Today is August 28th… I didn’t think I would be here today and my Mom would be struggling for each breath still. I honestly thought she would have gone to be with Jesus days ago. We are finding ourselves in a hard place right now… I personally go back and forth between the special moments we are getting with her throughout the day, and desiring her to go and be with Jesus and end the suffering and pain.
We are going on day 5 of being in hospice. The care and love that Mom is getting here is phenomenal. The nurses here are like angels from heaven. I don’t know how they do it, but they manage to care for the patience in some amazing ways.
So… My Mom. There is so much that could be said about my mom. These last days we have been blessed with some very sweet memories and conversations with my Mom. Over the last 4 days there have been pockets of times when she will be awake and lucid. She has very little energy, so speaking, conversing, laughing, and anything else is hard for her. In those times of lucidity she has given us some 1-liners that we will never forget. She has been zinging some funny phrases out. In a time when it seems that she is out of it, she will come out of nowhere with a funny little something. For example, I was giving her a drink of water, asking if she needed anything else. Her words to me were (in a raspy quiet voice) “That’s very considerate Josh, but there’s no money left in the inheritance”. We got a good laugh out of that one.
We have had some very intimate moments with her. Some very hard moments. In a time like this you say things that you wish you never have to say. We have given her permission to go and be with Jesus in streets of gold. She has asked us if we are going to be alright without her… That is a VERY hard question to answer.
AND… in all of this, my Mom is still the same old Mom. She is completely concerned about putting others out. She continues to make sure we are OK. She continues to look for my Dad, and has asked us to make sure he is OK. Her selfless giving is staying true to the very end.
In these last moments with my Mom, I have learned a lot about love, faith, and family. Each time I walk out of the room I make sure to tell my Mom I lover her. She responds with “I Love You Josh”, which are the most precious words I can hear at this time. I never know if when I walk out if that will be the last time I hear her say my name. I have learned about a new depth of love… Watching my Dad care for and love my Mom is something to behold. The way God gives us the strength to go on in these moments is so tangible. Beyond love, there is a new understanding of Faith that I have. It is one thing to talk about faith, but a completely different thing to watch it in action. When you are faced with death, and continue to trust that God is up to good. My Mom has taken moments to let us know she is ready for heaven… Imagine someone you love telling you that they are ready to go be with Jesus in the moments she is facing it. Unbelievable.
Thank you to all of our friends and family that have been praying for us. We have felt an unbelievable sense of support and love from everyone. These have been some sweet times for us… but hard.
Micah James Update:
So… many of you know that we took Micah in on Monday afternoon to the ER. He was not feeling good at all. For nearly 3 days he made very minimal movements in his bed, barely fussed, didn’t budge when getting pricked, and just slept A LOT. The Dr. at Cardens Children’s Hospital has been GREAT. She continued to order test to find out what was going on with him. We found out on Wed. that he had a particularly rare strain of influenza. But… there was still something not right with him, and the Dr. ordered more testing today. We immediately found out that his intestines were blocked up due to some inflammation. So they ordered a non-invasive procedure to be done right away. Liz was still at work when this was all happening, but to my surprise she canceled her last appointment to literally walk in 30 sec. before they started. Then….
I will probably make it sound worse then it was, but it was that real, and worse.
They were basically giving Micah an enema to get his intestines back to normal… the procedure was under way and right as the Dr. said “there it goes, it worked!”, Micah began to turn blue, he stopped breathing, and his body got real tight… Scariest moment of my entire life… I can’t even describe the emotions that I was feeling. The thoughts were terrible, the seconds felt like HOURS, and it was a feeling I would never wish on my worst enemy. Literally within 2 minutes we had 25 people in or around our room.
“Dad, are you OK?”, “Dad, it is going to be alright”, “Dad, would you like to sit down, or maybe some water?”, “Dad, we know what we are doing”… ugh.
Then we hear, “he is breathing on his own” (I might have asked in a FIRM voice if he was). I could do nothing to help my little man. I could only talk to him and tell him that daddy was there. I was super frantic, pacing, leaving the room, about to completely break down, ignoring nureses… meanwhile, Liz is holding his hand and singing… In this absolutely CRAZY moment, the craziest moment of our lives she was singing… “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so”. My wife is incredible. I heard her saying in a decently loud voice “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus”. (she’s a keeper)
Like I said… it probably sounds worse then it was. But it was very real to me, and very scary to me.
GOOD NEWS… Within an hour of getting to our new room in ICU (they moved us there, which raised a whole set of new questions for me), Micah started acting like Micah. He was babbling… he hadn’t babbled in days. Then he smiled, then he wanted to play, then he was staring down my dinner (he hadn’t done that in 4 days), then the BEST thing… he was dancing to music that I played for him.
