Category Archives: This and That

Psalm 121

I look up to the hills, but where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord, who made the heaven and earth.

He will not let you be defeated.

He who guards you never sleeps.

He who guards Israel never rests or sleeps.

The Lord guards you.

The Lord is the shade that protects you from the sun.

The sun cannot hurt you during the day,

and the moon cannot hurt you at night.

The Lord will protect you from all dangers;

he will guard your life.

The Lord will guard you as you come and go,

both now and forever.

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A New Space

It’s a new year and I’ve decided to move into a new space for writing.  I have come to the conclusion that I view Like Olive Shoots similarly to how I view many of Reece’s things.  They have become somewhat untouchable and I am heavily into “preservation mode”.  I plan on keeping this blog the way it is; it will remain active for the time being as I believe it is purposeful and something that people reference and have a need to visit from time to time.  Our family also needs it for reference in many ways.  It feels a little strange to be writing primarily somewhere else, but it also feels right.  Thank-you for respecting this space and for your support, which has and continues to be incredibly meaningful to our family.

Feel free to check out my new site: www.lifeafterthursday.com

Thank-you for sharing in this journey; it has been an honor to write on behalf of Reece and our family.

Terri

 

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Filed under Bone Marrow Transplant, Family, Journal Entries, New Baby, This and That

Thanks-Giving

As I have gotten older, I have come to appreciate Thanksgiving more.  I think growing up, it felt like a short stop on the holiday highway from Halloween to Christmas.  And, for the record, I do not consider Halloween any sort of holiday.  I know that in other cultures, there are traditions and customs that are celebrated in more of a holiday fashion.   I can not intelligently speak to the history behind it or where it all comes from.  So, to clarify, in my household Halloween is nothing more than dressing up in a costume and getting candy.  That is not a “holy day” to me at all.  As we went through the fall celebration season, I looked around my house and decided that going forward, I am going to de-emphasize the Halloween part of fall and emphasize the Thanksgiving part.  Halloween décor will be up for the week prior and that is it.  I can not control stores pushing the Christmas season, which ultimately short-changes Thanksgiving.  I’m going to water down Halloween and try to focus on a holiday that celebrates gratitude.  I think it is incredibly meaningful and a great way to begin celebrating Christmas.  In light of where our society is at with Christmas, we all need a little more thanks-giving.  I have lots of feelings about Christmas and not nearly enough space to right about it.  If you have been reading the blog, you probably have a good idea of what my thoughts are anyway.

This year especially I have a new-found love for thanks-giving, which is why I feel even more strongly about the celebration of it.  It has been sustenance through this storm of life.  I know I included my thoughts on thanking the Lord to some extent in previous posts—especially when Reece was in the hospital.  I am not exactly sure why being thankful in the midst of turmoil can produce such a calming and peaceful effect other than God wants us to do so.  It was a surprising realization to me, but the Bible specifically states in all things to give thanks (1 Thess 5:18).  In the past, I think I viewed being thankful as an obligation, versus a necessity for getting through life.  When I follow the mental trail of the things I am blessed with, it is incredibly affirming and humbling to know how well I am provided for and how God covers my family and me in his love.  I heard a cheesy-but-true statement on the radio the other day: What if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you thanked God for today?  I generally don’t like statements that strong-arm me into doing something.  I want to give thanks with a grateful heart, because when it’s not genuine, it does absolutely nothing.  Without the heart gratitude, the words become a place marker for the rest of me to catch up and genuinely mean it. But this statement I heard has stuck with me.  I think how I viewed the whole pilgrims-and-Indians story (or at least what the text books told us in the 80’s and 90’s) was that they were given all they wanted and stopped to give thanks.  I’m not sure I focused on the provisional aspect and whether or not it was in line with what they wanted.  I’m sure we never discussed it in that amount of detail growing up.  Regardless, throughout our year and even before–well before–we were provided for.  Reece, I am learning even now, was so well provided for.  How can I not be thankful?

If you would have told me a year ago that this holiday season Reece would be gone and I would feel gratitude, it would have been a tough sell.  However, reflecting on all that has happened, I am grateful for many things.  I am grateful that I feel grateful!  I am thankful for being blessed with all three kids, my husband, my family, my friends, Terry’s job, our home…I could go on and on.  Here are some things that I feel a sense of gratitude for, as I reflect on this last year.

