Scot Walker '90 August 8, 2016 4:30 PM updated: August 8, 2016 5:39 PM
Melinda (Moore) Watson '89 shared this powerful story with us and encouraged us to share it with the Aggie Network.
* * *
"It was 1997," Melinda said. "My little Rachel was 3 years old. One day without me knowing, she tiptoed into my room and carefully removed four rings (perfect decorations for sand castles apparently). Mama didn't know and didn't find out until I realized my Aggie Ring was nowhere to be found. :( I was sad, but of course I forgave that face."
Melinda would be without an Aggie Ring until 2013, when her husband, Sam Watson '89, replaced it for her.
In early 1999, the Watsons' son, Luke, was diagnosed with Juvenile Batten Disease. Then, in June of that same year, Rachel was also diagnosed with the degenerative, and always fatal, neurological disease. The condition caused both children to go blind, have seizures, and regress.
On Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2016, Rachel's suffering ended when she passed away.
"On Thursday," Melinda said, "on one of the saddest days of my life, I get a call. The caller was from The Association of Former Students in Aggieland. He said somebody had contacted them regarding finding my Aggie Ring.
"I sat in silence as I tried to figure out how my Ring got to College Station. Then he broke in and said, 'Your first Aggie Ring. Someone has found it and we are trying to get it back to you.'
"Today, 20 years after my sweet girl used it for sand castle make-believe. Today, two days after she left this earth for heaven:
I'm OK, Mama.
"Thanks for letting me know, Rachel."
* * *
The Association of Former Students joins Melinda, Sam, Luke and their family and friends in celebrating Rachel's life and mourning her passing, and we are grateful to Melinda for sharing her beautiful story with us.
The Luke and Rachel Batten Foundation was formed in 2001 to honor Luke and Rachel Watson and to help find treatments for this terrible illness. You can learn more about it at www.lrbf.org.