I am unspeakably sad. I've been trying to decide whether or not to write this post for several days now.
Sandy and I have a lot in common. We both love coffee and books. We're both still married to our original husbands. And we both love our children and grandchildren to the point of distraction. We can go for months without seeing each other and then just pick up like it was only yesterday. I love her like a sister.
Matt was the first of our children to marry and he and his lovely wife, Amy, had children right away. So Sandy was a grandmother before me. Yes, I was very jealous! You can read about Sandy on her Grilled Grandma feature over at Grandma's Briefs.
Just over a year ago, Sandy's eldest grandchild, Liam, was diagnosed with leukemia. He received a bone marrow transplant from his little sister Mary which put him in remission for a while. When he relapsed last summer, he was moved to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis where he received another transplant. Last week, Liam and his family returned home to Abilene where Liam began hospice care. Liam's parents have taken their six year old home for the last time. They are spending this holiday season making a different kind of preparations. No one should ever have to endure what this lovely
and caring family is enduring.
They've asked for friends to respect their privacy and their need to be together as a family. They've been keeping us up to date with a Caring Bridge site since he was first diagnosed. I marvel at their ability to communicate at all during this time. And I know that their friends in Abilene are taking good care of them. I wish I could be there to help.
Liam is a remarkable child who is full of life and love for the whole world. His parents, Matt and Amy, have done such an amazing job with their family. When Liam relapsed several months ago, they decided that every day in the hospital they should "learn something, make something, and love someone."
As part of loving someone, Liam learned about how many people around the world don't have access to clean water. As a result, he launched a project to build wells in Africa. The project is known as Liam's Wells. Liam's friends and family have funded two wells that have already been built in Kenya. But more people want to help, so Liam's Wells is a continuing project.
If you can make a charitable donation during this holiday season, please consider donating to Liam's Wells. Grams and her family have already contributed. We invite you to help Liam "learn something, make something, and love someone," by joining us. Click here to go to the donation page.
And please remember this family in your prayers. Then give your children an extra big hug and remember what is really important. We all need a little help with perspective at this time of year.
Hold your children a little tighter this Christmas and be a little more patient and tolerant. Be gentle with them when
they're cranky and overtired or overstimulated. Remember what is important and what is not. So
what if you can't get them everything they've asked Santa for. Take a
break from wrapping presents and wrap your arms around your children.
That's what really matters.
Celebrate everything! Messes and
mistakes and good grades and bad grades are part of life and life should
be celebrated. Slow down and spend time with them. In
the grand scheme of things, it won't matter if you bake one more batch
of Christmas cookies or not. Sometimes let go of the chores and read a book with them. Your housework will wait, but your children won't.
Make a commitment to follow in Liam's footsteps this holiday season ... learn something, make something, and love someone ... every day!