I love words. I like to write. I like to read. I like to play games with words. I like to use fun and different words when I speak sometimes. I like to learn new words. But sometimes, words just aren’t enough. Sometimes there just aren’t the right words. Or I can’t find the words to adequately express what my heart and soul are feeling. The words come out sounding trite and empty compared to the depth of the emotion on the inside. For someone who loves words, sometimes there just aren’t words and I’m left wondering what do I say?
My last blog post here, back in March, was about my friend Jay and her son Max, who was valiantly fighting brain cancer. I shared about the value of community and how we were not made to walk alone. Just over two months later, it still stands true and the size of Max’s community is enormous. Max’s community rallied for him in ways that I would not have thought possible in such a short time span. For me, it is just proof that we were indeed meant to live in community and not walk through hard times alone.
Last night Max passed away and it was amazing to see the community shower love and support on the Simmons family. Given the comments and sentiments shared, I am confident that their family was being sent every good, comforting, and peaceful thought, being prayed over, and grieving in community. My heart was absolutely broken to see the news. The whole time Max was getting sicker, I still continued to pray and hope for healing, for some change for the better. And in the moment of the news… what do you say? How do you comfort a mother who has faced what I hope I never will face as a mother? How do you offer comfort to a six year old sister who won’t grow up with the relationship, the joys and the pains, of an older brother? How do you console a father and husband who can’t fix it? Words simply are inadequate, yet it’s all we have.
What I know deep in my heart – what I believe is Max’s legacy that we should all etch into our psyches’ – is that he has helped prove there is still goodness in the world and in people. There is kindness in the world, in all places. Fox brought a movie for Max to *hear* – not even watch, because he was unable to do so, but to HEAR because he was so excited for its release. This movie? It’s not even in theatres yet. Go ahead Fox. Kindness. Saturday Night Live and Gray’s Anatomy made encouraging videos for Max. They don’t know him. But they know the power of an encouraging word, especially from famous people and how that can make you smile. Goodness. The Kyle police department made a video for Max. They took the time out of their day to send joy and love his way. Kindness. People from all over made the effort to send Max the world when he wasn’t cleared to travel. Their family got so much mail that Jay had to have a big-ole-cart to get it all out to the truck!
Everyone stepped outside of themselves and made time to make Max smile. Over and over again, folks donated to various campaigns to help pay for medical bills and travel, and to try to send Max and his family to France. We were all concerned for something larger than ourselves. Never again doubt or believe that there is not goodness in the world. Max’s story has proved beyond any shadow of a doubt that there is goodness, kindness, and a helping nature in the world – far and wide – it exists. For me, that is his legacy. I know for others there may be a different legacy as his story impacted us all differently. But those are the words I choose to give to his passing.
Max, you left a legacy of kindness and goodness in my life and for that I am thankful.
Jay, out of this your legacy for me is that you have shown me what motherhood is about and the kind of mother that I hope I can one day be to my kids… You are strong, inspirational, and fierce.
For Jay, Scott, and Katie – the words still seem inadequate, but you are loved and continually wrapped in prayer, and if any of us could take the pain away, we would. I don’t know if this will help or not, but when I am sad, music seems to speak to me more so than usual and I heard this song this morning on the radio and thought of you all. In the meantime, your community will continue to stand with you because you are not meant to be alone. Not now, not ever.