"For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling; I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living." Psalm 116:8&9

Monday, December 12, 2011

Saying Goodbye

“Saying goodbye, why is it sad? Makes us remember the good times we’ve had.” - from The Muppets Take Manhattan

This month seems to be a month of saying goodbye. Already, I’ve had to say goodbye to two of my closest friends as they have moved away. And on Friday, I’ll say goodbye to another.

These aren’t just basic friends. These are people who have touched my life in a deep, sweet way. In fact, it seems shallow to call them friends – they aren’t friends any more. They’re family.

These are the friends that have been there for all of the big moments of my adulthood. We all had children at the same time and we figured out how to raise them (…not kill them) together. These are the friends who visit you in the hospital when you have a baby, come to all of your kids’ birthday parties (even when the Cowboys are playing), help you stay sane when your kid is up all night for weeks and celebrate every silly milestone you have as a parent.

These are the friends who study the Bible with you, pray with you, encourage you with the truth of Scripture and hold you accountable (even in messy, painful situations). They point you to Jesus – over and over again.

These are the friends who walk through the most painful situations of your life with you. They keep your kids for days while your husband is dying in the hospital, cry with you and pray with you in the middle of the night, celebrate all of those awkward and painful “first” holidays and anniversaries with you, sit with you while your child is in surgery, come home early from Christmas with their families when the doctor tells you your son has cancer and celebrate like crazy when the doctor calls back and says a mistake was made – there is no cancer.

These are the friends whose husbands love your family so much they agree to coach your kid’s soccer team, teach your son how to ride a bike, sell your car to protect you from creepy strangers, manage contractors so you don’t get taken advantage of and dress up in silly costumes so a bunch of five-year-old “super heroes” can attack them at a birthday party.

These are the people that God puts in your life to give you a glimpse of what His love for you is like.

This month I have to say goodbye to these special friends. And it is so sad. But with the tears that come with saying goodbye there is also overwhelming gratitude. I am so thankful for each precious moment God allowed me to share with them. I am thankful for how they have taught me and shaped me through all of the good and bad moments we have faced together. And above all, I am thankful that God loves and cares for me so much that He gave me these friends to share life with.

So, we say goodbye. We know that distance may separate bodies but it cannot separate hearts. We trust that God will provide new friends to encourage us and walk with us in this next stage of life. And we say “thank you” for the gift of friendship.

“Somehow I know we’ll meet again. Not sure quite where and I don’t know just when. You’re in my heart, so until then - it’s time for saying goodbye.”

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Moving Forward & Pausing to Look Back

At the end of this summer, the kids and I took our first vacation as a family of 3. We went on vacation last year, but took my parents along for help. This year, I decided it was time to own our new life and braved it alone. There were lots of people who didn't understand and were concerned about us going on vacation alone. Would we be safe? Would we have fun? What if I needed help? I understood these concerns - I had them myself. But after a year and a half of being a single mom, I decided it was time to take this next step.

We went to San Antonio with the sole intent of going to Sea World. We love Sea World. In fact, it was the last vacation we took with Barry. That trip was one of the sweetest memories I have of us as a family of four. Going back to San Antonio was safe and easy - I knew where to stay, how to plan our days. So, I packed us up and headed out for a new adventure and new memories.

Our trip was wonderful. I could not have asked for more. The kids had a blast. William and Layla fed sea lions, seals and dolphins. William even found the courage to pet a dolphin! (It may or may not have taken 3 days to build up the courage...). On the first day, Layla was terrified of the Shamu show. By the last day, she was begging to go back and cheering. We went to the water park. The kids ate funnel cake for the first time and William loved it. Layla was fascinated by the penguins and William insisted on seeing the sharks every day. We laughed and played and explored and had the best time.

