Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Thinking of you...


I was listening to a song today that has really helped me during the past few months. I finally took the time to look it up on YouTube to see if there was a video with lyrics for it so I could share it on Facebook. The one that I found is beautiful and there is a section in the song (2:28) where it shows a little boy with his hands in the air, head tossed back and mouth wide open.

It reminded me so much of you. Even as young as you were, you loved God with your whole heart. I remember watching you run laps around the sanctuary during our rehearsals. You ran and praised with wild abandon and didn't care who was watching.

When you sang worship songs, you sang with your entire being. I can just picture you on the front row in Heaven praising Jesus at the top of your lungs. I bet it's a beautiful, rich sound. I can't wait to hear you sing again.

Until that time, I will continue to rejoice here on Earth. I know my Savior reigns and I rejoice for He lives in me. He truly is "Always Enough."

I've decided to share the video in the blog for those who are still following. I hope it brings comfort to those who need it.

Remember, Caleb, you are always in my heart and I love you to infinity and beyond!


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Happy Birthday, Caleb!

My sweet, sweet Caleb,

Daddy, Caden and I want to wish you Happy Birthday, darling. Today, you would have been six years old. But, I really don't feel like celebrating today. It's your first birthday away from us and we all miss you terribly. Honestly, I'm really having difficulty just writing to you today.

This seems to be an extremely emotional week for me. We found out at the end of last week that one of your football coaches (Coach Matt) had been killed by a drunk driver. That was difficult to handle. I guess if there is anything that can be said about a terminal illness is that you have the time to say goodbye to your loved ones. I feel so bad for his family. They didn't get that opportunity like we did.

I have also read about several children with DIPG that earned their angel wings this week. It is so heartbreaking for everyone involved. It seems Heaven is filling up with little children who have fought this horrible disease. I hope you are doing your part to welcome these little ones into Heaven. You always made friends so very easily. I desperately wish we could find a cure so no more families have to suffer.

On that note, September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month. On of the people on the Facebook DIPG site helped edit a picture of you to help spread the word. I agonized over what picture to use. It seems a lot of pictures used for childhood cancer awareness show bald, smiling children. I wanted people to see that it has a very real downside as well. I chose a picture I took of you just hours before you died. I'm not even sure if you were aware of what was going on around you that day, but that picture shows the reality of childhood cancer.

Thursday night was "meet the teacher" night at the schools. I kept seeing all the updates on Facebook and thought, "We should be there, too." You should have been starting school next week with the other kids. Of course, with as much as you missed last year, we probably would have had you repeat kindergarten. Then again, if that stupid tumor hadn't been there, you'd be entering first grade on Monday. I think I'm going to stay off Facebook for the first couple days of next week. I'm not sure I can handle reading all the fun posts of the first day of school. The world around us goes on while our lives are torn to pieces. It's difficult to be happy for others at the moment, but I keep trying.

It was right around this time last year that we started noticing things were a bit off with you. But they were so subtle that it was easy to just dismiss it as normal reactions to all the changes going on at the time. I honestly thought your headaches were no big deal. Since I have had so many migraines over the years, I really believed you were just copying me because you heard me talk about headaches so much, or you were just trying to get a little more attention (that whole "jealous of my little brother" thing). I'm sorry I didn't believe you were really hurting. When I realized how serious the headaches were, I'm ashamed of how I acted. But you always forgave me. Even as the tumor progressed, you never really complained about your head hurting. I remember asking you if it hurt. You would tell me no, but later in the day it would get really bad and you would say it had been hurting all day. It was just finally at a point that you couldn't stand the pain any longer. I wonder if you told me no because you didn't think I would believe you. If that was the case, I am so sorry. I never meant to cause you any additional pain. I'm sorry you had to go through that.

I'm making a pineapple upside down cake (your favorite) to honor you. We're also sending you some balloons for your birthday. I hope you like them. We chose every color of the rainbow and 5 gold balloons. I know it's "technically" your 6th birthday, but you are forever 5, so that is how many we'll send you every year.

