Old Books Get a New Room

In 1995, library director JoAnne Young got a call informing her that she had a new collection in the library—a collection of about two feet of water. The University’s storm water pipes backed up during a heavy spring rain and flooded, among other areas, the library’s special collections room. Books dating back 500 years were soaked. Others were dampened. It was a mess.

But it was also the beginning of what’s turned into a new $300,000 special collections room on the library’s third floor. The room was built to protect the University’s collection, which was recently appraised at $1.3 million. A dedicated air handling system keeps the room temperature at 60 degrees, humidity at 45 percent and removes 85 percent of the air’s impurities. Covers block the fluorescent lights’ ultraviolet rays. The doors and windows are airtight. A special glue was used that doesn’t emit toxins. The entire room was wrapped in a special insulation and all nail perforations were sealed to prevent moisture seepage.

Such extreme measures are necessary, says Young, to preserve the collection, which includes a Bible with handwritten and hand-painted pages from 1479; a first edition copy, in Latin, of the Nuremberg Chronicle; two first-edition copies of Winnie the Pooh; a page from the original Gutenberg Bible; and a book of hand-drawn astrological instruments from 1668 by Ferdinand Verbiest, S.J., which Young once received a $50,000 offer for sight unseen.

Musical Manager

Two Christmases ago, Joan Thompson’s faith in mankind was confirmed. She took the olive wood crèche she normally displays in her office and left it out in the open on a window ledge in Edgecliff Hall, which the alumni office decorates.

“I was concerned about putting it there for its security,” says the alumni association’s Edgecliff liaison, who received the crèche from the late Bernard Wuellner, S.J., a philosophy professor. “But I thought ‘We’re just going to have to have faith that pieces won’t disappear.’ ”

Not only did the pieces not disappear, the exact opposite happened. Someone, whose identity is still unknown, added to it.

“A couple of days later,” Thompson says, “someone said, ‘I didn’t know the manger was musical.’ I knew it wasn’t, so we looked and a student put a chip that played ‘Silent Night’ inside of it. It played and played and sometime after Christmas it finally stopped.”

Most Wanted

Why, wonders Audrey Martin, would someone turn on the person they married, shared a life with, raised children with, loved throughout the years—and then commit murder? “It’s always been something that fascinated me, how someone can go from being married to someone to then killing them. It just seems extreme to me,” Martin says.

Martin may be finding the answers to why some people kill the people they’re closest to, among other gruesomely intriguing topics, when she begins an unpaid internship next fall with the FBI Academy at Quantico, Va.

Martin, majoring in both chemistry and criminal justice, is the first University student to be admitted for an internship with the FBI in 21 years. According to John Richardson, chairman of the criminal justice department, students have been trying unsuccessfully since the bachelor’s degree program opened in 1980 to nab one of the coveted internships with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which, he says, has sparingly doled them out over the years. Times have changed, however, and people who benefited from internships at other government agencies are now with the FBI, and they tend to favor expanding such programs, he says.

“In the last 21 years, we have had many students apply for the FBI internship program and she’s the first to get in,” Richardson says. “The FBI has always hesitated to establish an internship program for university students. Historically, they would always say no, whereas now they’re saying yes under pressure from other agencies.”

Martin, 20, of St. Louis, Mo., will study with the agency’s National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime, located near the FBI Academy on the Quantico Marine Corps Base about 40 miles south of Washington, D.C.

Cynthia J. Lent, violent crime resource specialist at the academy, said the agency began marketing the unpaid internships more widely about a year ago. A paid summer internship program for honors students has long been available but is highly competitive.

“For the last year, the unpaid internship has been on the web page so more students are aware of it,” she says. “ It has not been so much an unwillingness but more that the programs were not established.”

Though she technically has enough credits to be a senior, Martin considers herself a junior because she has more than a year’s worth of courses to take to complete her double major. She also is studying for a minor in psychology and carries a grade point average above 3.5. Her strong academic record and her interest in criminal justice, plus a successful interview in November, helped her snare the 14-week internship, Lent says. The academy notified the department of her acceptance in a letter dated Jan. 3.

But it’s not a done deal yet. Martin must go through a thorough background check, drug test and polygraph before her internship is secure. Such steps are necessary to obtain the top-secret clearance she will have as an employee of the academy, Lent says. Such in-depth probing into her personal background doesn’t bother her, though. She says it comes with the territory of the career she has chosen. “It’s necessary when you’re reading and researching on these people, they have to be sure you’re a stable person.”

