Posted by: ME | July 21, 2011

I’ll be ready when I am 80, at least

First I wanted to share a blog post that I read last night. It is SORTA where I am at lately. I could have written most of these words. I do not know this woman, but I admire her candor about a subject people get so stuck on, like me lately. I am killing myself over my last weekends consumption, but cannot bring myself to WANT a salad. I have eaten way better than last weekend this week. Here is the link:

http://educatinglayton.blogspot.com/

Putting that behind for a moment, and with tragedy happening all over my hometown with premature deaths of 3 kids that I know of, not to mention a newly diagnosed cancer kid- a little boy with a malignant brain tumor. I only KNOW of one of these children, taken too early, who died last Saturday in a boating accident. She was missing for a grueling 65 hours or so. She is at home and at peace and dancing with Jesus. Her family are Christians also.

So, is it me or is it everyone’s experience that there have been too many sicknesses and deaths of children in the last decade? Is this just how life is? I know that being the parent of a cancer survivor puts me in a position to be around  and hear about children who get sick from cancer or whatnot. I empathize greatly for those parents of children with any disability or challenge. It puts a strain on the marriage, the finances, and the other siblings. It s a hard thing to go through, no matter the illness or challenge. In my experience, most of these families are strong Christians. There are a few who have no belief in any Higher Power. I simply can NOT imagine not having Jesus to lean on. There were times in our personal journey that even that felt like it wasn’t enough. It was those times that I was most mad and just wanted it fixed now. People can get stuck there, even the strongest of Christians. Yet that is not where those of us with a strong faith should stay. God knows it’s okay to get stuck in a bad spot, but it’s the returning to HIM that makes the difference. It brings peace and forgiveness and healing of all sorts.

Before I was 30 (in 2000) I knew approximately 3 people who were taken from us too young. All of them teens. One a suicide, One a car accident during a hurricane, and one from cancer.

What a bubble I was in!  Glorious bubble!

Since I was 30, I cannot count up the deaths of children I know taken before we think they should have. More from cancer just because that is where I was in our family’s history. Two were VERY much more heartbreaking for us since we had become close with their families. One we shared our child’s Make a Wish Trip with. Both of our girls “wished” for the same thing, and we were all friends, so we asked to go together. It wasn’t the glorious trip we all wanted, but nonetheless, it was a good trip. I only wished they could have had a do-over, as their little girl became ill with something viral on the trip which shortened it. It broke our hearts, but we went on as this was a once in a lifetime bittersweet thing to be given.

The other one that affected us was a young man, 14, who had bone cancer. He spent so many days playing with my daughter in the hospital when she was first diagnosed. A year later, or so, he went to be with Jesus, and our 4 year old did not understand. For a year, every day, she asked where he was. I had read to her books about heaven, talked to her about it regularly and nothing seemed to help. I finally brought her to a Christian play therapist to find out how to deal with this, how she could deal with it. Come to find out, my FOUR year old needed closure. He lived kind of far, so we did not attend is funeral services. She wanted to physically see where he was. I don’t think many adults understand that kids DO need closure too, especially if it was someone they bonded with well. I sure didn’t.  I wanted to shield her from it. So, we called the family of the boy and told them what we needed and they were happy to have us come visit his gravesite. My daughter had drawn him some pictures that I had laminated to put by his grave, as well as flowers. We drove four hours to get to his hometown where his family lived and where he rested.

We spent a wonderful day with his mom, who showed us his room that she hadn’t ever touched since his death and pictures of the amazing love their community and church bestowed upon them. We then went to his gravesite, which was beautifully decorated, and my girl taped her pictures right along with the other gifts and flowers that lay on his site. I won’t say it was not uncomfortable. It was horrifying and uncomfortable for my husband and I. We tried to keep the image of a graveyard and the fact that my kid had cancer far away from one another as possible. I know his parents knew how we felt since they were in our shoes the year before. Hoping, praying, and keeping those two things far removed.

We went home. Not once has my baby girl asked about where he was ever again. It was VERY hard for us, but she needed it. I didn’t think that a child who was four needed that, but very obviously, she did.

I do not keep my children from funerals any longer. Death is a part of life as much as birth is. Now, I did keep them from wakes until they were a bit older, but if all she needed was to see “where” her friends were, then I could fulfill that. The thing is that we look at our pain of going to a child’s funeral as our own and kids look at it in a different way. They need answers. They want to know physically where they are. As a Christian family, we thought saying they were in heaven and explaining that in detail was more than enough.

Anyway, I highly recommend it for your young child to experience if a loved one passes. I do not want my kids afraid of death. It is natural to be fearful of how it will happen. I just want them to know that death IS a part of life. We are all born and we will all die. Some too young and some will last what seems like forever. I want them to know that there is a God who loves us every day and will be with us at that moment He takes us Home. And that THAT day will be completely more glorious than anything we have ever experienced on earth that brings us joy.

I just know that by the time I am 80, all this pain on this earth experienced, I will be ready for Jesus to take me home. I hope I make it past that or even TO it, but even so, I look forward to the joy and peace and reconnections that will be made! I look forward to the relief.

(I dedicate this to the family and friends of Samantha Vinturella)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPHM3yXVPSA&hd=1

(I want this song at my celebration of life)

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Responses

  1. Wow, this blig pulled and pulled at my heartstrings. SO sad and yet so true. My heart and prayers go out to you all. Thank you for sharing your beautiful and heartfelt thoughts!

    • Thank you for your kind words, Jenny. I read your day 21 page and your “meet Jenny” page. I feel the same way. I have all this stuff inside to get out! Just not sure which direction to take. Blog, book, journal, etc…????
      I had a caringbridge site too a while back that I cannot bear to delete even though my daughter is healed.

      http://www.caringbridge.org/la/ashton


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