1.)    I have a Savior; I need a Savior.  Because of Him, I get to see my son again.  I am only separated from him briefly.  It is only because of Jesus that this is the case.  Thank-you, God, for sending your Son.

2.)    God sent a Son who suffered.  He chose to save us in a way that I can personally relate to.  I am humbled that he chose this way—of having a child suffer and die.  He could have saved us in many other ways and he chose the most painful way imaginable, in my opinion.  I would not be able to make this choice myself.   I fully admit that if I had been able to do anything to save Reece and spare him from suffering and a physical death, I would have.  That includes allowing many others to perish.  Yep—I’m that selfish.  I emphasize #1 again—I need a Savior.  Thank-you, God, for demonstrating your love through sending your Son to die.  I can not imagine how painful it was for you, but I have a taste of it in my own life.

3.)    We had a baby in the midst of it all—not part of our planning.  We were thinking in our minds that we would try to get pregnant in the summer of 2012.  Going through pregnancy in the midst of this, while we always were thrilled to be pregnant again, was a stressful thing.  I would not have chosen to be pregnant during this time and often felt like God must have some great big plan, because this pregnancy was so specifically placed in the middle of it all.  I still am working through mixed feelings of delight over Scarlett and deep sadness over Reece.  Still, God provided for our desire to have three children, knowing we would not be able to take on a pregnancy in the midst of our grief.  We found out we were pregnant just a month before any of Reece’s blood work began.  Thank-you, God, for knowing what is in my best interest, even when I do not.  Thank-you for having a sovereign plan over my life.

4.)    I have five years, three months, and eleven days of spending time with Reece on earth.  It could have ended during the pregnancy.  It was strange, in light of the circumstances, that it did not.  Reece’s time here was a gift to us as parents and all that know him.  Thank-you, God, for allowing us to know Reece for five sweet years before taking him to be with You.  I anxiously await the day when I get to look into those gorgeous blue eyes again.

5.)    I am blessed with three children.  I love each of them dearly.  I had nine weeks with them here on earth together.  In those nine weeks, they were probably all three together three times.  I have one picture of them together.  At times, I have felt anger over this.  I still feel a longing to have them be together and for our family to feel that wholeness.  Yet somehow, over these last few months, I have come to appreciate that I actually do have a picture of them together; that I do have a few nights when they were all under one roof.  I choose to see those few weeks as a gift.  Reece may have never made it back to our house, but he did.  As stressful as it was, it provided times for us to be together as a family.  Thank-you, God, for the moments I experienced with all three of my kids together.

6.)    Even though I know Reece suffered, I know he was provided for.  He stood in his furnace and God was with him.  As I reflect on the last year, the last five years, read my journal entries from Reece’s life (as limited as they are), remember things that he said to us over the years and during his time in the hospital, I know God was with him.  Thank-you, God, for providing for Reece in ways that only You and he will know.  Thank-you for the few things that Reece shared with us that permeate our souls and provide deep understanding that you were always with him and that he knows and loves You.  Thank-you, for being his perfect Parent.

7.)    I know where Reece is at and that he is healthy and happy.  I have no doubts.  Thank-you, God, for promising Heaven, to those who believe in Jesus.  Thank-you for reassuring us that Reece is with you there.

8.)    I have a loving family who is supportive.  They came together in this time and showed love and care for us and for Reece.  Reece loves them dearly.  Thank-you, God, for our family.

9.)    Reece passed away from a complication of a complication of a complication of a complication.  There is nothing I feel aligned to in regard to pointing fingers at why he passed away.  It is not a distraction in that way.  I don’t feel focused anger at any one thing, because where do I start? Adenovirus?  GVHD?  BMT?  MDS?  Each contributed to Reece’s body failing.  I certainly struggle with what happened, but in regard to how to direct my efforts going forward, I’m more concerned about focusing on his soul and his faith.  I know God will restore his body someday.  Everyone has a body that will eventually fail.  Thank-you, God, for resolving this part mentally, for me.

10.) God is sovereign.  He gets my life way better than I get it.  It takes a whole heap of pressure off me—a person who struggles with anxiety—to figure everything out.  Included in my life is faith in Him.  Faith is a gift. Thank-you, God, for being sovereign over all things and for giving me faith in you.

