How can I forget Elizabeth, lying in her hospital bed two days after her brain tumor was removed, unable to even lift her head off the pillow because of a pounding headache, ice packs on her head, asking for paper and markers so she could make a get-well-card for her hospital roommate who she saw stiffly and painfully walking past her bed? Or, one week after her surgery, when she insisted on hand-making over 50 Valentine's Day cards to give to classmates and teachers. Another day, after coming home from radiation, Elizabeth felt terrible, nauseous and weak, so Kathy gave her some tea and crackers and she began to feel better. A little later she whispered to me, "Mommy takes such good care of me."
In early October, Elizabeth wrote a school paper examining Benjamin Franklin's idea of the virtuous life. She wrote:
"My goal is to reach Paradise. To do so, I will fall and then get back up. Throughout our lives, we will learn what is good and what is bad, but we will never become perfect. Unlike Franklin, I do not believe that our lives are perfectible until the end when we have reached heaven. We are descendants of Adam and Eve, and like them we will continue to commit sin until the end of time. These statements are part of the doctrine of the Catholic Church, and I refuse to change my views."
Elizabeth’s knowledge of the Catholic Faith was mature, and the strength of her faith was unfailing. But her love of Christ and his Church had a child-like confidence, calling to mind Matthew 18:2-4 "And Jesus called a little child to him, set him in their midst, and said, "Amen I say to you, unless you turn and become like little children, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whoever, therefore, humbles himself as this little child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."
One evening Elizabeth asked if we could talk so we went into the living room and sat on the couch. She asked me: "When you go to heaven do all your questions get answered?" I told her that I thought they would be. Elizabeth smiled a big smile and said, "I can't wait." When God called, Elizabeth went with peace.
Palm Sunday, of last year, we talked with Elizabeth about how we were trying to cure her cancer but also about the terrible, deadly reality of her tumor. Early the next morning, she began to cry and said, "I need someone to give me hope." I told her that we were doing all we could to cure her, but that if she died I was sure she would go straight to heaven. Two days later, on our drive home from radiation, I reminded her of our conversation. She stopped me and said, "But now I have hope." I asked, "What is your hope?" Elizabeth answered, "That Jesus will take care of me." Then she paused and added, "Not that he will cure me. That he will take care of me."Elizabeth trusted and hoped in her dear Jesus with such a pure and clean heart. About six weeks ago while praying in the Adoration Chapel she said simply, “I am perfectly happy.”