Today is Thursday...any normal Thursday to everyone across the world. Except now I understand what a Thursday and April 30th and Saturday and May 2nd means to someone very special in my life. I remember this event in great detail, but not nearly as much detail as this person does. The person I am speaking of Diane. During this past year she has helped and supported me so much. Diane's daughter Beka went into cardiac arrest early in the morning on Thursday, April 30, 1998 at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. She was placed on a ventilator to keep her alive till her family arrived to say goodbye. Beka died on
Saturday, May 2, 1998.
Saturday, May 2, 1998.
I remember the call..I was in shock. I instantly went into my "Sherry" battle mode. What needs to be done?...how can I help? I could not imagine what they were going through. I went over to Diane's to see what I could do, Wes and Diane were already gone. They hopped a plane with nothing. Just had to get to Chicago as fast as possible. Their daughter Jennifer was there and I helped her pack some clothes for her mom. I would later find out that for all my efforts in packing, the clothes we packed were the ones Diane did not wish to take. It would become a small giggle in an unbearable situation.
Time drug on here at home. The entire Awana Board and I were waiting for news. We heard nothing all day Thursday and most of the morning Friday. I remember talking to Betty Birkholtz and we were trying to decide who would call up there. Just didn't want to bother them. We decided that I would call. So I did just that and I ended up talked to Diane. I remember the unbelievable news...Diane told me there was nothing to be done, Beka was going to die. She kept saying I cant do this, I cant do this. we both were crying. I tried my best to tell her everything would be ok...famous last words. I told Diane some news about calling Falconer Funeral Home here in the Valley first thing. Many issues with transport across state line. I ended by telling her I loved her, hung up the phone and cried.
Early in the morning on Saturday, May 2, 1998, I received a call from Diane. Beka had died. I could hear the devastation in her voice. I told her I loved her, hung up the phone and cried. I only knew Beka a very short amount of time. But she was the sweetest, most caring and giving and beautiful child of God. She made an impression on everyone who met her. I could not imagine the loss. I was heartbroken. It was devastating news. I hugged my 3 girls a lot that day and the following week. I could not imagine losing a child. The worst thing there was in the world.
I busied myself with cleaning the house for Wes and Diane, getting meals brought in and trying to do anything I could to help. A small group of us went to meet them at the airport. I remember how much like walking refugees they looked like. They were defeated. They had cried so much they had scabs around their eyes from rubbing tissues across them. The look on their faces said it all. I was looking at the outward face of a pain and hurt I could never begin to comprehend. And honestly I hoped I would never have an understanding of this pain.
As days turned to weeks and weeks to months I tried to be there for Diane, sending cards, gifts and dropping by for no other reason than I could. I listened while she talked about her precious Beka and held her hand or hugged her as she cried. I tried to understand and be supportive in any way possible. I thought in my mind, I get this..I understand. I am as close as I could be to the experience without actually going through the loss myself.
Boy was I wrong. As much as I thought I understood and thought I was there for Diane, I now know my actions fell so far short. I had no clue. I did not have any understanding of how that felt. I sympathized, but I did not comprehend in any way. As much as I tried, I could not begin to understand the emotions of losing a child. This is something you have to go through personally. Kind of like having a baby. You can read and talk and prepare all you want to, but till you go through you, you really have no clue.
This is a horrible elite club to belong to. I honestly hope and pray everyone of you reading this never know what I am talking about. My best friend Sandy described it this way; Sandy and I are standing with a brick fence between us. Neither one of us can walk around it nor can we tunnel under or climb over. We can hear each other talking but we can never be on the same side of the fence together again. I by no means am telling all of you that I don't appreciate all your support and love. I do and I need it and love all of you more than ever. Just trying to explain that no matter who you have lost; parent, sibling or spouse, it can never compare to the loss of a child. Rebekah Stewart
January 26,1979-May 2,1998
This post today is for everyone to know that a beautiful young girl named Rebekah lived, loved and she died way too soon. Her short 19 years here were not enough. She is loved and missed every moment of everyday. Beka was a daughter, sister, aunt, friend and one of God's very special gifts. Most of all...I will not forget her...I love you Diane...and if I had to join this club, I am glad we are together in this...