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Speaking of Answered Prayers

I want to thank everyone out there who continues to lift our family up in prayer.  It is needed, felt, and appreciated.  I have been told by many people that the early childhood period of parenting and life goes by so quickly…, “The days are long, but the years are short.”  Our life right now feels somewhat in reverse–the days are short, but the years (or months so far) are long.  However, this last month or so it seems that the days get longer and longer, too.  We certainly are still in need of prayer and are encouraged that some prayers are being answered at this early stage.  We are, in fact, surviving.  That feels monumental right now.  We are also able to have many laughs and what would appear to be “normal” moments.  They are only moments, though, but we will take them.  We are thoroughly enjoying the girls.  We are thoroughly missing Reece.

I was at the home of a close friend last week for a playdate with the girls.  We really haven’t had any playdates at our home since Reece passed away.  I intend on having people over at some point, but we are still in the very slow and not very steady process of packing up many of his things.  More things need to be put away before any playdates can happen.  So we headed over to our good friends’ home.  One of the girls we visited, Stella, is the only child who saw Reece after his transplant.  She visited him in our home when Reece was couch-bound and constantly asking for warm blankets.  He spoke very little during that leg of his journey.  In fact, the two of them barely spoke to each other during the visit, but sat on the couch together and watched Scooby Doo.  I am sure it was awkward for both of them, but it meant so much to Reece to see her.  His demeanor was very different as a sick child, but he talked about their visit after she left and how much he liked seeing her–and he grinned about their time together, which was his way of showing happiness in the midst of a very challenging place in his health.

So while we were at her home last week, Stella and I were in the living room together while I was feeding Scarlett a bottle.  And this was our conversation:

Stella: Can we come over to your house sometime to play, even though Reece isn’t there?

Me: Yes, you are always welcome to come over to our house.

Stella: I bet you were sad when Reece died.

Me: Yes, I still am sad.  But I am so glad that you were able to come and see Reece when he was in our house.  I know he didn’t say much to you, but he was so happy that you came to see him.

I can not put into words how much it meant to me that she talked about Reece, that she said his name, that she acknowledged the sadness, and that she said what she felt.  I was also glad to be able to share with her how meaningful her visit was to Reece.  Kids are so beautifully real about things.  I wish that adults could be as transparent.  It is perfectly acceptable and welcomed to talk about Reece, by name, to us.  We are still his parents and he is still our son and part of our family.  We talk about him every day and think about him nearly every waking moment.  We laugh and cry about him.  We love it when people share memories of him or simply ask how we are doing.  We love hearing his name and hearing about him. I know there is the worry out there that one will say the wrong thing and so the tendency is to avoid or shy away or act like nothing happened at all.  Or maybe it is such a painful topic that it is easier to avoid the encounter altogether.  Saying the wrong thing is highly unlikely.  It’s better to take the chance of saying the wrong thing, versus not saying anything at all.  If you or your kids knew Reece personally, we treasure the memories that you share, because very few people over the course of our lives will have memories of him.  If you walk up to me and say nothing more than his name, you will have blessed me more than you can imagine.  That’s how much it means to me and that’s how much we miss him.

So speaking of answered prayers, I am embarking on the journey of writing a memoir about Reece and his journey through transplant.  I have often reflected on a year ago when I was feeling led to write a blog and my motivations for doing so.  At the time, part of my reasoning was to have details to share with Reece as he got older.  I wanted him to be able to read what he went through and to be able to explore his journey in greater detail.  As I look back at the blog a year later, I realize that in light of Reece’s passing, likely a big purpose for it was to support writing this book and remind us of steps along the way. It’s not exactly the way that I expected it to be used, but I am so grateful that I wrote it now, so I will be able to go back and remember things that would have faded by now.  I know this will be a difficult thing to write, but I am confident that if I can do it, it will be purposeful to me, meaningful to our family, and hopefully powerful and God-honoring for others to read.  My blog posts will likely be even more sparse due to this, but I will continue to do some updates from time to time.

There have been some clarifying moments for me and I know they are in some way answers to prayers lifted on our behalf.  So, thank-you.

