Jeffrey was your typical hard-working husband and loving father. He married his young bride right after high school graduation and they began their family right away. After the birth of their first child, the stress finally got to him with raising a young infant. The nightly feedings and diaper changes along with a colicky baby. He began drinking heavily and verbally abusing his wife and child. Then, the fighting came about even enough to make their child cry. It wasn’t enough that the drinking was helping with his situation that he began finding sexual pleasure out in the streets with prostitutes and strange women he would meet in the bars. His wife, Tiffany, began seeing the signs of his immoral infidelity and tried talking to him when he was sober but it did no good. He would become enraged at her for getting into his business. He began threatening her with physical violence and even allowed his wife to come home and find that he had another woman in their bed. Tiffany was hurt and felt betrayed and had no idea what to do. She sought the advice of her family and no one knew what to tell her except that she should leave him with their child. It was the best advice that they could give her. She did not want to leave her husband because she still felt so much love for him and wanted him to be a part of their child’s life. She eventually sought out a counselor to help with her situation. The counselor suggested that she bring her husband in for family counseling and she instantly knew that he would not go for it. He felt that strangers should mind their own business and stay out of theirs She became so frustrated and felt so hopeless she could not even think straight. She finally took some of her things and their baby and went to her parent’s house to stay for awhile until she could figure out how to fix her marriage. Once he realized she had left with his child, he began calling her and going to her parent’s house only to get into arguments with her where the police had to be called. Tiffany loved her husband but could not face the torment that he was putting her through and thought about the damage the situation would cause for their young child seeing and hearing the arguments. It was one day that while he came by to visit with his child that he finally put his hands on her and slapped her face leaving a handprint on the side of her face. Once the violence began, her parents, especially her father and brother took control of the situation and gave him ultimatums to stay away or there would be a restraining order taken out on him and he would not see his child. They told him to get help with his drinking and then go to counseling if he wanted his marriage to work and to be able to raise his child. All the talking in the world was going through one ear and out the other ear. He finally stayed away for months with no contact to even check on his child. While he stayed away, Tiffany’s parents suggested that she go to church with them. She thought long and hard about it before giving in and realizing that she needed a higher power to help with her situation. That following Sunday, Tiffany got dressed and even put her child in some nice clothing and went to church with her parents. She had no idea that this would change her life forever. As they sat in church listening to the pastor preach, a calming feeling came over her and she began to cry. She felt that the pastor was talking directly to her with the message he delivered on forgiveness. That day when they had altar call for anyone who wanted to know Jesus Christ, Tiffany felt compelled to go forward and took her child with her. She went up to the front of the church and asked for the pastor to pray for her and her child. She gave him information on what was going on in her life and what was going on with her marriage. The pastor felt such a drawing to her situation and began to lay hands on her. Her parents got up from the seats and went forward to also pray for her. Tiffany got saved at that moment and even had her baby baptized. She was now going to walk closer to God and have an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. Once she finished reciting the sinner’s prayer, she felt such a huge burden lifted from her and such a peace over her life that it made her sob and pray thanking God for forgiving her. After prayer, her parents took her back to their seats where she handed her baby to her mother and got down on her knees right there in the pew. While crying, she began talking to God and praying for her marriage that God would touch her husband and heal him from his alcohol addiction, adultery, and abusive ways. While she was praying, she heard a voice tell her that she should not worry about her marriage and it will soon be healed and made perfect in His eyes. With that said, she began crying even harder and her father placed his hand on her shoulder and prayed with her. She became so quiet and comforted that she felt that her life was about to change for the better. When the church had ended and they began to leave, the pastor stopped her at the door and informed her that a seed had been planted and it only takes faith the size of a mustard seed to move mountains. With that, she went home with peace and love in her heart. Over the next few months with no contact from her husband, Tiffany spent her free time reading the Bible that her parents bought her and even at night it became the bedtime story for her child. She prayed before every meal, every morning, and every night. She felt the presence of God in her life and it kept her with peace and love. Her parents bought a picture Bible for their grandbaby and Tiffany began using it at night for the bedtime story. She wanted her child to have peace and feel the love around her. Her life as a Christian brought many open doors where she began going to prayer meetings and support groups for her marriage. One day out of the blue, Jeffrey called her on the phone and wanted to come see his child and wife. She was hesitant at first because of her new life but remembered that God is controlling her life and that she needed to forgive him for what he has caused her. So, she agreed to allow him to come to her parent’s house and visit with them. When he arrived, Tiffany met him outside with their child in her arms. She had no fear of him anymore and was kind of glad to see him. He was looking a little run down and unshaved but he smiled the moment he saw them. He met them halfway up the walkway and he asked to hold his child and she was happy to hand the baby over to him. Tiffany could sense something different about him and then remembered what the pastor had told her. They went over to the patio table and sat down before any conversation started. Tiffany sat there watching how he played with their child and could sense the love