Wow. I'm completely blown away by this book. I'm on the third chapter, and I cannot put it down.
If you've ever dealt with loss, you should consider this book.
Maggie Lee Henson was a beautiful 12 year old girl who was in a church bus accident (The bus was traveling from Shreveport, Louisiana to somewhere in Georgia.) back in the summer of 2009. Three weeks after the accident, Maggie Lee died. This book was written by her parents. Since I'm only 3 chapters in, I can't yet tell you what the whole book is about. I can, however, tell you what I know.
Here is an early story written by a Meridian newspaper about the crash.
I was a reporter in Shreveport, Louisiana at the time. I had the heartbreaking task of reporting on this horrible accident. Most of that day was a blur. I remember coming into work that Sunday. Usually, it's a slow day in the newsroom. Only the weekenders are in. On this day, I remember our news director being in there, along with several other non-weekenders. It was then that I remember hearing the news about the bus crash. We immediately went into breaking news mode. We were on the phone with reporters in Meridian, MS (close to where the crash happened), church people, and friends of people involved. In situations like this, you want to be respectful to the families, but you want to find out exactly what is going on. It's a difficult task.
I remember feeling a strange connection to this story. I have been on countless church trips. I've ridden in buses just like this one. I made so many wonderful memories on church trips. I never even thought about the possibility of crashing. As reporters, you try to not get too emotional with a story. With this one, I absolutely couldn't help it. I was holding on to hope that Maggie Lee would be just fine.
I ended up doing a phone interview with her mom just days after the accident. The story was titled "Praying for a Miracle." I was touched by how open Jinny Henson was. She was also so kind and so full of hope that God would in fact bring a miracle.
A few days after the story aired, everyone at our station was devastated to have to report that Maggie Lee didn't make it. Another child involved had died right after the accident, but Maggie Lee had survived three weeks. We had all been just hoping and praying she would make it. I burst into tears when I heard the news. I remember being relieved that I was a producer that day and wouldn't have to actually be on camera to read the news. I wouldn't have made it through.
I was then given the task of reporting on the funeral. I learned so much about Maggie Lee. My connection with her continued as I learned of her love of theater and music. I too at her age was hoping for the opportunity to one day entertain people with my voice and dramatics. I was most impressed to learn about how kind she was. She took up for others. She wanted to be a better Christian. She seemed to have more maturity at 12 years old than I did at 26.
Flash forward to her birthday... October 29th. Her mom organized a day to celebrate the person Maggie Lee was. She was kind and did things to help others. Her mom called this day Maggie Lee for Good. To participate, all you have to do is do a good deed. I got to follow along Jinny Henson that day as people all across Shreveport did good deeds in the name of Maggie Lee. It was a beautiful event.
I remember I was so mad that night. Shreveport was hit with some crazy weather. Because of that, the story only aired on our midday show. I was so angry that we didn't get to put more about the story into our newscast. I remember thinking, people want to hear about this! I understand severe weather is a big deal, but to me, this was an even bigger deal.
I'm so thankful that God has put his arms around Maggie Lee's family. John, Jinny, and Jack are truly special people. I know that there will forever be a hole in their hearts, but they are living their lives. I know it's what Maggie Lee would have wanted.
I can't wait to read more of this book. I've sobbed my way through three chapters. Seriously, if you've had to deal with loss, pick up this book. It's definitely comforting me through a difficult time.
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