I hope you know how very much we love you. You were truly our miracle child and we are so blessed to have gotten the time we had with you. I am comforted to know that we will see each other again. I wish it could be now, but I know that it is in God's perfect will and timing.

You are always in my heart and I love you to infinity and beyond.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Always in my heart


I was cleaning some things up today and found the small pewter heart I bought for you last year. You were having such a hard time adjusting to school and didn't want to be away from me. (Of course, we know the reason for that now, but didn't at the time.) I bought the heart for you so you could keep it in your pocket. That way, whenever you started to miss me, you could reach in your pocket and hold the heart. It was to remind you that you are "always in my heart."

I remember one morning we left the house without it and you didn't even want to go in the building without it. I had to promise to go right home, get it, and bring it right back to you before you would even attempt to go to class. I don't know if you knew this, but instead of going home, I actually went back to the store I'd gotten it from and bought 5 more of them. I kept two in the van so if I ever forgot it again, I could just grab one of the extras. I also gave one to Mrs. Wilson to keep in her desk for you.

We visited the school during your treatment one day, and she told me that every time she opened her desk drawer and saw that heart it reminded her to say a little prayer for you.

Somehow, all the hearts managed to become misplaced. When I found this one today, I actually smiled. It didn't make me sad to remember. This is the first post I've written in months where I wasn't crying.

Now, this heart represents something more than just me reminding you that you are always in my heart. Now, it reminds me that I am always in your heart as well. I can hear you and Jesus saying, "You are ALWAYS in my heart." Thank you for the reminder.

I love you.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

August Is Different This Year

My beautiful Caleb,

August is very different this year without you. I remember going school supply shopping for you for the very first time last August. You were so excited about everything -- football practice, your 5th birthday, starting kindergarten, and even riding the bus. None of those things matter this year.

School starts on August 22nd and I have a hard time going grocery shopping right now because of all the school supplies. It's kinda silly crying over not buying school supplies, isn't it. I think most parents look forward to the day they no longer have to buy school supplies. But it's just a reminder of something else I'll never get to do with or for you again.

Another difficult thing to face right now is your upcoming birthday. I've thought about all the different things we would have done to celebrate you turning 6 on August 20th. All I know at this point is that we will be sending you a rainbow made of balloons.

Recently, I've spent a lot of time looking at pictures of you from this time last year. Now that I know what to look for, I can see the changes in you so clearly in the pictures, some as early as June. I sometimes wonder if it would have made any difference at all if we'd noticed it sooner and taken you to the doctor earlier. Then I remind myself that I can't allow myself to play the "what if" game. If I did allow it, I think I would probably fall apart.

Of course, the downside of that is that I am more hyper-vigilant with Caden now. I worry more every time he says his head or stomach hurts. I wonder if something is seriously wrong with him and I want to rush him to the doctor and beg for scans to be done. I'm so afraid that I will "blow-off" something that ends up being serious like I did with you. Usually, I manage to step back and look objectively at the situation.

The upside is that I am praying more than ever before. I trust and rely on God's word hourly. I seek His wisdom and guidance whenever I sense myself about to enter "super worry wart" mode. I know He will guide my steps and let me know what needs to be done. I have to stop second-guessing that still, small voice and know He is leading me in everything I do.

Though I cry frequently still thinking more of things that will never be, the time will come when I remember with a smile the things we did together. God's word is true. And, God has gently reminded me time and time again of His everlasting truth:

...Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. (Ps 30.5 NKJ)

And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4.19 AMP)

The amazing part of these verses is that it gives me comfort on two levels.
  1. I know that He is taking care of everything you could possibly need in Heaven. You are loved, cared for and happy. You have no more tears of pain or discomfort. Your life is eternally joyful.
  2. I also know that this applies to me here. God comforts me and holds me close as I mourn the loss of your physical presence. And, He sends the right people to me at just the right time with just the right thing to say or to give me a huge hug just when I need it most.

Though there are things on Earth I will never get to experience with you, I look forward to the day you can share all your experiences in Heaven with me. Earthly experiences pale in comparison to what we will have together in Heaven one day.

I miss you so very much, Caleb.You are always loved -- to infinity and beyond.