he had for his child that it made her heart melt. Jeffrey looked up at her and asked how they were doing? She answered him with peace in her heart that they were doing good. She wanted so much to tell him about God and that Jesus Christwas her Lord and Savior now and that she had their child baptized but was uncertain how he would react to it. She just sat and watched how their child smiled and laughed while her daddy had her on his lap. Then, she felt a nudging so to speak from within her body that wanted her to talk to him about God and Jesus Christ. She was hesitant at first but felt so strong to tell him. She first asked him how he felt about God to which he stated that he does not know this person. That opened up the door for her conversation. She began explaining that God was not a person in the physical sense and that he saved her and their child. He had this puzzled look on his face and she spoke more about how she went to churchwith her parents and found that God would give her peace and show her true unconditional love. He began to show interest in her conversation because he saw a new person sitting in front of him. Jeffrey noticed how she had changed and that their child was happier. He wanted to hear more and she was happy to hear this. Tiffany told him how her life had changed once she accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior and that she felt nothing but peace and love. She stated how she was forgiven of her sins and that she would have an intimate relationship with God and that he was her provider. He began to tear up a little as he listened to every word she spoke. He seemed to be very interested and wanted to hear more. The more she spoke about God and Jesus Christ, the more he was drawn to the conversation. Then, he asked the impossible question of her which was how does he get peace and love from God? Tiffany invited him to go to church with them on Sunday. He thought about it for a minute and then became ashamed of how he acted since their child was born. He thought about it for a minute and then said that he wanted to go with his family to church. This made Tiffany begin to cry tears of joy and called for her parents to come outside. When they came outside to where Tiffany and Jeffrey were sitting, she was excited to tell them that Jeffrey wanted to go to church with them on Sunday. This brought smiles to her parent’s faces and that’s when her mother went over and gave him a big hug telling him that God loved him which made him start sobbing and stating how much he has missed his family. They brought him inside and offered him a seat at the table for dinner. As they sat at the table and her mother brought out dinner, they all held hands and Tiffany grabbed Jeffrey’s hand while heads bowed and her father prayed. This was all new to Jeffrey but accepted that this was how his wife and child were living. He showed how much he respected her for taking care of herself and their child. The conversation over dinner was speaking about God and his mercy for sinners. Jeffrey sat on the edge of his seat and listened to every word. After dinner was complete, they all went into the living room and Tiffany’s father brought out his Bible and began reading to everyone. Tiffany looked over at Jeffrey and saw that he was actually listening to every word. There were even some scriptures that brought Jeffrey to tears. At the end of the night, Tiffany walked Jeffrey to the door and escorted him outside. As they walked towards his car, she made sure to remind him to be there Sunday morning to go to church with them and he agreed. After that night, Jeffrey called every night to check on his family which surprised Tiffany because for months he didn’t care whether they were alive or dead. She looked forward to church on Sunday and anticipated the arrival of her husband to go with them. She also anticipated seeing her husband come to know Jesus Christ as his personal savior. When Sunday morning finally arrived and everyone was getting ready for church, Tiffany heard a horn blow outside. She walked over and opened the front door to see her husband standing there in a very nice suit waiting to go to church. She invited him inside while everyone finished getting ready before they loaded up in the car and drove over to the church. Once they arrived, they took their seats in the pews and waited for the pastor to start. It was a nice sermon and Tiffany loved the praise and worship music. She sat next to her husband with their child sitting on his lap very content with her pacifier. It looked as if she was listening too. As the pastor began preaching, he felt led to preach about marriages and adultery which touched Jeffreys’ heart. When Tiffany looked over at him she watched as her husband shed tears down his face as if God was working on his heart right there in the pew. She felt sympathy for him and reached over holding his hand. The pastor called for another altar call for prayer and that’s when Tiffany watched as her husband, Jeffrey, stood up and walked forward to the front of the church where the pastor was standing. Tiffany began crying while her father went up to meet them for prayer. Tiffany’s father and the pastor laid hands on him and she watched as he recited the sinner’s prayer. Once he finished reciting, he began crying out to God and fell to the floor instantly with his hands raised to heaven. He began talking and crying to God out loud for forgiveness and felt the presence of God touch him. All his anger and resentment left his mind and body. He felt like he was made new as a creature of God and started thanking him for blessing him with his family and a new lease on life. When he was he helped to his feet, he went back to the pew and sat next to Tiffany and his child. He looked over at her with tears falling down his cheeks and asked her for her forgiveness of his sins against her and against God? She began crying as she hugged him very tightly stating that she did, in fact, forgive him and how much she loved him. They sat and held each other for awhile there in the pew while others were receiving prayer and when service was over with, Jeffrey had a new sense of being and a new found love for his wife and child. He asked Tiffany if they could try their marriage again and at first, she was hesitant and asked if they could start dating again first and see where it goes from there? He mutually agreed and promised to show her a new husband that wants to love and respect her and raise their child together. They left the church that day and went back to her parents for a nice Sunday dinner. They ate and then spent time with the baby before Tiffany walked him out to his car. They spent a few minutes talking to each other about where they could go from that point on. She gave him some answers to his many questions