Martin will participate in research and case studies of various types of violent crime that could include mothers murdering their children, serial killers, child abductors who kill their victims and domestic violence that ends in homicide. She will be assigned tasks that could include researching crimes and gathering, calculating and organizing data, working with police agencies or FBI field offices, observing case consultations with other law enforcement agencies and attending behavioral science classes at the academy.

Rather than being intimidated by the work, Martin is looking forward to all that she’ll learn about criminal investigation. She says her interest in crime-solving was fueled by her father’s career as a doctor. That led her to pair the study of chemistry with her interest in criminal justice.

“I want to do forensic work and crime scene analysis,” she says. “The scientific way to solve anything is appealing to me. They use trace element analysis like DNA, blood and fingerprints. There are different tests you can run on things like paint or fiber or fabrics. There’s a lot of lab work.

“I wanted an internship because it’s a hard field to get into and I do eventually want to work for the FBI, so I thought it would be a good way to get my foot in the door. I like how they do a lot of serial crimes like profiling of violent crimes and I’m very interested in that.”

Lent says about 10 percent of student interns are later hired by the agency. Martin says she plans to first get a masters in forensic science, making her even more qualified for her chosen field.

Marbel Man has a Shooter’s Touch

When Samuel Davis VIII was in grade school in Cincinnati’s Hartwell neighborhood, his best friend gave him a marble. Davis took it to the playground and started playing against the other kids. He won. And won again. And again. “At that time,” he says, “having marbles meant owning respect. The more marbles you had the more popular you were.”

Davis became highly popular. His collection grew from one to 6,000, most of which he won, although he did receive one bag at Christmas and more from a neighbor.

“She gave me six boxes that her grandfather’s mother gave him,” he says. “I’ve put them away because I know they’re really valuable.” As for the rest, they’re at home, and he doesn’t plan on losing them anytime soon. “I cherish them. I don’t intend to sell them or give them away.”

War and Peace

From the very beginning, I worried that the U.S. would respond with great force to the events of Sept. 11, slipping once again into the ancient belief that violence saves. The extensive war rhetoric increased my fears. I sensed that columnists and editorials that sarcastically dismissed nonviolence and anti-war demonstrations weren’t offering sound guidance. I knew justice wasn’t vengeance.

I wondered if everyone singing “God Bless America” really wanted to hear what God spoke about retaliation. The week of the attack, the assigned daily Eucharist readings were from Luke’s Sermon on the Plain, where Jesus instructed us to “love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”

During those days, the dominant response was still shock at the horrible evil and great grief. So I turned to scripture scholar Walter Wink, who writes in Engaging the Powers: “We are so interconnected with all of life that we cannot help being touched by the pain of all that suffers…We human beings are far too frail and tiny to bear all this pain…We are to articulate these agonizing longings and let them pass through us to God. Only the heart at the center of the universe can endure such a weight.”

Recently, more insight came from Jesuits in Peru. Given their faith as well as their direct experience of terrorism over many years, they wrote to President Bush. After expressing their horror and promising their prayers, they urged that those responsible be brought to justice.

“Here in Peru, it took us a long time to learn about the nature of terrorism and to find effective ways to struggle against it,” they wrote. “We do not want the people of our native land to have to endure the same struggle of trial and error. We do not want our fellow countrymen and women to fall into the same trap of the vicious circle of violence breeding more violence.

“Only when the terrorists could not demand support from the villagers did their campaign begin to decline. On the other hand, when the police and armed forces used their military might for direct attacks against the terrorists, they created a situation that made the terrorists appear to be the better alternative.

“Terrorism is bred by ideological means, and it finds its ultimate justification in the poverty of the people who have no hope for a better life. Therefore, terrorism must be attacked on those same levels—by offering another ‘ideology’ to counteract the terrorist system and by responding to the root causes of violence.”

They go on to recommend three responses: First, the U.S. must begin massive humanitarian programs, carefully monitored and using money originally budgeted for military attacks, to end the root causes of violence, especially for countries surrounding those that harbor terrorists. Second, it must use all of its diplomatic efforts to pressure Israel and the Palestinian movements to come to terms in a definitive project of coexistence. And, third, Christian churches in the U.S. must begin an intensive program of interreligious dialogue in order to better understand Islam.

