Sunday, November 8, 2009

The illness with no mercy

We all know about it.  Almost everyone knows someone that is diagnosed with it, fighting it, or knows someone that has lost a loved one to this illness.  Cancer.  It's a sentence all by itself.  I could talk for hours about how I don't understand it.  I don't understand why it affects such innocent babies, children, anyone.  Each time I hear of someone with this disease my heart breaks.  My heart has been burdened these past few weeks, and today I just wanted to take a moment to share my thoughts.

Researchers fight daily to find a cure but daily it attacks one more person.  Just in the past year I've known three people that have lost their lives to this disease.  Our dear sweet Papa Joe, a dear friend Casey only 27 years old, and then sweet Emilee, just a little girl.  My mind fills with the question why?  Why can't we beat it?  Why must anyone endure such a difficult time in their life?  I remember talking to my sister a week or so ago and I told her I just didn't understand why we could send people to the moon, and all the other unbelievable things we can do, but we can't stop this illness.  Her reply, "God wants us to know that He is in control."  It's not meant for us to know how to fix everything.  He is the ultimate healer.

Facing it first hand the past year with our grandfather, it has become more apparent to me just how horrible it truly is.  You don't really know until you witness it face to face.  I watched as Granny sat bedside, holding his hand. Talking to him, never leaving his side, but yet she had a look of helplessness.  She wanted so badly to make him comfortable, provide for him as she had done for so many years. I remember him looking into my eyes and just staring.  The words, "I love those babies" still rings in my ears as I think of him.  The picture that sits on my desk, his jolly smile makes me smile. I miss him. I miss seeing him put his hands on top of one another and then move his thumbs and telling the kids, "watch the turtle!"  The touch of his arms as he greeted me with a hug each time we would visit, now just a memory.  

I was drinking my coffee on Friday morning before taking Carter to school when I heard a story being aired on Channel 4 news.  They were speaking about a little boy, Dax,  that has been diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia and doctors can not promise he will be here for Christmas.  The little boy loves Christmas lights, so his community has come together to give him the desire of his heart.  They have all decorated early for Christmas.  The story is spreading, and as I checked the family's website this morning I saw a post that mentioned there are even families in Australia that are now decorating early for Dax.  Friday as I listened to the story it stopped me.  I picked up a pen and jotted down the link that was given and as I read the story, viewed pictures, read the many comments left for this family, my heart broke.  I'm broken for his parents.  Knowing that each day may be his last. Knowing that they will not see their sweet baby start school, or play ball.  I thought of Carter and how active he is now at the age of four.  I sat here wondering what would I miss about him?

I then thought of my sister-in-law (one day, but I don't like calling her my brother's girlfriend), and her family who just lost her brother Casey a few months back.  A fighter, not only of this horrible disease but a fighter for our country.  He served our country proud, and he fought willingly.  I think about how much they miss him.  I think about his dear wife, and his precious little girl that are left behind.  I wonder how his wife answers the questions their daughter asks or will ask. His wife didn't ask to be a single mother, but cancer didn't care. I can only imagine the pain his mother feels as she longs to hear his voice, his laughter.  As a sister, I know Megan would love to just be able to hang out with her brother once again, to see him smile.  His father must still remember the many, countless memories between them.  I remember the Halloween that Casey came to our home with his wife and daughter to trick-or-treat.  It was the first time I met him, and I remember thinking that even facing such a trial in his life he still had such an outgoing, appreciative, humble attitude.  I truly believe God gives the people faced with cancer those special traits. 

