Friday September, 7, 2012:
Wake and Visitation: Cedar Memorial Funeral Home Chapel (near the flower shop), 4200 First Ave, NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402
4:00 – 7:00 pm (Wake 4 – 4:30)
Saturday September 8, 2012:
Memorial Service: All Saints Catholic Church, 720 29th Street SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52403
Luncheon and celebration of memories following the service.
Yesterday Joshua went home to meet his Heavenly father and to embrace again his earthly father. We miss him with all of our hearts and every ounce of our beings. We cling to the promise that we will see him again. His body is healed and for that we rejoice.
When we finalize plans for his memorial service and celebration of his life we will post more information. Thank you all – Rebekah
[Reposted from CaringBridge]
I’m writing this with a very heavy heart as this may be our final plea for prayer for God’s healing for Joshua. As you know he was in the hospital for 10 days with Pancreatitis and came home still filled with the 22lbs. of fluid they pumped into him. He was not only miserable but much more sick than we realized. This last Sunday evening (again the night before our scheduled oncology appt. and a set of scans), he was in such misery we decided to bring him back into the ER again. He was also getting more mentally confused and having a hard time staying awake or communicating. We found out he was dangerously low of sodium. He also had a dangerously high heartbeat so Mon. am. he was admitted again, only to eventually find out that his cancer has spread considerably throughout his abdomen and organs and even a spot on the lower right brain sometime within the last two weeks. Rebekah and family were here for this last crisis and admittance, but they had to go back home yesterday without knowing some of the facts we know today. Naomi flew in last night and was here to talk to the attending Dr. this afternoon. And then the Dr. called me tonight after I got back from resting for a few hours at the Lodge. The medical realities are heartbreaking and almost more than my heart can handle.
Even more heartbreaking for me is seeing my son who by nature is passionate, strong, loving and so compassionate, intelligent and so eager to learn and to teach, musically talented, adventurous and loving to work out and be involved in sports, loving to write and to read, a wonderful communicator willing to share his faith and to live it out, now laying beside me, unable to communicate or process hardly at all, (even though when I came in tonight and gave him a hug, he was able to squeak out “Hi Mamma” ,his affectionate name for me, and later “I love you”). The medication he’s on is keeping him somewhat comfortable, if he doesn’t move, but also only able to sleep fitfully. He has to be woken up for everything. Even though this has already been such a long road and I have seen him fight with everything he has, with such strength and courage, as concerned about my wellbeing as his own if not more so, I still can’t believe what lies here beside me, a ‘shadow’ of the son I know and love. This picture is all too familiar, as you all know, as we went down a similar road with Rick. Thankfully he never had pain, but the loss of all he knew and was by nature, was stripped from him as well. Somehow, there’s such a sense of unreality about it all. His illness just still doesn’t seem possible and yet we’ve both lived this trial out together with the girls, for 10 months. And this is our reality.
But now what? What about the prayer that I sensed so strongly from God at the beginning, to pray for a miracle of healing along with all of you who know and love him too? These last several months but especially this last week, as I told the girls, feel so much like Mary’s walk to Gethsemane. Agony and heartbreak are the words that come to mind. But even in the midst of it is also encouragement, love, and faith right up until this morning. God has put truths, people, and concrete encouragement, to hang on to the prayer he asked us all to pray and believe in. (After so much bad news and the obvious decline he found himself in yesterday, God gave me a foreign Christian man as a taxi driver who not only encouraged me to continue believing but also prayed for Joshua’s healing). That has been a reality throughout this whole journey and feels more real to me right now than what’s before my eyes. I’ve heard the facts and I see the result of those facts in his dying body, and yet (after having several meltdowns about the potential result of his illness) I have to say, if I’m being honest with myself and you I will be the MOST taken aback and surprised if he doesn’t pull through this…if Jesus doesn’t come to Him in all His glory and heal him. And that is based not on a theological belief that demands it, or a mother’s denial and desperate desire to have her son saved, but on what God has done in very real and personal ways to encourage us to continue to believe what we heard Him say in the beginning.
And yet If God does in fact choose to take Joshua soon, I know it will take a very long time and some very hard soul searching with Him to understand what this journey and all of His seemingly clear direction was all about. But do I think it will cause my faith and trust in Him to lesson or be in jeopardy? I can’t imagine it and I certainly pray not. He has been too real to me for the better part of my life and I have seen and experienced far too much of Him to doubt His love for me, even amidst the fear of a broken heart that feels like it could never heal in the absence now of my son.
So like Abraham I am going to believe every step of the way up the mountain, knowing that God has the power to bring us back to life and the hand with the sword might be stopped at the last second. But I will also be with Joshua, trusting in God’s ultimate plan, as did Mary, on this road to Gethsemane. Whether the resurrection happens this side of heaven or in heaven, I won’t know until its come. But this I do know, I will draw on every bit of strength in me to accept and trust in God’s choice. And so I ask you all as well, to pray in faith right up to the end for his healing, and then rest in the reality that God is God and we are not. And if we end up praising God for a literal miracle of healing, we’ll do it together joyously. If, on the other hand, God chooses to let him join Christ on the Cross through all of his suffering and his resurrection will be as Christ’s…in heaven…as was his dads, my prayer is that your faith will not fail either, but be strengthened in all the ways you were able to be a part of this journey and all that you saw God do to pour out his love on Joshua and all of us as a family.
None of us would have made it through this without all of you and I know God knew that when he so graciously put you in each of our lives individually and as a family.
I want to say for all of us, from the bottom of our hearts and souls, thank you, thank you, thank you. We love you all and love God more because of each one of you.
With heavy but thankful hearts,
Kristi, Naomi, Rebekah and families
PS. Just seconds ago as I was finishing writing this in the dark, Joshua rustled, turned to me and said in his usual fashion…as if everything is normal…”Hey”.
Then laid back down and went back to sleep.