The “what-ifs” in life can be troubling for the mind. What can you do when another is suffering and there is nothing you can do to help? No matter how hard you try, you still feel powerless in the end.
People pray to no avail and sometimes we feel as if God has no ears. We hear of miracles all the time and wonder why not again. Did we not pray enough? Is there something special we need to say? What if, it was so easy and rather than look for an answer to evil diseases that plague our world there was a simple prayer we could say to take it all away. Alas sometimes there is not.
Maybe in Lewis Bryant, Jr.’s passing we indeed had a prayer answered that we were not aware of. “What if” it was God’s way of seeing a problem, we were not aware of? A community that needed some healing of its own. Lewis gave us that with his “smile even though.”
Lewis over the past year got to enjoy life and did many things he may not have ever achieved or enjoyed during a full lifetime. Most of this was because we had a caring community who joined in and helped a family in need. Trips to various amusement parks, ballgames, hotels and the beach. Visits from his superheroes. No matter what walk in life people had in their own world they took the time to be part of his world. The list of people is endless who have come and comforted this young man and his family. They provided opportunities and happiness that indeed lasted his lifetime.
My only regret is that life came to an abrupt halt before he could enjoy more. The “what-ifs?”
Just after Christmas I visited his house with my brand-new side by side. Lewis came to the door and smiled really big and asked, “is that mine?” I wish I could have said yes and in hindsight I should have said yes. He had just completed another round of therapy and was as usual run down and vulnerable to everything. A simple cold or sniffle could kill him at that point. I responded by saying, “I’m sorry but no it’s not, but when you get better, we will go riding and get muddy.” That day never came. What if?
Early in life I thought about the day my parents might die. I thought to myself that I wish that day would never come. I hoped that I would leave this world before them. I could not bear the thought of them leaving me behind. My parents both did themselves a favor and left before I did. I understand now as I grow older and hope my day will come before any of my kids or grand kids. No parent should ever have to be in Tabitha’s (Lewis’ mom) shoes. Losing a child or grandchild should never ever happen to anyone. My last visit to their home I saw an exhausted mom and again felt that pain of there is nothing I can do. Always by his side she was and when she was not, like the night of the candlelight vigil, I heard him say as he did the few times she wasn’t “is my mom there?” That brought tears to my eyes.
Changing lives and changing communities is the legacy that Lewis left behind. When we think of Lewis over the years we will remember one thing about him. That great, big, beautiful smile and his bubbly attitude. Hug someone today and say “I love you” because tomorrow you may be stuck with the “what-ifs” in life and that is much worse than what we do today. Thank you, Lewis, for healing us “even though” we could not do the same for you. Keep smiling Lewis “even though.” I know you are!
Point Pleasant, W.Va.