This I Believe

Ashlie - Wilmington, Delaware
Entered on January 29, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: birth, children, death

Children are the Best Teachers

On June 24, 2006, Christopher Joseph Sargent (CJ) was born at 26 weeks’ gestation. He died on June 27, 2006. CJ had hypoplastic left heart syndrome, or HLHS, a flaw which he could not overcome. HLHS is a defect in a newborns’ heart in which the left side of the heart is severely underdeveloped. Although the chances for survival of HLHS are decent, even if CJ had overcome it, he would likely have lived a life full of surgeries and chronic health problems. He was my mother’s best friend’s son, and he will be remembered with love, both by his family and mine.

Life is short, as I learned from CJ, and I should appreciate that I have it. While thinking of the life CJ lived and the one he didn’t get the chance to, I realized a lot. Although it was an awful experience to learn from, I truly learned the value of life and that I should be thankful. I never really thought about what I might have learned from that experience, but now that I have I am glad, because I have learned so much. However, it was the child who would have been his older sister that I really learned a lot from.

Around eight months after CJ’s death, his mother, Stephanie, conceived another child. She miscarried shortly after. When Stephanie told her children, her three-year-old daughter Ella said, “It’s okay, Mommy, CJ needed a friend in heaven.” This statement, spoken innocently by a young child, taught me that even the youngest of children are capable of feeling pain as a result of someone’s death, and remembering that person when they would have been expected to have forgotten. She offered comfort, even if she didn’t realize it. Ella also carried around an angel doll for a few weeks after his death, which she named CJ, and which touched her family. Where it would have been easier and less painful to forget, Ella kept CJ’s memory alive unknowingly, not allowing him to be forgotten.

I believe that children should not be underestimated. They are capable of more than can be imagined, and can remember more, too. I also believe that children are great teachers. They can teach great lessons, even without knowing it, they have a wisdom about them which eventually disappears. Ella taught me that even the youngest children are affected by the tragic deaths of others, and can be a great inspiration without even realizing it or meaning to; that they can offer comfort at times when others would rather not touch on a painful topic, bringing it to the surface and not allowing it to be ignored. I believe in children.