and also told him that he would have to prove to her that he really has changed and given his life to God. He informed her that he would show her just how much he is changing. Then, he climbed into his car and began pulling out of the driveway and stopping just to wave at her. Tiffany went back into the house where her parents were just putting her baby down for a nap and sat with her father a bit looking for answers to some of her questions. He was willing to answer whatever he could all she had to do was ask. Her first question was how would she know if Jeffrey really has accepted God and Jesus Christ into his life? Her father looked up at her smiling and told her that she should pray about it and God would show her if it is for real. That night she went up to her room grabbing her Bible and laying on her bed to read it. Before she opened it, she asked God to show her if her husband was serious about giving his life over to Him and accepting Jesus Christ into his life. She also thanked Him for having the opportunity to bring her husband to hear His word. She then opened her Bible and began reading before sliding under her blankets and falling asleep peacefully. The next morning she joined her family for coffee before the baby woke from its sleep. They prayed together and read some scriptures from the Bible before beginning their day. Tiffany talked to her parents about what concerned her about her husband giving his life over to God and asked how she would know. Her father asked her if she prayed about it and she stated “yes” and that’s when he told her to leave it in God’s hands and he will show her. Tiffany left it alone and waited on God. Later that day her husband called to see if she was busy because he wanted to spend some time with her. She told him she was free and then he said he would be by to get her. Tiffany waited for him to show up and when he did she noticed he went out and bought a Bible. When she asked about it, he told her he wanted to spend time reading it with her which made Tiffany a little relieved and happy to know he wanted to know more about God’s word. She got into the car with him and they went someplace quiet to sit and study. Tiffany could not believe it when she heard Jeffrey reading from the Bible but thoroughly enjoyed her time reading with her husband. She was beginning to see a different man and the whole time she was with him there was no disrespect or abuse. She began falling in love with the new Jeffrey all over again. She did keep her heart at a distance to see how things were going to go. Every day, Jeffrey and Tiffany would get together to study God’s word and to pray. She was seeing her husband transform in front of her to a better man and a God-fearing man. She was happy with his progress and felt more at ease around him. When they were done studying, they would go back to her parent’s house and she would allow him to spend time with his child. A few days later, while they were at church, she watched her husband go up to the pastor and asked to be saved and baptized. The pastor laid hands on him along with some of the other church members and he recited the sinner’s prayer once more and after that, he was baptized by water to which he felt the presence of God course through his body. He began crying and thanking God for forgiving him of his sins and asked for strength and wisdom to overcome evil. Tiffany seeing this began crying and got up from her seat and walked up to the front to be with her husband. When she grabbed his hand, he turned to her grabbing her other hand and asked her in front of everyone if she would forgive him for everything he has done to her and their family. Tiffany could see that he was genuine about his request to which she shook her head saying, “yes”. She moved closer to him wrapping her arms around him kissing him passionately right there at the front of the church. When she moved back away from him, he asked her to move back home so they could be a family again. They would continue to go to church and study the Bible but he wanted her home, She looked into his eyes crying and told him she would give their marriage another try and that she would move back home to see how it would go. He became the happiest man in the world at that moment. He hugged her again and kissed her and told her that they could work on it to make it perfect. He was so changed in her eyes that she asked him if he really felt God’s hand touch him? He looked her in the eyes and told her that, “his sin’s had been washed away”. A few days later, she packed up her things and moved back home where they became happy and in love with each other. Day after day, they studied the Bible and led a Christian life and were very happy. Their marriage lasted for quite a few years and never once did he abuse or disrespect. His sin was truly washed away.
Today we took our thirteen-year-old daughter to the doctor’s office for a health check-up. We hadn’t noticed anything wrong or symptoms that we should have been alerted by. Casey was what appeared to be a healthy active teenager. She was a straight-A student involved in student government and an athlete who participated in soccer and softball. She loved her life and had many friends. We were not prepared for what we were about to hear.
While my husband drove us, Casey was in the backseat texting on her phone like she usually does. She was just beginning to explore the life of a teenager by talking about boys with her friends. We had already had that talk with her so we felt safe about any decisions that she would eventually have to make. She was a bright girl and we showed her that we trust her which made her that much happier.
Once we made it to the doctor’s office and my husband found a parking place, Casey couldn’t wait to get inside and get this over with so she could get back to her friends who were waiting for her. We walked inside into the air conditioned reception area and up to the nurse’s desk to check in. Casey had already found a seat by an electrical outlet to plug her phone into. We walked over and sat with her while we waited to be called.
About fifteen minutes later, a nurse came out and called us back to an examination room. My husband grabbed a nearby magazine to read while waiting for the doctor to come in while Casey plugged into the nearest power outlet to charge her phone. I just sat and looked at our daughter and smiled. I felt so blessed to have such a perfect daughter.
A few minutes later, the doctor walked in with Casey’s file in his hand. He said his hello and we exchanged small chit chat before getting to Casey’s health. He was pleased that Casey was in such good health and began his examination of her. He had her lay back on the exam table while he felt around her neck glands and made his way down her body checking everything.