The Jesuits’ words of wisdom, forged in faith and terrorism, offer sound guidance. This wisdom also helps us all to respond to Wink’s haunting question: “How, then, can we overcome evil without doing evil—and becoming evil ourselves?”

Kenneth R. Overberg, S.J., is a professor of theology. This article originally appeared in The Catholic Telegraph.

War and Peace

In 1965, I came to Xavier as a freshman, probably as naïve as an 18-year-old man could be about the world in general and what would lie ahead for me in the coming years. I graduated in 1969 with a commission as a second lieutenant through our ROTC program and had no intention of making the military a career. But a course of events that took me to Korea, Europe, the Pentagon, a host of other places and eventually back to Xavier all played a role in what evolved into a 21-year career and retirement as a lieutenant colonel at age 43.

It also provided me a unique perspective on how military action and Catholic teachings aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. When I was a major in the Pentagon from 1982-85, I became privy to information on the use and misuse of military establishments by foreign governments. In almost every case, the misuse of military power created wars that tore countries apart. In Iraq, the death and destruction would have continued without countries willing to go to war to create a better peace.

And such is the case now. The terrorism that rocked our country on Sept. 11—as well as the previous terrorist bombings of the U.S.S. Cole, the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and others—will certainly continue unless we step up militarily. While the idea of going to war in order to create peace may seem like a contradiction, it’s actually within the principles approved by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. These principles follow the Just War Theory developed by St. Augustine back in the fourth century, which states that despite the destructive and coercive character of war, it is morally justifiable in certain circumstances and under certain limitations. It gives us a method of contemplating war, and compels us to think about its consequences. And it is appropriate to look at this activity in light of our Catholic beliefs and history, because such action requires intellectual justification. The Just War Theory has seven criteria, and I believe that through each, we have just grounds to move militarily against terrorists and the countries that harbor them.

1) Just Cause. The theory states that war is permissible only to confront real and certain danger; that is, to protect innocent life, to preserve conditions necessary for a decent human existence and to secure basic human rights. We were attacked by an enemy that, in cooperation with a national government, killed innocent civilians. We are confronting real and certain danger. We should fight to preserve our way of life.

2) Competent Authority. The theory states that war must be declared by those responsible for public order, not by private groups or individuals. It’s very important to state that Congress hasn’t officially declared war, but our elected officials have the backing of our citizenry should they decide to declare war.

3) Comparative Justice. The theory questions, in essence, which side is sufficiently “right” in a dispute, and are the values at stake critical enough to override the presumption against war? The values of our free society have been attacked, in response to which the right of self-defense is never denied. Do we not have the right to respond to an attack so heinous as to contradict civilized standards of behavior? Yes.

4) Right Intention. The theory states that war can be legitimately intended only for the reasons set forth above in Just Cause. In this case, war is not so much an act of revenge as it is an attempt to stop further attacks on our country and to preserve our way of life.

5) Last Resort. The theory states that all peaceful alternatives must have been exhausted. Ample opportunity was given to the Taliban government to bring the perpetrators to justice; it refused.

6) Probability of Success. This is a difficult criterion, but its purpose is to prevent an irrational behavior—resorting to force, hopeless resistance—when the outcome is clearly disproportionate or futile. Will there be a better peace with human rights restored for Afghanistan? Most likely yes.

7) Proportionality. The theory states that the damage inflicted and cost incurred by war must be proportionate to the good expected by taking up arms. Will a greater good—financial, humanitarian, as well as military—come from our active responses? Undoubtedly. There is a real possibility that peace will come to Afghanistan after more than 20 years of war.

The decision to initiate hostilities was not ours; the decision to respond, however, is. Such a choice appears to me justifiable in terms of experience, in terms of history and, of equal importance, in terms of the Catholic faith.

Adrian Schiess is director for student retention services and a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel.

Llyod Ward Begins Carrying Top Torch for USOC

Lloyd Ward knows all about challenges. He grew up in a house with no running water. He captained his Michigan State basketball team despite being its worst shooter. He broke through color barriers in the business world that stopped lesser men. So Ward’s latest task probably doesn’t seem too daunting: In October, the 1984 M.B.A. graduate became the chief executive officer of the U.S. Olympic Committee— a mere three months before the world descends upon Salt Lake City for the 2002 Winter Games.