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Parental Advice

My last post that was written a couple of weeks ago was something that weighed on my mind over a period of time.  I mentally “wrote” parts of it for nearly two months in my head.  It took much cognitive basting before I could actually sit down to type it out, as it is not a subject matter that I take lightly.  The devil has become this commercialized figure in our society that we, as a whole, feel comfortable joking and laughing about.  People dress up like him for Halloween; many don’t believe he even exists.  However, I find it irresponsible to bring his name to my blog in any sort of nonchalant manner.  He is a creepy dude and I don’t like giving him much “air time”.  The day I actually blogged about it, I felt compelled to write about the subject.  I can’t exactly tell you why it needed to happen on that particular day, but many of my posts have been like that.  I will have something brewing for some time and then it just pours out of me.  I mention this part to illustrate the point that my last post wasn’t done on a whim or without some careful consideration.

My reason for circling back about the journal entry is what happened the day after I posted it.  I was crawling into bed late the next night and felt like I needed to read from the Bible.  I opened it up, turned to the Book of Jude, and was hit on the side of the head with the following passage:

“But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him,  but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”  Yet these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand; and what things they do not understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals–these are the very things that destroy them.”  Jude 9-10

When I read that, it hit me like a ton of bricks.  It was apparent that God was telling me that I do not know what I am up against and that it is his job to deal with Satan, not mine.  I can resist temptation and the products of the devil’s work, but my job here is to point to God in all facets of life, not focus on the devil.  Focusing on the devil is not where I can be fruitful, it is where I could get lost and potentially consumed and potentially take others down with me.  And God is right–I have no understanding of what the devil is all about other than he vehemently opposes God and would love to drag me down to the depths.  In that moment that I read this passage and even now as I type this, I felt miniscule and weak, as I should.  I never assumed that I would be going forward and doing something in opposition to the devil without God’s help, but to have him blatantly point that out to me in his Word was quite humbling, to say the least.  God continues to be so parentally good.  As I reflect on how he handled it with me, it was done out of total love and protection for me.  He wasn’t belittling me, he was warning me to not get involved in matters beyond my human comprehension.  Point taken.

I don’t feel compelled to write about most of my personal prayer time or experiences with the Lord.  But I feel like it is important to point this out, since I chose to write about the subject matter.  In fact, I was so taken by this passage of Scripture, I nearly took the post down immediately.  I could and still do feel the weight of the message to me and I don’t take it lightly.  It has stayed up, but only because I wanted to follow-up with this and for therapeutic purposes.  I also know that the post reflects my raw and true feelings and that taking it down doesn’t change the way I feel–since God knows my heart, I will heed his warning, but respectfully leave my post where it is at.

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Neil, Faith, and Purpose

We’ve been doing a bit of traveling the last couple of weeks.  It has had its own therapeutic purposes and it has kept us quite busy.  Last week, we were able to go to see Neil Young in concert in Chicago.  It was good for us to see him.  Reece actually claimed that “Heart of Gold” was his favorite song, followed closely by “Ohio”.  We often listened to those songs on the drive to preschool and Reece requested hearing those songs when we were driving to and from the hospital for home visits.  In fact the first thing he asked when we got in the truck before taking him home that first trip back was, “Can we listen to ‘Ohio’?”  While Neil didn’t play either song during the Chicago concert, it was a great show and I think an important thing for Terry and me to do.

This past weekend, we went to Faith’s Lodge, which is a large lodge in northwestern Wisconsin that hosts bereaved families who have lost children.  It is a place to spend time with each other in a serene setting, with other people who understand the loss of a child, and just be.  The weekend was an important one for us.  I do believe we will go back next year, although we will likely go to a parents’ only weekend.  The ages of our girls demand much hands-on time and thus make it difficult to connect for long periods with others. However, I am glad that the girls went with us this time.  I don’t care much for leaving them right now and it was really neat to see all the kids of various ages playing together.  It occurred to me as the days passed that the kids that came to the lodge somehow corresponded in ages to the siblings lost by the other children.  So kids and families played with each others’ kids in a therapeutic way…or at least that is how it felt to me.  There weren’t any five-year-olds there, but there were many boys there older than Britta.  It was bittersweet to see them running laps around the room, pushing oversized dump trucks and Cars vehicles, much like Reece used to do.  Britta naturally gravitated to them.  I noticed other families doing the same with both of our girls, although it may not have been a conscious thing.  It was different from a regular playdate with other families.  While I would never wish the loss of a child on anyone, it was important to have that time with other people who “got it” and who probably felt those bittersweet twinges in a real way right along with us.  No one there discussed it with me, but then again, no one had to.  If you’ve been through it, you understand–there’s no reason to discuss it.  And that type of understanding is priceless.

