When you come home, you have the pleasure of running into people you haven't seen in a long time, and you also hear the stories that have happened since you last were home. Charleston is a small town and the University, when I attended, had the esssense of small-town community. I maintain friendships with several of my former professors and their families. It was just that kind of place.
While I was home, I learned that one of my former professors lost a granddaughter about a month ago. Norah was thirteen, and I have watched for years, via social media, as she blossomed from a cute and spunky kid into an energetic and creative teen. She passed away from a brain aneurysm in her sleep. It was not preventable, detectable, nor reparable. There was nothing that anybody could have done to save her. The tragedy is stark.
I cannot even begin to fathom how a family continues after such a loss. How do her parents find the courage to face another day, how do her grandparents, aunts, and uncles find the strength to pull themselves through the day? How does her brother, her best friend, her probable confidante, face the daylight without her in it. How does the world even still turn, after an unfathomable loss?
This family has chosen to give back. They worked with the team at Gift of Hope Organ and Tissue Donor Network who found matches for Norah's liver, kidneys, and pancreas. The girl who received Norah's liver would not have survived without it. Secondly, they set up the Non-Stop Norah Celebration Fund to help support the Girls on the Run program.
As a mother, my heart breaks for this family, for their loss, for the need for them to continue without Norah. As a human, I am awed by their resiliency, by their generosity. Their character is showing most amazingly. I pray for their peace, and hope they can find comfort in the good they have done.