You know that feeling when you’re reading a book and the hero of the story is forced to endure incredible hardships, wade through impossible situations, fight his way against all odds – and you find yourself on the edge of your seat, wondering what is going to happen next, excited to see him overcome once again, for him to attain the victory he so rightly deserves.
And then… the main character dies. You’re left feeling cheated, struggling to find the justice, asking the damned question, why?
That’s how I felt on Sunday.
I had seen posts about him come up on Instagram before, but it wasn’t until a month or two ago that I began following Mighty Milo’s journey battling infant leukemia (@kassadybingham). Seeing photos of this beautiful, precious boy fighting for his life, reading posts by his mother about all of the horrible things he endured… it was raw and gritty and real, and I couldn’t look away. As much as this family broke my heart, I couldn’t ignore their story.
As much as I desire to help people, to be authentic and relatable and truly present, I also tend to look away. It shames me to admit that, but it’s true. It can be difficult to take someone else’s pain upon yourself. Sometimes it is hard to be reminded of how real and awful the hurting is in this world; that cancer exists, that tragedies happen, that people do in fact die – sometimes, even children. Prone as I am to stress and anxiety, I often don’t let these stories sink in too much. A prayer, then move on before the darkness settles in.
But this story – mighty little Milo – I couldn’t do that. Every new post from Kassady, I clicked on with held breath, hoping and praying it was good news, heart aching whenever it wasn’t. More and more often these past weeks, I found myself in tears over this baby that I’d never met, longing to love on him and comfort his mama in some way. And when I saw that he had passed away, I found myself broken and sobbing like I haven’t in a very long time.
He was the main character, the hero. Yes, things were bad, but he would pull through. That’s how the story goes… right?
I find myself grappling with his death more than I thought I would, overwhelmed with how wrong it all feels. There are countless evils in this world, but one of the most incomprehensible to me is the suffering of the young and innocent. For a two-month old baby to be diagnosed with cancer, for him to spend the next and last year of his life suffering in ways most of us can’t imagine. For the agony his parents have experienced; the confusion and pain his big brother is feeling. It’s all so wrong, and I simply can’t understand it. I cannot fathom what they are going through – and yet being a mother, knowing that ferocious love, I can begin to imagine that side of it, and that alone breaks me.
Death is not the end. I believe in the goodness of God, in Jesus Christ and His resurrection from the dead, I believe that there is a purpose for everything and that He brings beauty from ashes… but oh, sometimes it is really hard to see. I know that God is and will continue to work through Milo’s story, but here and now, it’s impossible to not ask WHY?
Praying for the Bingham’s in this time of tremendous grief, and praying that they would be able to clearly see God working good through their son’s life. He was so strong and beautiful, and I know that he inspired the many thousands following his story. As much as it hurts, this isn’t truly the end.
Milo didn’t lose. He is now fully and eternally free from pain and suffering, safe in the arms of Jesus. That precious boy has received his reward.