There is this really beautiful area on the property where people paint stones with their child’s name on them and lay them near a bridge.  We painted a stone for Reece.  I think if he is aware of the stone (which I believe he is), he probably really likes it.

There is typically some period of time, before you add a child to your family, for preparation, planning, and adjustment–be it via pregnancy or the adoption process.  It makes sense to me that after the loss of a child, the time immediately following would be an intense adjustment period as well; perhaps it never ends.  As I discussed with one of the other mothers this weekend, right now it feels perfectly alright to be broken.  I feel like we were operating in such a heightened survival mode for so long that now, the feelings of the trauma and exhaustion are catching up.  No one can fix it or make it better and I don’t want anyone to try to do so.  I guess this part of life demands brokenness and that brokenness has its own purpose.  We need to assess the damage before we can try to put anything back together.  Sometimes things can’t be made right and sometimes the holes that are created can’t be filled.  I’m not interested in filling the hole and I’m not interested in even attempting to go back to the way things were.  I’m not the person I was a year ago and I’m never going back.

I have been on a quest of sorts these last few months to figure out how our situation with Reece will be used in our lives.  I love hearing from people about how Reece’s life touched their own; I know our Reecie had a big impact on this world and will continue to do so.  He fulfilled his purpose here and I know we will hear about some of it, but that most of it we likely will not.  I don’t believe that we were given this unique path as Reece’s parents to have it go unused in our own lives, though.  Part of my desire to figure out what is in store next is that one doesn’t lose parental energy for a child that has passed away.  I haven’t lost the energy that I have specifically for Reece and I can’t just redirect it to my other kids.   It has to go somewhere and I want that “somewhere” to be a productive and positive thing.  It is slightly ridiculous that I am rushing to figure this out–it’s probably a knee-jerk grief reaction to scramble; if I have learned anything it’s that God has perfect timing for everything, including this part of the plan.  Still, I think I have a fair amount of paranoia that if I don’t figure out something productive to do with the energy, it could become destructive.  But I’ll save those thoughts for another post.

Another part of my desire to know what is next in store is that I want to figure out my life’s purpose in some sort of attempt to figure things out earlier on in life, versus wasting time on the non-essential.  Somehow in my mind I hope that perhaps the Lord will mercifully spare me from a prolonged life here by doing so; maximize my time in some sort of way.  This last statement, I can already tell as I re-read it, could be largely misunderstood.  I’m not suicidal or ungrateful for my life.  I love my life here–love my husband, my kids, my family, and who I believe God made me to be.  But I believe to my core that this is not our final place–that God has a purpose for each of us on earth and that once it is fulfilled, our time here is done.  This strong belief I have, coupled with my grief state over Reece, leaves me feeling urgent to figure out the rest of the plan (an impossible task, really) so that my time here won’t be living until a ripe old age.  At the same time, I know a big purpose of mine is to raise my girls in a God-honoring way and to help them understand how Jesus loves them.  And I thoroughly enjoy all of my family, so it feels conflicting to want to leave them here.  Until I’ve done the part God has tasked me to do on the child-raising front, I will be here regardless.  Still, I believe there is likely another part of my life’s purpose that I have yet to uncover.  So I feel urgency to help life along as best I can, if that makes any sort of sense.  I don’t want to take a lackadaisical attitude that prevents me from seeing Jesus and Reece for one more day than necessary.  That may seem bizarre, but if you walked in my shoes for five minutes, you would understand the constant pull Heaven-ward on a daily–no, hourly, and at times minute-by-minute–basis.  I suspect when my girls (God-willing) graduate high school and move out, it will feel like a watered down version of this.  Heavily watered down, that is.

On an encouraging note, I feel like I may have received some clarity over the last couple of weeks regarding what I am supposed to be doing going forward.  I am still praying about it, because it is admittedly not a path that I would naturally be choosing.  And since my life, especially this last year, has been full of God’s plans for me being completely inconsistent with my own desired outcomes and plans, this seems to be a sign that it may in fact be the right thing.  This area of what I believe I am perhaps being called to do seems to make a lot of sense to me in light of all that has happened and our desire to make some sense out of it.  The most I can say right now is that I do feel it involves writing.  So I thank-you for your continued prayers in this area, as sorting through this will be an important part of the healing process for me.  I also thank-you for your continued prayers for our family.

