My friend’s daughter died yesterday. She was a college student. I only met her a few times, but she was beautiful and she was smart and she was full of the joy of life. She had cystic fibrosis.
Her lungs stopped working. Lots of CF patients have double lung transplants. Some of them have the same surgery again, years later. But Serena wasn’t a candidate. And so there would be no transplant fundraisers, no miracle phone call, no long recovery, no new regimen of meds. All of the options were gone, and the only thing left was goodbye.
I am wrecked.
I am devastated for my friend. I have known people who buried a child. A few of them have buried a child around this age. The loss is unbearable, and yet, somehow, it must be borne. My friend Mayra will find a way to bear it. I have seen her bear up under hard things before, and she has done it with grace and fortitude. She will find a way to do that again.
Mayra has another daughter in high school. She, too, will find a way to do the impossible thing. She knows how to love; she learned it from her mother. She will learn how to grieve, and re-learn how to hope, and she will grow and change and be almost unrecognizable to her former self.
Mayra and her second daughter will continue on, hearts transformed by grief and love and long endurance. I believe in this ending. I believe in these women. But I wish I could spare them the journey.
I talked to another friend last night. She has a daughter with CF. I have a son with CF. We said little, but were together, both sad. Both terrified. Because as much as we don’t want to think about it, this could be us. Probably someday it will be us.
Today, it is our friend. And that is hard enough.