There was a really good friend I had when I was a sophomore in high school. His name was David Kennedy. He came to our youth group at the beginning of the school year, and he was the new kid. He befriended my brother and I, and would come over on Sundays after church to play video games and have dinner. He spent New Years Eve with us that year. We'd go to In-n-Out. I had this school-girl crush on him. After 6 months of him being in our lives, he disappeared. Left for the Navy to serve his country. Jeremy and I were pretty positive we wouldn't see him again. At the time, since I was convinced that I would marry this boy, like mere 15 year olds often think, I remember asking God why this cute boy came into my life if he was just going to leave. I said, "What's the point of having even met him? He just left."
Fast forward 2 years, and it's January 2009. Jeremy comes into my room, grave look upon his face, asking me if I heard what had happened to David. "David..like, David David?" "Yes," he said, "David Kennedy." My heart all but stopped. My brother continued. "He needs a heart transplant. He's discharged in Hawaii. And he needs it now."
He became all we thought about. All we prayed about. I kept updated through a blog, David's Journey, checking it over, and over, and over again. I felt like I was there. He was changing my life, my faith, my attitude. His dedication and trust, his mother's love and support, it was all changing me. It was terrifying, but it was transforming me.
He technically died 4 different times. And came close to it hundreds of other times.
But March 11, 2009, he got a heart. Jesus was ever-faithful.
Fast forward to December 2009. I get a random text from a random number. It's David, and he's coming to visit us over break. He can't wait. It's been 3 years. My brother and I are so excited. To see him, to witness the miracle in person, to just simply get to be with him again.
He comes on a Monday. December 21st. About 3 weeks ago. And oh my goodness, it is so good to see him. He is glowing. He is healthy, he is laughing, he is exactly the same. Perfect. It's hard to imagine a foot-long scar running down his chest beneath his shirt. It's hard to imagine the tubes that use to run from his neck, his arms, his heart. Jeremy and I spend the day with him, mostly them two though, playing video games like old times. When it's time for goodbye, I hug him. "Will I see you again over break? Yes, no, maybe?" He says, "Oh yes, for sure. Of course." "It was really good seeing you David. "Yes, it was so good seeing you too." And then I leave.
December 22, 2009- less than 24 hours later. Again, Jeremy comes downstairs. Again, his voice is low, his look is grave.
"I actually kind of have some really bad news." His voice is wavering. "David crashed. His body, at 4:30 a.m., it crashed. He's back at the hospital. He was airlifted to Stanford. He's in a coma."
Silence. Arms raised above my head. Distant tears. Mom: "No..nooo. No." Me: "I knew it. I knew we would see him and then something would happen." Can't cry. Not yet. It won't come.
Prayer. Talks. Prayer. Tears come. Flow..won't stop. Don't stop. Denial. Fear. Prayer. Jesus? David.
December 26th, 2009. David goes home to be with Jesus.
Tears come freely now. Overpowering. All-consuming. Disbelief. Sadness. Jesus? David? 20-year old, happy, recovered, David? Who we saw 5 days ago?
January 2, 2010. Memorial service is broadcasted on the blog. Tears. But this time, tears, and...peace. They sing "Amazing Grace." -"And grace will lead us home."
Personally, I've never dealt with death before. Death- just its name is morbid. It is an often feared, repressed, and disregarded thought. Until it happens. And then it is very real. It changes all perspective. It opens, but not without tearing first, the heart. The only comfort David's death brought me was the fact that he didn't die at all. He is very much so living, and he is with my Father, and his heart is perfect there. He is perfect, made new, and he is happy. Happier than I am, and I am happy. David taught me what it means to have faith. That faith takes effort, and strength, but most of all, surrender. Sacrifice. His life and his story reminded me how I should be living, and that truly truly, we are not guaranteed anything, especially tomorrow. I saw him for a whole day. That same night he was back on a hospital bed.
How's that for a wake-up call? I don't know why it happened. And so suddenly. But I do know God is Sovereign. God is Fatihful, too. He let us see David one last time. My mom said, "It was like he was coming to say goodbye."
I understand now. Why he came into my life. So that I would be one more person who was changed by his story. One more person whose life was changed. One more person who could pray for him and love him. And I will forever be thankful that I am able to say that David Kennedy was not only my friend, but my brother in Christ.This break has been weird, for this reason, for all of this unexpected life stuff. I just miss him is all. I'm at peace though. David is at peace. I'm still in disbelief, but maybe peaceful disbelief isn't so bad.
RIP David Allen Kennedy 04/18/1989-12/26/2009. We love you forever, and we can't wait to see you again.