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Trying to understand

This morning I suffered through yet another brain fart…however, it wasn’t Nathaniel’s this time….oh, no….it was ALL me.

I have made sure to have plenty of chapstick and lip balm for Peyton, her lips are worse right now but she’s dealing with it pretty well. After we dropped the kids off at school I came back and opened a fresh chapstick and told Peyton that after she did some thing that I wanted her to do I would put it on her lips.

I had it in my hand. I threw the box away. I held it in my hand and then I sat it down to answer an email. Peyton walked up ready to be balmed and it was gone. I don’t mean like, randomly misplaced gone…but gone as if it never existed. I swear I didn’t get up, I didn’t walk around, I never moved. I checked the trash, I moved everything on my desk, I looked under it, over it, around it….it is gone.

Peyton’s standing there, watching me try to figure out where on earth it could have gone, and she hears me mumbling “I’m losing my mind.”

“Mommy, did you lose the chapstick?”

“Um…yes, but it has to be here somewhere!”

“And you lost your mind, that makes TWO things you lost today.”

Thank you for keeping tabs on that, I would hate to think that I would FORGET that I lost my mind.

After I accepted that the chapstick would appear again someday, just pop up in some unthinkable way to taunt me with it’s mere existence, we headed off to the golf tournament for the Giving Hope Through Faith foundation. We saw many friends and thinking back to last year’s tournament, she has come a long way. For some of the golfers who were there last year and remembered her, they were so sweet to comment on how much bigger she was, how beautiful her hair was coming back. She didn’t really care, she just wanted to run and play with Lexi Tucker.

There was a touching moment just before they started the golfing that Sherry remembered and honored each child that the foundation had helped that had been lost over the year. There were 5 balloons to represent each of those children, plus ones representing Zach Tucker, Paige Wirth, Jacob Duckworth, and Taylor Arrington. Peyton took them one by one and let them go, floating up and away from us. I cried, I couldn’t help it, it broke my heart to hear all the names of friends, to think of their losses and what an emptier place this world will be without them.

Mathew Gliddon passed on Wednesday, at home and in the arms of the parents he loved so dearly. Please pray for his family, the friends who love them all and for the Lord to just continue providing comfort, strength and purpose. Mat and Karen are just amazing people, there are so many stories, shared from family to family about some way that Mat and Karen reached out, touched them and had a powerful impact on their lives. They are the most loving parents, they are tremendous friends and I am full of sorrow to know that Mathew is gone from their home, but never from their hearts.

There will be many hands making ribbons that will be worn at the funeral service. Tuesday we will have a chance to say goodbye to Mathew and celebrate the life he had. For me, it feels raw because it seems just days ago we were making ribbons for Delaney, Hannah, and now another sweet child is gone.

I had really considered not telling my kids what was going on, not telling them about Mathew’s death. Rachael is much better, but will still ask about Delaney occasionally and I know her passing is still on Rachael’s heart. I really couldn’t think of a gentle way to tell them they yet another friend had passed. Yet, I know the kids talk and I know that I wanted their first knowledge to come from me. I wanted to be able to answer any questions and give it to them in as positive light as I could.

A hard job for someone who has no real answers and struggles to find the positive herself.

We ate dinner tonight and then I brought it up. I explained how long Mathew had been fighting his cancer, how tired his body was and how Jesus had to heal Mathew by taking him to Heaven. I tried to, as simply as possible, make them understand that many people around them right now would be sad about Mathew not being here on earth for us to play with and talk to, but we have to remember that we will all be together with God one day.

They were quiet and didn’t ask me many questions, but they did make their comments that Mathew would have trains in Heaven, he wouldn’t have cancer there, that that he would have a chance to see the many children that have gone to Heaven before us. It seemed to go really well, we occupied ourselves by riding the merry-go-round at the mall and window shopping.

But in the car on the way home, Nathaniel was really quiet and I could hear his gears turning. I asked him if he was ok and he finally looked up at me with big tears in his eyes and asked if Peyton had ever asked Jesus into her heart. Oh, I could see the pain and fear in his eyes, all those worries and anxieties.

