In a Romanian city,
baby Anastasia was born. An ocean away in a tree-shrouded Washington town, beautiful Dana
cradled newborn Aria. Amazing joy comes to families as they welcome a child. Aria
and Anastasia looked adorable wearing darling bows and the cutest outfits. Dressing up baby girls is something special no matter what part of the world
you live in.
Yet, within months both girls
were diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), an incurable, terminal
disease. While it would be easy to spiral into despair, Aria’s family bonded
even closer, friends surrounded them, and they purposed to make treasured
memories. When Dana reached out to
other SMA families she met Dani, Anastasia’s mother.
As the disease affecting
their precious daughters became more real, they encouraged one another through terribly
frightening days. Thousands of miles of separation didn’t matter as they
emailed photos and video clips. They shared highlights from the events they
created for the very short time they’d…
“My marriage was a complete lie.” my friend wrote.
I could sense the tears that came with those words. The
beautiful beginning—complete with a flowing white gown, ring bearer and flower
girl, had come to this twisted ending.
She then wrote, “We were doomed from the
start, because I didn’t know what he was hiding.”
The story came out in staggering sentences. It’s one thing
to sit on the other side of a table, reach across to hold a hand and offer a
measure of comfort. It’s totally another to read the devastation, line by line
in an email.
Chalk up another one on the side
of Porn Wins.
She found out about her husband’s porn use when he’d inadvertently left his favorite computer site open by mistake. Upon questioning, there was a confession, apologies, and
a sincere desire to quit.
“But that was a lie too. He never
quit, he just found different ways to deceive me.”
Yet, the marriage continued with grace and forgiveness. Then
came his slightly accusatory statements, like, “You need t…
Several years ago, I read
about Betsy Schultz in the local newspaper. Her son, Captain Joseph Schultz,
died on Memorial Day 2011—killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. Even before
Joseph’s burial in Arlington Cemetery, Betsy began working on an idea to
convert her large Tudor-styled bed and breakfast into a respite home for
grieving Gold Star families. Losing her only child left her with unimaginable
sorrow, but not without purpose. To meet Betsy is to be
introduced to inspiration. Even though her son made the ultimate sacrifice for
his country, as a Gold Star Mom, Betsy now dedicates her life comforting other
Gold Star families.
Over the past few years I’ve watched hundreds of volunteers and thousands of donated dollars come in to renovate this century-old home. Many of the volunteers are war veterans themselves. Fundraising efforts stretch across our country—just as the loss for Gold Star Families does.
Betsy’s heart knows the
deepest of pains. But after spending just a few minutes…