While there were so many wonderful moments, there were also some painful moments as well. On our first day, we went to the pool at our hotel. We stayed in the same hotel as our trip with Barry. As we walked out to the pool, William screamed, "Momma! I swam in this pool with my daddy! I pushed him under the water right there." It was a bittersweet moment. I remember that day. I remember them playing and laughing . And I wish William could swim with his daddy again. We miss him. But it was also so sweet to see how God is continuing to answer our prayers for William. After Barry died, so many people prayed that God would seal memories of Barry in his heart and help him remember his daddy. God has answered those prayers. William remembers. And I think that going back to that place and remembering has helped to strengthen that memory. As we watched the sharks at Sea World, we missed daddy. William missed having his daddy there. I missed Barry as William asked me what kind of sharks they were and I didn't know the answer. And I wished that Barry could see the awe William and Layla both had in watching their daddy's favorite animal.

As I reflected on our trip during the drive home, I felt a great sense of peace and gratitude. I was thankful for the for the blessing of getting to have adventures with my kids. For the ability to laugh and play. For the strength to not just endure life, but to enjoy it and move forward. I realized just how far God had brought us over the last 18 months. And I was thankful that while we were creating new memories, God let me look back at old memories with deep joy and peace. Our life with Barry was precious and good. And even though we miss him, our life without him is also precious and good. How amazing.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

New Soap Day

My husband was a complex man. Most people only saw the public side of him: the preacher, counselor, church planter. He was passionate, worked hard and took his calling seriously. But behind that man was the funniest, sweetest man I have ever met. He made life fun. He was that guy you pull up next to who is singing to the radio at the top of his lungs. He was the guy who loved cheesy kid movies like Sky High and Because of Winn Dixie. He never failed to make me laugh – every single day. He enjoyed life and he showed me how to enjoy life.

Barry was also a man of habit. He liked certain things certain ways. One thing he was very particular about was the soap he used. He only used bar soap. No liquid soap. And it had to be Irish Spring. The good thing about bar soap is that it lasts a long time. A very long time … But every so often a beautiful thing would occur. Barry called it “New Soap Day.” It was the day you got to throw away that little cracked sliver of old soap and open a new box of Irish Spring. It was a glorious day. It did not matter what was happening that day – no matter how stressful or painful. Everything was going to be okay because it was new soap day. It sounds silly, but new soap day made him happy. He delighted in it. And it made me happy, because it was fun to watch him enjoy new soap day.

A couple of months ago, I came to an interesting realization. In the last 16 months, I have learned a lot in this new life I live. In regards to learning to walk in the land of the living (Psalm 116:9), I feel like I have done well. I’ve learned to manage our household and our family. I’ve taken big steps. God has been faithful and generous. But I realized that I have forgotten something vitally important. I have forgotten how to have fun. How to be playful. How to laugh – really laugh. And in talking through this with a friend, she asked me what I found delight in. Guess what? I didn’t really have an answer.

Don’t misunderstand. I am content. I am joyful. In fact, I think I have experienced a contentment and joy that most people don’t ever experience. Walking through the darkest of circumstances can show you how bright and good life really is in Jesus. But being content and joyful are different from having fun. And while fun is fleeting, the Bible tells us that God created us for delight. He wants us to enjoy life. He wants us to experience pleasure. He is the creator and giver of those things. And while suffering and grief are a part of life, they are not the only part. They don’t overtake everything. I can still have fun. I can still be silly. I can still laugh so hard I cry. So, while I have temporarily forgotten how to have fun, I am on a quest to relearn the art.

So, here’s to finding my equivalent to “New Soap Day.” To finding delight in the little things. To enjoying the life that God has given me – not surviving it, but really enjoying it. What God has given is so good – may my attitude and actions reflect it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

An Update on William

A few weeks ago, William had another MRI to monitor the size of the mass in his leg. This was something his oncologist wanted to do in order to confirm his diagnosis. If the mass had stayed the same size or gotten smaller, it would confirm his second diagnosis of heterotopic ossification (excess bone in his leg resulting from the original fracture). If it had grown, it would confirm the original diagnosis of osteosarcoma. So, off we went to Medical City Dallas Children's Hospital for 7 hours of fun and testing.

