Day 18

Today the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. This is the day that Max was certain Catie would be cured. Valentine’s Day was the day I was first given for how much time remained from a medical perspective. I knew that doctors and hospitals and medicine could only do so much but I also knew that with God all things were possible. Kevin and I spoke last summer about the fact that we had already lived our worst days. Worst Day #1; your daughter has a tumor within her spinal column. Worst Day #2; we need to operate but will not know until the surgery is over how things will be – there is too much unknown. Worst Day #3; your daughter’s tumor is cancer – we are not sure what kind. Worst Day #4; your daughter’s tumor is an AT/RT – extremely rare made even more rare by its location. Remember all of those “worst days” for us. Each time we held each other cried and prayed to God PLEASE HEAL OUR DAUGTHER!! Each day we took up our cross and followed Him! Each day I believed that HE was my only hope and Catie’s only option for a miracle.

Back in July before Catie and I left for St. Jude Kevin and I discussed that there would be no more worst days ahead. There could be tough days. The treatment is not working – but that (in July) was a hypothetical – why go there when reality is tough enough. Well, now we have been there too. Remember the ‘spinal fluid is all clean PRAISE THE LORD! Followed by the next day -“one tumor cell was found and we need to increase the radiation to Catie’s brain”. The final news came too – the treatment is not working. Still Kevin and I held each other and prayed to God PLEASE SAVE OUR DAUGHTER!!

Together we all lived through those days. When Day 1 was posted it was not a worst day, it was a triumphant day if you believe. Just because it was a triumphant day doesn’t mean that it was easy. Even that day when I woke up I again had to chose to pick up my cross and follow Jesus. Here I am on Day 18 and I am still following. I have been quietly dealing – there has been little typing as the website was down temporarily and my computer crashed, losing all of my contacts. (So help me out if you want to hear from me. Write to me so that I don’t have to find your contact information the old-fashioned way – by looking it up on paper.) Now I feel back in business so to speak and there is much work to be done. Unfortunately much of the work that is needed cannot be done by others – outside of prayer, that is always needed. For those of you who have cooked in the past and are still cooking THANK YOU! Your cooking for us is making it possible for me to give all of me to the fab 5 once they are all home after school. If you would like to cook and you have not been contacted – e-mail me. (I will be keeping this e-mail address for the time being. I am not ready for another change just yet.) For the wonderful folks who are ironing GOD BLESS YOU. The kids look neat and pressed and perfect – but we all know how deceiving looks can be, don’t we.

Life here is REAL LIFE. Are we falling apart? There are moments like that for each and every one of us. Do they happen all the time? No. Do they happen all the time in your life? Are we perfect? Far from it. My unfinished basement is a mess, the thank you cards have not been written, I still have the breakfast dishes in the sink and last night’s wineglasses (Megan stopped by and shared a glass – just so you don’t think that Kevin has begun to drink with me), are still on the counter. I get angry about things that I can’t control and another day has gone by and I have not taken the time to do my yoga – which I delight in but somehow can’t fit into my new day. So, no I am not perfect. These are some of the questions that some brave souls have dared to ask and if I have been asked these questions by more than two people perhaps several of you are wondering the same things.

Another question that I am frequently asked is if I cry? Yes, but not easily or without a great deal of pain. Tears do fall often every day and I just let them fall. Some are happy and others sad. Crying is another issue. Crying is a surrendering to a pain that I feel. How can I cry if someone is calling me to comfort me? At that moment I would feel that crying would make the caller feel so helpless. I cry with Kevin. I fall in his arms and sob and sometimes I cry so hard that I think I am going to stop breathing. Some moments when I am crying I can’t find God, I can’t feel my cross and I have no awareness of Catie or anyone else just my pain and my emptiness. It is at this point that I draw in a breath, that I have not been able to take in between the sobs, and realize that calm is still possible even after you have lost someone you dearly loved. A dear friend of mine once asked her husband why he doesn’t visit his father’s gravesite. Her husband remarked “because Dad is not there, he is always with me.” That is how I feel about Catie. She is always with me and if I give into my sadness and my feeling of loss I am no longer allowing Catie to be with me. The other thing that I would be doing is stopping those who are physically with me to be present to me and for me and to be a part of my life.

So today I awoke fully aware that throughout my day there would be moments of sadness and I would only be alone in those moments if I didn’t reach out to you. Today I can do that; the computer is fixed thanks to my wonderful husband. Today I hugged each of my kids before they left for school and shared Mass with M.E. (she was wonderful and delightful). Then we went to Giant to pick up 2 baguettes and some French preserves for Max’s French presentation. I hugged Max and let him know that I knew it was February 11 the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes and that I loved him. I can’t bring Catie back to earth – I don’t even know if I would if I could. Catie is where we are all headed right?  I can’t bring her back any more than I can give him a brother. This is the life that God has planned for Max and all I can do is help him live it to the fullest, giving thanks and praise to God. After that I called Kevin and told him that I loved him and that I would meet him anywhere for a kiss or a prayer. Then M.E. and Molly and I enjoyed the beautiful day with Brady and Cristina White for a bit and that is when it hit me. Life is all about this day and living it to its fullest. Being thankful, not regretful. Asking the questions that have answers not those that don’t. Being there for those that are present in your life. Loving those you love more today than yesterday. AND Giving all the credit for today’s plan to GOD where it belongs.

I am going to go now and get ready with the time that is left before the kids come home from school to welcome them and love them and help them to make the most of their day. That is why I begin and end the day in prayers. I need God’s grace to fill each day with all that He created me to do to love Him and serve Him through all of you.

You are all in my prayers.

Peace be with you,

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

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