There's a new angel in heaven today, and her name is Layla Grace. While I know there are, sadly, too many sweet little girls and boys sick and dying from some form of childhood cancer, this is one of those stories that just touched my heart. I've only known about Layla for a few weeks, when one of my friends posted a link to her parent's blog on a message board, with the warning that it was heartbreaking. At first, I didn't want to read it. I didn't need to take on a stranger's sadness, did I? But as my friends talked about how sweet she was, I couldn't help it, I clicked the link and read the blog.
As I read the story of this sweet little girl, I was touched by the strength of her parents. If this were me I'd be in a puddle on the floor, incapable of anything productive, much less meaningful. But the grace and honesty with which they've dealt with this family tragedy and used it to raise awareness is just moving. Since Layla was just a few months older than Oliver, one particular post struck a chord with me, the first paragraph in particular. I hope I always remember those words. There are too many moments, too many days, when I count the minutes to nap time or bedtime. What do I have to do that is more important than spending time with my son? Yes, it's hard when he's whiny or full of tantrums, but he's healthy and alive, and that's too easy to take for granted.
I've mentioned my online parenting after a loss friends previously. We are a group who have experienced loss through miscarriage and stillbirth. There is something about that experience that changes who you are. But losing a child whose tears you've wiped and laughter you've heard . . . I just cannot imagine. It has to be simply unbearable. Today, as we all wished Layla Grace and her family a little peace, we were comforted by the words her mother wrote when she announced her death, that "Layla went to play with the angels early this morning." I said that I'd like to believe that the angel babies she was playing with are ours, laughing and singing and dancing together.