To be honest, my heart was full of angst about this MRI. Logically, I knew there was nothing to worry about. Just by looking at William's leg, I knew the mass had gotten smaller. He had regained all of his range of motion and was walking, running and jumping like any other 4-year-old. (Thank you for all the PT, Melissa!!!) And, while sedating him for the MRI isn't exactly fun, I knew he wouldn't have any allergic reactions to the anesthesia. But logic doesn't always rule my heart. Sometimes, fear and worry does. There's a little voice that whispers, "What if ..."

I hate that voice.

Leading up to this MRI, the Lord literally put a song in my heart. It was like a having a CD stuck on repeat in my head all day and all night. It was a song that I knew and believed. And yet in my belief, I needed to be reminded of this truth continually.

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him.
How I've proved Him o'er and o'er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus
Oh for grace to trust Him more.

This song reminded me of the father of the boy with an unclean spirit in Mark 9. His exclamation of, "I believe; help my unbelief!" is exactly how I was feeling. I believed that God had shown us great compassion by sparing William of cancer in December. I believed that God was working all things for our good and for His glory. I believed that God loved us deeply and would carry us through what ever trials He brought our way. But doubt still sneaks in. The lie that Adam and Eve believed in the garden is still whispered to me today. Despite the beautiful work I have seen God do over the last 16 months in the Keldie family, I still need the Holy Spirit to speak truth that drowns out that lie. I need grace to trust God more.

Oh, how He gives grace. William's MRI went exceptionally well. He was brave. He was excited to go the hospital - he loves the play room. Even when he found out he had to "take a short nap" (what he calls being put to sleep), the tears were only momentary. We had the best anesthesiologist we've had yet. William woke up from the MRI well - no terror and sobbing like last time. And even more importantly, we got the best news we could have gotten. The mass in his leg has shrunk. In fact, the oncologist was surprised and extremely happy about how much it had shrunk. Any question as to William having cancer was destroyed. His leg is doing so well that, unless a complication comes up, he won't have surgery to remove the mass until he is in middle school. Originally, we were told he would have to have surgery next year. And the icing on the cake of our good news - no more MRIs. All monitoring of the mass can now be done with x-rays.

Over the last 16 months, we've faced some horrible things. And yet, every single step of the way, God has been generous and faithful. With every heartache and tragedy, He has poured out blessings. He has sent the Holy Spirit to comfort and uphold our faith - to help my unbelief. I am so thankful.

I'm so glad I've learned to trust Him
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend
And I know that He is with me
Will be with me to the end.

Friday, April 15, 2011


Earlier this year, one of my favorite pastors preached a sermon on heaven. It was the best sermon on the subject I've heard.

You should listen to it.

It will encourage, inspire, challenge and comfort you. But most importantly, it will raise your view of Jesus.

You can listen to it or download it here. Type in "Josh Patterson" in the search bar and select the message from Januray 2, 2011 entitled 2 Corinthians 5:1-10.

May we all long for heaven more, knowing that being in the presence of the Lord far surpasses any earthly thing. Come, Lord Jesus, Come.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Layla's Birthday

Layla turned two this weekend. While I'm a big believer in celebrating birthdays, I'm not a big believer in over-the-top birthday parties, especially for two-year-olds. I understand the one-year-old birthday parties. There is much to be celebrated in conquering that first year of life - especially for mommy! And I understand birthday parties for 3, 4 and 5 year-olds. Those kids are old enough to know what is going on and enjoy/remember it. But the two-year-old party is different. The child doesn't really understand what is going on. There is usually a beautiful melt-down caused by too much sugar and over-stimulation. And they don't remember it. So, my old self would not have had a party for Layla this year. But the new me decided to throw a party.