When he started feeling around her stomach, he noticed that Casey flinched a little. He began asking her questions about her eating habits, sleeping habits, and other things. Casey told him that she gets cramps every now and then and throws up on occasion. This concerned the doctor enough that he ordered some lab work because Casey was an early pre menstrual teenager. She should not have lumps in her stomach.
When we asked if there was a problem, he said that he was concerned about a small lump in her stomach. He said not to worry and that it might be nothing, but he wants some labs done to make sure. So, he sent us down the hall with Casey to get some blood work done and a few pictures of her stomach. He wanted to rule out everything possible.
What should have been an easy health check up, now turned into hours of tests and waiting just to get results. We sat in the waiting room for about two hours waiting for the test results to come back to find out what was going on. Casey was getting anxious to leave and it was difficult to explain to her that we had to wait for the doctor.
When the nurse finally called us back into an exam room again it was only a few minutes before the doctor came in and he wasn’t alone. He had brought another doctor in with him and then my anxiety kicked into full gear. I wanted to blurt out questions but held my composure to see what they would say about our daughter’s results.
Our doctor informed us that they had gotten Casey’s test results back and that he brought in another doctor for a second opinion. I quickly grabbed my husband’s hand as we were told that my daughter had intestinal cancer. We were floored by this news.
Casey and I both broke out in tears while my husband went numb. We had so many questions but we’re dealing with grief at that moment. The doctors both informed us where it was and the damage it had already caused. They gave us different options as what type of treatment we were looking at. Casey was in the third stage and it had already spread to some other places so treatment needed to begin immediately.
The doctor requested that we admit her to the hospital today so that treatment could begin. We just looked at each other and then back to the doctors with the permission to go ahead with treatment. Our doctor informed us that he would send orders over to the hospital for Casey’s admittance. We agreed to everything and after that, the doctor left the room.
Once I realized what they were saying, I completely collapsed into my husband’s arms. Casey sat in shock before letting the tears roll from her eyes. The first words out of her mouth were asking us if she was going to die? We tried everything to calm her down and ended with a group hug with everyone shedding tears.
After about fifteen minutes of hugging and crying, we finally got ourselves together and walked out of the exam room. We were escorted out of the building by a nurse with some paperwork we needed to take to the hospital. It seemed like a very long walk to the car but we got to it and climbed inside. It took a few minutes of staring off into space before my husband started the car.
We pulled out of the parking lot and headed for the hospital. No one said a word the whole way over. I could hear the faint crying of our daughter from the back seat. I felt so bad at the moment and didn’t know where to look for solace. I was not a religious person but quietly prayed to whoever might listen for the healing of my child.
We finally reached the hospital and found it a little difficult to find somewhere to park but we finally found a spot. We parked and once everyone was outside of the car, we hugged our daughter as we walked towards the hospital entrance. We were all scared but my husband and I had to be strong for Casey.
Once inside, we went straight to admissions with the paperwork from the doctor and went through the process of admitting our cancer-stricken daughter. It was breaking my heart to see my child have to go through this. We were finally registered and given a room. A nurse came and met us at admissions to show us to her room. We walked across the entire hospital before reaching the cancer center of the hospital.
We were shown to her room and watched as the nurse filled out the whiteboard with information before handing Casey a hospital gown to put on. When the nurse walked out, my husband followed so that I could help Casey get situated. We got her changed and in the bed before calling for my husband. When he came back inside, he looked at Casey and broke into tears apologizing for everything that she is going to have to go through like he did something wrong which caused her to get cancer.
We sat while Casey channel surfed with the television before a nurse came in and put an IV line into Casey’s arm. I could not bear it to see my daughter go through pain because she has never had an IV before. She cried out a little while the IV was being put in. After that, the nurse gave us some information and instructions that Casey was going to have a biopsy in the morning so she will not be able to eat anything after eight o’clock tonight.
When Casey heard that, she quickly asked me to call for some food because she was hungry. I just smiled at her as I asked my husband if he wanted anything to eat to which he said that he was not hungry. So, I reached for the phone and ordered some food for us to eat. It didn’t take long before it was arriving and Casey could not wait. It made me a little at ease that she still had an appetite.
The room that they gave us had a twin bed in it also for someone to stay with Casey while she was here. My husband decided that I should be the one to stay with her because he had to work to keep paying the bills. I hated that we were going to be separated but what could we have done?
It was getting late after we had eaten everything ordered and it was about five minutes to eight, so my husband informed us that he was going to leave to go home and that he would be back after work tomorrow. He leaned down and kissed me and then Casey before walking out the door. Casey and I acted like it was a slumber party and laid together on her bed watching television before she fell asleep.
Once she was asleep, I quietly got up and headed over to the twin bed to call it a night. Tomorrow was going to be a difficult day and with my husband at work, I had to deal with everything alone. I laid on the bed while watching television before closing my eyes and falling asleep myself.
