Blessings

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Tonight, for me, was a beautiful reminder that God is gonna put you where you need to be when you need to be there. We had dinner with new friends who were gracious hosts and let us talk… And if you know us, you know that means let me talk. We were blessed to be in their home. Part of their world for a few lovely hours.

When we got home, I was reflecting on that and this song came to mind. It is by Rich Mullins, and the lyrics go like this:

“Talkin’ Daniel in the den of the lions
Talkin’ Jonah in the belly of a whale
Talkin’ three Hebrew children
And they’re standing in a furnace, fiery furnace

But the fire didn’t burn them, and the lions didn’t bite
And the Lord reached down and you can be sure that
Everything turned out right
Oh you’ll meet the Lord in the furnace
A long time before you meet Him in the sky

Meet Him in your time of trial
Meet Him in your hour of prayer
You can reach out and I’ll bet
That you’ll find that He’s right there ”

He is right there. He has been with me every moment. Through the hard times and the good times. And maybe it is by trusting Him through the “fire” that we know He is also there with us in the good times. A constant companion. He never leaves us. That may be the greatest comfort of all.

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Interesting perspective on dying young. Perhaps you need a little distance to see things this way, but I like to think of people dying surrounded by examples of the goodness they brought into this world.

Ten Minute Missive

My neighbor is dying.

Actually, they all are, but he knows his death is coming sooner than later. It is terribly sad, a young man and father dying of a brain tumor.

I bumped into him at the grocery store last week and this morning, as I wheeled my cart past where we’d stopped and chatted, I thought about him, our conversation, and hostas.

You see, as much as this young man is my neighbor, before last week, I’d never spoken to him. Not once. He lives a street over and a few blocks south of me and our paths simply never crossed before. His kids go to the schools my kids have attended – his oldest is a year behind my Middlest at school, and I run or walk past his house every day.

And yet I’d never met him. Then, a few months ago people started talking about…

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Make ‘Em Laugh

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My vanity card for Chuck Lorre:
This world is a crazy place – not always in a good way. But there are some rare people in this world who try to make it better for the rest of us. Who, despite their own trials, just try to make the rest of us laugh. Obviously, the people who make sitcoms have this as a goal. But so did one very special teenager. David Pearson was a huge Big Bang Theory fan. He would regularly order a “Diet Virgin Cuba Libre” just to make people smile. He made up some hand motions to the theme song. He made sure all of his friends who came over watched the show. It was his way of making sure they all knew about the show so they would have something to make them smile when they needed it. As David’s time on this earth drew to a close, BBT was of great comfort to him. We watched it with him nonstop, literally for hours. Episodes he had seen many times, but they still made him laugh. Still transported him to a place where there wasn’t pain and sickness. He was so proud of Jim Parsons’ Stand Up To Cancer ad. It was funny AND it brought awareness. He loved that. David left this world on May 11, 2012, but I know he’s watching over us and wanting us to laugh. So thank you, Chuck Lorre, for your many shows that make us laugh. It is healing in its own way. And until we can find a way for comedy to heal cancer, I ask that everyone find a way to fight to put a stop to this horrible disease. David had brain cancer, so that’s our battle, and we invite the fans to unite with us to fight brain cancer. Join the fight on the web at http://www.dragonmasterfoundation.org. If you choose to make a donation, tell them it’s because of David and Big Bang Theory.

Making Time

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I’ve been thinking tonight about Treavor, a cousin of mine who was shot and killed at the start of adulthood. Our family was devastated. Those kinds of things don’t happen in Alabama. There was no time to prepare. No chance to say goodbye. I know his mom, dad and brothers all struggled with the why of it. I admired each of them for how they handled it, and tonight my reflection was about two things specifically.

The first is that Dusty lost the other half of how he was identified. It was always “Dusty and Treavor”. As twins, they were rarely separated, and they were happy together almost all the time. That’s how it was for David & Austin, too. They weren’t twins, but at 17 months apart, it almost seemed that they were. She has never known life without him in it. I want for her to know that she will carry the best parts of him with her forever. That she is loved for who she is – independent of who he was. That she will be a part of other duos that will enrich her life and make her feel fulfilled. I’m sad that she doesn’t have him, but I am also afraid that she won’t let anyone else be that for her again.

