Monday, 15 February 2010

Feeling down

Apologise for the lack of update at hand.
Feeling rather down (and a bit mellow) at the moment. So many things to do, and so many problem to face. But I am glad, my Lord is always encourage me through friends, family or even stranger.

Recently I've been following a journal of Eric Ludwinski (you can read it here). A fortunante boy to be chosen among many to spread God's blessing, even to unknown, distant stranger like me.
Here is his mom entry on the 14'th Feb marking Valentines Day after 20 year old Eric relapse and go home with the Lord few days ago :

A Grief Observed

I have been so terrified of grief. Final and total and complete grief. I was so afraid I would be completely incapacitated. I was afraid of the searing pain. How could I possibly manage to still function, and be a loving and fully engaged wife and mother? Suffering already for months from such severe dread, knowing Erik's days were numbered, I needed to talk to my friend Mary--so sweet, loving, soft-spoken, sincere Mary. Mary is such a beautiful Godly woman. I need to ask her these hard questions. How can I survive the loss of a child? How is that even possible?

Since last May (when a new spot showed on Erik's hip--first time he progressed on chemo) I knew that we would be facing his death sooner or later. Until then it seemed he might just keep beating back this wretched disease. I thought of it as mowing the grass--we can't get the roots out but can't we just keep mowing it down? He was doing so well. No one believed he was fighting cancer--going to college fulltime, acing his classes, creating art and music, traveling, loving every minute of his wonderful life.

Parents who hear that cancer is the reason their previously beautiful, healthy child is sick begin to immediately grieve in earnest. At diagnosis it is too early for most parents to comprehend the difference between a "good" prognosis or a "bad" prognosis. It all sounds bad because they used the word cancer.

In 1991 a child with stage 4 high-risk neuroblastoma was given perhaps 10% chance of living a few years. It wasn't even that rosy for Erik however, because of his age and unfavorable tumor characteristics. Our cute little boy was clobbered with two cycles of high-dose chemo (cisplat and cyclo), and we were devastated to be told his tumor didn't shrink, and consequently nothing would work. We were given not even a shadow of a hope that he would survive.

So the good doctors tried a new pilot protocol, and after 7 more cycles of high-dose chemo, surgery and radiation, he was in remission and eligible for a bone marrow transplant. I'll never forget how discouraged I was praying with Paul about the consent for the BMT. According to an Italian study that had just been published in 1992 with 400 kids--those who had BMT lived an average of 12 months, and those without transplant lived 14 months...would we chose something that could shorten his life?

In spite of us, our gut-wrenching decisions, a gloomy prognosis, God healed Erik anyway. Only suffering profound high-pitched hearing loss, Erik grew up. He was so tall, handsome, smart, friendly, talented--so enthusiastic about everything. He wanted to make a garden, dig a swimming pool, build a helicopter, travel to Malaysia. He was adventurous.

So my grief turned to joy. Erik didn't die! He lived!

Thirteen years later, an awful Mother's Day arrived. Erik, now a sophomore engineering student at NDSU, came home to surprise me even though he had tough finals the following week. He had a plane ticket for a week later and was already packed to spend the summer building homes in a dump in Mexico for the homeless. His lips were so pale. We saw him on his back on the trampoline so frustrated how out of breath he got trying to do his signature back flips. His hips hurt walking up the stairs to his dorm room.

Cancer again. Grief again. Nausea, headaches from crying, sleeplessness, finally falling asleep only to wake suddenly and realize that this nightmare is real, again. Only worse. So few survived first diagnosis, and almost none survive relapse.

And the grief of knowing what he was to suffer again. He really didn't remember how bad the chemo was--but I did. My heart broke at all that he would endure again.

So much happened in the next 4 years and 9 months. I copied some of this journal into a Word document and it is over 200 pages! So much happened. What was most significant? While there is so much to tell, the grandest story is the miracle of a spiritual healing--God won over and healed Erik's sweet soul. Erik fell in love with Jesus and wanted only to glorify Him. Slowly, surely, mightily, God did a magnificent work in Erik.

But the grieving continued, mounted, tried to ruin me, even while I rejoiced in awe of what was happening before my eyes.

I have clung to Erik since I first held his tiny body next to mine. I hovered over him to make sure he was still breathing as an infant. I hovered over him in his last days as he struggled to breathe. Yes, my heart is broken.

But God gave the right words to Mary in December when I asked her--how do I do this? She held my hands up and said I needed to release Erik to God. She told me how God prepared her--and now he was preparing me.

Even though I agreed with my mind that God is wise, His plan is perfect, that he is able to do exceedingly abundantly more than we ask or heart still refused to accept that He would take Erik. I just dug in my heals and refused to let him go. Which explains why I was so afraid.

Just like clinging to a rock in the rapids. You can cling all you want but it doesn't change the outcome--you are going to be washed off that rock. You can go willingly or unwillingly, your choice.

Somehow, miraculously, Mary's words at that moment clicked something in my brain, in my heart, in my spirit. I suddenly, finally, truly got it.

I could breathe.

The crushing weight on my chest I had struggled with for more than 6 months lifted. My refusal to accept what God is doing was only hurting me. Just like racing down the rapids backwards!

So that is my story. In sad, despairing moments I almost wish Erik didn't love me so much because it only makes me cry more to think --why should I have had such a son?

Then I praise God. God in His Infinite Goodness gave us Erik! And his example of gratitude infuses our family with joy even in this terrible sadness.

Praise to God forever!

We thank God for you Erik!



Sis. Tammy said...

Sometimes it feels like we are all alone, especailly when we first come back from our home country, but know that you are NOT! Jesus is always there, holding you and lifting you up. Remember, He gives a peace that passeth ALL understanding. Stay on your knees, in the Word and know that we are praying for you and love you dearly!!

Edna said...

Take heart Sis. Cling to Him, the source of our hope and comfort.

Thanks for sharing Eric's Journal.

God bless

Aubrey said...

Beautiful photography! I enjoyed your post...thank you for sharing the story of Erik, it hits close to home with my husband heading off to war in a couple weeks. God bless you~Aubrey

yuri masuda said...

hello ^^
well I am also down recently, we are so stressed,we are trying to move to mum's house and to do so we have to make a restyle of the first floor and we need money, maybe we can pay everything little by little. gosh, the house we are living in at the moment is no longer the place I was feeling well once, it makes me stress even more, I guess I really need a change and restart everything with my child and hubby, away from the mean people of our building, cannot wait until the moment works will start. today we went to see some stores to buy windows and see what is the best price and who can make thetwo windows in less time.
wowo I relly want new season can renew2 everything and us too.

VKT said...

Thanks so much for sharing this! What a gift!

Snowcatcher said...

Stunning photography. The journal entry is very moving, too. I hope all goes well with your husband's employment. Prayer works miracles!

HOPE said...

I will go read Erik's story...

I don't know if you have read mine at Watering Wells of about my son's death at age 9 months...and my new journey with cancer.

GOD DOES ALL THINGS WELL...our confidence and hope rest in his perfect work and will...he choses some to suffer so that his GRACE may be manifest.

Your photography is so stunning..I enjoy every photo you share!

God bless you sweet friend..

HOPE (Aubrey's mom)