The next morning, I woke to a nurse in the room taking her vitals and then getting her ready to go for her biopsy procedure. Casey was awake and smiling as if nothing was wrong and I knew my daughter was a fighter. When they were ready to take her, I gave my daughter a kiss on the forehead and told her I will be here waiting for her return. I stood there watching as they wheeled her out of the room before I collapsed to the floor sobbing for my daughter’s life. About forty-five minutes later, they brought Casey back into the room slightly sedated and placed her back into bed. I got up and stood by her side holding her hand quietly talking to her until she gently opened her eyes and looked up at me. I asked her how she was feeling and she mumbled that she was sleepy, so I told her to go to sleep and I would be here when she wakes up. I sat watching her as she slept before my husband walked into the room. I told him that I was waiting for the doctor to come in and give us the test results. He walked over and leaned down giving his daughter a kiss on the forehead. We sat together waiting what seemed like hours before the doctor walked into the room. He came in and greeted us while he checked on Casey as well. He said that her test results came back and that she was in stage three cancer. At that moment, I felt like I was going to be sick and collapsed into my husband’s arms. How could this have happened? She was such a good girl. The doctor also informed us that he wanted to begin chemotherapy immediately to buy her some more time. We agreed to let him start chemotherapy and hoped that it would buy us some more time with our daughter. She was only thirteen and had not even experienced life yet. So the doctor left the room and in about an hour, a nurse came in and gave us instructions, pamphlets, and answered our questions regarding chemotherapy. I appreciated the help and information but nothing could help the breaking heart in my chest. We were told that her chemotherapy would begin in the morning and to prepare ourselves for all of the side effects that come with it. How would our daughter face these side effects and survive I thought to myself. My husband had gone numb for a few minutes over the whole ordeal. It was breaking his heart to know that his little girl is going to die before him. After giving us the information, the nurse left the room and soon after Casey was waking up. We quickly went to her bedside to show her we were still there. She opened her eyes and gave us a big smile. I found it difficult to tell her the news but I knew I had too. I began telling her what the results were and about her chemotherapy beginning in the morning. She began to cry as we told her the rest of the information so that she can prepare herself. She wasn’t sure how to respond or feel what we had told her. All she knew is that she could die. We spent the rest of the day with her and my husband even went out to get us some take out food. She was not on a special diet or anything so we shared a meal together in her hospital room. After that, we sat together and watched a few movies before the nurse came in and gave her some medication to help her sleep and one that will help calm the side effects of the chemotherapy in the morning. It wasn’t long before Casey fell asleep and my husband would head home to get some sleep before having to go to work in the morning. We kissed each other and hugged like it would be the last time before he left for the night. I hated to see him go but I knew we still had bills to pay at home. I sat watching television for awhile longer and every now and then looking over at my daughter’s angelic face as she slept. I grew tired soon after and made myself comfortable on that twin bed before drifting off to sleep. The next morning when I woke from sleep, I looked over and found that my daughter had already been taken for her chemo treatment. I frantically paced around the room waiting for her return. It had been about thirty-five minutes when they wheeled my daughter back into the room. She was very pale looking and seemed to be feeling some nausea while they helped her back into the bed. I sat at her side holding her hand while also having the hospital tub close by in case she had to vomit. I felt so bad that my child had to endure this situation and could only give her my strength and support that she needed. I watched as she went in and out of sleep only to vomit several times throughout the day. The nurse would come in over the course of the day giving her medication to help with nausea and it broke my heart every time she bent over the tub to vomit. Later in the evening, my husband would show up after work with some food for us to eat and I would tell him how the day went. You could see that he felt every bit of pain for his daughter seeing her waste away in skin color and weight loss. He felt so bad but would never let her see it. He just smiled and read her stories trying to make her smile and feel better, but she had accepted what was happening to her and just wanted to spend every minute of time with us that she could. I soon began hating everything that was taking my daughter from us and I was not afraid to show it. If there was a God, he too was yelled and screamed at because my daughter should not have to endure the pain that was inflicted upon her. I began showing hatred for everything around us even though it was not their fault. My husband had no choice but to try and calm me down which took almost every ounce of his being. I knew at some point I would have to accept the fact that my child was going to die and that I needed to be there for her, even after she took her last breath. It became very surreal for me and that I did everything I could to protect my daughter from harm’s way but then this happened. So, every day I had to face my dying child with a smile even though I was dying with her on the inside. It was a few weeks of Casey being in the hospital doing chemotherapy before releasing her to go home. The chemo was making very little progress and that her cancer was very aggressive as well. Our daughter did not give up though. She maintained a positive attitude throughout the whole ordeal and was happy and relieved that she was going home. Once the nurse came in and had us sign all of her discharge papers, the doctor came in to speak with us. He informed us that with chemotherapy not working as well as expected that Casey only had months left. He also stated that he was sending hospice to our home with Casey to help out and to keep her comfortable. Once again, I collapsed into my husband’s arms crying that I was losing my child. Casey heard everything the doctor said and spoke up telling us to be happy that they still have a few months with her and that they should be happy that soon she will not be in any more pain. I