Britt and Kate Merrick did the best of jobs in trying to prepare all who had fallen in love with
their family, all who admire their lust for life, and their willingness to go to the ends of the earth, both in desperation and in hope. We loved the wise parents, all the more so when wisdom failed them and they put one foot in front of the other, out of necessity and faith, combined. We loved Isaiah for hanging on to Daisy on top of camels, in the oceans and seas, and for his watchful eye and gracious heart.
And we loved Daisy, standing in perfect first position at the end of her hospital bed, shoulders back, chin up, left arm on the barre of the bed's footboard, right hand gracefully extended -- with a foley catheter bag looped over the wrist -- a perfect Degas dancer's face imprinted on her own impish one. We loved her surfing, clinging wet and happy to her father, and hovering around the tan legs of her mom, who took more pictures and videos than she was in. Kate and Britt took their family on that final, desperate trip to Israel, Britt gave his cells for cancer vaccines, they tried new things, and in their trying made cures for others so much more probable in the future -- immunological advances, ways to shore up the body to fight. Daisy, Isaiah, Kate, and Britt went where Jesus walked. Daisy, like every tourist, I imagine, tried to walk on water.
I don't know these people.
Britt is the founder of a church movement, a pastor, born into one of the greatest surfing dynasties in the world. He still calls himself a surf board shaper. Kate is private, but what has gravitated to her is of such wonder that you know she is wonderful, herself. Isaiah is a young man, and inasmuch as I have been trained to read pictures as well as words (ut pictura poesis), I know he is a young man of gravitas -- with as much capacity for silliness as the next kid.
I did not know Daisy.
But anyone could see the emergence of her freckles over time, not just with the Israeli and Californian suns, but with the power of the pallor that cancer brought beneath them. She was funny, bright, lucky, blessed, but I think she pitied us all, somehow, too. Or tired of us, is more like it. She was practically a Foundation before she'd even died, the organization upholding her family was that organized. (I was heartened at how the Merricks and their family and friends, though, closed ranks in these final months, at how they cherished and controlled their precious privacy. I was glad and relieved to be a proper outsider.)
Even not knowing her, even with the warnings I gave myself -- that Daisy just happened to be one of the four children with cancer that I follow and support at any given time; that Daisy was just my happenstance -- I fell in love with her. I will always love her.
Thank you, Kate and Britt, for sharing the journey, for the funny pictures, and the wrenching ones. Thanks even for the sermons. Thanks for knowing science and medicine as gifts and arts from God. Thanks for giving Daisy the freedom to have her moments of doubt.
This is what they wrote yesterday:
At 2:40am this morning our sweet Daisy went to be with Jesus. She was sleeping and in no pain.
Christ is with us as the God of all comfort. We are thankful.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)
Daisy believed this and so do we. More than ever.
(At this time funeral plans are still forthcoming. Please check back this week for more info and details.)