Written by Sherry
Sunday, 23 September 2007 11:23
I'm writing this on the kitchen table of my gracious hosts in Santa Clarita. Half the world already knows but I just found out this morning: 11 year old Gloria Straus died Friday morning while I was stuck in the Colorado Springs airport.
Reporter Jerry Brewer who has covered her story and that of her family for the past 7 months has writing a moving interview with her parents this morning in the Seattle Times:
Hours after cancer killed Gloria Strauss, her parents looked at their little girl and saw a woman.
They gazed again. And again. And again. It was astonishing. She did not seem 11 anymore. The nurses had cleaned her body, a family friend had washed her hair and, goodness, there was a smile creasing her face. "She looked like a grown woman," said Gloria's mother, Kristen. "It was amazing. Her body seemed long and beautiful, just like a young woman."
After more than four years fighting neuroblastoma, Gloria stopped breathing shortly after her parents fell asleep in her hospital room Friday morning. It was 6:50 a.m. when two nurses tapped Doug and Kristen. Minutes later, the parents said goodbye. They did not receive the kind of healing miracle they wanted. Instead, they believe Gloria received the "ultimate healing" — heaven.
They know the obvious questions: Do they feel robbed? Can their faith withstand this loss? How can they believe in one miracle so strongly and accept this detour?
Tom Curran, a family friend who runs a Catholic ministry, has helped the Strausses throughout this process. To understand their beliefs, he says, one must look at this journey as an ongoing relationship between Jesus and the family.
"The key phrase, which Doug has used before, is that Jesus isn't just the healer," Curran says. "He is the healing. This is an intimately and profoundly relational thing."
To nonbelievers, it is an abstraction. To believers, it makes sense. But Doug and Kristen never demanded for God to follow through on a promise. They simply chose to trust, believe in what they hoped God meant and bend to his will.
"It's not going to make sense to people who are not in the relationship," Curran says. "It appears like a contradiction. It seems like, at the end, somebody just pulled a rabbit out of the hat. But that's not how God has been involved."
Jerry Brewer who told Gloria's story to hundreds of thousands of readers summed up his reaction this way:
Now that the writing is over, it's important for me to expose my feelings.
You can't cover a story like this for seven months and not ache for the family. You can't get to know a child like Gloria and say, "Tough break, kid."
This isn't a story to me. This is my heart on paper. This has been an opportunity for me to redefine myself, as well as my journalism career. I'm very honored to tell a story this moving. I'm very humbled that, despite how difficult this became, the entire Strauss/Trimberger family and Gloria's entire support base continued to embrace the telling of this story. Check that: They spurred the telling of this story.
This journey has been more uplifting than depressing. The tears I will cry for Gloria are for joy, for gratitude and for the other children who suffer like she did.
How has reading about Gloria and her family affected you?