Thank you to EVERYONE that gave a sock monkey in Kayla’s memory to the kids at the Aflac Cancer Center!!! Allison, Ashley, my sister Cindy and I hand delivered 40 sock monkey’s to the hospital on Christmas Eve. I am still waiting to hear from the rep at Aflac to get a count of how many were shipped directly to the hospital, as well. And, when I get a final count, I will let everyone know. Thank you so much for thinking about these courageous and precious children that just want to feel like normal kids and receive a few moments of happiness while they are enduring treatment.
It’s strange how I suddenly get this overwhelming urge or desire to write. Sometimes, I don’t know what I want to say. But, I just know that it is time for me to get these miscellaneous and scrambled words in my head down on paper….or on a computer screen….As I ponder over what I could express throughout my blog, I think about so many different things that I could say, such as, “Christmas is finally over and I am so relieved,” “a brand new year is approaching and I am scared to death of what to expect,” or “it’s been over 15 months since I’ve seen Kayla’s face.” But, today, I decided to just start writing and let my heart and soul to the talking…….The Ultimate Sacrifice; this was the title to an article I read in the Pocatello, Idaho news. A 17-year-old girl, Jenni Lake, was diagnosed with stage 3 brain cancer, astrocytoma, in October 2010 and only given 2 years to live (see first link below). She immediately began aggressive chemotherapy and radiation treatments. However, upon completion of her 2nd round of chemo, Jenni learned that she was pregnant. She became overwhelmed with tears, anxiety and fear of the unknown. Her doctors explained to her that the baby might not survive if she was to continue treatment for cancer. Jenni stopped all medical treatment and made the ultimate sacrifice to give up her life for her baby. I do not know the details of her pregnancy, labor and delivery. However, I did learn that on November 9, 2011, she gave birth to a healthy baby boy named Chad Michael. It has been quoted that Jenni whispered into a nurse’s ear and said, “I’m done, I did what I was supposed to. My baby is going to get here safe.” The day after she delivered her baby, the doctors informed her that the tumors had spread and there was nothing that could be done to save her. Just twelve short days later, Jenni passed away……….another young teenage girl lost her battle with cancer. And, the only thing that anyone can talk about is who is running for President of the U.S., what the Kardashian’s are doing and how long will someone have to wait in line to return a Christmas gift that they really didn’t like. It is a fact that every 34 minutes a child is diagnosed with cancer…..every 3 hours, 11 minutes and 40 seconds a child dies from cancer. And, the numbers continue to rise each year. Now, this precious baby boy is left without a mother because cancer made the selfish decision to invade this young girl’s body and take her away from her son. Thankfully, the baby’s young father did not run away from his child or his responsibility of being a dad. He didn’t even run away when he learned that Jenni was diagnosed with cancer just three weeks after they started dating. This precious baby will now rely on his family’s memories and their stories about his mother, Jenni. And, for the rest of his life he will look at her picture hundreds of times and wonder where he would be right now if she was still alive. You see, the finality of the death of a child is the most difficult, shocking, frustrating, and heartbreaking part of the entire tragic event. There is no fixing it or repairing anything. You cannot call your child and ask them to come back home. There is no bargaining with God to bring your daughter back. My heart breaks for Jenni’s mother right now. I know the pain she is in as far as losing her young daughter to cancer. But, she also has the difficulty of knowing her grandson is now without his mother. And, just since I began writing this blog entry yesterday, I heard about a young 18-year-old boy, Ben Breedlove, from Austin, Texas, who passed away due to a heart condition, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which was diagnosed when he was just 13 months old. I realize that his illness was not related to cancer in any way. But, again, there is another mother that had to let go of her son before it was her time to die. Children should never die before their parents; life isn’t supposed to happen in that order. But, unfortunately, it has happened to a mother in Idaho, in Texas and right here in Georgia…..As I was reading the story of Ben, I noticed a YouTube video he had posted just days before his death. I sat at my computer and stared at the play button on the screen for several minutes and wondered if I could emotionally handle watching this young man’s last words. I finally found the courage and made the decision to watch it and I am so glad that I did. He never said a word, but, instead used flash cards to tell his story. Ben explained that he he truly believed that he had been through several near death experiences since his diagnosis at a very young age. And, each of his experiences involved him seeing a bright, but, peaceful light in a white room. This light was so inviting, welcoming and gave him peace like he had never felt before. The last thing that Ben said was, “I wish that I had never woken up.” Ben passed away on Christmas day 2011 and just a few days after he posted his video (see links below for parts 1 and 2 of Ben’s video). Ben’s final words gave me the peace and comfort that I have been praying for. I’ve always wondered what Kayla saw the moment that she left the earth. And, I choose to believe that she, also, saw a light or something that was so much better than where we are right now. I believe in this scripture: “So we don’t look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, the joys to come will last forever. 2 Corinthians 4 :18