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Catching Up

I took an unintended couple of weeks off from blogging and it felt very good.  No offense or anything.  I just didn’t have anything to share.  I have an awareness that much rest is needed right now and sometimes that includes not deep diving into feelings or at least not rehashing them through the blog.  I have never gone that long between posts and it was odd, but it felt right.  Today, it feels right to post.  It’s eight months to the day since Reece’s transplant.  It’s two months to the day since our wedding anniversary.  Scarlett is nearly five months old.  But what really stands out for me this weekend is that it was a year ago today that I took Reece into Urgent Care and he had his blood drawn.  So it means that it is an anniversary of the beginning of an incredibly stressful road.  But, thankfully, time moves forward and the more we encounter these anniversaries, the more we move through them.  We are one day closer.

The kids and I visited my parents last week as Terry was on the road.  It was bittersweet to go there as I often did with Reece when Terry was traveling.  I hadn’t been there since Christmas when we were there as a family.  He absolutely loved going to visit Grandma and Grandpa and often talked about going there while he was in the hospital.  His bed is in my old bedroom and after we arrived I spent a minute just lying on it and remembering him.  I actually like seeing it there; he loved his bed and missed it while he was away in the hospital.  The first time he visited home in early April, he practically ran to his bed.  He couldn’t walk on his own at the time, but when we got to his bedroom he dropped our hands and moved as quickly as he could to get up onto it, nearly falling as he crossed the room.  When we helped him onto his bed, he just sat on it and grinned and stared at it.  It was as if he had never in his life been in a bed before.  I know he likes that it is at my parents’ house now.  I also have a feeling the girls will like sleeping in it when they are old enough.  If they don’t sleep in it, I will.  We always said that Reece had the most comfortable bed in our house.  It makes me smile just thinking about him all cozied up in it.

We had a half birthday party for Britta today.  Her birthday was two days after Reece’s pulmonary hemorrhage in March.  As Reece was in the PICU, we didn’t see her for the two weeks surrounding her birthday–didn’t ever get her a gift, sing to her, or celebrate–nothing.  It seemed appropriate, now that the dust has settled a bit, to celebrate her turning two.  Plus, she loves to talk about birthdays, so we figured this was as good a time as any to have a party.

Over the last couple of weeks I have had several people reach out from various places and times in my life to share unique things they experienced during the loss of a loved one.  In their sharing I am learning how important it is to safely discuss things and how individualized grief is.  I am grateful that it somehow feels safe to share some level of detail on this blog.  And I’m grateful that people have felt safe in sharing their own personal feelings with me either regarding Reece and his life or in regard to their own loved one that has passed away.

Lastly, I talked to Reece’s primary BMT physician about the autopsy taking so long.  We still haven’t received the full results.  When we do, we will go to the U of MN to discuss them in a fair amount of detail.  I asked her to call me last week (we have been emailing otherwise) to reassure me that nothing was awry with the results.  She assured me that she believed it was a matter of getting the full write-up, but not because of some strange findings.  And why, you may be asking yourself, does it matter at this point?  The results are the results.  Well, it means a great deal to me to know that things were handled appropriately and with the utmost integrity.  It is a respect thing for me.  She received the preliminary results in July, which describes what they found visually, but it does not offer the full detail from the tests they ran.  She did share with me that the lungs were quite sick and likely the main issue.  There were some other things going with various organs as well, but all-in-all everything they saw was consistent with what they believed to be going on at the time.  There were no big surprises based on the initial results.  It is painful to talk to someone about your child’s body failing.  But I need closure on the medical side of things and I am anxiously awaiting getting the full results and having the discussion.  Perhaps after we have that discussion, I will explain what actually happened those last couple of days.  Or maybe I will just let it remain in my memory.  But regardless of what comes out on the blog, I have come to realize and find it important to share that our hardest day of Reece’s life on Earth–his last day–was also his best day on Earth.  There’s a lot I don’t understand about what happened, but I fully believe that is true.

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