Which sort of leads me to the other thing I’ve been contemplating tonight. Putting yourself out there to love and be loved, and making sure you do it while you still can. When Treavor died, I went to his funeral. I lived in California at the time, and the funeral was in Alabama, so it was a big deal for me to fly back there. However, the whole time I was traveling, I was wishing I had gone back earlier. In fact, there was a specific party that I could have gone back for. All of my cousins had gathered for a party for my uncle. We lost him and Treavor shortly after, and I just kept wishing I had gone to the party. Then, I would have seen them alive. I probably would have harassed Treavor, but hugged him and told him I loved him. But I didn’t go. We didn’t have the money. Somehow, we came up with the money for the funeral, though. I’m pretty sure we could have found the money for the party, but it just hadn’t seemed like a priority. I know that my family appreciated having me there, but I knew it had been too long since I had seen Treavor. I promised myself then, that whenever I could, I’d go for the happy stuff instead of the sad.

Several years later, Dusty got married. I made a point of making it back for the wedding, and I’ve never regretted a moment. I had moved to the East Coast when a dear friend from California got married. We flew out to California with the kids for the wedding. Both kids were a big part of that day for them. It was worth every penny to make those memories.

There are some people who couldn’t make it to David’s funeral. I know they feel bad about that, but what is more important to me is that they made a point of seeing David while he was alive. He had a few more happy memories because of that.

So today I would just encourage everyone to do the happy stuff. Go “home” – wherever that is. And if you are there already, make sure you are taking advantage of it. Go watch a kid’s performance at school. Be there for your nephew’s track meet. Visit that relative in the nursing home or that friend in the hospital. You’ll probably never do it enough, but make sure you do it as often as you can.

A couple of the friends who “made time” to see David.

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Someone Else’s Eyes

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There is a lot I still want to share about David’s services, but emotionally, I’m just not ready. I’ll go back and share that at some point in the future, but for now I just have to share what I can. That would be my thoughts from today.

Teenagers get a bad rap frequently. They tend to be self-centered, which is a trait I can relate to. It’s hard to think about other people. To put yourself in someone else’s shoes and try to see things from their point of view.

Under normal circumstances, that is hard. When you are grieving, it is darn near impossible. I guess that’s why I’ve been so impressed by the remarkable things that teens – and adults – are doing to honor David’s memory.

At the end of school, for some the end of senior year, they have put their lives on hold to honor their fallen friend. To wear grey, which let’s face it, is a boring color. To write touching tributes. To plan events. To promise to keep up this fight against brain cancer in honor and in memory of David.

I am humbled. I am awed. I am thankful. To me, this shows love. Not just for David but for his entire family. David isn’t forgotten. Our pain is shared by many. It really helps to know that he is living on in so many caring people. So thank you – each and every one of you – who have made David part of you. We will fight this battle on his behalf, and we won’t rest until there is a cure.

The View

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It’s raining today. David always loved the rain, so that would make him happy. It makes me worry about all the people who want to come to the viewing tonight. Wet roads are more dangerous, but I’m sure God will be watching over David’s friends and family as they come to say goodbye.

I’m dreading tonight. I’m trying to focus on the fact that so many of David and Austin’s friends will be there. I love those kids. David is the second senior to die from cancer at his high school this year. It’s been a tough year for them.

One of the things helping me get through today is the knowledge that David is happy now and that we can keep his memory alive. As his mother, I need to do that, but I have been truly touched by the other people who feel the need to do that as well. One of the most notable tributes is in this blog:
http://alexandamymoore.wordpress.com/tag/brain-cancer-a-month/

Please share this message. Wear grey this month – especially on May 22nd, which is Awareness Day. And hug those you love. This disease can strike anyone at any time. Don’t take your time for granted.

Letting Go

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I’ve put off writing this all day because somehow committing the words to page makes it more real. Late last night, our darling young man was called home to Jesus.

In the last few days, David had been less and less with us, slowly withdrawing into the world beyond this one. I thought he would just drift away from us without a real goodbye, and I was trying to come to grips with that. I should have known that David wouldn’t go out “quietly”.

Yesterday morning, after a few days of little, if any response, David started communicating with us again. He couldn’t really talk, but he could make sounds, and because his personality was always larger than life, we could easily identify a lot of what he was trying to tell us. He had a moment with each of his visitors yesterday, which included my parents, Austin, and his step sister.

His final moments were spent in the company of all four of his parents, surrounded by words of love. We had Celtic Women playing softly in the background in an effort to make him happy and relaxed.

There’s a lot I’d still like to share with the world about David. His earthly life may be over but his message still needs to be told. I’m afraid I’m a little too upset right now to be able to even attempt to do him justice, so I’m not going to try.

There have been many sweet notes posted on Facebook today, including one from Austin that spoke to their sweet relationship. I ask that prayers continue for her and his step siblings as they grapple with the loss of their brother. We know he is in a better place, but it is so sad to be the ones left behind.

For those of you who would like the details, the viewing will be Monday, May 14th from 5-8 pm. The funeral service will be outside at 3pm on Tuesday, May 15th at Laurel Hill Funeral Home.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to:
Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure

Please note that it is in memory of David Pearson. It is Brain Cancer Awareness Month, and I think there is no better way to get the word out than by celebrating the life of David.

No Easy Days

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Today was a difficult day, in a line of difficult days. Cancer tends to make life much harder than it should be.

To go into details would be hurtful to those I love, so let me just relate the lessons learned – or that should be learned:

1. People speak far more with their actions than they do their words.

2. One (or even a few) hurtful interactions should not erase thousands of truly loving ones.

3. You need all the love you can get in this world, but not if it comes with conditions. If someone really loves you, there are no strings.

4. If you really love someone, you will get joy from being with them in the good times. And if you abandon them in the rough times, it wasn’t really love.

5. You can feel more love from a person you have never met (that would be you, Jeanne & Alex) than from people who have known you half your life.

Be kind. And if you can’t be kind, be quiet. If you have to vent, do it to a person who can keep their mouth shut.

My heart hurts today for a number of reasons. Some can’t be fixed by any human, but some could. It’s just that those people chose to make the situation worse and not better.

A Few Other Thoughts

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There are a few other things I have been wanting to share with all of you. Since I magically have Internet at Mark’s house (1st time I’ve ever gotten it to work!) I thought I’d take advantage of it and post again.

This past weekend was the 15th Annual Race for Hope in DC. We participated last year, and it was our plan to participate this year. Unfortunately, David’s health was failing fast over the past week and we couldn’t attend as a family.

Austin was still able to go, though, and she was surrounded by about 30 friends from Spotless Mind and Stafford High School. They volunteered in honor of David. We are so proud of them all, but especially Austin. This is a really difficult time for her. She and David have always been very close, and 16 is too young to have to lose your brother. I hope that she will find that this was an excellent way to honor her brother and their sibling bond.

As an extended part of the Race for Hope, there was a “Head to the Hill” initiative to speak with Senators on behalf of brain tumor research. David had particularly been looking forward to that. One of his best friends, Catherine, took up that torch for us. She and her mom, Rebecca, spend the afternoon in DC today, and she and her father will go back tomorrow to advocate on behalf of the thousands of people fighting for their lives against brain cancer. David would be thrilled to know that Cat is using her special talent for arguing in such a positive way. Those Senators better watch out!

Needless to say, this has been an emotionally draining week (…month…year), but God has a way of sending you little things to bolster you. Today, among the many positive messages from family and friends, the thing that bolstered me was bailey. Bailey is a 16 week old Great Pyranese that lives in our apartment building. We have only recently seen her, and I didn’t know her owner’s name until today. We headed home so Richard could use the Internet briefly. When we pulled in to park, Bailey & Stephanie were walking in front of our car. I got out and was greeted by that sweet, unconditional puppy love. I wish somehow I could bring Bailey to David. She thinks she’s a lap dog, and I’m sure she would just lay right there with him with her clouds of wispy soft fur. As it was, I had to settle for her chomping on my fingers a little bit and telling them how great it was to have a moment of puppy love.

You never know when you might encounter someone who needs to hear what you have to say or who just needs a moment in your presence. Catherine had an appointment to make an impact. Stephanie & Bailey were just in the right place at the right time. Be open to those moments. Those are the things that make this life meaningful.

Fools & Faith

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I would rather appear foolish and have faith, than appear right and have none.

I wrote that this morning, and it sort of sums up my feelings about this whole cancer thing. People have accused me, at times rather harshly, of not dealing with the reality of this situation. Those people must not know my God. My God is a healer and a miracle maker. He can do all things. So I have held out hope that He would give us a miracle. Some think that is foolish. I feel sorry for them.

God had a different plan for David than what I had hoped for. It makes me unbearably sad. As much as everyone else loves David, they can’t know what it has been like to have that unconditional love for 18 wonderful years. He has been a blessing every day. From a chubby baby through adolescence and into the beginnings of adulthood, he would always share openly of himself – his emotions, his thoughts, his dreams.

I think parents love their children, but it is a special gift if you just genuinely like them, too. I have only grown to like David more over the years, and I’m glad that many of you have expressed the same sentiment. He would say he loves you all.

David hasn’t spoken since Saturday, and he hadn’t really responded to much since Sunday morning. We’ve sat with him and shared time with him since then, but he is less with us each moment.

It is a horribly difficult time, and for me, it is complicated by being in someone else’s house. While I sit trying to soak up the little remaining time with this sweet young man, life marches on in the house above. Laughter wafts down frequently, and I find myself resentful that the world doesn’t stop and hold its breath with me. But I know David wouldn’t be resentful. He wouldn’t want anyone to be even the slightest bit inconvenienced by him. I aspire to be half as nice as my son is.