We are not out of the woods yet. All that stuff is GREAT news. Signs are looking good. But tomorrow they are going to look at his intestines and make sure he is back to the way he was created to be. If he is clear, then we are looking good, if not, then we go from there. (possibly the same procedure again) But, we have a GREAT start.
I want to say 2 things: 1) I am very thankful to our team at Carden’s. They have been great. Especially the Dr. that would not give up on Micah. 2) Thanks for the HUNDREDS of people praying for Micah. I felt lame putting on facebook that we were headed into a procedure as we were being wheeled there… but then I asked myself what my motive was. I am convinced that God listens to His people and He is good.
Thank you to ALL of you who have been praying and thinking about Micah. I can’t wait to tell him about ALL the people who were praying for him. Updates will follow. Please, continue to pray for my lil’ dude.
This is our first family vacation in a long time! Liz and I wanted to get out of the heat of Arizona and have a fun get-a-way with the boys. So naturally, we picked Disneyland and San Diego. We spent the last 2 days in Disneyland with our boys! It has been a blast. We didn’t know what to expect with the boys, we weren’t sure how they would respond. Verdict is… they were incredible. They did so good!
Ethan loved seeing the characters. Mickey and Goofy are his favorite. To be honest, the whole first day was him just taking it in. I think it was sensory overload. He didn’t know what to do. We walked under the tunnel and onto Main St. and it was like the hidden world that he had never been exposed to. It was like “What the… when did this whole world start to exist? And, why am I just now being exposed to it?” He wasn’t sure what to do with it. Donald Duck was there and he was like “wait a second, I know Donald, but he is big, and I can go talk to him, and is he a good guy, and…” It was awesome. So naturally his first instinct was to grab Micah’s stuffed Donald Duck and go and show Donald that he had him. It was really cute. He wasn’t sure about him, so he just stood there on high alert.
Ethan LOVED the rides. It was cool to see the difference in day 1 and day 2. Day 1 was all about taking it in and processing what was going on. Day 2 was all about FUN! He was skipping (he can’t skip, but if he could he would have been) in to Disney ready to take the place by storm. Anytime we asked if he wanted to go on a ride he would pause, then say “YEEEEAAAAHHHHH”… It was the perfect response.
All in all, it was a GREAT 2 days at Disney. We were impressed by the Disney employees. We were impressed with our boys. We were impressed with the whole experience. We had a great time. Being able to watch your boys have sheer joy on their faces is the best. Nothing can top it. We are looking forward to a couple of days in sunny San Diego. It is going to be full of more memories.
The pictures below are Ethan waving bye to Disneyland as we leave. He had a tummy ache then, but still wanted to say bye to Disneyland. The other one is Ethan and I waiting in line to go on the Toy Story ride in California Adventure… We shot a bunch of stuff in that 3D ride.
Well… 3 1/2 months into having a legit family and I still have yet to blog about it or share much about what life has been like. I say a “legit” because for some reason I feel like it you have 2 kids you all of the sudden become a real family.
So Micah James joined us on December 16, 2012. He is a little stud that is seriously as cute as they come (what parent doesn’t say that?). 2 kids can be tricky. I am not quite sure why anyone would have more than 2. We went from double teaming Ethan to man to man. Man to man can be real tiring.
So let me tell you about my boys. Ethan is doing so good as a big brother. I love watching him be a brother to Micah. Anytime Micah is crying Ethan informs us “Baby crying”. Then he says something like “It’s ok Micah, no cry”. It pretty much melts your heart every time. Ethan is going through this phase where he is wearing my hats, ALL THE TIME. If you see Ethan, there is a really good chance that you will see him wearing one of my hats. He even wears them to day care. Anyways, he was wearing one yesterday morning while drinking his milk in my bed. I hear him start to giggle, then a full on laugh. I turned around and asked him what was funny. He said “look at Micah”, so I take a look and Ethan had put his (my) hat on Micah and he thought it was the funniest thing he had ever seen. Stuff like that is priceless.
Every night Ethan and I have a routine that we do before it’s time for “nite-nites”. We change him, get his pj’s on, brush our teeth, get all the animals in bed, then my favorite! Right before he goes to sleep the last thing we do is what I call “kisses, noses, cuddles, and hugs”. We go through each of those and make sure that we get good cuddles in, a good hug, eskimo kisses, and a kiss goodnight. It’s my FAVORITE! Ethan refuses to pray at night, which is funny in it’s own right. He fro some reason thinks it is no good. “No pray, no pray, no pray!!!” Kid doesn’t like to pray at night.
