Yahrtzeit_candleA Facebook site began in his honor to communicate to everybody how he was doing, and hundreds upon hundreds of people began to pray. A benefit concert took place to help the family financially with the medical costs. No one really realized just how terrible his health was because he never stopped joking around, smiling and trying to make the best out of a frightening experience.

Months go by, and his condition worsened. He was ineligible to be put on the transplant list due to other medical complications. He was well over 6-feet tall, and blood was not getting to his extremities. It was discovered he had blood clots. One lodged itself behind his eye, and he lost sight in that eye. Others were discovered later.

A decision was finally made to send him to Cedar Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles where surgeons would undertake a risky procedure to place a mechanical device in his heart that would assist his own heart, and help pump blood through his big frame more effectively.

Time was not on his side. His body began shutting down, and so the precarious decision was made to open him up and place the LVAC (left ventricle assist device) in his chest.

Once surgeons were in there, it was worse than they thought. His aorta had been severely damaged on the right side. They did the best they could, and he survived the procedure.

The next few days were a roller coaster. He’d do better, then get worse, then better again.  It was later discovered that blood wasn’t circulating properly and a clot moved itself into his lung. That is when things began to look bleak. Later than evening, he went into cardiac arrest, and they had to open him up again, to massage his failing heart, desperately trying to keep this boy alive. He lost too much blood. He lost too much oxygen. He lost too much time.

He was put on life support. Neurologists did a brain scan. There was nearly no active signs left in his brain. The news couldn’t be worse. Life support could only remain a few hours longer because his body was breaking down.

It was time to say goodbye. His parents called family together to say those things that no family ever wants to say to such a young person. And then he was gone.

It’s a still, sad Saturday. As I sit here and type his story to the best of my limited knowledge, I put myself in my friend’s position, knowing my 17 year old is just a few months younger than hers. I weep, I pray, I lament… why did this have to happen? I am overcome with sadness.

I know this young man is now in heaven, with his grandma and aunts and a grandpa he is just now meeting for the very first time. I know he is happy, and safe. That makes this a bit more comforting.

But my girlfriend? Now she has to spend the remaining days on earth without her son. She has to teach her younger son how to do life as an only child. Living without her older son is going to be like an amputation, one that they will have to adjust to, but life will never be normal again. All I can do from two-thousand miles away is to offer my prayers, my listening ear, and hope that this boy’s short life on earth will leave a lasting effect on those who knew him.

Questions remain unanswered. Yet we walk on through this life, hoping that heaven is all we’ve heard it to be; a place where there is no more suffering and no more tears, where Love reigns true and strong, and we finally get to see how Jesus really looks like face-to-face, as we gaze into His eyes and see eternity.