I told him that when we got home and the girls were in bed, we’d sit down and talk about it and he could ask me all his questions and I would do my best to answer them. It was with a very heavy heart that I got the girls into bed, just knowing where his mind was. He and I curled up on the couch under his favorite wooly blanket and just talked.

He cried a lot, we hugged a lot. His greatest fear was that if something happened to Peyton, she wouldn’t go to Heaven because she hadn’t asked Jesus into her heart. I explained the only way I could about the innocence of a child and that God knows their heart in a very special way and until their old enough to understand, he accepts them into Heaven whether they’ve said the words or not.

We talked about cancer, relapses, about his friend’s mom that passed so quickly from Leukemia and the difference between adults and children with the disease. I guess I didn’t say it quite right because his reaction was that I was freaking him out that I was going to get it. I just told him that cancer isn’t like a cold or the flu, and that because Peyton got it didn’t mean I would, his dad would, he or Rachael would.

We just sat there for a long time, him voicing his fears and me trying hard to reassure him and make him understand things that we as adults have trouble grasping. Monday at the ribbon-making time, there will be special people there who will be able to reach out to the kids and hopefully let them all know that they are supported too, that the lines of communications are always open, no matter how young. Maybe especially they young.

Please keep us all in prayers.

f.r.o.G…fully relying on God

6 Comments on “Trying to understand”

  1. #1 Angela
    on Apr 19th, 2008 at 7:14 am

    Dear Anissa,
    I have cried through the whole post this morning. I will pray for Nathaniel to have comfort about Peyton and that he really understands God's protection over her (and other children)until she is old enough to understand about Jesus dying on the cross for her, just like He did for each one of us so that we might accept his gift of salvation.
    Our prayers will be with the Gliddon family and those who knew Matthew.


  2. #2 Ami Czorapinski
    on Apr 19th, 2008 at 9:00 am

    I too cried through your post this morning. I have been lucky that my children are still too young to really understand and that hopefully Joshua will never remember going through all that he has been through. I will pray for Nathaniel to find answers to the questions in his heart. I will pray that God give you the strength to be there to help with those answers. As young children, cancer is so scary because of the unknown. As parents, it's also scary because of the unknown but just as scary because of the known. Take care my friend. Your family is always included in my prayers.

  3. #3 basi
    on Apr 19th, 2008 at 9:39 am

    Hi Anissa,
    I'm still crying. This is so hard to understand and even harder to explain to your child. (Belen has been asking questions, too.)

    My heart is with all of you,

  4. #4 Debbie Hale
    on Apr 19th, 2008 at 11:49 am

    Oh, this just breaks my heart! I will be praying for Matthew's family and friends. It's just so wrong that kids have to go through this stuff, and that their friends have to try and understand even when they are too young. Cancer really does stink! I'll be praying for all of you!

    P.S. Did the chapstick ever show up?

  5. #5 Patti
    on Apr 20th, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    Okay – the beginning of this entry really made me laugh – out loud. Then I had to keep myself from balling my eyes out. Telling a child that another child has passed away is the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life. I would never wish that on anyone. Holli has her moments but seems to be coping pretty well the past couple days. If you need any help with the ribbon making, please feel free to call me – I would LOVE to help. 727-504-5707. I am not going back to work until later this week so please call. You are an extrordinary woman and I so enjoy your entries. They usually brighten my day. 😉

  6. #6 Lisa Benenhaley
    on Apr 21st, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    I have been reading about Peyton for as long as I can remember but have never signed. You keep in stiches and I can't wait for your next post, but today I was in complete tears. I can't imagine what cancer parents have to go through. I have lost many adult family members to cancer but never a child. I admire you and your family for what you go through on a daily basis. Just know that one more person is out there praying for Peyton and all the rest of the kids fighting this horrible disease.

    Lisa Benenhaley
    Sumter, SC