Until I was 11 years old my family lived here in Utah. Where we lived, we were surrounded by great neighbors and friends. There was one family that lived down the street from us. We were never incredibly close with them, but I do remember vividly going over to their house often and playing in their yard with their two daughters who were around my age. At one point, even, their mother was my primary teacher. I always remember how nice they were to me and my family.
When we moved to Georgia, we lost contact with most people in our ward and neighborhood. This family was no exception.
About five years ago, as luck would have it, this particular family moved into my Aunt & Uncle's ward (which happened to be only 2 minutes from where we used to live!). When I moved back here to Utah to begin school at BYU, I spent many weekends with my Aunt & Uncle. Over these weekends, I got to re-connect with this family. They invited us over to watch movies, to have dinner, play games, etc. It was great! I was so glad to have them back in my life.
Less than a year ago, the patriarch of this family was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, AKA Lou Gehrig's Disease). For those who don't know exactly what that is, it is a degenerative disease that affects muscle control. For the past several months, I have seen how this disease has quickly compromised this man's control of his own body.
I received a telephone call at the beginning of this week from my Aunt who informed me that this man was in such terrible condition that he was practically suffocating because his respiratory system was not functioning. He is on a respirator in order to breathe. She told me that the family was planning on pulling the plug and letting him die sometime this week.
While I knew this was inevitable, it still rocked me to my core. I couldn't believe it. All I have been able to think about this entire week since that phone call is how things like this always seem to affect the best of the best. This family has seriously been such an example to me. Their strength and perseverance through such difficult times makes me admire them all the more.
So, again: Why do bad things happen to good people? I know this is one of those eternal questions that is impossible to fully explain, but everytime something like this happens, I always come back to it. I never seem to get a full answer. I guess I won't get the entire answer until I'm on the other side.
If you are interested in learning more about ALS or wish to donate for a cure, please visit www.alsa.org
UPDATE: This man of whom I speak in this post passed away earlier today. RIP