He Lost His Daughter. That is Devastating.

Steven Howarth has a sense of humor similar to mine. We exchange puns on a regular basis as members of FlyerTalk; and for years, I have enjoyed his creative and inventive play on words — as well as his infectiously positive attitude which brightens the days of numerous people.

He Lost His Daughter. That is Devastating.

That all stopped one day last week when Steve revealed the news that he had lost his daughter, whose weakened immune system was simply no match for an infection which ravaged her body.

Megan Howarth succumbed to that infection on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 at the age of 29.

She “was a very intelligent, driven, and caring woman with a brilliant sense of humor”, according to her obituary. “When not at work, much of her time was spent helping others. She enjoyed organizing benefits, supporting causes and protests, and giving what she could without judging. In her youth she was friendly, loved animals, and was a voracious reader — characteristics which lasted throughout her life. Just before her 18th birthday, Megan was diagnosed with several autoimmune diseases which caused her to have some serious physical limitations. Despite the ongoing trials she faced, Megan was fiercely independent, always did her best, and constantly expanded her horizons. After graduation from NUAMES (Northern Utah Academy for Math, Engineering, and Science) High School and coursework at Weber State University, she left home to start college at Utah State University on a full-ride scholarship. Although her health didn’t allow her to finish her education, she was determined to be independent and successful. She stayed in Logan, UT where public transportation allowed her to thrive.”

I never met Steven Howarth in person. I have no idea what he looks like; I have never heard his voice; and I cannot tell you much more about him. The same is true for his daughter Megan…

…and yet, I felt the poignant loss — as if I knew them personally.

When I first read one of the announcements which he posted on FlyerTalk, I was absolutely stunned. The floor figuratively dropped out from underneath me. What was years of silly playful banter suddenly came to a screeching halt. On some ancillary level, I experienced a relatively infinitesimal modicum of the pain through which he and his family was enduring.

I could tell just how much he loved his daughter — and how thankful he was that “she is now enjoying freedom from her broken down body.”

Putting Life in Perspective

The loss of a loved one is never easy. I still mourn both the loss of my mother and the loss of my father and especially my grandfather; but I cannot even imagine the scope of pain endured from having lost a child. Just the thought of it tears my heart apart. To me, that is truly devastating.

Despite my limited knowledge and relationship with Steve, he has definitely handled this tragedy with aplomb — or he has done an incredible job showing his brave face…

…but everyone handles grief differently. Some people prefer to keep their grief private. Others want as many people as possible to know what an incredible person the world just lost. That is the reason why I asked Steve for his permission to write this article, which I am doing in honor of Megan.

During this time, I have coincidentally noticed the writers of certain other weblogs use such words as tragic, devastating and horrific to describe what are perceived devaluations in the miles, points and travel world. I would never use such adjectives to describe some lodging company increasing the number of points needed to redeem for a free night; or the significant loss of benefits on some credit card which is being used primarily for churning. Although those are not positive developments, using those words is simply overly dramatic to me. It is a stark reminder of how we need to maintain our perspective in life. As bad as things may seem to be, someone else is always experiencing something worse.

Like Steve, I am personally glad that Megan is in a better place where she no longer has to suffer. My sincere thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to Steve and his family on their heartbreaking loss.


I want to conclude this article by leaving you with one statement by Steve which choked me up with a lump in my throat when I first read it — and it still has the same effect on me now:

“Not even my DL Kryptonium Medallion status can get me a flight to visit her new home.”

This article was written in honor of Megan Howarth. Source: The obituary of Megan Howarth.

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