looked over at her and began to feel my heart melt because even though she was young, she had the mind and soul of an adult facing her challenge. I walked over to her side and reached for her hand smiling at her letting her know that she would not face death alone. After getting her prescriptions and paperwork done, we followed her out of the hospital as they wheeled her to the front door where my husband would meet us with the car. I was happy to be taking my child home and used that for my strength. We got her inside the car and headed for home. First, we had to stop off at the local ice cream shop because our daughter had a craving for some ice cream. We found out that it was a comfort food for all of us and what made Casey happy and feel good, also made me happy and feel good. So, the ice cream shop was good for all of us. After having the best ice cream in the whole world we got back into our car and made the trip home. We finally pulled into the driveway when we noticed a group of kids hanging out with signs telling Casey to get better and that she was missed. When I looked upon those children’s faces, I couldn’t help but feel their sorrow and know that they truly meant what their signs said. Once we got the car parked and started getting out, the children ran over to see Casey and asked how she was doing. It was a heartfelt moment that so many people cared about our daughter. Some of the older boys actually helped Casey out of the car and into her wheelchair. She used the wheelchair because the chemo was making her very weak. It was so nice to see everyone wanting to help her that it made me tear up just a bit. Once inside the house, the children hung out while my husband and I made them a snack. We watched and listened as they all laughed and played together. It was so nice to see our daughter smiling and having fun that all we could do was embrace each other and feel their joy. We took snacks over to them and sat listening to all of their large tales and laughed with them. Soon after everyone left, it was time for dinner, so I made Casey’s favorite dish of lasagna. We sat down at the table and began eating and discussing how much fun Casey had with her friends. What was meant to be a long day turned into something we had not had in a while which was laughter and happiness. The meal was delicious and everyone got stuffed before Casey had to run to the bathroom to vomit. That was not a good sign we thought to ourselves. When Casey came out from the bathroom, she was looking a little more pale than usual and we quickly asked her if she was alright? She just nodded as she held her hand over her stomach and said that she wanted to go lay down. I quickly got up and helped her down the hallway to her room where she climbed into bed and laid there very quietly. As I turned off her light and began closing the door to her bedroom, I found myself asking God for his forgiveness. I did not mean anything I said derogatory towards him earlier back in the hospital and I knew I was wrong. I only asked God that he take care of our child after she is taken from us. After saying what I needed to say, I instantly felt a sense of peace come over me and then I knew that God heard me. I went to bed that night feeling peaceful and calm. Hope was all I had that my child will be taken care of once she leaves this earth. It was enough to allow me to sleep somberly in my bed with the hope of another day with Casey. She was the only child we had and was a blessing to us when she was born because I was told I could not have children. She has truly been a blessing to our house and especially to me. The next morning I woke up to a bad gut feeling and quickly got out of bed and went to Casey’s room. She appeared to be asleep but I needed to check on her anyway. I walked over to her bedside and reached down feeling her forehead. It was very hot but when I touched the rest of her, she seemed cold to the touch. I immediately called my husband and told him I was taking Casey back to the hospital. Once I was off of the phone with him, I called for an ambulance to take my daughter and myself to the hospital where my husband would be meeting us. It took them about seven minutes to reach our house and putting my daughter inside the ambulance. Her pulse was very weak and shallow and the thoughts of my daughter dying on the way were too exhausting to think of. They got her into the ambulance and we were headed for the hospital. I called her doctor and told him we were on our way and what was going on. He would meet us there as soon as possible. We arrived at the hospital in what seemed like forever was only about ten minutes and they worked quickly to get her inside the emergency room and into a trauma bay. We got into the trauma room and they began working on my daughter and soon after my husband walked inside the room. The was so much going on that they escorted us from the room while they took care of our child. It was about an hour later that the doctor walked up to us in the waiting room to give us the news. When I saw the look on the doctors face I thought the worst was coming. He walked up to us and began telling us that our daughter didn’t have much time left. Cancer has become even more aggressive and she is going into organ failure. My heart broke apart because we thought that we had more time to prepare for the end, but we didn’t. We were devastated by the news as he finished telling us what was going on. He was admitting her to the hospital where she would spend her last days and I just wanted to fall apart. He allowed us to go into the trauma room where she was until they move her to a room. Our daughter looked so ill almost to the point of her being deceased already. As I looked upon my daughter’s once angelic face, you could not help but see all of the tubes and wires hooked to her frail body. I felt so bad for her and wanted to do whatever I could to hold her and take it all away. I felt so helpless and wanted her to live, but that was not going to be possible. Cancer was beating her and eating her body alive. It was about an hour later that they came in to move her to a room and we followed directly behind. Our daughter was fighting for her life and barely hanging on and the only thing I could think about was that my hope for her was strong enough to carry her into the next life. My husband did all he could to hold back the tears he was feeling as he watched his daughter slowly slipping away from us. We got situated in her room and sat quietly with her waiting for her to wake up. Her body was exhausted and you could see it. I sat holding her hand and talking softly to her that it was okay to let go. She had fought more than her body could handle and that she could move on to the next place where she could be happy and free from pain and suffering. Being that we were not