Loftus Parents Share Story of Grief, Faith

December 20, 2019

The parents of Owen Loftus spoke to a Faith & Ethics class in November, shortly after the death of Paige Bullis, whose photo was on display in the chapel that week.

Owen Loftus was a sophomore at CDH when he passed away last fall of leukemia. On November 21, his parents, Dan and Susan Loftus, visited Mr. Tim Teuber's junior Faith and Ethics class to speak to Owen's classmates about their journey of grief and faith in the aftermath of his death.

Owen was born premature, weighing only one pound, and spent three months in the hospital before he was able to come home. He was born with a birth defect that required him to have six major surgeries before he was ten years old, and he and his parents always believed that his life was a miracle.

Owen had a strong faith from a young age. When he was given an assignment in third grade to write about a famous person he would like to meet, he chose Jesus.

"If I could meet a famous person I would meet Jesus," he wrote. "I like learning about Jesus and have a lot of questions to ask him. I would ask Jesus what it was like when he was growing up, did he go to school, did he have a lot of friends, what was his favorite food? I would also ask Jesus how it felt when he was nailed to the cross, did it hurt, was he scared, did he know that he was going to rise again from the dead? Also, how does Jesus feel when people do bad things in the world? I would like to meet Jesus in person to tell him that I love him.”

Owen was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 15 years old.

"I broke down," said his mother, Susan. "I prayed to God for Owen, but I also spoke pretty harshly to God, and asked how he could do this to us. But Owen had such courage, he never complained and he had an amazing sense of humor. I got my strength from him, and his example led us and strengthened us in our faith."

Owen passed away three months after he was diagnosed, on Oct. 5 2018.

"His death shook us to the core. I think of it now as an abyss of grief," Susan said. "Your life is shattered, and you feel that there's just no way. And then God gives you a way. It doesn't happen right away, it certainly takes time, but I found you can either just succumb to your grief or you can fill that emptiness within yourself by saying yes to God and learn to lean into the suffering, and somehow it softens."

After Owen's death, his parents were grateful for the support of the CDH community. They attended the prayer service immediately after his loss, and continued to attend band concerts, swim meets, and Ultimate Frisbee matches throughout the year. They received hundreds of cards from students, faculty, and staff, both immediately after he died and at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and on Owen's 16th birthday. 

Owen's parents take solace in their faith that Owen has now met Jesus, and is living eternally in Heaven. 

"I lost a son physically, but he has given me so much strength to carry forward. I thank him every day for being my son," Dan said.


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