When my brother was diagnosed with
Marfan’s Disease and slowly lost his sight;
I railed at God – that powerful being,
wondering what gave Him the right.
As I watched my brother stumble and fall,
my heart would almost break,
and I yelled at God – “How could you
do this? Leave him to this fate?”
My brother developed an inner strength,
or maybe he’d had it all along –
he did much better than I would have done,
his spirit became so strong.
And I asked Lord God, “Is this what
he needed – to learn to be strong from You?”
Was nary an answer, ‘cept a sigh from the wind
but somehow, inside, I knew.
Marfan’s then took over my brother’s heart
and his life was shortened dearly,
but rather than there being bitterness,
my heart could see so clearly –
His life was shorter than mine would be
but he’d taught me so much about love,
I knew he would sit close to the Father
and watch over me from above.
While my brother, James Stempfley, was diagnosed with Marfan’s Syndrome at an early age, he didn’t lose his eyesight due to detachment of the retinas (one of the characteristics of Marfan’s) until he was 21 years old. After conquering the anger and depression he experienced when this happened, he went on to live a full life and ended up managing a coffee shop in Duluth.
He was an extraordinary person who taught me how to not only overcome, but to embrace the challenges life sometimes brings. He inspired me to work in the non-profit field, to share my skills with those less fortunate than myself. His faith in God never wavered and he shared that faith with as many as he could. He died at the age of 42 of heart failure, another characteristic of Marfan’s. For more information about Marfan’s Syndrome, contact www.marfan.org.