There is a sad pall over Barrow County this week following the death of two of its biggest heroes.
Little Ryan Morgan, 10, and his beloved mother, Missy Morgan, died just two days apart late last week. Ryan had fought cancer since 2004 and his mom had fought it since 2007.
Such tragedies really do put our daily lives into a deeper perspective. Many of the trials and tribulations we face each day pale in comparison to the loss of those we love.
That a mother and her young son, and their family, should suffer such a fate is so heartbreaking, it is barely comprehendible. The larger world of economic turmoil and political squabbling seems, in comparison, so unimportant.
Yet Ryan and Missy Morgan, and their family, inspired many people in Barrow County and beyond with their courage in the face of a relentless disease. And it is that courage which will undoubtedly continue in the lives of Ryan and Missy’s husband-father, son-brother and daughter-sister.
Shortly after Ryan was diagnosed with cancer, Missy and husband Les, set up a blog site that chronicles the family’s long journey.
It is a remarkable document, an open, honest, brave account of the Morgans’ struggles, and of the family’s heartwarming times together amid all the medical turmoil.
It chronicles the heartbreak of learning about the cancers and the difficulty of medical treatments; yet there is also the loving accounts of family trips to the beach and even humor, such as the time Ryan attempted to bribe the doctors to let him go home by taping a dollar to the hospital door with a note saying “there’s more where this came from.”
One of the blog’s most profound passages that calls to us this week is Missy and Les’ reflection on the family’s first year of fighting Ryan’s cancer:
“We have endured what hopefully turns out to be the most difficult year of our lives, and the key word is ENDURED. We have all endured and are stronger for it. We have learned so much, not just about cancer, blood counts, and human anatomy, but about life and how to TREASURE what you have been given.”
The Morgan family has endured more than should be asked of any family — and done so with a dignity that is profoundly inspiring.
Cancer may have taken the lives of Ryan and Missy Morgan, but it did not conquer their warmth, courage, spirit or humanity.
Those endure in the lives of those they leave behind and remind all of us to treasure what time we have been given.