She Led the Way for Us All

Good News Meditation
by Author Christopher Kielhorn, L | Source:
It was a spring morning in April, 1977. The organ played the well-known Church hymn of “Be not afraid!” as my mom and dad stood in silence during the funeral Mass of my sister. She led the way for us all. Her short life, less than two years, was full of suffering and love. It left a deep mark on us all.

Nicole was born on August 10, 1975. She was quickly rushed to the emergency room where they performed three operations in two days, leaving her exhausted. The doctors reported that the surgeries were unsuccessful and they returned Nicole to my parents.

The vigil began... My parents took turns holding my sister, speaking to her, showing her that they loved her and wanted her to be well. They never laid her down, not even for a second.

Throughout the night they took turns, resting while the other held her and showed her love. On the second day, the nurses noticed that she was regaining strength and informed the doctors.

Encouraged by the news, the doctors returned and said that this was the best and oldest cure that existed: love. They began treatment putting her back on medication, and she began to recover.

Nicole was the joy of the hospital. The nurses used to spend hours playing with her. She had a smile for everyone.

My dad tells a story of a time when he used to bring Nicole to get her daily shots. She cried the entire way to the clinic because she knew what they were going to do to her. When she got there, however, she bit her lip and held out her arm. With tears pouring down her eyes, she gave the nurse a huge smile. “It was unbelievable,” my dad says, “she was full of love even at such a young age.”

One day, as my parents were leaving the hospital, two young doctors got on the elevator with them. They were talking about the case of a young girl, a little less than a year old. Both doctors believed that it was a waste of time and money to try and keep her alive. This girl was Nicole.

My mom and dad left the elevator in silence, leaving the doctors to continue their intellectual discussion. Both were hurt, but they were more determined than ever to do whatever they could to help Nicole. Love has no limits. Nicole was their child, and she had a right to be loved.

On one occasion, however, my dad was holding Nicole in his arms. Nicole gave him a look as if to say, “Why are you keeping me here? Why are you doing all of this for me? Why don’t you let me go?” He said that it was a look that had a touch of anger to it. My mom received the same look and both were puzzled.

Soon after, Nicole passed away. She was preparing my mom and dad for that moment of departure, making it easier. She passed away, but has been more present in our lives than ever.

Although none of us children knew her in person, we all know her. She is our big sister. She forged our family, and somehow, she always makes herself present in the big events of our family.

The song “Be not afraid” is one that is always played at important moments and through it we remember that we are who we are because of her and that she goes before us always: my brother’s deaconate ordination, my sister’s solemn renewal of promises as a consecrated Regnum Christi member, and my perpetual profession as a Legionary.

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