Day 54

Peace be with you,

The other day I was looking in the mirror and I was noticing that my hair has more white among my red than ever before. As I was running my fingers through my hair and contemplating what haircut might “hide” the most whites Kevin walked into the bathroom. We shared the comfortable silence that two people who know each other well can share in any space. Then he also looking in the mirror and remarked “Woman look at all the white on my chin.” I told him I was just noticing the same thing. Then two thoughts struck me. One was a memory of our Mia. Several years ago, we shared daily Mass with a dear friend named Jack. Mia was so in-love with Jack. She would often sit on his lap or hold his hand during Mass. She even offered to marry him (after his beloved wife died) if he would wait for her to grow up. Jack at the time was 70 and Mia was 3. One day Mia asked me why Jack had white hair. She wondered if he had spilled milk in his hair and his white hair was like a milk mustache. Then the next day Mia told me she knew why Jack and GP (my wonderful grandfather who at the time was still alive) had white hair. She had remembered the story of Moses and believed that Jack and GP both had white hair because they had seen God. Could that be why Kevin and I see so much white among our hair? Could it be a sign that we are so close to God?

The other thought that struck me was the fact that so many people would cover up their whites or grays. Why is our society so afraid of aging or looking old? Could it be that we love how perfect life is here on earth and wish to live forever? Do you really think that life is perfect? Do you really wish to live forever here in this life? Do we truly not believe in the glory and majesty of heaven and we are afraid to go there? Do we equate aging with dying and desire to hide from it like Adam and Eve hid from God in the Garden of Eden? I for one want to go to heaven. Am I ready to go today? I pray each day that I am and also that is why I pray to be ready. I pray so that I know my God and He knows me. I pray so that when I am faced with death I am not afraid and when I stand before God in judgment I know both my faults and failings and His love and mercy. I want to go home to heaven. I believe that after this life there is eternity with God. It is because of those beliefs that I do what I do. I know that I am not perfect. I know some days I do things better than on other days and I know that God is with me to help and forgive. I am not afraid of death and if today was my day I would face it with one hesitation – who would raise my children? and one regret – I never finished reading the Bible cover to cover and one question – can Kevin come too?

Well today is not looking like my day but it is getting closer for Catie and I am still not sure if she is ready or even how better to prepare her. As I began this update my heart is aching. Kevin and I noticed some changes in Catie last Sunday. We didn’t want to mention anything until we had an opportunity to speak with Catie’s doctors and today they confirmed our suspicions. Catie’s tumor has begun its spread to her brain. It is currently affecting the left side of her face – specifically her eye, cheek and mouth. She is not able to open her eye completely. Catie can no longer smile or chew with ease. She cannot drink through a straw – a favorite of her’s. She is having difficulty speaking so that she is understood. And yet she is still Catie – she still draws people close to her. This type of spread or metastasis disease is unofficially called frosting. As the the ATRT continues to spread it is creating a white out effect within Catie’s brain. This is a better way to go compared to the option of individual tumor forming within Catie’s central nervous system which could cause her intense pain with little hope of relief. Yet this frosting or as the doctors have described it sprinkling of powered sugar (another favorite of Catie’s) will eventually cover her entire brain until she no longer can function and she will eventually drift into sleep and then her body will die and her soul will be free to return home to heaven. The doctors have given some hope to a relief of her symptoms with an increase in one of her medications. We will know by the end of the weekend if this works. If it does not we continue to help Catie prepare herself to go home and at the same time we maintain hope that God will restore her health with a miracle.

Writing this has not been an easy task. I had wished to share funny little stories from our trip and yet this is where we are. Please continue to pray for Catie and our family. Kevin and I are struggling with this. Catie too is struggling. Tears are again flowing so freely that seeing is challenging. God is near. We continue to hope and trust in Him. God has always provided for us and He will provide us with the strength to do what needs to be done and the grace to face what lies ahead.

Trusting in God always,

Christine, Kevin, Maggie, Max, Catie, Mia, Molly, and M.E.

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