God works in mysterious ways.  He can use people we don't even know to touch our lives.  Dax is one of those people, and so is sweet Emilee.  I learned of Emilee's fight with cancer through my mother-in-law, who actually took care of her while she was in the hospital.  She was always telling me about how sweet this little girl was, and how she loved butterflies.  As a mother, I could not fathom what her mother was going through.  A child, the one thing that mother's guard with their life, being taken from you.  I didn't know her mother but my heart ached for her.  I prayed for her.  I knew she would need only the strength that the Lord could provide to get through such a trying time.  Then one day while shopping with my friend, Renee, she began to tell me a story of a little girl that she attended church with.  The story started sounding very familiar.  Come to find out, it was the same sweet Emilee that my mother-in-law had told me about.  Renee, also a mother of two little girls, was and still is very touched by Emilee's story. Thursday of last week was the "Light the Night" walk here in Jacksonville.  I was unable to attend and honor Emilee, but I have made a promise to myself that next year I am going no matter what.  Last year at an event hosted by Emilee's church, a table was decorated in honor of Emilee.  The table was beautifully decorated with butterflies, Emilee's favorite. I have yet to meet Emilee's mother, Jennifer.  We are friends on facebook, but I am certain that when I meet her I will feel as if I've known her forever.  She is a strong woman, and I look up to her for all that she has gone through and the things she continues to do to honor Emilee.  I spoke with Jennifer to make sure she was okay with me sharing Emilee's story.  She replied back to me saying, "I would like the whole world to have to same drive as I to find a cure for cancer (all types for that matter!)"  

Jennifer posted on her Facebook about a young man named Noah.  Noah is a 5 year old boy and he is in the last stages of his battle against Neuroblastoma Cancer.  His family is celebrating Christmas next week and Noah's request is to get lots of Christmas cards.  What a simple request from such a young child.  Once again, it's the humbling spirit that God provides. If you would like to send Noah a card you may do so.  The information is below.  I can't help but think of his face lighting up, like a Christmas tree as he awaits the mailman each and every day.  I have 54 followers of my blog, and many folks that visit but don't follow.  If each of us sends him a card, that is 55 cards, and if we spread the word just think of the cards he could receive. Can you take the time today to send this precious child a word of encouragement? Also pray for Noah and his family. Please send cards to: Noah Biorkman, 1141 Fountain View Circle South Lion, Mi. 48178.
Cancer, the illness with no mercy. To the innocent people who fight with all that they have, may God be your strength with each passing day. To the family members that stand by with complete support, may God give you strength as well.  For the loved ones that are no longer with us you are missed more then you know but the memories we shared will be with us forever. Will we find a cure, I can't say for certain.  The only thing I know we can do is be supportive. When you see a jar asking for donations to help find a cure, or to help a family in need as they go through treatment(s), ask yourself would I want people to help me? If your answer is yes, toss in your extra change.  As you do offer the best gift we can give by saying a prayer for the person in need and their family.  Prayer is such a powerful thing... 
 "…The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective" (James 5:16). 

I know that many of you believe the same as I do.  So, if you feel God leading you to spread the story of Dax and Noah, please do so.  Have your friends on Facebook pray for him and his family. Blog about it and have your followers blog about Decorating for Dax, I linked his family's website above. I don't believe that you can ever have too many people praying. I'm sure they can use all the encouraging words they can get. I found this poem today and thought it would be appropriate to share.

When tomorrow starts without me, and I'm not here to see,
If the sun should rise and find your eyes filled with tears for me;
I wish so much you wouldn't cry the way you did today,
While thinking of the many things we didn't get to say.

I know how much you love me, as much as I love you;
And each time that you think of me, I know you'll miss me, too.
But when tomorrow starts without me, please try to understand,
That an angel came and called my name
and took me by my hand;
And said my place was ready, in Heaven far above,
And that I'd have to leave behind all those I dearly love.

But when I walked through Heaven's gates, 
I felt so much at home;
When God looked down and smiled at me,
from His great golden throne.
He said, this is eternity, and all I promised you.
Today your life on earth is past, but here life starts anew.

So when tomorrow starts without me, don't think we're far apart;
For every time you think of me, I'm right here in your heart
I'll be there in your heart.

Thank you for your prayers!

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