Today, the world says goodbye to Charlie Gard. Surrounded by his parents, his life support was turned off this afternoon to his family’s final farewell. “Our beautiful little boy has gone, we are so proud of you, Charlie,” said Charlie’s mom, Connie.
For months we watched as Chris and Connie fought for the life of their son, and for months we offered prayers, signed petitions, and shared Charlie’s story in an effort to effect change to try to save his life.
After months of court battles, during which Charlie was not receiving treatment, his parent’s have decided it is no longer in his best interest to seek treatment. In an emotional press conference, Chris Gard stated, “The American and Italian team were still willing to treat Charlie after seeing both his recent brain MRI and EEG performed last week. But there is one simple reason why treatment cannot now go ahead. And that is time—a whole lot of time has been wasted. We are now in July and our poor boy has been left to just lie in a hospital for months without any treatment while lengthy court battles have been fought.”
He closed by saying, “To Charlie, we say, mommy and daddy, we love you so much. We always have and we always will and we are so sorry that we couldn’t save you.”
Today, Charlie’s parents begin their grieving in earnest. The months of hope and heartache, fear and anticipation are over, and now the hard work of mourning and moving on begins. The final goodbyes have been said, and as the world moves on Charlie’s parents will find a new normal. It won’t be free of pain, nor will their grief likely pass quickly. Instead, life will continue different than it ever was before.
Charlie’s life had value. So many “what ifs” hang in the air, but at the end of the day his life, though cut short, had purpose. As a person formed in the image of God, Charlie’s life had intrinsic dignity and we mourn when the systems set in place to protect life end up being a catalyst for taking life.
His story touched millions, making them aware of the struggles of other families and eliciting sympathy and empathy. He inspired the parents of other children with his condition to continue fighting and working towards solutions for their children’s health. He taught us to never take a day or life for granted, but to express love and care for those dearest to us, not knowing how long they’ll be with us.
Last, but not least, Charlie’s story inspired those of us within the pro-life movement to continue on in the fight for innocent lives, because everyone deserves the right to life.