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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Does Heaven Show Up in Your GPS?

Today is a day that will forever hold a place in my heart.

Last year on this day, we lost a boy that we cared about very much. His name was Declan Black Carmical. He had a brain tumor that was detected when he was 4 months old and he lived the remainder of his life mostly separated from his twin brother, undergoing surgical procedure - one after the other. He often had treatments or surgeries on the same day.

Somehow through it all, his smile never went away. He continued to brave the pain and if you have followed his journey, you will see how often we continued to be blessed by his smile, his quiet laughter and the uncanny awareness that shown vividly behind those gorgeous blue eyes.
As Sherri posted in her blog today (please read to understand the strength of this family), there are so many images we can cling to. Images of bandages and open wounds, of the never ending tubes or the dire warnings that they continued to receive from doctors, who were unprepared to customize treatment for Declan because they just didn't know how. Pediatric cancer is often a black hole and there have been so few advances that can protect us the next time a "Declan," or a "Taylor," or an "Evan" is diagnosed.

Last night, I was putting my four year old, Shaila to bed. She wanted to know if we could do some special things like go to the mall, go to the pool, paint the house pink and have her imaginary unicorn over for dinner the next day.

You know, normal things.

I explained that today we would be working a large part of the day on getting our street prepared to honor Declan and give everybody a place to pay their respects to him. We would have lots and lots of balloons, lots of artwork and places for people to write their special messages to Declan.

A tribute, not a mourning. Though the lines are blurry for all of us on this.

The following conversation was one I really didn't know how to steer.

Shaila: Mommy, remember last year when we released all those balloons? Those were all for Declan right?

Me: Yes, Shaila - those were for Declan, so he could see them from Heaven and know we were sending them to him.

Shaila: Mommy, is Declan a baby?

Me: Well, Declan was a baby. And then God decided he needed Declan's company to be one of his angels. Declan is with God now.

Shaila: Is he still a baby? Or does he look more like Cole now? (Cole is Declan's twin brother).

Me: I'd like to think he looks the way God wants to keep him, and of course he has wings. Yes, he has wings. (This is really not my territory, people. I am feeling like a complete impostor on my theology lesson.)

Shaila: Mom, I want to go visit Declan in Heaven. How far is it?

Me: It's a lifetime away.

Shaila: Is that farther than South Africa?

Me: It depends on the length of your life and your mode of transportation. But yes, it is much farther than South Africa.

Shaila: Mommy, I miss Declan. I can go hug Cole, but its not the same.

Me: You SHOULD hug Cole. And you can send your hugs and kisses to Declan every day. Just look up at Heaven and know he can see and hear.

(Please note: I am neither a religious person, nor am I any expert on theology, however, I felt this was the best way to respond last night. If you have better ideas on what to communicate to your children, I would love your advice)

The Carmicals are taking everything one day at a time. One step at a time. There is so little that I often feel like I can do. But can't we get them to the lead in the Vivint challenge so that they have this one victory, one that would mean so much the day after Cole and Declan's birthday?

Please, please, please - gosh I will beg and ask for this favor tirelessly. Please vote - Please ask all your friends. Please ask your neighbors, your church members, your family, your entire Facebook community.

Last year, when the Carmicals were going through this nightmare, thousands of supporters on the "Declan's Journey" blog and fan page asked "What can we do?"

There were thousands of people asking.

And we are struggling to get a thousand people to vote a day.

Please, remember what you felt the day you offered that help. Of course we move on, of course we get a little less teary as the days pass. But the Carmicals are not asking for money. They are not asking you to run 50 miles.

Just click on the vote button, every day. Now until the 27th.

So humbly asking you.



webb said...

You met Shaila where she was, and that is all you can do. As we grow our understanding changes, as will hers. You don't have to be religious - in the common sense - to help your daughter grow into a loving, remembering young woman. You're doing fine. special love today.

Laurie said...

This was beautiful.
I vote every day.
I don't know the family, but am an observer from down the street in Reston. What a good friend you are.

Ruth J said...

i love this part. it's so poetic!

Shaila: Mom, I want to go visit Declan in Heaven. How far is it?

Me: It's a lifetime away.

Islam said...

Thank your for sharing
Messenger of Allah


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