Layla's birthday is exactly one week after Barry's death. So last year, Layla celebrated her one-year-old birthday with a mommy who was a complete and total disaster. I don't remember much of the day. What I do remember is this: my friend made Layla a cake, the presents she opened were not from me, and I cried - a lot. There wasn't a celebration of Layla, there was just grief. And it was so sad, because there is much to be celebrated in Layla. When God gave me her, He gave me a glimpse of what eternal joy will be like. Her tiny little body is full of joy and love. So this year, it was important for me to celebrate her. To celebrate all that God has blessed me with in her. To celebrate that during her first year of life, she had a daddy who adored her and in her second year of life, she had a heavenly father who protected her and blessed her in a beautiful way.

Saturday, we had a birthday party for Layla. It was small - just family and her two little friends. It was the first time I had a party at my house since Barry passed away. The kids played in a bounce house in the back yard. We had good food and laughed. There was no pressure for everything to be perfect. But, everything was perfect. Layla and I were surrounded by our favorite people, rejoicing in the precious life that is Layla Joy. It was another sweet picture of God continuing to heal and restore our family. I am thankful. (And fully aware that she won't remember a second of it... but I will!)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

One Year

Today is the one year anniversary of Barry's death. All week long, my mind has been flooded with memories of the events that took place at this time last year. It has been painful. Many tears have been shed. And yet, over and over again, I have found great comfort and strength in remembering how the Lord worked in my life last year.

In the weeks leading up to Barry's death, God was preparing my heart for what was coming. A dear friend encouraged me to read A Sweet and Bitter Providence by John Piper. My time in the Scriptures was incredibly rich and challenging. Friends were very present in our lives, loving and encouraging us. And once Barry went into the hospital, my mind began to recall passages of Scripture and the promises of God in a very vivid and powerful way. It was obvious that the Holy Spirit was pouring the truth of who God was over me - giving me strength and hope in the most difficult moment of my life.

So, in remembering everything that happened last year, I have found myself grieving and rejoicing all at once. I have been grieving over the tragedy that occurred, but rejoicing over the generosity of God in carrying me through it.

At the same time this week, God has also been reminding me of His generosity to send the Holy Spirit to comfort me. While conversations and details of what occurred last year are blurry, I can remember the exact timing of significant events - when we called 911, when he was transfered to ICU, when the aneurysm occurred, etc. At those times this year, the Holy Spirit was overwhelmingly generous to encourage me. He moved in the hearts of others to call, text and email at those exact times. They had no clue that they were calling to comfort me at the exact time I was grieving significant events. During the most difficult of those moments this year, literally at the exact minute, I received a very compassionate email and my doorbell rang with a delivery of flowers. Not only is God faithful to give us what we need, He is also overwhelming generous to bless us.

Before losing Barry and walking through this last year of grief, if someone had said the same things I am saying here, I would have smiled politely and commented on the goodness of God, all the while wondering how much was the work of the Holy Spirit and how much was just coincidence. Now, it seems so obvious - God is intimately and intricately involved in the lives of His children. He knows our pain and our weakness and He acts with compassion toward us.

One thing I am confident of - until God calls me home, my life here on earth will continue to be filled with difficulty and pain. It is the result of sin and living in a fallen world. But God is generous in each moment. He not only provided me with Jesus, whose death gave me the ability to be reconciled to Him, but He gave me the Holy Spirit, who reveals, directs and comforts me along the way.

Tonight as I remember the amazing life of my sweet husband, I am thankful. Thankful for each moment with him. Thankful for how he pointed me to Jesus. Thankful for how God blessed me with Barry and how He continues to bless me with Himself.

And just because I can, a picture of us in Israel...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Feeling Loved

This week was Valentines Day. To be honest, Valentines Day was never a big deal for Barry and I. We celebrated our anniversary 4 weeks after Christmas, so when Valentines Day came just 3 weeks after that, it never seemed to be a big deal.  

This year, God continued to be very generous in providing sweet, thoughtful friends to love me and encourage me as I celebrated another "first" holiday without Barry. A friend handmade beautiful Valentines with scripture on them for the kids and I. She even decorated William's with dinosaurs - he LOVED it. Another friend got me a beautiful wall hanging asa gift. And several people emailed or texted to encourage me. Over and over again, they said the same phrase: "I just want you to feel loved today." And I did.

