A prominent American pastor who recently lost his adult daughter has spoken out about the family's ordeal. During their Sunday service, Pastor Ed Young and his wife, Lisa, bravely recounted the tragic chain of events that led to the death of their 34-year-old daughter, LeeBeth, last month.
Addressing their congregation, Lisa said that LeeBeth's passing was an "out of order death that wasn't supposed to happen".
"Dealing with that adds another messy layer," she added. "And so, today we just thought we would share some of that, that led up to this time."
Pastor Ed talked about how LeeBeth was an “original creative thinker” who struggled with loneliness and depression, which he said became worse as she got older. He said that his daughter was involved in a "tumultuous" relationship and breakup a few years ago, which led LeeBeth to start drinking.
"She actually called me and said 'Mom, I'm afraid I'm an alcoholic,'" Lisa recalled.
"LeeBeth had never been a drinker or someone who partied," Young added. "That was something that definitely snapped our head. We were out of town so we were going back as fast as possible."
As the couple headed back to their hometown of Dallas, LeeBeth had a friend take her to see a doctor. On the way home, she had a seizure.
Young said that LeeBeth ended up in hospital and was warned by the medics to stop drinking immediately.
"The doctor said 'you can't do this...if you continue to do this, you will die,'" he recalled, noting that a second episode of binge drinking led to her being admitted to rehab. LeeBeth then started engaging in daily therapy sessions and began treatment for alcoholism.
Though things were initially looking up, the couple said that about three weeks ago, LeeBeth's demeanour began to change for the worse. They explained how she was struggling with the pandemic and being isolated from her colleagues. "She was acting a little bit different," Ed said.
Then, Lisa got a worrying FaceTime call from LeeBeth.
“I called Ed and I said, ‘Honey, LeeBeth’s not good.’ He goes, ‘What do you mean?’ And I said, ‘It's just not good, you need to go.’ And so he did and he found her,” Lisa explained.
Pastor Ed said that he found LeeBeth in a state that "as a parent, you pray you never have to get involved in," and immediately took her to see her therapist.
When they got home, Lisa recalled her daughter saying, "I want to live, I want to be better. I want to get over this. I want to do what's right".
That night, Ed laid LeeBeth down in the room next to his office. "She was shaking,” he recalled, noting that this had happened before when she had been withdrawing from alcohol. “I said, ‘You're just coming off, LeeBeth, this alcohol that you've consumed.’"
He stayed and comforted her for a while, before heading into an adjacent room. LeeBeth came in a while later saying she felt anxious, at which point Ed asked her if she wanted to go to hospital. "She said 'no, no, I just feel so anxious,'" Young recalled.
The pastor then went into his office to prepare for his upcoming sermon. "My study is maybe 40 feet from the spot [where LeeBeth was]... I had the door open, her door was open," Young explained. Then, a while later, he heard a concerning noise coming from LeeBeth's room. "I knew something was wrong,” he said. “She had a seizure. When I saw her, I thought she was gone right there.”
Ed ran outside to get the attention of his son, EJ, and daughter-in-law, Jess, who is a nurse.
"Jess started performing CPR along with EJ. We called the ambulance," he said. "I worked on her a little bit, the ambulance got there...they could find no pulse but they did find a faint heartbeat. I was just praying 'God, heal her.'"
Young said LeeBeth was rushed to hospital. Later, a doctor told him, "we can't do anything else, we've checked her brain and there's not any activity".
"The chemicals were all out of balance in her extremities, there was no blood flow," Lisa added. "They just said that she's not gonna live."
Amidst their profound grief, Lisa said that “God has provided”, and that the family was choosing to dwell on the good times with LeeBeth.
"I have this joy because my daughter, my baby...who we stood on a church stage and dedicated to the Lord... we meant it when we said 'she's yours, she's yours,'" she said.
“We can't judge LeeBeth based on that last bout, that last thing that she did,” Ed added. “But it's really about the last thing that Jesus did on the cross. That's what her life is about. She should be judged by that.”
You can watch the Youngs' full message below: