Review of The Bonnie Code: One Girl’s Battle with Mitochondrial Disease, Using Joy as Her Armor, by Thomas Wayne Sanders
I’ve written about Bonnie Codier before. In 1992, I interviewed her mother, Lyn Codier, for a Raising Arizona Kids article about homeschooling; Bonnie and Lyn appeared on the cover of the September 1992 issue. I also mentioned her in an article on Doing Life Together. I know the family. We went to the same church in the 1990s, and I sang in the church choir with Dave (Bonnie’s father) and Lyn. My daughter Erin was Bonnie’s friend in Sunday school. Dave was the emergency room nurse on two occasions when we brought our son Matt to the hospital to be treated for ketoacidosis. When I taught music, Lyn and I were both in the Arizona chapter of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association. I was crushed to learn about Bonnie’s (and later Lyn’s) devastating illness.
Tom Sanders is also a friend of mine. For nine years I was part of a Bible study group that met in his and his wife Kimberly’s house. He often spoke fondly of Bonnie and her profound faith. He volunteered to be a “Bonnie-sitter” out of a desire to help the family; he never expected that he would be so abundantly blessed by the experience of getting to know her.
Though Bonnie was slowly and painfully dying, she lived her life with purpose: to encourage hurting people and remind them that God loves them. She carried on correspondences with people all over the world — people suffering from Mitochondrial disease and other conditions, and other random people she met. She learned about each person’s family, friends, pets, interests, and events, and asked for updates whenever she connected with them. She was genuinely interested in other people, and knew how to make them feel special.
I am so glad Tom wrote this book. But there’s one detail he left out.
When preparing Bonnie’s Celebration of Life, Lyn asked all the men who were to speak (Tom was one of them) to wear a suit, even though Redemption Church is known for its casual dress code (even the pastors wear jeans to church). She said that since Bonnie was never able to go on a date, never attended a prom, never walked down the aisle as a bride, she wanted the men in her life to dress up in her honor.