“My life for the next few months will be like running a marathon at a sprinter’s pace,” Ward says. The USOC coordinates the Olympic-related activity of the 72 different U.S. sports organizations that are involved in the Games. As CEO, Ward oversees that effort, as well as the USOC’s 500-plus staff and $125 million annual budget.

Ward was selected unanimously for the job after impressing the search committee with his enthusiasm and energy. Rather than bringing notes to his interview, he brought a laptop computer and made a presentation.

Ward, 52, earned an M.B.A. while working at Procter & Gamble. He joined Pepsico in 1992, later becoming president of Frito-Lay Inc.’s central division. He then joined Maytag in 1996, becoming its chairman in 1999. He served that role for 15 months before becoming chairman of the Internet firm iMotors.

Letters to the Editor

Future Influences
Thank you so much for the article written by Kenneth R. Overberg, S.J., professor of theology [War & Peace]. I feel more hopeful about the future of our country and the workd knowing that this man is influencing students at Xavier.
—Elaine M. Sullivan

A Call for International Law
Thank you for publishing Father Ben Urmston’s article on peacemaking in the aftermath of Sept. 11. The Xavier community is fortunate to have Father Ben’s constant challenge to what Walter Wink has called “the myth of redemptive violence.”

At the same time, Father Ben suggests appealing to the World Court as a possible alternative, and pragmatists may rightly question the effectiveness of that approach at this time, since the World Court has no enforcement authority. The solution, however, is not to resign ourselves to perpetual war, but to create a genuinely effective international system of law and justice. As President John Kennedy once said, “We must create worldwide law and law enforcement as we outlaw worldwide war and weapons.”

For details, readers are encouraged to visit the World Federalist Association at www.wfa.org.
—Robert Gervasi

Give Peace a Chance
Thank you for the articles by Father Ben Urmston and Father Overberg. Both articles offer us Christians specific ways of seeking justice and not revenge, specific ways of following the teaching of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. I find it so disappointing that the vast majority of Christians have followed the unchristian leadership of President George W. Bush. He did not seek the advice of truly religious leaders who could have saved him and our country from the terrible future that will subject our children, their children and their grandchildren to fear, suspicion and acts of terrorism for at least a hundred years. As long as the United States is in denial of its own sins against Third World countries, we will have no peace. Violence is exploding all over the world right now because of our bad example.
—Richard Middendorf

 

Inspiring Discovery
Bouncing around the Internet, I stumbled across the short essay by Benjamin J. Urmston, S.J., titled “Seeking Peace,” which I found inspiring and insightful. Thank you for including it on line and in your magazine.
—Aaron Knight

In Defense
Thank you for posting Fr. Urmston’s “Seeking Peace.” It’s refreshing to see that as the smoke from Ground Zero still snakes its way past my apartment window, Fr. Urmston is concerened more with the “innocents” in Afghanistan and the Arab world than dead here in America. Yet as student in one of Fr. Urmston’s classes a few years back, I learned that America is responsible for all the evil in the world. I learned a lot in that class and I thank Fr. Urmston for transforming me into a proud card carrying Republican Conservative.
—Peter Patton

(A response from Ben Urmston: As I reread my article on “Seeking Peace,” I’m perplexed by Peter Patton’s conclusion that I value the lives of those in Afghanistan more than those who are U.S. citizens. I believe that all of us are created in the image and likeness of God, and that each person has dignity, value and worth. We are one human family, created by the same God, destined for the same goal, bound together by the same basic human rights and responsibilities. The lives of those in Afghanistan are not more valuable that those of us in the US—nor any less. The U.S. has great military, economic and political power. As U.S. citizens, this gives us a crucial responsibility to act morally. God bless America. God bless our world. When we sing “America the Beautiful” we sing “God mend thy every flaw. Confirm thy soul in self-control, thy liberty in law.”)

West’s World
Before giving you my take, a compilation of thoughts not only mine but other “X” grads, on David West’s place in the school’s Hall of Fame, I got some bad vibes about other parts of your article.

Seems like David went to all of TWO classes that day, making me question how many hours he was taking and his academic pursuits. Further, when you pictured David in his school garb [sweat pants, sweat shirt and basketball shoes], I came to the conclusion that is the usual dress these days, much different than in my day and really not the way a college student should dress for his studies. But then again, considering the makeup of the student body at “X,” not unlike, I guess, so many other schools, respect and dignity in one’s dress habits are out the window. Clothes are a reflection of what’s underneath, and the picture you painted hardly bodes well.

