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.