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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

It is okay to forget!!!

Fear not....It is a wonderful way to live...

I just realized...this is the first year since 1995 that we have not remembered our son Adam's 'new birthday'. His bone marrow transplant was in July and we normally do a big celebration of his second chance at life from his older brother Jeremy. None of us really mentioned it this year. But that doesn't mean we have forgot how to be thankful, that means we are finally getting the most precious gift of all...the point where cancer does not rule our lives anymore. See…when someone in your family has cancer....cancer takes over everyone's life. Adam suffered more than any of us will ever really know...fighting this disease that seems bound and determined to take every person and everything in life we love, but he was not the only one. As he has said many times...watching the rest of his family suffer along with him made the cancer even worse. 

His brother was a junior in high school...just 16 years old. When other boys his age were juggling sports and girlfriends...he was wondering if his bone marrow might fail in saving his younger brother's life...a pretty heavy load for any teenager. I remember the day that I called him at school and as soon as he picked up the phone...I said..."Jeremy!!! You are a perfect match!!!"  He said, "I knew it...YES..let's do this!!"  

It was not an easy procedure for him. He takes after his mom and gets deathly sick from that 'sleeping medicine'. Just like most donors, he never complained for a moment. When they brought up his bone marrow the bag said, "To Adam..From Jeremy...I love you!"  It was a special moment every mother hopes she will never have to experience...one child...sacrificing his life for another. It made me look at the gift our Heavenly Father gave to us… the ultimate love...and the ultimate pain. But "Bless the Lord...oh my soul and all that is within me, bless his holy name."

(This is a beautiful lullabye to that song)

 And then there was their baby brother Dusty...who was not really old enough to understand why everyone in his family seem to just disappear from his life for about 6 months. His Mema Judi (who I could have never made it through without)  brought him to us at Duke University Hospital so we could celebrate his birthday that year. All I really remember is he liked Power Rangers..the rest is just a blur. I was pretty much a walking zombie at that point and God bless Jeremy and Dusty…. They just got what little was left of their mama during those years...they never once complained. And their Grandma, Mama Bess...if there could be anything worse than watching your child suffer it has to be watching your child watching their child suffer....she was our rock through the whole thing...but I know her heart was breaking. Having my own grandson now...I  have a glimpse at what she was going through.  Bless you Mama Bess. Our sisters and brothers...who wanted so to lift our burden and did everything they could and my precious friends who could really do nothing but just be there and talk to me day in and day out...you will never know how much that meant. And the Hub...who worked at what ever job he could find in North Carolina to stay close to us and support me when most people would not have stayed in the same room with me most of the time...it takes a village and Adam had an awesome 'village'.

When I realized today that we had not 'remembered' that day..that week..that month....even that year….it was the ultimate "Helllllooo?" moment. Once the war has been won, we don't have to keep re-living the battles. We don't have to keep remembering the pain, the hurt, or the mistakes. This IS a new day that the Lord hath made and we SHOULD be glad and rejoice in it!!!  

Doesn't mean we don't give thanks and honor the moment, but we can now do that a new way, by not letting cancer keep us afraid that it will come back. There have not been many days since Adam was 6 years old and first diagnosed that I haven't lived with the fear of cancer taking his life...and even now 18 years later...I lose my mind a little if he gets the sniffles. Fear is not of God...so really I have been doing what I have told everyone else they should not do. Isn't that just the way it goes? It all sounds fine until it comes to living it yourself...then... not so easy. But my children have taught me to "Stop it...you can't worry about us all every single minute or you are going to miss out on enjoying us!"

So...I think our time is better spent being a comfort to those who are fighting the same battles today. For those who have recently lost dear loved ones to the enemy cancer and to those who are in the midst of the war with any other illness...we will try to be here for you. We do remember when it seemed impossible. We remember crying out to God for mercy and healing and for strength if healing would not be His will. We remember all the children that didn't make it and their precious families and the lessons they taught us. The number one lesson was: Make today count and live it to its fullest. 

I remember kids in the bone marrow unit getting the most devastating treatments, being so weak and frail and then five minutes later they would all be in the hall racing their remote control trucks and cars like nothing had ever happened.  They let the bad stuff melt away quickly and got on with the business of living and enjoying every second of this precious thing called  'life'. They concentrated on living…not dying. So if we are to go back to the year of Adam's cancer ever again.....that is where we need to return. To the hope, to the courage, to the strength of children with cancer and the lessons they were teaching all of us. 

Thank you Lord, for the opportunity to get to know every single one of them and be with those precious families who lost their children that year...they are all still in our hearts today. And help us take the lessons we were awarded that year to help others and not live in fear but in victory. Amen.

~Squirrely Girl