Friday, May 30, 2008

Letter to Gus

I am posting this letter one day early because I will not be on the computer is Celebrate Gus Day! Gus died on May 31, 2006 and we will be celebrating his life this evening and all day tomorrow...

I have found it very therapeutic to write letters to Gus. The following is the letter I’ve written to mark the second anniversary of this death…or rather, his “homegoing”. I want to make it very clear that by writing this letter I am in no way trying to make contact with him. Contacting the dead is wrong and quite dangerous. (Deut. 8:9-12). There are deceitful spirits out there that yearn to make us think we are talking to our loved ones when in all actuality we are not. Besides…God has provided us with the only Spirit we need…the Holy Spirit. He will not deceive us nor misguide us. Since I’m certain that the Lord and Gus see each other daily, I have asked Him to share these letters if it is His will….I like to think it is!

Dearest Gus,

It has been two years since we said goodbye to each other. When I think about the time that has passed, I am amazed that it has been that long—yet, then again, sometimes it feels like it was just yesterday. I am still able to feel the weight of your little body in my arms. I can even still imagine nuzzling your neck and breathing in your precious baby smell. I know in time that will pass. God comforts me with these memories and I am thankful.

I still dream of you often. My hope is that I will continue to do so until we are reunited. My dreams of you are often funny. I can honestly say that I wake up from them feeling joy instead of the great dread that I could feel in knowing you are no longer here. God uses these dreams to bring me comfort and I am thankful.

Your dad is about to graduate nursing school and I’ve just started working on my three pre-requisites so I can start nursing school next summer. My time with you has shown me that I can handle the toughest things on this earth. Certainly I have not done any of these things—like holding you as your heart beat for the last time—on my own but only through the magnificent power of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Because of this, I am praying that God will bless us with in-home opportunities to care for other medically fragile children—especially the ones that are abandoned in the hospital and have no one. This sounds crazy to a lot of people and I do understand. Who in their right mind would want to get attached to a child that may die?? Who would set themselves up for such heartache?? Well, your dad and I would…and we would be honored to have the opportunity to do so. I have been blessed and equipped with the experience of your death and as I start school, I look forward to the chances I will have to “give back”. God has empowered me to face the tough things and has given me empathy and I am thankful.

As I am aware of the fact that a righteous man’s prayer is powerful and effective(James 5:16), and you my son are as righteous as you can be since you are now with the Lord, I am hoping you will pray for me…well, for all of us Doriots! Seriously, this world is so beautiful yet so dark—so full of sin. I strive daily to live joyfully and I look forward with great anticipation to our reunion. It is hard here though so please pray that we will not grow weary and lose sight of Home. God uses the reality of Heaven and seeing you again to comfort me…and I am thankful!

I love you, Gus!


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Katerpillar Kids

The summer after Gus died, Nik and Jake attended Katerpillar Kids. This camp is held yearly for children in grades 1-12 who have lost a loved one.

Our good friend, Chaplain Sandy, sent us information about the camp and I'm so glad she did! Pete and I thought it would be good for the boys to meet others who were experiencing loss like they were. Some of the kids had also lost siblings, but some had lost parents. At the end of camp, there was a butterfly release. I missed it because I had gone on a scrapbooking all honesty, I'm not sure I could have handled seeing the butterflies fly away. I could now, but not back then.

Katerpillar Kids will be held this September in Townsend, TN. The camp is free and fills up quickly so you need to get your application in soon!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Maria Sue

Please join me in praying for the family of little Maria Sue Chapman.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Special Mother

I wanted to share this famous poem by Erma Bombeck. I can't help but think about all you moms out there who are daily living (and thriving!) with your wonderful special needs kids. Though Gus was only with us a short time, I was certainly plunged into that world and I know both the hardships and joys you all experience on a daily basis. My wish is for each of you to have the most wonderful Mother's Day ever!!

The Special Mother
by Erma Bombeck

Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice,
a few by social pressure and a couple by habit.
This year nearly 100,000 women will become mothers of handicapped children.
Did you ever wonder how these mothers are chosen?
Somehow I visualize God hovering over Earth selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation.
As he observes, he instructs his angels to take notes in a giant ledger. "Armstrong, Beth, son. Patron Saint, Matthew."
"Forrest, Marjorie, daughter. Patron Saint, Celia."
"Rutledge, Carrie, twins. Patron Saint...give her Gerard.
He's used to profanity."
Finally he passes a name to an angel and smiles.
"Give her a handicapped child."
The angel is curious. "Why this one, God? She's so happy."
"Exactly," smiles God. "Could I give a handicapped child a mother who knows no laughter? That would be cruel."
"But does she have the patience?" asks the angel.
"I don't want her to have too much patience,
or she'll drown in a sea of self-pity and despair.
Once the shock and resentment wear off she'll handle it."
"I watched her today. She has that sense of self and independence
so rare and so necessary in a mother.
You see, the child I'm going to give her has a world of it's own.
She has to make it live in her world, and that's not going to be easy."
"But Lord, I don't think she even believes in you."
God smiles. "No matter, I can fix that.
This one is perfect. She has just enough selfishness."
The angel gasps, "Selfishness? Is that a virtue?"
God nods. "If she can't seperate herself from the child occassionally,
she will never survive.
Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect.
She doesn't know it yet, but she is to be envied.
She will never take for granted a spoken word.
She will never consider a step ordinary.
When her child says momma for the first time, she will be witness to a miracle and know it.
I will permit her to see clearly the things I see--ignorance, cruelty,
prejudice--and allow her to rise above them.
She will never be alone.
I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life
because she is doing my work as surely as she is here by my side."
"And what about her Patron Saint?" asks the angel, his pen poised in the air.
God smiles. "A mirror will suffice."

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Elvin the Elephant Who Forgets

I came across this book and I thought that some of you might like to know about it. It's about an elephant who suffers a brain injury after a tree branch falls on his head. He visits a therapist and finds out that he's not bad at all and that he just has an injury.

This sounds like a wonderful book and the illustrations are great...and not only because I love elephants! You can see for yourself by checking out some page excerpts. Very neat!

If anyone has read this, I'd love to know!!

Elvin the Elephant Who Forgets
by Heather Snyder & Susan Beebe, Illustrator 2005

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Dragonfly Heart Camp

Dragonfly Heart camp is a camp where children with heart disease and pulmonary hypertension can go and experience a lot of fun and adventure! Kids will be able to use a zip line, take field trips, nature walks, and much more. Of course, there are doctors, nurses and respiratory specialists who are part of the staff so campers are well care for.

Dragonfly Heart Camp is located near Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. The camp is almost free...there is a $50 registration fee that is non-refundable. For more info, you can visit their website here. Sounds like a lot of fun!!