As the mom of a survivor, it is so hard to fully "accept" that my son is alive and well. Some call it survivor's guilt, I just recognize it as an intense awareness that for some, the fear that I carried for so long has become a reality. That some must walk the path of life after losing their precious child breaks my heart into a million pieces. But my trust in a Savior that promises that he works all things together for our good allows me to continue to mourn with those who have lost, while still praising God for Brady's healing. What a delicate balance that is.
I sat here tonight and read through the notebooks I used during the time of Brady's illness. I had one where I kept medical notes, phone numbers, and questions I had for doctors. The other notebook is where I kept lists of cards that were sent to us, meals that were made, fundraisers that were held, and donations that were given. I am in awe, even four years later, at the amazingly generous people that God put in our life during that time. I have pages and pages of names of people who supported us. I read the cards again and just cried. We NEVER felt alone. Thank you if you were one of the hundreds who prayed, gave from your own family's money, took time to write a note or make a meal, or showed that you cared in some other way. Matt and I are forever challenged to give more generously and to step out and help those in need.
I also came across some notes that I had written for the time I spoke at the Genesee Cancer Assistance Festival of Hope. One of the last things I said was, "I like to sit and think about years from now, when Matt and I watch Eli, Cara, and Brady graduate from high school. On that day I am sure that I will be reminded of his battle with cancer. But all of those years from now, I pray that I can look back on his journey and feel proud that my son was a warrior against cancer. It is my hope that God will continue to use Brady's life and story to inspire hope in others for many years to come."
Yes, yes, yes! I still feel this way. Brady is just a 5 year old boy. But, his little life is a testimony! It is always my prayer that through his story we can point to Jesus. Our hope is in him, and we trust that he will continue to use Brady's life to bring people into a closer relationship with him! So today we celebrate how far God has brought us as a family.
Those who have read the blog for years will probably remember these pictures!
(warning: some images are graphic!)
The first time I held Brady in the ICU after his spinal surgery (Jan2009), the day he was taken off the ventilator.
The ladies from Angels of Mercy praying over Brady at a benefit in his honor. I thought, and still do, that he was so handsome with a bald head!
At Memorial Sloan Kettering (remember those bunny ears?)
just before his 2nd surgery.
Recovering after 2nd surgery, while still recovering from the first!
Learning to walk, ride, and get stronger through months of physical therapy.
Committing as a family to help raise money for pediatric cancer research and to raise awareness!
These 4 blessings are the light of our life. They are as close as can be and Matt and I couldn't love them any more than we do!
I can't wait to see where the next four years will take us!
(photo courtesy of Kristen Hamm Photography)
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.