As a minister, I have learned over the years that there are several things I will probably never have an answer for. One of those questions is why the life of a beautiful, vibrant, intelligent, compassionate, young woman like Courtney Clifford was taken.
What I do know is that my brain is not programmed for the loss of a child, and it hurt me to the depth of my soul when I thought about what Curt and Mary Clifford must be going through.
It has been a prayer that I have repeated over the years that I just want to go before my children. That's the way we expect things to go — then the unthinkable occurs, and we are reminded of the frailty of life itself.
But we are also reminded that Courtney Clifford probably accomplished more in her short lifetime than many of us do who have lived much longer. She had a compassion for others suffering from the disease of cancer, and took every opportunity she could to speak out on behalf of many of those who did not have a forum.
She was not only an accomplished athlete, but valedictorian of her class, carrying a 4.0 GPA, which carried over into her college years.
Making one's life count for something is a goal we all should have. Courtney Clifford accomplished that.
Going through life loved by those you come in contact with is also one of the things we all strive for. Courtney Clifford accomplished that as well.
This is the time that we all must keep the Clifford family in our prayers, and we keep Courtney's memory alive in the way she wanted. We can all do that by making a memorial donation to The Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Ohio, 4719 Reed Rd. #150, Columbus, Ohio 43220; The Courtney Clifford Outstanding Achievement Scholarship Fund, c/o Kyle Smith, Portsmouth City Schools, 724 Findlay St., Portsmouth, Ohio 45662; and SOMC Hospice, 2201 25th St., Portsmouth, Ohio 45662.
There is something we all need to remember — life does not precede death — death precedes life. When we plant a seed, it dies, then it blossoms into something beautiful.
We should all teach our children to make the most of their lives in every way. That is the one way we can keep this precious life perpetually.
FRANK LEWIS may be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 232, or firstname.lastname@example.org.