You have gotta be kidding, Skip, by already declaring, in as many words, that Mr. West is the greatest Xavier player ever. Do the words Larkin, Strong, Hill, Posey and Grant… and others mean anything to you? You’re putting a crown on someone’s head who #1 hasn’t played a minute of NBA ball and #2 someone who hasn’t, perhaps can’t, lead Xavier to any important victories, or at least I haven’t seen the “boys” beat anyone, any school rated above them. Until that happens, David’s overall value and abilities must be challenged.

No, Skip, David West is, obviously, a good player but THE best? Hardly, at least not yet. Too, as most athletes these days, without doubt, he’s there for the BB, not academics and that in itself is a turnoff. Things have changed with sports, especially on a college level where academics always take 2nd place behind sports, and that’s a shame.
—“Sock” Sokolowski, Class of 1957
(Editor’s note: David West is taking 12 credit hours this semester. He finished the previous semester with a 3.0 grade point average and is actually on target to graduate early with a degree in communication arts. The interview was intentionally planned by the University’s sports information department for a day when West’s academic schedule was light so to be less intrusive and afford more time for interviewing.)

Foul Called on West
Just a little FYI: As great of a ball player and student Dave West might be, your article proved that he, too, is human. Candles and amps are illegal in all on-campus housing. Thanks for pointing out to every student reading the article that he gets away with many things on campus, something we pretty much knew but now are definitely aware of.
—Kristen Habash

School Lessons Continue
I just wanted to thank you for running the article on Michael and myself. It feels good to know that others now know about his story-his as much as mine. GOOD NEWS! We just got the results of his latest tests…he is CANCER FREE! This is nothing short of miraculous! Faith, hope, love…the greatest of these IS love.
—Colleen Lynch, Class of 1999

Asia Update
In this article [The Heart of the Matter, Fall 2001] it was mentioned how Becky Scheve “gathered with a medical team around the hospital bed of Asia Miller.” I am Asia’s grandmother and legal guardian. I enjoyed reading the article, and I just wanted to send a note about something important that was not mentioned in the article. It’s been 13 months since her transplant, and she is thriving and being very much a normal 2-year-old. Her story has, and continues to, impact many people. Lisa [Beckelhimer] wrote a very nice story about a very important topic. I just want people to know that the work that people like Becky does is extremely important, and that Asia did get her heart and is now a healthy and happy toddler.
—Dawn D. Miller, grandmother and guardian of Asia Miller

 

Seeking Peace

By Benjamin J. Urmston, S.J.

 

As a result of the actions of September 11, this has become a time when questions come more easily than answers, and deep contradictions seem to abound in our world. Is there a way to strike back against terrorism without killing innocent people? Is there a way to minimize the risk of terrorism without creating a police state and endangering civil liberties? Is there a way to fashion a just and peaceful world that welcomes religious and human values? Often we find ourselves confused, angry, insecure and frightened.

In the wake of such uncertainty, I try to find my basic security in God’s love and in God’s plan for us. And as such, I think our response in the face of escalating violence is to escalate love. We need to increase our respect for ourselves and others. Afghanistan needs tons and tons of food, not tons and tons of bombs. Law discriminates between the innocent and guilty. Bombs do not.

While I understand the need for justice, there are other means of gaining it than war, the law being one of them. The U.S. could sue Afghanistan in the World Court over its alleged harboring of Osama bin Laden, who allegedly organized the attacks, and seek injunctive action by the Court ordering Afghanistan to give him up for trial. Or the U.S. could ask the United Nations to set up an international tribunal that includes jurists from the Islamic world. If alleged evidence is not approved by an independent tribunal, Islamic nations may hesitate to cooperate. If someone is duly indicted or charged, the burden is on a state that is harboring a suspect.

Such a peaceful response would also be in keeping with the teachings of the Church, the collective challenge of bishops nationally and the repeated urgings of several popes.

“Humankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to humankind,” Pope Paul VI told the United Nations on Oct. 4, 1965. “No more war. War never again.”

