Dan and I were discussing business promotion, possible publishers for my book, and what-not and the focus was on how difficult everything is for us, how everything is such a long haul climb and how we hope, with our help, life is a little easier for our children. At the same time we were counting our Blessings and relishing in the fact that every one of our children is healthy and really that is wealth above and beyond anything that money can buy.
We have been involved in a Novena for months now in prayer for several children we know with very rare forms of cancer, one of these children is little 7 year old Kate Mcrae. I receive journal updates from her mother once or twice per week and they are desperate in their prayer that God will undeniably heal their precious child. I pray with this mom in spirit daily. They are in unchartered territory in terms of treatment and they agonize over their decisions.
That’s when Dan said the most profound thing I’ve ever heard, “I don’t want to have real problems.” I sat there stunned. No kidding. I remember Oct 8, 2004. It was late, we were packing for a trip to go meet my birth sister and her family for a camping trip. We finished loading the car and went to retrieve our sleeping kids because in our infinite wisdom we believed travelling at night would be easiest for the kids. It was either Dan or I who brought Kenny out and placed him in the car. Dan was fixing the TV, adjusting it and I went back in the house to retrieve more children. The next thing I knew Dan was yelling my name. I could tell instantly by Dan’s tone it wasn’t good and I froze. He kept calling and I ran up the stairs to find him holding Kenny in his arms. Kenny was moaning, he never lost consciousness, but he was definitely not acting normal. He had fallen our of the car and smacked his head on the concrete drive. (This is where intense guilt and shame flood my body. It is the most ultimate fail moment of my life, please have compassion and not berate me, I get sick to my stomach simply thinking about this horrible moment).
I did what I always do. I cradled him for a few minutes and then tried to distract him with ice pops and candy. He wanted nothing to do with it. I knew then this was serious. We carried him to our bed and laid with him, I was able to awake him easily every few minutes, again he never lost consciousness, but then he threw up. I scooped up my 4 year old baby and grabbed my oldest daughter Kerry and we drove mach speed to the hospital. This was the worst moment of my life and it still is today, my poor little Kenny. They took him for a CT Scan and came back and told me he had a small brain bleed. I threw up. We had to be ambulanced to a hospital 1.5 hrs west where there was a pediatric neurological surgeon. I prayed non-stop the entire way. This was a 4 year old little boy who counted on us to keep him safe. My poor baby lay sleeping in the back of the ambulance, in pain and no doubt frightened.
St. Mary’s hospital is a Catholic hospital and I felt comforted by this fact. The surgeon was appalled that I had let something like this happen to my child and I could do nothing but agree when he laid into me. I was a wreck, he didn’t say anything I didn’t already believe. I didn’t leave Kenny’s side and I didn’t stop praying. We settled in ICU and we had the most amazing nurse I’ve ever met … he was an angel. He asked if I wanted to have a Minister come pray with me. I said absolutely. The minister came, placed his hands and mine over Kenny and said, “God our Father, You state in Matthew 18:20, ‘When two or more are gathered, Thy will be done’, this boy’s mother and I and his entire family and many many more are praying that he be healed. When he is healed his parents will go forth and tell the world of your miracle.” Call me crazy, but I felt God’s presence, I felt His love, I knew right then Kenny would be OK.
Then two more amazing things happened. I looked up and saw a picture on the wall. Pink matting, gold frame and a white lily. The name KENNY was printed underneath. I pointed this out to the nurse and he said verbatim, “I’ve never seen that before.” Then he came to bring me and Kenny for another CT Scan. He knew I hadn’t stopped praying, he said, “Don’t pray that the bleed is gone, these things don’t get better that fast, just pray that it hasn’t gotten worse.” Everyone who knows me knows I don’t work that way … I pray big. I kept praying that it was simply gone. The doctors were floored. It had indeed disappeared. I kid you not. The doctors called our hospital, they compared notes, they compared scans, they brought me back to where they were viewing it all and they said, “We have never seen anything like this before. This is simply not possible.”
Kenny was healed. Later that day, Dan marched through ICU with 6 kids and a cooler, the other nurses stood up to speak but were shocked. The kids gave Kenny pictures they had drawn and balloons and, for the first time since this horrible ordeal began the night before, Kenny sat up and spoke!! I remember every single emotion, detail, smell, person … everything. I remember I was caught up in the possible purchase of a friends home, the financing, the logistics, I was consumed with the thought of money. I said in prayer, that I didn’t care if we lived in a box, if we lived in the woods, I didn’t care what happened to us as long as Kenny was ok. If he was ok, then we could get through anything. Dan and I often recall these feelings and this belief when we feel as though we are getting sucked back into the rat race. We know that nothing matters except our family’s well being — we’ll never go back to fretting over the petty things.
Surely families faced with terminal diseases, the possibility of their children or their spouse dying, wish their biggest concerns were finding the best schools for their children or finding employment or even the possibility of losing their home. It’s remarkable how little else matters when life is threatened. I’ve been touched by fear so great that I feel guilty complaining about anything. Lost jobs, lost homes, lost income, nothing is worthy of complaint if you know one family suffering over the illness of a beloved child.
Please join us in praying for young sweet Kate Mcrae, her family, her parents and her doctors. Count yourselves extremely blessed if your family is healthy as you’d be shocked how miniscule the issues you believe to be so big and daunting would be if you were faced with death. I don’t want to have real problems either.