Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cancer Sucks Which is Why I am Choosing to be Crude This Time

I am here.  And I must share a bit about where I have been for the past several days and why it has been so difficult for me to come up with words and why my heart is constantly breaking into a billion, trillion pieces but how those shattered pieces are still very much alive and living in the people who now own them.

This is Jack.  For those of you who might have missed my previous posts about this angel boy or for those of you whom I have more recently come to know, Jack is a nine and a half year old boy who has been living with cancer, neuroblastoma, for far too many years of his life.  For those of you who took Jack into your own hearts at first sight, thank you.  Your thoughts and prayers and encouragement for Jack's mothers have helped to hold them up when all they wanted to do was melt into a puddle on the ground beneath their own feet.  First diagnosed at age three and then again, at age eight, Jack has fought a battle that most of us will never have to endure in an entire lifetime.(God willing.)  Whenever I say that I am fighting the good fight, this amazing young angel shows up in my mind's eye and gives me the power to fight even harder.  For HE has truly fought and continues to fight, The Good Fight.  He has done so with bravery and resilience and more courage than I could ever begin to even claim to have.  He has done so with a love for life that far too many healthy individuals take for granted even on their best days.  He has done so with a heart so huge that it humbles me to know that it can still fit within his tiny, cancer ravaged body.
We have known Jack since well before he was born.  His mommy has been a part of our lives for so many years.  She was a teacher in the school that my daughters attended.  Angel Daughter Number One who is now twenty-three, was in her fifth grade class, and Angel Daughter Number Two was lucky enough to have her as a teacher in both third and fifth grades.  She is now twenty-one. We requested and insisted on Jen all three times.  She and I became friends, which was not so easy at first because Jen, Jack's mommy, is a very private person.  She didn't want to cross that parent-teacher "boundary".  But, over time, she could not resist just letting me in bit by bit(I knew I would win her over, chocolate helped) and by the time she was ready to move from California to Georgia so that she could afford to stay home with Jack full-time, we had become close friends.  Thank goodness for the Internet!  We were able to remain close friends from a distance and stay updated on each other's lives.  When Jack was first diagnosed with cancer, we wept and cursed and then cheered him on from across the country.

Last week, Jen brought Jack and Kate(her sweet six and a half year old) out to California.  And although we did not have nearly enough time together, I understand that Jack's days are precious and that there was a huge amount that they wanted to pack into a four day trip.  Thankfully, we were able to see them for two of those days.
These photos were taken the first night that we met up with Jack, Kate, Jen and Gretchen(Jen's sweet partner).  Jack was very groggy from some of the new pain meds that he was on, but when he woke up, he asked if he could ride in our car on the drive down to our beach house.  We were overjoyed!  Jack has a herd of stuffed cows that accompany him everywhere.  Jen sent me one when Jack was three.  He calls them all "Moo-Moo".  Angel Daughter Number Four is holding my Moo-Moo(who insisted on coming to visit with Jack and the herd!), Jack is holding his.  It was a wonderful, bittersweet, sobering, but never to be forgotten, reunion.

I am so tired.  I am punch-drunk on love.  I am emotionally spent.  And I am grateful, so gosh-darn grateful to have been able to share these precious moments with this boy, our boy.  Your boy.  I can guarantee you, part of your heart will be his, too.  He is that incredibly special.

There will definitely be another "Jack" post to follow very soon, more pictures to share.  In the meantime, feel free to stop by Jack's website and when you do, please leave a note of encouragement, prayer, love, support, or even just a hello for this beautiful family.  They need all of the kindness that they can get right now, but also, you will find out what it is like to be truly touched by an angel.  The earthly kind.  For underneath all of the sadness, there is grace.  So much grace.

With so much love,

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Usefulness of Silence

For some reason, I have not had the words to write, lately.  From a somewhat practical perspective, I think it has a lot to do with the fact that the third anniversary of my beloved brother's death was this week and I always feel quiet when I am faced with the sadness.  I miss him terribly.