As I sat reflecting on the day Monday night, I realized something very sweet. Yes, I did feel loved by thoughtful friends. And they brightened my day. But, if no one had remembered me, if no one had called, if no one had said a word, I would still have felt very loved. I am confident I always will. Barry loved me deeply and passionately. He constantly found ways to show me how much he loved me - not just on holidays, but everyday. He spoke love over me. He showed me he loved me through gifts, touch, and actions. He wrote me hundreds of love poems. And he continually did the most loving thing any husband can do for his wife - he pointed me to Jesus every day.  

My heart is full. I feel deeply and perfectly loved by God, who has sustained and blessed me throughout the last year. I feel loved by compassionate friends who encourage me daily. And for the rest of my life, I will feel loved by Barry, despite his physical absence.  He loved me well. I am so thankful...

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Reflections on Ice

There was a big ice storm in Texas this last week. Most of the country would have continued life as usual, but here in the lovely state of Texas, life came to a screeching halt. From Monday evening until Saturday evening, we could not (or rather would not..) leave the house. Schools were canceled, businesses were closed, life seemed to pause for a few short days. 

As a widow/ single mom, life is different than it used to be. Most days are okay. (By okay, I mean productive, with little drama, leaving me feeling content - but shy of happy.) I am thankful that most days are okay. Some days are sad. Some days are stressful. Some days are lonely. Some days are overwhelming. But most days are okay. Very rarely are my days angry. But let God throw some snow and ice on the ground, and I begin to battle anger. Sorry to be so blunt, but it is the truth.  

On the surface my anger stems from silly things. I HATE to build the snowman for my kids. They are too young to build one yet, but insist on having one, so I endure burning cold hands to build them one. With small kids, your somewhat trapped in the house when the weather is bad. I can't send my husband to the store if we need something. Either we all go, or we go without. And, it is now my job to do those fun chores of scrapping ice off the car, porch and driveway. I know it seems sexist, but I really think that's a man's job - not mine!  

But during the last week, I have realized that God has been doing a very quiet, very sweet work of healing in my heart. When I woke up to ice on Tuesday morning, I wasn't angry. (Maybe it had something to do with not having to build a snowman - I'll take that small victory!) Instead, I was thankful that we had a warm house, full of food to enjoy the day in. When the power went out, after a brief moment of panic, I made a plan for what to do if it stayed off for too long. When people started saying their pipes were frozen, I found my home repair book and figured out how to quickly turn off our water, should we need to. All of these things would have made me angry a few months ago. I would have been angry that I had to do those things on my own, angry that Barry was gone. But, I feel like now it is time to learn those things and own my new role as the head of our family. I am sad he's gone and wish he were here to protect and provide for us in those ways. But I have learned that I am capable of doing those things. And I don't do them alone...

This week, God showed me that He will provide help for me. I have amazing friends. Friends who love me and the kids. Friends who loved Barry. Friends who know how Barry felt about the Biblical role of men and women. Friends who have stepped in to help during the last year. Friends who remembered us this week. Friends who called to check and make sure we were okay. Friends who offered to go to the store for us. It wasn't anything big. It never took them more than a phone call and a few minutes of time. But for me, knowing that they remembered and cared made me not feel so alone. So instead of angry, I found myself thankful. Thankful for friends. Thankful for a week of uninterrupted time to play and enjoy my kids.

So, for my fellow Texans - I hope you enjoyed the ice. I hope you had sweet moments with your families and recognized the generous provision of God in sending ice to slow us down. For my fellow friends walking the long road of grief  - know that the road gets a little easier and you don't have to walk it alone.  

And finally, for my daddy - thanks for driving thirty minutes to come help me scrap ice off my driveway! It is not a fun or easy job. I am thankful that God blessed me with such a generous and faithful daddy. Every day of my life, you have pointed me to God through your actions. I am thankful. And hopefully, William can help us out soon...

Is a four-year-old old enough to shovel snow????

