COLUMN: Destiny gets her wings

By SCOTT MIMS / Staff Writer

I’ve forgotten what I was going to write my column about this week—I don’t know, it was going to be about traffic or something. Every time I start typing, I get distracted. Anyway, who cares, I’ll write about that next month.

I have to break one of the cardinal rules of column-writing, which is don’t write your column about what the last person wrote about. But I have to, because the situation has changed. And if you’ve been following the story of Pelham’s Destiny Riekeberg, you know by now that heaven has a new resident who is looking down upon us.

So, what could I possibly say? I don’t deserve some special platform to write about someone like Destiny. I haven’t done anything, but it’s all I can think about.

It was only through tears that I could read the Facebook posts from Destiny’s parents, Dustin and Lacretia Riekeberg, late Thursday night. It’s difficult to describe that feeling when you grieve for someone outside your own family. While everyone is different, I imagine that for many people the thought process is the same—you internalize the loss of others and think about your own loss, or you think about the possibility of losing loved ones. Then, you try to imagine the pain someone is going through. That’s how we relate—we share one another’s burdens.

But make no mistake, these tears are not tears of defeat. We grieve when we experience the separation that comes with loss, but for this amazing family, the feeling I get is one of unshakeable faith, of continuing to fight in the face of it all despite what the odds are telling you.

If you are unfamiliar with Destiny’s story you can read about it here: Shelbycountyreporter.com/2020/02/24/destiny-strong-pelham-girl-battles-rare-form-of-liver-cancer/. There is another article on our site that tells about how members of the community surprised Destiny with a homecoming parade when she came home from Children’s of Alabama for the first time.

We all would do well to remember this young hero the next time we share a meme or complain about how awful 2020 is. I personally feel the need to step back and take an inventory of my life. The first thing I want to ask myself is why have I done so little with the opportunities I have been given.

Please take some time out of your day today to remember Destiny and all of those affected by childhood cancer. Incidentally, September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. To the Riekeberg family, we love you and continue to offer our thoughts and prayers.