Molly’s Kids: In memory of 18-year-old Elizabeth Brooks
MARSHVILLE, N.C. (WBTV) - Life isn’t always fair.
Beautiful Elizabeth Brooks. 18-years old. From Marshville, in Union County. A smiling girl who — along with her family -- was deeply immersed in their faith.
This is the last photo of Elizabeth and her mom, taken on March 3rd. Her mom didn’t know Elizabeth would be gone only 11 days later.
“She reached her Heavenly home,” Laura Brooks said. “We can be happy because we have hope. If you don’t have that, I don’t know how you go through things like this. Elizabeth knew the Lord personally, and she met him face-to-face on March 14th.”
Elizabeth has been one of our amazing #MollysKids for years. Many of you probably read updates here of her up-and-down journey. She was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma the first time in April 2015 at the age of 12 and diagnosed a second time in November 2016. She was diagnosed a third time in early April of 2018.
This young girl fought and fought and fought. Went back and forth with my family to St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, had treatments in Charlotte, and was a part of a trial drug. Elizabeth studied hard (her mom homeschooled all four of her kids), loved to bake, listened to gospel music, and adored life on a farm.
She never asked, “Why me?”
Never, her mom says, once.
Last December her family had a family photoshoot. Laura sent some of the gorgeous photos to share. I’ll put them below, along with photos we’ve posted of Elizabeth over the past six years. When you see them, you’ll see what is impossible to touch, but obvious when it’s real: Family-centric love. Even in photos you can see it in how they interact. Tanner is the older brother, then it was Elizabeth, then younger brother Conner, then younger sister Heidi.
The last public #MollysKids update on Elizabeth was May 2020. She had just received clear scans.
“Last May, we were thrilled for her,” Laura said. “She was continuing chemo because of past relapses, and because of the chemo it took her all summer to finish school, but last August she did graduate. We celebrated big! We had several friends and family come over.”
Laura says she can’t remember details of what happened, when, after last August. It just all started showing back up again.
“I don’t know the order of the relapses, new chemos, platelet transfusions, and scans,” she said. “I just know when it returned this last time, it never quit. She developed a cough two weeks before Thanksgiving last year. We celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas as if they might be her last. Her father and I never told her that was the way we were celebrating, but we were worried. We told her three siblings to ‘make moments count.’”
At the time, Elizabeth was working at her dad’s family business as the receptionist. She quickly became her father’s personal assistant as well.
“She always did everything required of her and so much more, without ever being asked,” said Laura. “She always went above and beyond. That was just Liz. She was living life while still doing chemo every three weeks.”
Eventually, it became known that the cough Elizabeth had at Thanksgiving was exactly what they feared: Cancer in her lungs. Again. It had closed off her left lung entirely. Doctors sent her home in February with oxygen and a new chemo.
“That was a hard day,” Laura said. “But we believed she’d get better. She always had, for six years.”
Laura said things went downhill, but you’d never know it to see and talk with her daughter. That Elizabeth had a drive and will to live... and serve.
“She told me several times, ‘Mom, I am not dying!’,” Laura said. “They were words I wanted to hear. She believed it. But even now what hits me the most when I go back over the past several months and years, is that she was never concerned about herself. She’d cry and tell me she didn’t know how to comfort her siblings. She’d cry and tell me she was worried about all of us being left behind. She knew how much we’d hurt. But she wasn’t worried about herself.”
In the last four weeks, Elizabeth went to the ER twice. Once for a horrible nose bleed (reaction to a platelet transfusion), and once from the horrible pain. The horrible pain turned out to be that cancer had moved outside of her lungs. Not good.
The day they got that news was March 3rd.
The same day she and her mom took this photo.
“Liz was doing things for others up until her last day here,” Laura said. “She was ordering earrings for her friends on a Friday night, placing an order from the makeup company she had signed up for in November for her customers, and on Sunday she passed, I asked her that morning if she wanted to reconsider a hospital bed – which she had refused every single time – and she refused. She said, ‘No, I don’t want my siblings to see me in that and remember me that way.’ She was just always thinking and doing for others. I have never met anyone like her.”
On Sunday, March 14, Elizabeth was pretty out of it. Laura said she and her husband stayed with her bedside while the other three kids went to church. When they returned all five sat around her.
They feel very grateful that when it was time, the entire family was there.
“We rejoice in knowing we will see her again one day,” Laura said. “We rejoice she is no longer doing chemo and radiation because God in fact, did heal her. We miss her terribly. We always will. However, she left a legacy on this Earth and we hope to continue that and love like she did her entire 18 years of life. Our lives are forever changed.”
Her viewing last week at Graceway Baptist Church in Matthews was packed. Her memorial service at a larger church in Monroe even more so. (You can watch that memorial service here >> https://tinyurl.com/EBMemorial.
The Good, the Bad, and the Always Real.
So many deep thoughts to you Laura, and your whole family. Thank you for writing and always sharing Elizabeth with us.
Past #MollysKids posts on Elizabeth >>
Nov 2017: http://tinyurl.com/ElizabethBrooksMKs
Nov 2017: http://tinyurl.com/ElizabethBrooks2MKs
Jan 2018: https://tinyurl.com/ElizabethBrooks3MKs
April 2018: http://tinyurl.com/ElizabethBrooks4MKs
Jan 2019: http://tinyurl.com/ElizabethBrooks5MKs
Sept 2019: http://tinyurl.com/Sept12019MKs
May 2020: https://tinyurl.com/ElizabethSrMks
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