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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Little Girl Named Layla

There are certain events that happen in my life and in the lives of others, that helps put things more clearly in to perspective for me.

Fairly recently, a little boy in my 6yr old's class at school was diagnosed with Leukemia. As you can imagine, the whole school community (including myself) were shocked at hearing this news. I looked at my own son, and imagined his parent's pain, anxiety and shock at hearing such news themselves. It is something every parent hopes they never hear.

And then a few weeks ago whilst on Twitter, I noticed a tweet that grabbed my attention, and a I followed a link which took me to a blog about a little girl named Layla Grace.

At the age of 16 months old, Layla's sleep habits suddenly changed, and before too long, her appetite decreased. Her parents thought they were perhaps dealing with a "picky eater". Then one day, a couple of months later, she woke one morning with a swollen eye. A doctor diagnosed an ear infection which he thought had caused the eye to swell. But when her appetite decreased further in the days following, and she started to complain of pain in her tummy and lower back, Layla's parents were referred to a specialist who found that Layla had, in fact, a massive tumor in her abdomen. She was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma.

By the time I found Layla's story, beautifully and bravely written by both her mother and father, Layla had been sent home from hospital to await her certain death. There was nothing more the doctors could do for her.

Reading how Layla's parents dealt with these terrifying circumstances was both heart-wrenching and inspiring. I found myself thinking about Layla often during the day, wondering how she was going - wondering how her parents were coping. And I think that was the point of their blog. To have people think of Layla, and pray for her. And along with many, many others, I did.

Yesterday, I read an updated post on Layla's condition. It very much sounded that her death was imminent. I emailed my parish priest and asked him to pray for her. What else could I do, besides pray myself?

Then this morning, after I had just scolded my 6yr old for spilling his juice at breakfast, I sat down to my computer and went to Layla's blog to check her progress. The same post was still up, but looking to the right of the homepage, where her parent's tweets on Twitter were displayed, I saw this:

It really is time to stop worrying about the silly, little things, isn't it? This seems to be something that is being reiterated to me over and over lately. I'm quick to scold my boys over some really trivial stuff. And really...why? Is the world going to come to an end over a little spilt juice?

My wonderful parish priest called me earlier today to tell me he was saying a mass for Layla this morning. I imagine this is something being repeated all over the world today, by many of Layla's followers on Twitter and her blog. I hope it brings at least a little comfort to her parents to know this.

Layla has reminded me, and many others I'm sure, that life is precious, and shouldn't be wasted.

Layla was just 2 years old when she died. Rest in peace, Layla Grace.

You can read Layla's story on her blog.



Bern said...

Beautiful Jodie. I'm the same. Stupidly chastising the kids for ridiculous things. I think the wonderful thing about Layla, is she brought a lot of people together. Loved this x

Ami said...

Gosh, can't believe how much I cried reading that. Must be my hormones. Thank you Jodie for writing this beautiful post. It's so sad that things like this have to happen for us to stop worrying about the little things. This morning I yelled at Hubby for not replacing the toilet roll. Next time I'll just go and replace it myself and not even worry about it. And now it's pouring down rain and all the washing is on the line, but really it's not the end of the world.

Thanks again Jodie for sharing Layla's story. xx

Sarah P said...

Beautiful. With Rory's Garden I am constantly reminded how precious and fleeting life is, and yet I get constantly bogged down in irrelevant things.
I will follow your example and phone our Parish Priest. Blessings on sweet Layla Grace and her heartbroken family.

emlykd said...

This is a beautiful post Jodie.. I am sitting here in tears at uni library.. But you know what.. sometimes it takes the crappy things to happen to remind u what you got... I will be saying a prayer for Layla's family. It seems to me that her tiny life has touched so many...

AngelaPj said...

I read Layla's story this morning after a twitter post. I cried then and I just cried again now reading your post. Those poor parents, those poor sisters and that poor darling little girl. I can't even imagine what they are going through.
I can't wait until that school bell rings this afternoon because there's some special little someones that I will be squeezing oh so tight today.

Rest in Peace Layla xx

Michelle said...

Such a beautiful post. Give me the messy house any day. My heart goes out to her family.

Taryn said...

Terribly sad. She is at peace now. Crying all over the place. x

Aussie-waffler said...

How devastating. Thank-you for sharing Layla's story, I can't even fathom what her family is going through right now. My heart goes out to them.

Nomie said...

I was in tears as I read the name Layla, before I even read the rest of the post... as you know I have a special place in my heart for a sweet Layla already. Beautifully written Jodie, I will say a prayer for her family xxx

Thea Smith said...

I didn't know of Layla's story until I saw the stream of tweets about her this morning. It is heart wrenching. My beautiful little girl is only 2 1/2 months older...I can't begin to imagine.....