so much religious, we did call for a chaplain to come and pray for our daughter peace and rest on her journey over the rainbow. That is what we always told our daughter, that when people or animals die that their spirit flies over the rainbow to a paradise land. We believed that with all of our heart. It wasn’t long it seemed before the chaplain came in and introduced himself. He was a non-denominational chaplain and respected our wishes and before he could pray over our daughter, the doctor walked in with more information. As we sat holding each other’s hands, the doctor informed us that before when they did the scans they did not see where all the cancer was located. He just got more results from new scans and that the cancer had infiltrated her intestines, colon, and parts of her liver. Her prognosis was grim and that the doctor only gave her a couple of days left. With this dire news, we sat staring at our daughter crying and wishing that we could take her place. All of our efforts to protect our daughter have failed. I felt every ounce of my being just drain away and I felt so defeated and weak. I knew my daughter was a strong fighter but this battle she would never win. We sat with bowed heads as the chaplain began praying over our daughter and all I had left was hope that she would be happy in her new home. The chaplain prayed for about twenty minutes before offering his condolences and then leaving the room. I felt very sad because I was losing my baby but had a sense of peace come over me. For the next few days, we watched as our lifeless daughter began to fade away. Her monitors showed her respiration and heart rate were slowing and we knew that the time was coming to say goodbye. We both got up and stood on each side of her bed holding her cold lifeless hands as her heart rate started to diminish until the heart monitor flat lined and she was gone. I couldn’t do anything but hold her hand, caress her angelic face, and cry. My child had left us and there was an empty feeling inside me as they came in and unhooked all the life support from her. Her father and I both leaned down to her placing a kiss on her forehead before they covered her with the sheet and removed her from the room. She was taken down to the morgue and prepped for us to send the funeral home for her. We had already made the arrangements with the funeral home so they were waiting for us to let them know when to come get her. We still could not believe our baby girl was gone and it took every bit of strength we had to let her go. The funeral was going to be a few days out and the only thing at this point that I could do was to go home and sit in her room looking around at all her stuff. Slowly I began packing her stuff away as I reminisced about all the good times we had. It took me a few days to get everything packed away and then the day of the funeral came. There were many people who showed up to pay their respects and many of her classmates were there in tears for the loss of their friend. I could feel their despair and loss and my heart went out to them. As the service ended and they began lowering our child into the ground, I felt a piece of me going with her. We said our final goodbyes and all we had remaining was hope. Hope that our child is in a better place, and hope that she is happy and carefree. This is what happens when hope is all I have.
Death is never an easy thing especially when you are already knocking on death’s door yourself. This is the fate of a seventeen-year-old girl named Clever McCallister. Clever was a shy child but grew into her own when she and her parents realized that Clever had cancer that was incurable by man’s standards. It was one of those rare moments when you wonder how did I get this disease or how long will I live. It stumped the doctors who diagnosed her with it and didn’t believe she would make it six months. Her health was failing and by looking at her body you could tell she was malnourished and that her cheeks were a little sunken in. She was at that ripe age of seventeen when everyone her age were exploring and experimenting. This was not the case for Clever because she had been sick for years but never knew it until recently. She had spent most of the last few years in and out of hospitals to know that life was passing her by. Clever and her family had somewhat of a religious background and did fall from their faith quite a bit especially when it came to Clever and this incurable cancer. Why would a loving God strike a young child down with a disease that would cause so much pain? Her parents always questioned the things that happened whether good or bad. They spent so much time praying and asking for forgiveness that the thought of asking for their child to be healed never once fell from their lips. After so many years and so much money, Clever’s parents were finally at the conclusion that their child was going to die and there was nothing they could to stop it. Clever, on the other hand, was at terms with her illness and accepted her fate. She began to live like a normal seventeen-year-old despite some of her limitations. She knew the time would come when she would have to say her goodbyes but until that time came, she was going to be as normal as she could. Her mother home schooled her pretty much all her life so the arguments started about her wanting to go to public school. Her parents were so much against it because she needed to be on oxygen as well as other medications and thought that it would be difficult to entertain. Clever was set in her ways and was determined to go to a public school for her remaining months of life. Seeing how determined she was, her parents decided to give in and enrolled her into the nearest public school to home. Clever’s first day at a public school was difficult having to tote around a portable oxygen tank and trying to find her classes too. The kids were friendly to her and some even gave her the look of sympathy which she really didn’t want. It was not like her to accept pity and sympathy because she has made her peace within herself and ready to accept death when it comes. She made it to all of her classes and rather enjoyed being around all the different people. By the end of the day, Clever had made a few friends who she could hang out with after school. These were her best days. As the months went by, Clever was beginning to feel the effects of her illness and began missing days of school. Her friends would come by and bring her the homework and visit with her to keep her spirits up. She could sense that it wouldn’t be much longer before she had to say her goodbyes. Clever did what she did and that was living life to it’s fullest. She was not about to let her cancer take control of her life and mind. She had gone with her parents to church every Sunday since she was a little girl and even