“War is no longer viable,” the U.S. bishops wrote in “The Challenge of Peace.” “There is a substitute for war.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church also upholds such thinking, noting, “The Fifth Commandment forbids the intentional destruction of human life. Because of the evils and injustices that accompany all war, the Church urges everyone to prayer and to action so that the divine Goodness may free us from the ancient bondage of war.”

Such tall orders require much prayer. My own prayer makes me bold enough to propose one path to both local and global peace: a search for effective and just laws.

Even if the world’s problems were not so acute, though, there are positive reasons for world law. There is only one earth. There is one human family created by the same God, destined for the same goal–union with God and with one another. We are all united by common bonds of basic human rights and responsibilities.

Although I have always tried to live the peace of Christ, I don’t identify the peace of Christ with political or economic peace. I look upon integral peace as grace and mystery. Comprehending peace can be as elusive as God, the author of peace, or the human person, who never fully reaches peace, or the human family, who at this stage groans and is in agony as it searches for peace.

The religions of the world share, at least in theory, a common understanding of peace as not only the absence of war, which is certainly important, but also the presence of justice, which is equally essential. Peace is harmonious relationships among God, the family, the community, ourselves and the earth. Peace is the exercise of basic human rights protected by law.

In the face of escalating words of hate, we can escalate words of kindness toward others. We can try to communicate better and listen more carefully. We can act courageously and lovingly by speaking out against acts of hate directed against Muslims, Arabs and others we may stigmatize as “other” and use as scapegoats. In the face of escalating cries for war, we will–we must–courageously and lovingly offer a different perspective.

Lessons of Life and Love

Colleen Lynch left Xavier with a teaching degree in 1999, eager to take on her first class of students. She never dreamed one of them was about to teach her the most important lessons of her life.

After returning home to Hendersonville, Tenn., to begin her teaching career, she found herself inexplicably drawn to one of her fourth graders, Michael Lewandowski, when life-threatening cancerous tumors snaked their way back into his young body just a few weeks into the 2000-2001 school year. The neuroblastoma–an aggressive tumor that strikes young children–reappeared in his spine, leg, chest and neck for the first time since he was initially treated in first grade.

“In the first week of October, he started to have pains in his legs and I asked if it was from playing hockey, because I thought it was just a bruised bone,” Lynch says. “But it got worse and I remember he was sitting in class one day and I looked over at him and he’s crying at his desk. I said, ‘Michael, what’s wrong,’ and he says, ‘Ms. Lynch, it just hurts so bad.’ It was deep inside his bone.”

The worst day was when Michael was in so much pain he couldn’t walk to the bus. In an effort to help, Lynch put him in her chair and wheeled him gleefully through the halls and out to the curb.

When Michael went to Vanderbilt University Children’s Hospital for treatment, Lynch made her commitment to stick with him. Beginning that October, after she wrapped up her daily classroom duties, she gathered the day’s schoolwork and drove 45 miles to the hospital, where she taught him the day’s lessons.

“I just felt the need to be with this child,” she says. “He was missing so much school and tutoring wasn’t going to do it.

She continued the daily visits when he was recuperating at home, but she became frustrated every time he went to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City for additional treatments because she couldn’t be with him.

“To be with him is phenomenal,” she says. “God brought me home from Cincinnati, and if I had not done that I would never have met him. The child has this indomitable spirit that just won’t die. The way he made me feel, it made me want to be around him more. For the first time I knew what it felt like to be a parent. It’s just the way a child can get into your heart. To love a child is an amazing experience, but to be loved back by one is an experience all its own.”

Lynch continued tutoring him over the summer so he could complete fourth grade, and the parents of the children in his class raised money to pay for her trip to New York in June so his schooling wouldn’t be interrupted while he continued treatment at Sloan-Kettering. She took him Mickey Mouse ears on her first day and he looked at her groggily and said, “How did you do that? How did you get here?”

Michael recently moved with his family to Charleston, N.C., and is now in the fifth grade. He’s sick again, and Lynch misses him terribly. Still, knowing he’s gone because he moved with his family is better than losing him to the cancer, so she’s content to visit him sometimes and stay in touch through email. What lives on in her are the lessons he taught by the way he lived through all the treatments, the pain, the baldness and sickness.

“He actually taught me how to love,” Lynch says. “At our talent show for him, I told the crowd to imagine something they loved more than anything else and to multiply that times a million, and that’s the way Michael makes me feel. I never thought a child would teach an adult how to love, but he did it and it made me a better person.”