Monday, August 24, 2015

Because Of You

Today at 6:55am marked 11 years since you made your grand entrance into the world and changed our lives forever. I never could have been prepared for the journey that began all those years ago. I did what all moms do when they are pregnant. I imagined what you would look like. Would you have blond hair like Daddy or brown hair like Mommy? Would your eyes be blue? Would you be lucky enough to get Daddy's dimples? And I thought about who you would become. What sport you would play or musical instrument you would master. Never ending questions circled my mind as I dreamt of all the possibilities. Little did I know that your life would have more of an impact on my life and the world than I could have imagined. 

Many parents think about what they can do to help mold their child into the person they want them to be. You, my sweet one, haven't given me that opportunity. What you have given me is so much more. You have been gradually turning me into a person I can be proud of. Slowly weeding out my bad qualities. Bringing to the surface the ugly parts of myself and forcing me to have to change them. Has it been pretty? No. Growing up and maturing rarely is. In fact it is easier to stay stagnant. To do the same things that you have always done because that is where you are comfortable. But you pushed me out of my comfort zone. 

When you regressed into Autism, I fell back on an old habit of comfort to try to cope with the pain. It was an old friend that would show up whenever I didn't know how to handle my feelings. Were it not for you, I probably wouldn't have said goodbye to that old friend for good over 7.5 years ago. Because of you my sweet son, I had to find healthy ways to deal with heartache. I became stronger and healthier than ever before. I learned to be open with your Daddy and talk through the hurt instead of stuffing it into a bottle. We grew closer, and I have been able to experience a deeper form of trust and intimacy than I thought possible. Because of you. 

Because of you, I am physically healthier than I have ever been. When you were small, you weren't happy unless we were moving. So I moved. And moved. And moved some more. At one point hiking 21 miles a week on your favorite steep hiking trail with you in the jogger stroller or on my back. You were my coach, pointing your precious little fingers forward to keep me walking and running when I wanted to quit. 70 lbs and a half-marathon later, I found myself in the best shape of my life. And though I am not as fit as I was, I have been able to keep the weight off due to the huge diet changes your unique body forced us to make for all of us. And I am forever indebted to you my son. 

Because of you, I find value in what really matters. I find success in the small things that so many people let pass by without a second glance. You have taught me empathy, patience, and unconditional love. You have given me a fighting spirit I never had before. You have opened my eyes to the world of people with disabilities. No longer do I act as though they don't exist just to make me feel more comfortable. You have made me more human. And I am not the only one you have impacted in the 9 years since you graced the earth with your presence. 

Because of you, your Dad took charge of his health so that he could be around longer to care for you. He made tough, selfless choices because you gave him a reason to care about himself. He became a harder worker just so he could provide for you what you need to succeed. 

Because of you, your brother will never know what it is like to have not gotten the right help at the right time. You paved the way for James to get what he needed much quicker than you did because you taught me how to be an advocate. Your struggles have brought James success and I hope one day he will understand how much you have impacted his triumphs.

And finally, I don't know a single family member or friend of ours that you have not changed. You have shown all of them what a truly spectacular boy you are, and that Autism brings some amazing challenges and even more amazing accomplishments. They all share the joy of seeing the boy you have become and look forward to celebrating what you master next. Even Great Grandma started going to a local school on Fridays and reading books to a class of Autistic children because of you. And now through this blog. You cannot begin to fathom how far your reach will become. 

Happy Birthday my sweet Bugaboo. You deserve to be celebrated. You are an amazing boy with so much to give to the world. I can't wait to see where your life will take you. You surprise me everyday with the things that you have learned. Thank you for being so patient with me as I struggle to understand you. Forgive me for falling short so often. I am blessed to call you my son. 

My life has purpose. 

Because of you. 

Monday, August 17, 2015


Life isn't fair.

It isn't.

I know that, but when bad things happen to people as amazing as the woman in this picture, it makes me question all over again.


I met Krista back in my college years when I was working as a counselor at a Christian camp. She was a friend of my roomate and came to visit. I was only in her presence for a couple of days, but I remember she was such a kind and wonderful girl who was a true joy to be around.

Krista went on to become a nurse, get married, and have a precious little boy. Then 6 months after the birth of her little miracle, she was told she had invasive metastatic breast cancer that has spread to her lymph nodes, liver, ovaries, spine, and pelvis.

Why God? Why?

She started writing a blog to share her journey with others.

It is a painfully honest look into the day to day of what she has endured. I cried more than once reading about the struggles she was going through, all while trying to be the mother she wanted to be to her precious boy.

One of the hardest posts to read was when she went on a mini vacation for a couple days to write letters and record video of herself for her son so that he could have a piece of her during the key moments of his life. She made sure that if she couldn't be there, he would have a letter to read on every birthday, graduation, wedding day, etc.

She fought so hard. She wanted to beat this. She believed in God's healing. And though she had her angry moments where she asked God "why?", she never waivered in her trust in Him and His plan.

Today her battle ended and she ran into the arms of her Savior. She is whole again. Free. She was ready to go.....her body weary and unable to fight the cancer any longer.

She was 4 days shy of making it to her son's 3rd birthday. 


I can't stop the tears from flowing as I write this. My prayers are for her family as they have to figure out a way to go on without her. I can't image the pain they are enduring in this moment.

To her husband and son, I pray that God will allow the wonderful memories of Krista to bring you joy in the days to come. That Matias will remember the sweet sound of his mama's voice and comfort of her touch. That he will know how hard she fought to stay with him as long as she could. I pray Xhevat will find strength to make it through the difficult moments where it hurts to breathe and you feel you can't take another step. God, give him the strength he needs to be both mom and dad to their precious little boy. 

God, be near them. Remind them of your constant presence even in the small moments.

You have left your footprint on this earth in so many ways Krista. You changed me and I barely got to know you. I can only imagine the impact you had on all who loved you.