weeks or a few months.”
My heart breaks for the family. I can’t imagine what Heather and Mike, both ministers, are going through. How do you handle the death of your child? What anguish went through Mike as he wrote and thought the words, Sarah is dying? Dying! No! How can that be? Children aren’t supposed to die before their first birthday. Parents aren’t supposed to bury their babies who have barely had a shot at life. What do you pray for at a time like this? Do you pray for a miracle? Well, of course you do – miracles still do happen. Do you hold on to your baby for as long as you can and rage, rage against the dying light of day and ask God why, why, why and cry and then get strong and cry some more and hold her and hold her and savor every precious moment she has left? Of course you do. Do you think you can’t go on and then know you can, and then think again you can’t and know again you can – and must – go on, if only to keep that child’s memory alive? Of course you do. But how do you do it? How?
Please pray for Sarah and Heather and Mike. Pray for strength for all three of them. For comfort from friends and families and even from you reading this who do not know them but whose hearts are filled with pain for them. For peace. For the baby not to suffer. And when you have finished praying, those of you who have healthy, thriving, growing children – no matter how old they are – go to them and give them a hug and whisper your own prayer of thanks.