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

An Unexpected Response

I so desperately want to share with you what God did in my heart during the time between William's biopsy and when we got the second opinion back that his tumor was benign. It is not a pretty story. In fact, it is the darkest time I have ever experienced. And it is not an easy thing to share - no one wants to admit their weaknesses. Hopefully, this will all make sense...

When Barry was in the hospital and in the days after he passed away, I had never felt so loved and covered by God. I realize that may sound crazy, but it is true. In the weeks prior to his death, God had stripped me down and revealed a major idol in my life that I had been blind to. It was excruciating, but God was showing me through the pain just how much better He was than even the best things in my life. As I said goodbye to the man I loved most in the world, I felt the arms of God wrap tightly around me and carry me through everything. Please don't misunderstand - the grief was incredibly painful. During those first few days, it was not my goal to make it through the day or even the next hour. I was just trying to survive the next five minutes. But in that pain, I knew God was there, helping me breathe, helping me hold on. I wasn't angry. I did not doubt that he loved me. I knew He was taking care of me.  

As the weeks and months passed, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the generous way that God was working in my heart and life. I was confident in Him and His plan for me. I faced a lot of challenges in the months since losing Barry, but God has protected me and continued to carry me through them. So, when William fractured his leg, I wasn't afraid or overwhelmed. I knew God would take care of him. And when the cast came off and the doctor told me there was a tumor, I wasn't afraid. I knew God would take care of him. And when William had his MRI, I wasn't afraid. I knew God would take care of him. But when the oncologist started talking about cancer and chemo, the fear came rushing in. To be honest, it was specifically when they told me about putting in the port for future treatment that I began to really be afraid.  

I don't think any parent is surprised that I was afraid. And I wasn't embarrassed to admit that I was afraid. But lurking underneath the fear was something that I did not want to admit was there. Not to myself or anyone else. I was angry.  

It had been nine months since Barry had died. Nine months. We were getting ready for Christmas. Christmas was supposed to be hard - it was our first Christmas without Barry. It was not supposed to be hard for fear of cancer in my 4-year-old. I spent a lot of Christmas wondering if it would be my first without my husband and my last with my son. Hadn't I suffered enough? Sure, I knew that life would have more suffering, but could it wait a little while? Like another month? Year? Decade? A very quiet anger was gnawing at my soul.  

But I didn't want to admit I was angry. Because I knew where that anger came from and I hated its source. My anger came from the sin of entitlement. I felt entitled to a little peace and comfort. Not comfort in the way most see comfort. Not in money or things. But I did feel entitled to the comfort that comes from not being in the middle of grief and crisis for a season. And I asked the question that I hated myself for asking, "Does God really love me?" Because, in the midst of my anger and pain, I doubted His love. What a slap in the face to the God whose very nature is the definition of love. Thankfully, He's big enough to face my ridiculous, insulting questions.  

God, being rich in mercy, only allowed me to think my son had cancer for three days. I know there is much more going on than what I can see right now. God has been working all of this for His glory and for our good. One thing I do know, one of the reasons He allowed for us to have to wait on biopsy results and then receive bad results was to show me some areas of sin that needed to be removed from my heart. And as painful and ugly as it has been, I am thankful that He didn't just allow me to stay stagnant in my sin. That's real love...

On the night the oncologist called to tell me the tumor was benign, I was on my way to have dinner with two of my closets friends. I called them on the way there to tell them the good news. We met. We celebrated. We had a good time. But they were confused by my countenance. I wasn't bubbly, excited and cheerful. I was thankful and relieved. But I was also very aware of what I desperately needed to do next. I needed to fall on my knees, confess the sin that was torturing me and allow God to heal me of it. It was not exactly what you would expect a response to such sweet news to be.  

So why am I telling you this? My pride would much rather me keep it to myself. But I know two things: First, there is freedom in honesty and confession. I do not need to confess my sin to you. But in letting light in on the dark parts of my heart, I continue to put sin to death and heal. Secondly, what I have faced in the last 10 months is nothing compared to what others face. Yes, I am a widow. Yes, we face some challenges. But so many people out there face so much more. And so many face tragedy without the hope and love found in Jesus.  