Micah is still just an infant, so there really isn’t a ton happening in his world. He smiles now, laughs a little, spits up a lot, and cries a good amount. I think he is gonna look a little more like me than Ethan. He has some lighter hair than E, and maybe some big blue eyes. We are trying to teach Ethan that he has a built in best friend. Micah was given to us so that E could have a best friend and so he could protect his little brother. It’s exciting to think about the future with our boys and how our family will function.
Liz has been great with the boys. She was made to be a mom. She is so good at doing that. She went back to work this week and survived the week. I actually think it is better for her to work then come home and be with the boys. I could be wrong, but she seems to function better when she has had some time away from the boys. (I don’t mean that I think she needs to be at work because I want her doing that, don’t get me in trouble)
Anyways… I am loving this stage of life. I love my boys. I love my wife. It is a good time.
It is crazy how quickly time goes by. I am not the first person to say that, but it became very real to me this past weekend celebrating my sons 2nd birthday. Ethan is 2 years old now and is still the joy of our lives. We are trying to get as much time in with him as we can before Micah gets here. We know that life is going to change again any minute now. Liz’s due date is… oh yeah, TODAY! Micah James is loving being in mommy’s tummy, so he is not ready to come out and meet the world yet.
Ethan is so much fun right now. His favorite thing to do is to go to Nana and Papa’s house. He loves to see them, but he really loves running around on their back patio and playing with the dogs. He stills loves him some Veggietales, but he also is loving The Lion King, Nemo, Cars, and Toy Story 3. He knows the colors blue, and amarillo (yellow). When he says amarillo, he makes his voice go way up on the ri (ree) part, super cute and funny.
If I am honest, I don’t know what it is going to be like when Micah comes, because for 2 years now I have been focused on Ethan and loving him. Now I have this new little guy that is going to be coming into our lives and it seems weird to think that I am going to be focusing on him as well. I am sure that it is going to be great, I just can’t imagine what it is going to be like.
Well… 2 awesome years down, and hopefully many many more with my family. Last night as we were praying for Micah, I was telling God that I can’t believe that he has entrusted these 2 lil men to Liz and I. It sounds weird, but the truth is that my 2 guys are not really mine, God has just given me the privilege of being their dad. For that, I am thankful.
I am a recovering, at time still struggling, sports fanatic. Sports used to consume my time, cares, and passions. I would watch sports all day long, follow each major sport closely, and get emotionally involved in the games. I know, it sounds ridiculous. I once had 3 tears stream down my face when the Phoenix Suns lost to the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals. I remember that night because that night was the night the I realized I had a serious problem. I cared way too much about sports. At times, I still do.
There are so many things that are more important. This is going to be a bit of a rant, but there have been a few things that have been on my mind lately. Why don’t we care about things going on in this country that are seemingly not good for us? I look at things that we put up with, or do not know about, or just plain don’t care about, but I think we should.
For example, I read this short blog post about student loans tonight. Incredible that in our country we have so many young people going into debt for an education. My wife and I began our marriage with over $100,000 in school loans. Not exactly the way you want to start a life together.
How about the issue of the food that we eat and the state of our countries health problems. Again, I am living this right now. My mom has been diagnosed with lung cancer, and my family has been ravaged by cancer. My wife and I watched the documentary Fork over Knives and we have had to rethink the way we eat and look at food. Why don’t we know about some of this information that is presented in this documentary? The main idea is that we are a society that lives on an animal-based diet, but that we really need to be on a plant-based diet. It may sound like a hippy thing to be talking about, but I strongly encourage you to take a look at the documentary and decide for yourself.
I still am disgusted at our worship of the celebrity. We love us some celebrity here in America. Actors/Actresses, rock stars, athletes, models, and other wealthy people. We want so badly to know what they are doing, eating, wearing, you name it. We pay them loads of money for entertainment purposes. Millions upon millions. Think about that. We pay them millions to act. To play a game. Meanwhile our teachers aren’t able to afford a standard house payment?
I don’t trust anyone in Washington. Granted, I don’t know any of them personally, and I am by no means a political junkie. I don’t follow politics too much, I never know who to trust and listen to. I guess my hesitation comes from really being curious if anyone in Washington actually has the interest of the people in mind. I mean really cares about the person. There is too much lobbying going on, too much special interest, too much other stuff going on. Show me someone that is really concerned for us, and I may give you my vote.
I believe that we have to make some serious changes in our country to make some head way on these issues. I can only start with me and my family. I want to care about this stuff more than a sports score. ( I am typing this as I watch game 6 of the World Series, ha)
So… What do you care about?
This post can be broken up into 8 other posts, but I have had some of this stuff on my mind lately. There is more, but for the sake of keeping this shorter than a short book, I will stop here.
What do you think? Do any of these eek you at all? How do we make some changes?