My Experience at New Hope Center for Grieving Children
By Dana Duffie
My daughter, Sarah, was one of the best people I have ever known. If you had met her, I know you would have loved her. Her smile lit up the room and her loving spirit was like a magnet. People just wanted to be near her. She made them feel happy, she made them laugh and she made them feel like they were really special. Sarah fought cancer twice. She won the first battle, but the chemo that cured her caused the cancer that eventually killed her. She died on September 16, 2002, a few weeks before her 17th birthday.
Even before Sarah’s death, I was aware of New Hope for Kids. I had driven by the beautiful two-story “home” in Maitland many times when taking the girls to visit their dad. After Sarah’s prognosis became terminal, I looked at it differently when we drove by. I wondered if we’d be walking through New Hope for Kids’ door some day. Even though I never for a moment stopped trying to will Sarah to live through prayer and self-determination, I knew I had to start thinking about the chance that she might not. When her body began failing her, when she started fading away from us, I had to accept that as strong as her spirit was, her body was only human. None of us can assume to know God’s plan, the Big Picture, and I began to see that my prayers were going to have a different answer than I had wanted. Not long before she died, knowing we would be temporarily paralyzed and unable to deal with anything after her death, I asked the oncology staff about New Hope for Kids and they all knew about the program. I knew it would be critical in the healing process for Amy.