Tragedy never seems to end. It comes in an unceasing wave, in our news feeds, through our televisions sets, or splashed on the front page of a newspaper delivered right to our doors.
The news usually stinks and 2018 had no shortage of heartbreaking headlines.
One of the most tragic was the passing of Brody Allen. In May of that year, the lovable two-year-old began showing strange symptoms. He was taken to a hospital where the family received a horrifying diagnosis: brain cancer.
Brody's family was told he wouldn't live through the year, but he fought on. When it became clear that he wouldn't make it to Christmas, the community rallied behind the Allen family. A special early Christmas came to the streets of Ohio, all for Brody.
Sadly, in October Brody succumbed to his cancer. The community mourned and his family was devastated with grief.
A few short weeks later the Allen family was again hit with news all parents fear: their son had been in an accident.
Brody's brother, Andrew, was struck by multiple cars while crossing a busy stretch of highway.
Todd Allen, his father, took to Facebook asking for help.
"I come to you all in need of urgent help," he wrote. "Andrew's condition is very critical. He has a very serious life threatening traumatic brain injury, damage to his kidneys, a small laceration to his spleen, a broken shoulder blade, and a dislocated/broken collar bone."
Andrew wasn't expected to leave hospital alive.
"Our grief and pain is simply indescribable right now," his father wrote.
"Please, if you're inclined, pray for Andrew's healing and recovery. I don't care what faith, language, religion or perspective in life you come from," Todd writes. "Your prayers, thoughts and well wishes carried us and more importantly, I believe, gave Brody the strength and a little extra time, to live his last days to the fullest with absolute joy. Please, we need your help again."
Those prayers worked. Day after day, Andrew became stronger. Just before the holidays the Allen family finally got a Christmas miracle.
The prayers worked and Andrew returned home to celebrate Christmas with his family.
Andrew's recovery was far from complete. He was still missing part of his skull and he requires hours of rehabilitation to get full mobility back.
As with any healing from a traumatic injury, the recovery doesn't happen in a straight line. There are ups and downs and in early February Andrew suffered a serious setback.
"I come to you today in a request for prayers for Andrew. He has taken a few steps back lately and as a result he [is] back in hospital. After an ER visit this morning they moved his brain surgery up to today," Todd wrote on Facebook.
Brain surgery is always scary, so much can go wrong. Thankfully, finally, the Allen family has reason to cheer instead of cry.
The surgery was expected to last three hours, but doctors were able to get it done in 90 minutes. There were no complications and Andrew successfully had his skull reinserted. The doctors believe this will address his setbacks.
We'll continue wishing the Allen family well and praying for their continued recovery. They've been through so much, they deserve peace.