So, for those of you out there just trying to make it through the next five minutes...
For those who are angry...
For those who feel abandoned and alone...
For those who wonder, "Does God really love me?"...

He loves you. He sees your pain. He knows your fears. He knows your sin. And He loves you. We are not entitled to anything but death and separation from Him. But God, being rich in mercy, gave us Jesus and salvation. Trust in the cross. Find your comfort in the cross. Find your confidence in the cross. If you look to the cross, you will find all you need.

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
Because you are precious in my eyes,
and honored, and I LOVE YOU." (emphasis mine)
Isaiah 43:1-4

Friday, January 7, 2011

William in November

On November 2, William fractured his femur. On December 3, his orthopedic specialist told me he had developed a tumor that we needed to see an oncologist about. On December 13, we met with the oncologist who told me he was "very concerned" and wanted William to have an MRI. On December 14, William was put under general anesthesia and had an MRI. On December 18, the oncologist scheduled a biopsy to determine if the tumor was benign or malignant. On December 22, William again underwent general anesthesia to have the biopsy. If the tumor was malignant, a pediatric surgeon would place a port in William's chest for future treatment. The biopsy result were inconclusive, so we waited for 7 days for results.  

On December 28, we met with William's oncologist for the results of the biopsy. By this time, I was in a very dark place. I suspected the tumor was malignant. The pathology report told us that William had osteosarcoma, bone cancer. I was absolutely heart broken. Nine months earlier, my husband had died. Now, the doctor was telling me my son had cancer. Really?!?! My mind immediately clicked into action mode. Time to fight. But the doctor wanted a second opinion. For some reason, he was skeptical of the diagnosis. He sent everything to the Mayo Clinic and told us to wait another (ANOTHER!) week for the results.  

On December 30, at 6pm, my phone rang. It was the oncologist. The second pathology report had just come in and William did not have bone cancer! He told me we would meet the next week to discuss treatment.  
William has heterotopic ossification. When he fractured his femur, his body responded to the trauma by producing bone where there should not be bone. Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done to treat it for the next 12-18 months. If we tried to remove it during that time, it would just come back. So we wait. For a year. Then, William will have surgery to remove all of the new/unwanted bone.  

After being told your son has cancer, I think they could have told me that he had an alien living inside his leg and I would have been overjoyed.  I am thankful.  Thankful that he doesn't need a port and chemo. Thankful that we don't have to fight cancer. Thankful that God heard the prayers of hundreds of people and had compassion on us.  

During the last year I have become very confident in two things: First, my God is big and he is generous. He is sovereign over all that has happened and generous to walk through it all with us. He gives strength to face challenges and brings healing.  Second, my little man is a fighter. During the next year, he will continue to have trouble walking, running and playing like most kids. But he will face those challenges with joy and determination.  

William's teacher emailed me on Thursday to tell me about William's week. She shared the following with me:
"I wanted to tell you the story, so you know how “determined” your little daredevil is….  He was trying to climb the rock wall at recess on Tues but was having trouble pushing himself up with his hurt leg.  I was standing behind him in case he fell.  It seemed as though his injured leg didn’t have the strength to lift him up so I helped him down and suggested he wait a couple weeks and let his leg heal a little more.  Before I knew it, he was headed up the wall again.  I positioned myself behind him (I am a bit of a nervous Nelly!) but did not help.  He climbed all the way to the top with a big smile on his face. J  He was not about to let his leg get in the way of reaching his goal."

Thank you for walking this crazy journey with us. Thank you for your prayers for William - God heard and answered so generously. Please continue to pray for us. Pray for William's tumor to shrink in size. Pray for him to adapt well. Pray for our hearts as we continue to grieve the loss of Barry and walk this road without him. We all miss him so much. Pray against fear.

We will continue to learn to walk in the land of the living... laughing at the irony of it all.