But there have been sunnier moments such as the one above in which Rex climbed the screen and we decided to pose for a picture together.  My furbabies always make me smile.  We understand each other. And the relationship is all about love.(Well, for me anyway.  Theirs might also have something to do with lots of food, warmth and THEN love.)

The wind is blowing down here at the beach.  The rain is beginning to pelt against the windows and my dear husband is reading the newspaper beside me.  I am content.

And to you I am sending so much love and light.  Even when I am quiet.  Especially when I am quiet.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sugar and Spice

Angel Daughter Number Four.  My youngest.  My baby.

To me, it is as if she was sprinkled with pixie dust and an extra dose of joy when she was born.  Sent on her way to join her three older sisters for good measure.  Bound and determined to become a part of our family, her daddy's contribution to the spark of this beautiful soul spent seventy two hours patiently in search of the other half of her DNA.  You can hear her daddy describing her determination to the delivery room nurses(with a lot of pride in his little swimmers) in the video following her birth.  She picked up on this recently while watching the video of her birth and with a look of absolute astonishment on her face, she turned to her father and I and proclaimed, "YOU HAD SEX FOR SEVENTY TWO HOURS WHEN YOU MADE ME???"  By the time we were able to stop ourselves from laughing, legend had been born.  And yet the truth is that our littlest Angel Daughter was not exactly planned.  At least the timing was not ours, because we knew that we wanted to have a fourth child, just not right then.  And obviously, since we were doing very little to prevent the possible conception of a baby, this little person was no mistake!  Only a wonderful surprise.  Not a birthday of hers goes by without my thanking God for her wonderful soul's persistence, determination, and strength.  She is absolute proof that sometimes the greatest things in our lives are those which happen on their own time and not the time in which we believe is best.  AD4 is the perfect argument for this.
On February 9, 1994, AD4 made her entrance into the world.  She was quiet at first.  So quiet, in fact, that the doctors went to extra lengths to make her cry.(I hope they didn't pinch her!)  I think she was just taking it all in.  For the first two years of her life, she was known as "the Great Observer" in our family because she intently absorbed everything that was going on around her.  She didn't walk until about fourteen months, but from that day forward, I swear she danced through her days.
Now, at age 17, she is all wide-eyes and black hair with sassy blue bangs.

She is mile long eyelashes and freckles sprinkled across her nose and cheeks.  I used to tell her that the freckles were spots from where the sun kissed her cheeks.  She is dimples and rose-colored lips.
She is focus and intensity and compassion.  She is rhythm and movement and passion.  She is wise beyond her now, seventeen years, most likely a result of the years she spent observing the way in which everyone else moved throughout the world.  She is kindness and creativity.  She is friendship and deep loyalty, fiercely devoted to those whom she cares about.  She is all that is good about teenagers.
I love this sweet person with an intensity that I could only fathom after having brought four incredible daughters into this increasingly difficult world.  And yet, because of AD4 and because of Angel Daughters Numbers One, Two and Three, I know that goodness can prevail.  I know this because there is so much of it in all four of my daughters.

Happy, happy Birthday, Sunshine.  I pray that your heart doesn't get broken too many times.  I hope that when you break someone else's heart, you will remember how it feels and that you will go easier on them in the knowing.  I know that you will have arguments with your best friends and that you will cry many tears over them.  I hope that you will also find a way to patch things back up.  You will find yourself sighing about how quickly time seems to pass.  You will lose people you love, but you will find a way to keep them close, anyway.  So please.  Take too many pictures(even of people who don't like to stand still or who complain that you are clicking too many).  Laugh too much and too enthusiastically.  Hug long and try not to be the first to let go.  Dance as if the world is your stage.  Cheer for the ones you care about so that everyone else turns around to see who the crazy person is.  Love as if your heart has never been broken.  And never, ever give up.  You have to face the same person in the mirror every single day of your life.  Be happy, my sweet child.  And most importantly, be grateful.

I love you, my seventeen year old Angel girl.
Related Posts with Thumbnails