Growing up, I experienced death pretty early on in life. Shortly after my mom and step dad had gotten married, they had a baby girl named Kennedy. Kennedy was born with a very rare disease and she only lived for eighteen days. Being so young, about five or six, I didn’t understand what that meant. All I knew was that Kennedy was no longer with us.
In 2001, my sister Baylee was born. Praise God that she didn’t have the same disease Kennedy had. She was truly a miracle to our family. My parents next child, Zachary, however, was born with the rare disease that Kennedy had. He only lived a few hours. I never even got to see him.
The death that had wrecked me most however, was the death of my best friend Kaden. Kaden was diagnosed with brain cancer in kindergarten. Doctors didn’t expect him to live longer than two year. Defying all odds, Kaden lived to be eleven years old. Throughout his life, Kaden had to go through chemotherapy and had to take many other drugs that had deteriorated his health. One of my most treasured memories is when Kaden had recently gone through Chemo and had lost his hair. His brothers and I all decided to shave our heads that summer so that we could all be the same.
Kaden was a very loving person. In all my years knowing him I had not once heard him speak ill of another person. He truly had the love of Christ in him. Not only was he loving, Kaden was also courageous. Many children will never have to go through what Kaden went through. They will never know what it is like to lose their hair and being so sick that they don’t even have the strength to get out of bed and move around the house. Even in the face of death, Kaden had a joy that I had never seen, and have yet to see since his death.
It was in May 2005 when Kaden had gotten really sick. Sicker than he had ever been. He had to get his liquids from an I.V. and was fed with a feeding tube. On May 17th, my mother and I went to go visit Kaden. He was so weak. He could barely move. On May 19th, 2005, the horrible sickness that was raging inside of Kaden took him to be with Jesus. His grandmother called my mom on the phone. I knew right away that something terrible had happened. I asked my mom if he had died. She said yes, and I remember weeping. Weeping for what seemed like hours. My mom and I wept and wept. There was no foreseeable end to the tears that were pouring from our eyes. The next few months were the most depressing in my life. If I was that wrecked over the loss of my best friend, I can’t even imagine how his family felt.
I have tried to model my life the best I could, first and foremost, after Jesus Christ my Saviour. My second role model is Kaden. I have tried to strive for that love that he had for others, and the joy that he had, despite the most bleakest of circumstances. I have learned that life is short. Why should we waste one day of our lives, when we could lose it before we even knew that death was coming. Kaden died at a very young age. He did so much for his community and could have done many more great things. It is up to us to not let the legacies of great men, women, and children be forgotten. We need to continue where they left off and to try our best to make our communities, our cities, our countries, and ultimately the world, a better place.
In God’s grip,