As the months inched closer to us celebrating Braden's birthday, I was confronted with all sorts of emotions, reflections and feelings. Add in that in recent hospital stays, an entire handful of doctors were sure to remind us that Braden is in a state of decline. My immediate defense in my head, reminds me that my son has overcome this death sentence he has been given MANY times, and that only GOD knows how many days we will be blessed with. As I see my son battle with things, refusing to let any human being put a number on his days, I am inspired by his spirit. I stand alongside him, fighting for him too. Not only did it become clear to me that my son is a true WARRIOR, that we, his parents are also warriors at his side.
I had been wanting to get a bumblebee tattoo in honor of my son for about 5 years, but nothing I found was "right". Then, a few months ago I did a search again - and there it was... the perfect little cartoon bumblebee with cheeks that remind me of my son, the cartoon eyes not exactly symmetrical - but for my little bee, something was missing. I wanted to honor him, to honor his fight, and so I researched the chinese symbol for warrior, and decided this would be the "stripes" on the bee. And I loved how my sister's bee tattoo for Braden, the body of the bee was his thumbprint. I too wanted such personalization - and decided the detail in the wings of the bee was the perfect place to put them. One wing was a thumbprint, the other the index finger. I was planning a trip to San Diego, and knew that such a heavy navy presence at a beach location, there would be some great artists available for said tattoo. I did my research, and found a few I liked. I was supposed to meet up with a friend from college who would go with me, but plans fell through and I was faced with going by myself, or cancelling. I decided that this is the kind of thing that defines your character - and so much of my journey with Braden has been lonely in some aspects, I decided that I could do this alone too. (Don't take this comment as not acknowledging my husband, or any of the hundreds of cheerleaders who have thankfully been on this journey with us... but in the physical, so much of it IS done alone, and that's what I mean.)
So Irish Joe not only did an awesome job on my tattoo, he gave me all the info I needed to find the artists we are looking for in Vegas, to do our future memorial tattoos for Braden. So having the courage to do this alone lead me to valuable information!! Here is a picture of the sample bee I found, and the one I got, in honor of his/our fight:-)
THIS WAS MY ACTUAL:
As we celebrated Braden's 7th birthday this past week, I was struggling to find something meaningful to share with you all. The words just weren't coming. And then, my friend Cindy who attended the party, sent me this amazing note she agreed to let me share. WARNING: YOU MIGHT NEED A TISSUE.
At the risk of sounding like Carrie Bradshaw...
Today, I had a thought:
People often ask, "Why me?" I certainly do... and my so-called problems can't, thankfully, compare to what far too many people must deal with on a daily basis. Illness, loss of limb, loss of life, loss of job, loss of sanity and memory and on, and on, and on. However, in a lot of ways I think it's even harder when these type of challenges fall upon the people who are closest to us... like your little warrior.
Looking around Braden's birthday party the other night I realized how quiet everyone was My dime store analysis was that these party goers have fought and continue to fight a quiet battle with the dignity that comes with an acceptance of what is truly unexplainable to their hearts. Quiet dignity and small celebrations are their norm.
So standing around, I... the outsider... was suddenly confronted with the question asked, I'm sure, by so many in my presence. "Why?" My pondering led me to the aforementioned "thought".
I recently gave a lecture to my journalism class about the bombings in Boston. I told them when something like that happens, you notice that thousands of people will run away... as they should! There is no shame in that ESPECIALLY in such a volatile situation. However, there are always a precious handful who run toward the danger. Who make a decision in their own minds and souls to volunteer for the job no one wants. They do this because they know someone will be saved by their decision or learn from it, or be changed by it and ultimately SOMEONE has to do it, Right? It's the same as a soldier who volunteers for the riskiest mission of all... because the soldier "gets" the greater good.
You with me?
So, What if, while in heaven, before all was "set" and all was "determined", our Father asked...
"Who will go? Someone needs to teach the humans about compassion, love, strength, priorities, patience, acceptance? These brave warriors need to be ready for lives that will not be as easy as many of their brethren. In fact, the souls who volunteer must endure great hardship that will not go away with time. It is a tough mission but every one of my children who comes in contact with, or cares for, or loves one of these noble volunteers will be touched in a way that will save their lives in every way possible. Who will go?"
And, Kodi, I picture Braden's hand going up and saying, "Lord, I'll do it".
Don't misunderstand... I'm not trying to suggest a theory that he chose this life per say. I'm just offering the concept that maybe your little warrior has always been a warrior.... long before he came into your life. Maybe he and so many like him ran toward this existence with a desire to change minds and hearts and teach lessons knowing what it could and would cost them. Also knowing, someday they would reunite with their "students"... and be able to fully express the love and appreciation they feel for having been given the opportunity to give so much of themselves for the greater good.
I hope I haven't stepped out of bounds with this or written anything that might upset you.
... It was just a thought.
I love you!
I loved her "thought" and observations of the party. We are not the wild and loud and crazy bunch that most children's parties may resemble, mainly because our crowd doesn't "roll" like that - they are in chairs or other devices, so there are fewer "normal" kids running around and going wild. Instead we decided to "GLOW WILD". As I keep reading over what Cindy wrote, it just reminded me of how Jesus too volunteered for a job that nobody else would want. My child is not a savior by any means, but he does carry a strong ministry, and yet he cannot speak. His fight is demonstrated every day by overcoming the "odds" that the medical community wants to put on him, and he exceeds limitations defined for him by this incurable disease. My little angel here on earth - with his greek god curls, chubby cheeks, dimpled hands and little belly - my cherub has been shared with us by God. Not everyone gets to snuggle and hold one of God's special angels, and I am blessed I get to any time I want, for as long as God allows me to be his mommy. We lost another mito warrior this weekend, complications for a "routine" surgery. Nothing is "routine" in the mito world, and nothing can be taken for granted. I thank God for letting us celebrate a heavenly SEVEN years with one of his precious souls, and I hope we can keep tallying more days to come.
Thanks for reading and your continued support. Be sure to LIKE Braden's facebook page, we update it more often than the blog. He can be found at Beelieve in Braden... two "e's" in the beelieve, for our little BEE. From pregnancy we called him Baby B, knowing he owuld have a B name. But then our friends the Heckerts shared the following with us, and it's been all the more special. If you don't already know why the BEE is special to us, it's because science says that a bumblebee can't fly. Those little, fragile wings can not hold up that big, fat body. But God says the bumblebee can fly, and so the bumblebee flies.
The Braden fleur-de-bee logo is printed on his color-change cups as party favors: