Saturday, August 29, 2009

Birthdays, Gifts, and Little Things

Today is Bryan's 32nd birthday. Caleb and Joel came to the hospital with my mom and the Thiels (my aunt, uncle, and 2 college-aged cousins) to celebrate. They set up a table in the cafeteria with subs, birthday plates, and cake and brought some presents and cards. The hospital clowns came over and sang to Bryan, and Caleb and Joel thought they were pretty silly. It was a nice time to celebrate Bryan.

After lunch we brought Caleb and Joel back up to see Samuel again for a few minutes. Before we came back, we told them that Samuel is getting sicker, and doctors don't think he will get better. We explained that if he doesn't get better, he will go to Heaven to be with God and Jesus. Caleb replied, "I'm a little bit sad about that." We told him we were too. We spent about 10 minutes with Samuel and sang him some songs, and then we four prayed over him. Joel wanted to kiss him and hold his hand, but Caleb was more reserved. Afterwards, while Bryan and I played hide-and-seek with C & J in garden, the Thiels got to come back and see Samuel too.

Richard, our favorite nurse, is taking care of Samuel today. When we came in this morning, he said, "Samuel told me he wants to give his brothers a truck or something. I thought I would go down to the gift store and get them an ambulance and a fire truck. Would that be okay?" More kindness. I am continually moved by the kindnesses of others. Richard brought us the cars in gift bags and then gave us stickers and markers to decorate them. They were a huge hit with Caleb and Joel, and they love their gifts from their baby brother. And our night nurse from last night made a card that hangs at the front of Samuel's bed. It says, "Happy Birthday, Daddy," and inside it reads, "I love you! Love, Samuel." Richard thought to add Samuel's handprint to the card. Even more kindness. And yesterday I was so tired, I was falling asleep while reading aloud to Samuel and Bryan. Our nurse, Mary Beth, took me for a walk through the employee part of the hospital and bought me a fancy coffee from the coffee shop downstairs. How do these nurses and hospital staff have the emotional space to enter into our pain and love us so kindly in it? I would expect them to keep their distance and protect their own hearts. It is a continual blessing to feel so cared for by these new friends and wonderful people.

Samuel is much the same today. He seems to have a new steady status where his numbers hover. Each morning they do lab work, and his numbers indicating liver and kidney failure continue to creep up.

We consider each day with Samuel as a gift. They are days we will never get back, and I try to cherish and enjoy each one we get. As I rejoice in the life of my son, all the little stuff of life becomes just that: little. In light of life and death and making each moment count and loving Samuel just as he is, I can let the little stuff stay little. Down the road, I hope I remember what really matters. And I hope I can remember that each day is a chance to follow God and rest in Him, a chance to truly love and embrace the people in my life, a chance to rejoice in what God has given me. Today we rejoice in Bryan's life and in Samuel's life. Thank you, Lord, for granting me such amazing boys to love. And thank you for this day with them.


  1. Thankful with you for this day where you have been able to celebrate Bryan's birthday in a special way. So thankful that the boys got to be there and celebrate and see their brother again. Thankful for Richard and the other nurses and drs who have been so kind to you. We continue to pray. We love you guys.

  2. So thankful for the wonderful hospital staff that you are surrounded by. It is wonderful that Caleb and Joel have been able to see Samuel again; that is such a blessing. Praying for you all.

  3. Happy Birthday Bry! I was praying that this would be a special, joyous day for you. Special blessings on you today!

    Say hi to Caleb and Joel for me. I wonder if they remember Kiley, John, and Anna....

    Lots of love, Ki

  4. What sweet memories.
    Happy birthday Brian!

  5. I teach with Karyn and my heart has been so touched with the stories of Samuel. We will be praying for little Samuel each and every day!

  6. Dear K & B, It may sometimes seem that all of the swirling information is so much to process, the prayers so many to keep track of, the changing layers of feelings so complex to sort out! In my most critical times of need, of fear, of pain and loss, and even of overwhelming amazement and gratitude at a miracle plead for and answered, when I have not known, could not choose which words to pray, I have found utter peace, comfort and confidence in something a beautiful, beautiful holy man once reassuringly counseled me: "It is as simple as a prayer, 'Your will be done.'" Of course, God, only, knows what is best; God, only, loves us perfectly; God, only, can know all the parts of the most incredible story, His Word, so incredible that He can only tell us parts. This total letting go of having to know or do what is best, gave me the healing freedom to feel everything 100%, to give over all pain, fear, exhaustion and heavy feeling of responsibility to Jesus, and to become again a little girl, myself, in God's lap, asking confidently, "Do me, please." I fancy that God's lap must feel like softly worn, warm flannel. I am just sure it must! This is my simple prayer for you and Samuel, "Your will be done." It must surely be the best prayer in the wold, and I offer it in the hope that it may simplify, may comfort you, may relieve you, in much the same way that it so often does for me. My thoughts, my heart, my prayers are for you and your family. So much love, Mary

  7. I'm so glad you can find joy in these days. I'm so happy for you in that. My thoughts and prayers are always with you and your boys. I love you, we all love you, God loves you. I wish you peace and courage and strength.
    -Cousin Jenny

  8. I am so glad you were all there to celebrate Bryan today. What a beautiful memory to have together. It is wonderful that Caleb & Joel were able to spend some time with Samuel as well. My heart just hurts thinking of the conversation you had to have with the boys today. There are no words to express my heartfelt love and prayerful heart for you all. Samuel has touched my heart ... for a lifetime ... just like his mom and dad:o) Prayers ... prayers ... and love for you today and always!!!!!!

    Much Love,

  9. Happy Birthday, Bryan! We know this is a day you will always cherish. You and your family are sll in our prayers.


    Joe and Emily

  10. Bryan and Kathryn,

    It was a blessing seeing you guys today. It continues to blow my mind seeing your attitude of thanksgiving and joy in the midst of such a tough situation. Caleb Joel and Sam are so blessed to have you leading and watching over them. Thank you for your openness on this blog... as my mom says, "its like reading a devotional." The Lord is working through you. I love you both... so much.


  11. Happy Birthday to a wonderful father, husband, and just an amazing guy all around. So thankful to the Lord that he blessed my dear dear friend with the perfect partner to walk alongside her in every season. I'm so thankful for a wonderful family day. I am praying for each of your little ones in every way I can think of and each way I can determine from your posts.... I cannot wait for the day to physically hold and love on each of you. Our prayers continue. So much love.