Lanterns: An Open Letter to Charlie Gard


An Open Letter to Charlie Gard

Dear Charlie:

Here you are, less than two weeks from your first birthday.

Other one-year-olds have birthday parties; you will have a burial. Other one-year-olds receive gifts; you weren’t even afforded the gift of an attempted treatment. Other one-year-olds take their first wonderful taste of birthday cake; there will be no food or water for you.

We dream for our children. We see joy and life that we sometimes lose as adults. We see hope for the impossible. We believe with full abandon that our children can accomplish all the things we couldn’t—all the things they set their hearts to doing.

Children are confident and unafraid, while adults are insecure and cowardly. As adults, we get so trapped up in society and culture and in what we are supposed to think and believe that we stop believing in the impossible. Children haven’t learned about impossibility yet. You, Charlie, haven’t learned about impossibility yet. In your spirit, in the part of you that the doctors and nurses cannot measure, you are still innocent and unconquerable. The world and all its troubles are just waiting for you to dream enormous dreams that will change the course of mankind, because you, Charlie, are a world changer. Every child is. There is no sickness, no poverty, no sorrow that can change this fact. Every child—and so, every adult—is brought into this life with purpose. If we are lucky, we might see it. More likely, someone else will see it in us.

I see it in you.

And I know it isn’t fair. Your parents had all of those hopes and dreams for you, and they have been dashed more than most of us can understand—first by a diagnosis, and then by a death sentence. We wanted to believe that in this case, someone could make the difference and save your life. We knew what your doctors said, and we respect them. We know they serve because they want to protect human life. We know that they want the best for you. But we also know that other doctors believed there was another option, and we desperately wanted to believe that their voices would be heard as your own. If nothing else, we desperately wanted to believe that your dear parents would be given every possible chance, no matter how slim the odds, to see you grow and thrive, to see you dream and hope and change the world.

We desperately wanted to believe that you would be given every possible chance, no matter how slim the odds, because we believe it innately, in our gut—that you are here for a purpose.

But today, your parents have made the most difficult decision of their lives, Charlie. They have decided to let you go. They have accepted that the window of opportunity to give you that slimmest chance of a future to change the world is gone. Slammed shut. There are many voices today. Some are filled with anger, some with frustration, some with sorrow—but I wager your parents cannot hear a single one.

But maybe it’s not too late, Charlie. Maybe…maybe you still change the world, dear boy. Maybe death doesn’t squander your confidence and your hope for the impossible. Maybe the only thing death can do… is spread over the globe in a flame of passion, igniting the hearts and spirits of men and women like me who have allowed ourselves to grow old, insecure, and cowardly. Maybe the only thing death can do is bring life.

In the end, though every hope and dream for your life has been swallowed in grief, you are proving everyone wrong. You have done more to alter the course of history in your short life than most of us will in eighty or ninety years of chasing dreams. And maybe you didn’t choose it. Maybe you would never have chosen it. Maybe, given the choice, you’d rather live to find the cure for the awful situation that took your life (whether that is a disease or a government). Nevertheless, the eyes of the world are watching, waiting, wondering—not for the end of your life, but for the end of your story, the end of your legacy. And who knows but that you were put here, in this position … for such a time as this? (Esther 4:14)

You, Charlie Gard, are changing the world.

You, Charlie Gard, are my hero.

Written by Sarah Moore

Sarah lives and works in the beautiful Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

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