Monday, March 15, 2010

Snow White and the 5 Dwarfs

April 30th, 2009 a young boy passed away with Leukemia. He attended the high school that I work at for his Freshman year. Most of his sophomore year was spent battling for his life in a local hospital. Unfortunately, I did not get the chance to meet this young boy. I started hearing more and more about him as students were coming with me with concern and wanting help with their fears. I became emotionally attached with this young boy through his carinbridge site. One day in my office I stared at the computer for over 3 hours reading about the trials one goes through when fighting such a disease. It was reading the stories on the site of hope, faith, his friends visiting him on his birthday. The love and support from his church was amazing, a member from the church staff visited him and his family everyday! I couldn't help but think about his mother, father, and older brother. I remember being ecstatic reading the updates as the news got greater, greater, and greater. Cancer free to be exact! Then the shock and disappointment when the last update stated, "Dear friends, we are sad to say the Leukemia has returned, there is nothing left that the doctors can do." It was a tough year last year at the high school. We had a boy murdered, 2 students die of cancer, one die in a car crash, and another pass away from a reaction to IB Profuen. I never imagined I would be conducting 5 grief groups in one year.
The 5 dwarfs were friends of this young boy I've been talking about. It's been a very difficult grief group. They are hurt, angry, and they miss their friend terribly. The day this young man died was a day like I had never seen before at RHS. We must of checked out the entire sophomore class (over 400 students) that day at school. Leading a group of boys is definitely outside my comfort zone and it's been challenging. And today was the most challenging of all. Snow White (mom who lost her son) called me to inform me that her son's tombstone would be placed and she wanted to give the dwarfs an opportunity to see it first and together. So I set up a field trip today for the boys. We drove out to the graveside, there Snow White left a cooler of Red Bull (son's favorite) and a letter to each dwarf. I too had the dwarfs write a letter to Snow White, telling her what her son meant to them and how they were going to keep his memory alive. I knew this would be important because Snow White expressed me that her greatest fear (other than losing a child) was that he would be forgotten. This boy will never be forgotten, not by the dwarfs and not by me. They also were to write one a 6 pack of eggs what they were angry about and "chuck" em!
But here's the thing. Out of all my grief groups these boys have had the most difficult time coping. Snow White believes in God and so did her son. He is in Heaven and I'm so thankful for that other wise this experience would have been much more difficult. It's been on my heart for a long time and then when I went to church yesterday it confirmed it. The sermon encouraged us to share our faith. I love my job because I get to show God's love everyday to students. Saying it however...that's a different story. But today was the perfect opportunity. I wasn't on school grounds and today out of all days would be the time that I had their attention. So I mustered up the courage and said...
"Your friend believed in God. He is in heaven, he is happy, he is whole, he is taken care of, and he was ready to go. God doesn't disappoint us, but life does. God did take care of him, it just wasn't the way we wanted him to be taken care of. Your friend does not want a legacy of hatred left behind. He wants you to remember that he was strong and accepted life the way it was. And the best part is, you can see him again! You can see him again when it's your turn to pass. But you have to have God in your heart." God says, "Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come! Your friend experienced that and you can too!
And that tiny paragraph took me about a week to gutsy up and say.
Did it make a difference? No clue. But I'm hoping it planted a seed in their sweet heads. These young men are precious. They have already had too much hurt for their young ages. No dads, addicted parents, verbal abuse and a loss of a dear friend. They have every reason to NOT believe in a God but it's more the reason that they NEED God. So please help me pray. That they will think about what was said and that I will continue to have the courage to share. He was an incredible young man. The 6 of them together had a unique friendship and tragically watched their best friend shrivel away. I got to talk with Snow White today. She is beautiful and doing wonderful. Holding strong to God and living life. The good days and the bad. I'm so touched that I have gotten to be a part of her life.

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