Kayla Mueller had always lived her life to help people. In August of 2013 while working with charities and providing aid to refugees she was captured by ISIS as she crossed the border from Turkey into Syria.
She was the last known American hostage to be held by the extremist group and was tragically killed recently after a building collapsed during a Jordanian airstrike.
According to an article in the New York Times, Kayla wrote a letter to her parents back home during her captivity, and the note was smuggled back to them by two fellow captives who had been released by the extremist group.
In the letter, Kayla writes of her treatment during her captivity, assuring her parents that she remained unharmed and was treated with kindness. A harsh comparison to other ISIS captives, such as Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh, who was filmed burned alive in a cage just recently.
“If you could say I have ‘suffered’ at all throughout this whole experience it is only in knowing how much suffering I have put you all through,” she wrote. “I will never ask you to forgive me as I do not deserve forgiveness.”
She also writes of her optimism and strength throughout the ordeal, “I have come to see that there is good in every situation, sometimes we just have to look for it,” she wrote. “I am not breaking down [and] I will not give in no matter how long it takes.”
It was confirmed by both her family and the White House that she had been killed and her family released the following written statement, “We are so proud of the person Kayla was and the work that she did while she was here with us.”
“She lived with purpose, and we will work every day to honor her legacy.”
Predident Obama also shared his condolences with the world, “Kayla represents what is best about America, and expressed her deep pride in the freedoms that we Americans enjoy, and that so many others strive for around the world,” he said.
From all of this, you can’t help but wonder if the way Kayla says she was treated during her captivity was accurate, or whether she was simply trying to reassure her family. Either way, it was the best gift she could have given them.
Rest in peace, Kayla.
Image via AP