It was one of those moments that you will never forget where you were or what you were doing. Like 911, Mt. St. Helen’s eruption, Pearl Harbor, JFK assassination or any other life alternating event. We have all lived through at least one, I am sure.
This moment came in the form of a text message during a church meeting. I was surrounded by a counsel of women discussing how we could inspire, organize and testify to the Young Women we were called to lead in our church. It was late summer and school just started. The host used a tennis racket shaped bug zapper to kill the pesky fly that surrounded the sweets she offered us.
Caleb has cancer, the text read. We will be heading to Seattle for 52 weeks of intense treatments.
Caleb and my son and are almost birthday twins. A month earlier they where at each others parties swimming and playing Minecraft. How could this be? My heart sank into my stomach with the news. I cried myself to sleep that night for their pain and the weight this trial was going to bring their family.
Here is an excerpt from Caleb’s Caring Bridge story shared with permission from his family.
Caleb was diagnosed with cancer on 9/10/2015, almost one month to the day following his 7th birthday. Immediately following a a grueling 10-month course of chemo- and radiation therapy the cancer returned, and was discovered on July 21, 2016. More radiation and chemotherapy (with more mild side effects) kept the cancer away until April 9th, 2017. As I write this on July 31, 2017, Caleb is being referred to hospice. We have tried two immunotherapy clinic trials, and the tumor continues to grow. Left unchecked, he has only weeks, perhaps a few months to live. We now try and make the most of every day. Today, Caleb is still full of energy and life, and we will spend the time we have left trying to bring joy to his life. Caleb passed away on October 11, 2017 after a long fight.
Caleb put up a good fight and his family continues to fight everyday without him.
I share Caleb’s story with you because it taught me not to wait.
Their will be no perfect time for anything, so do it now!
I remember when out first two kids where toddlers and we just moved to Virginia. We had a free weekend so my husband and I discussed the possibility of taking a day trip to Washington DC to see some sights and catch a Washington Wizards game.
I remember these thought running through my head like it happened yesterday, it sounds super fun but, where will we park? What if the weather is bad? What about nap time, snacks, traffic, tickets?
I was talking myself out of this experience because the timing was not perfect. My kids where too young, it was winter, I had not researched and planned out every second. I was letting fear steal this experience from me and my family!
How many experiences have you talked yourself out of? Sadly for me, far too many!
Caleb’s story inspires me to live each day to it’s fullest. I love this picture Caleb’s mom shared of her amazing blue pedicure done by her three year old daughter! The old me would have said no. It’s too messy. It would waist paint. My toes would be stained blue forever.
The mindful me is striving to embrace the mess and cherished the time spent together.
Another picture I am inspired by is this picture of Caleb’s dad engaging in a water balloon fight in the rain. The old me found reasons not to do things. The mindful me strives to finds ways to do things no matter the circumstances.
Am I perfect? Heavens no! All I know is that we are not promised tomorrow, so I am striving to live today. I am mindfully slowing down to embrace the mess, the unplanned and all of the curve balls that are sent my way. This takes practice, desire and a conscience fight. I hope I can fight for these memories, experiences, and adventures as hard a Caleb did!