Yesterday was one of the hardest days of my life. I haven't cried as hard and as long as I did yesterday since the first days of Lucy's diagnosis. I watched as Kristie and Jerry laid their precious baby boy to rest. The hurt I felt for her was so intense that even now I can hardly breathe. I cried until I almost hyperventilated. And this wasn't even my child.
When I walked into the funeral home I saw Kristie at the front of the room. Standing by her son's casket, holding her head high. She was being so strong. But when our eyes met my knees got weak and I couldn't make my legs move. As I stumbled up the aisle to go to Kristie, the depth of our friendship was truly revealed as we fell into each others arms and cried. No, not cried. We wailed. And for the rest of the day I cried. And she was so strong. For so many weeks I have told her I wish I could carry her burden for even one day. I wonder if maybe yesterday God didn't allow me to do it in some tiny way. Because what I felt yesterday was unlike anything I have ever experienced in my life. I will never be able to put it into words.
Kristie and Jerry were both filled with the inexplicable peace that we have all been praying God would send their way. She told me that she couldn't explain it, but that she was at peace knowing her Son was in heaven. Don't get me wrong, she grieved yesterday. But she was so strong.
And I wasn't. I'm still not. I have cried many times today thinking about her and him and Jerry. This morning I realized that amidst the tears of mourning I was crying tears of fear. The kind of fear that squeezes the very breathe out of you. I watched my friend say goodbye to her child and knew that it could be me one day.
After the funeral and graveside, Kristie invited me and Charlie (the dear friend who attended with me) over to her home. We spent roughly 2 hours there visiting with this precious family who we have come to love to greatly. Kristie told me about Justin's last days, his last breaths and his last moments in their home. I stood in amazement as she spoke so calmly and bravely. She was so strong.
I was not. I told her that every night I wake up 3-4 times to go see if Lucy is breathing. I have nightmares about the "what ifs." Visions of losing my child run through my head like some sick movie reel and I can't seem to make it stop. I told her that there was no way I could ever let them take my child from my home. The very thought of not ever touching her again, or stroking her beautiful bald head or kissing her soft skin was more than I could bare. And how in the world do you ever let them be put in the ground. I couldn't do it. I just don't think that there is any way I could say goodbye to my child. Kristie was so strong. I was not. I am not.
I realize as I write that some days my faith is so small. Today it is small. Today I am weak.
I would ask that you continue to pray for Kristie and Jerry. Their journey towards healing has not even begun yet. I can't imagine how one would even begin. They are very blessed to be surrounded by both of their families and the outpouring of love from their community was inspiring. But nothing will replace their sweet Justin. Nothing. One particular prayer I ask you to remember is for God to fill their minds with the happy memories of Justin. Kristie particularly asked that you pray that God would totally erase the vision she has of her son taking his last breath. I can promise you it was nothing like what you see on TV. It was truly more than any mother or father should EVER have to witness. Please, please pray for this family.
My life was changed forever when Lucy was diagnosed with cancer. For the worse in many ways, but for the better in many other ways. Meeting this wonderful family is a true blessing that has come from this nightmare. My life with them in it is fuller and has more meaning. They will be a part of our family story forever. It is a true honor to call them friends.
This picture was framed and displayed at Justin's funeral.
Before I left Kristie's house Jerry told me that when he looked at this picture, he prayed that with that touch, Justin absorbed all of Lucy's cancer and took it to heaven with him. Those words are burned into the very core of my heart and I will never forget the noble, righteous man who was able to pray for my daughter in the midst of his greatest dispair.
I love you Kristie and I love you Jerry. May God bring you rest and peace that defies all human understanding.
(many of you have asked for Kristie's Caring bridge address. She did give me permission to let you have it, but I am choosing not to put it on this site. I have a blog follower who likes to leave very hurtful and evil comments for me. I can handle it. It doesn't even phase me. But Kristie, she can't take it. And I know that this person is so evil to their very core that he/she would leave ugly comments for her. And I'm just not going to take that chance. So...if you want to send me an email and I can verify that you are not the evil one, then I would be glad to share her site so that you can leave her wells wishes and prayers.)