Our friends' 11 year old daughter, Enya, had a school assignment to write a paper on a real event in life that made a lasting impact on her and she wrote about Caleb. With their permission, here is her paper.
Caleb's Last Christmas
by: Enya McDonald
Have you ever heard one of those heart-breaking stories of a young child dying of cancer? Well, I've lived one of those stories, his name was Caleb.
Caleb was a normal boy, adopted as a baby, played football, had a little brother. That all ended when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Caleb was a lucky boy, in a way, he had a family that never gave up on his fight for life. His last Christmas was spent with family and close friends. I saw him last at the Scherer's annual Christmas Party.
It was Christmas Eve, as it is every year, I was feeling excited for it was sure to be a wonderful party. The excitement of my birthday (which was only the previous day) had me in an especially festive spirit. My mom sat my brother and me down and told us, "Do you kids remember Caleb?" We both nodded, I felt a knot of concern growing in my stomach. "Well," she continued, "he was diagnosed with a brain tumor..." I thought I was going to puke, Caleb was only five. "The tumor is messing up his body, so he's gonna look...different, so don't stare or anything." At this point my mom and I were both tearing up. We grabbed the presents and got into the van.
I was numb with worry, if it was getting my Mom worked up like this, Caleb wasn't doing well. When we got out of the van, a wave of terror hit my stomach and threatened to spill over in the form of puke. I put on a fake, excited smile and opened the door.
I heard yells of greetings and hugged Mr. Andy, my adopted Grandpa (he's not actually related to me). Then, I saw Caleb and the brief moment of relief I had in Mr. Andy's embrace vanished; I almost broke down crying right on the spot. My heart skipped a beat, my hands got clammy, but I kept a smile plastered on my face. I remember my mother's words and looked away from him, but that image lingered in my mind. He was sitting on the floor playing with a toy fire truck. He was HUGE and couldn't move his mouth well, so he just moaned and yelled the whole time. He was like a swollen one year old. When he saw me, he said my name and reached his arms out towards me; my heart shattered like glass when I saw the look of joy in his face. I set the presents down and gave him a bear hug. I played with him for awhile, but then he started playing with his cousin, Bella. When I got up I felt like a wind-up toy, moving and functioning systematically until I could wind myself up again.
Even now, most of the night after that is a blur. I don't remember who I talked to, or what presents I got. I distinctly remember the look of wonderment on Caleb's face when we turned on all the yard decorations. I remember swelling like a balloon with happiness, pride, hope and sorrow when I saw him trying to walk and get a closer look at the decorations. I felt such pride when he took a liking to the reindeer Christen, Cody and I had taken two days to string. We left shortly after that.
I remember falling asleep that night thinking to myself, "Life is a precious gift and I never want to take it for granted ever again."
Caleb is always in our hearts and is loved today, tomorrow, in ALL ways to infinity and beyond.
Angel, Richard & Caden