created a support group at the church for other children and parents dealing with illnesses such as hers. It gave her a sense of completion in knowing that she was helping others in her final transitioning. Every night she spent on her knees at her bedside praying for forgiveness for any wrong that she did, praying to give her parents peace, and praying for others who might be dealing with the same issues. It had gotten to the point where Clever could no longer make the trip to church anymore because she began feeling the effects of her cancer which was constant nausea, weakness, and pain. Her whole body hurt as cancer spread throughout her body and continued to take over. One night, while at her bedside, Clever began her nightly ritual of praying when suddenly she had a calming feeling come over her. It was as if someone touched her shoulder to comfort her. She now knew she was not alone in her room. She was now at peace and knew that everything was going to be okay. From that night on she stayed fast in her faith that things would be okay and easier for everyone she loved when her time to pass on came about. She laid in her bed that night calmly and peacefully before falling asleep. The next morning, her parents noticed that she had not come down for breakfast and went to check on her. When they entered her room, they found Clever fast asleep, so it seemed until they went to her bedside and gently clasped her hand noticing that it was cold. At that moment, they knew that she had passed away in her sleep peacefully. Grief stricken, her parents sat with her awhile before making the call for an ambulance to come get her. Not knowing that she had passed on, Clever woke up in a place unfamiliar to her. It was somewhat quiet except for the faint singing from far off. After rubbing her eyes and getting a better view of her surroundings, she noticed two figures in the doorway to the room she woke up in. They were tall and slender, wearing white robes, long flowing white hair, and leather sandals on their feet. While they stood there, the first question that she spoke was “where am I?”One of the figures walked closer to her and spoke very softly and calmly replies, “you have passed on and came home.” Startled slightly by his words, she asked, “Who are you?” The second figure came close and told her that they were the guardians. Clever sat there for a minute and pondered over their words. It was official and that cancer, in fact, had taken her from her parents and to the afterlife. They helped her stand up from the bed and each one gently hugged her welcoming her to her new home. She had no feelings of guilt or doubt and only the sense of belonging. They guided her from the room and escorted her around introducing everyone to her. She felt that she had a new family now who loved her just as much as her parents. She noticed that she was in no pain and that her body had been made whole again. There was no nausea, weakness, or cancer. She had been healed upon her entrance to the afterlife. After being shown around, the guardians had some important information to tell her. They informed her that she had done great things while alive and helped so many others. She held on to her faith no matter what situation came across her. They admired her for that because most people in her situation and with her illness would have given up. That was not a part of Clever’s agenda. She was strong willed and a helper of many. They had given her the message brought from higher up that she was going to return to her parents and her life to fulfill her destiny. She has been made whole again and with that, she will return to her parents with a great message to give. She will be the bearer of great tidings on her experiences from this realm and to assist in growing faith in others. She will plant many seeds in the lives of others and bring hope to the hopeless. Clever felt honored and joyful at the same time that she would be returning to her parents and earthly home. The guardians spoke over her blessings of strength and wisdom on her long journey because she will be on this journey for many long years. It was also made known that they will be keeping an eye on her as her personal guardians and mentors. Once all was said and arrangements made, they both anointed her head with oil and lay her back in the bed she woke from falling into a deep sleep. Back in her room with her parents who were very much in their grieving, her mother felt Clever gently squeeze her hand. When her mother and father looked up at their pale, cold child, they saw the color return to her face and noticed she was breathing again. Both parents fell by her bedside weeping joyful tears as their once deceased child opened her eyes smiling at them. Her father helped her sit up and noticed she felt stronger and not so ill. When they asked how this was possible, Clever replied, “I was in another place where there were many at peace, but now I have returned with good news and a purpose.” Her parents so happy that they hugged her very tightly and found a strong pulse coursing through her body. As they sat in conversation with their daughter, she spoke of how she had been healed from cancer and returned to accomplish many things. She spoke of the guardians and their kind words for her. In all of the excitement of their daughter returning, they forgot that they had called the ambulance which was pulling up outside. Her father quickly met them at the door and told them of what had transpired. He allowed them to come in and check his daughter thoroughly to find that she was very healthy and alive. Once they had left, her parents took her to her oncologist to get his opinion of her health. After many scans and x-rays, her doctor gave her a clean bill of health and notified the parents that her body had been rid of the cancer. Overjoyed and with a sigh of relief, they returned home to celebrate the return of their child. They all got down on their knees and thanked their higher power for giving them their daughter back with a new body. Clever, with her eyes closed, felt and heard the guardians whispering to her words of wisdom and guidance. They reminded her of her journey and assignment and with that, she smiled and thanked them. The next day, Clever woke up with a purpose and began calling everyone she knew and setting up speaking engagements all around town. She set forth on her journey telling her story of cancer, her experience with the afterlife, and the guardians watching over her. She brought many to know and gave peace to those suffering. Clever knew she had a long road ahead of her but remembered her task very well. Many years had gone by and Clever remained faithful to her task until her second homecoming at the old age of seventy-two. She had never again seen cancer and passed on peacefully in her bed fast asleep.