They say that no parent should ever have to bury their child, and nature does stick to that rule … most of the time. But how does one make sense of the situation when the opposite happens?
I didn’t know Rebecca ‘Becs’ Zammit Lupi, but her fight with cancer as documented by her father, Darrin, was something that captured my attention, as well as that of many others. As the updates rolled in, it was hard to keep emotions at bay. The worst part was the sense of injustice at seeing a 15-year-old girl having to go through so much, at seeing a 15-year-old girl with so much potential slowly fading.
The death of a child is devastating to a family and while time does heal the wounds, things never truly go back to normal. I would know: my brother died when he was just a baby. I was still very young when it happened, yet I often find myself wondering what things would have been like today: would we have been good friends? Would we have liked the same things? Would my life have panned out the same way? And what would have his life been like?
To me, the death of a young person or a child is a loss that cannot be put into words, but it’s also one that humbles us and touches upon our humanity like nothing else can. It reminds us of all the things we so often ignore: how each day is precious, how no hug should be shrugged off, how death is always closer than we’d like to think.
I will not be presumptuous enough to pretend I know what Becs’s life was like, but as her story unfolded, I found consolation in the fact that she seemed to have lived a full life. She was a dancer, an illustrator, a photographer, and an activist. She was loved and she was shown that love openly and without reservation by her parents, her family and her friends. I would imagine she loved back just as ardently. And photos show that she smiled often, widely and genuinely.
It is so sad to see all that gone. But for those who are lucky enough to still be here, may Becs’s life be a lesson to always make the most of the time we have on Earth and to be much kinder to each other.