Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Cancer Affects All Those Around the Patient, Too!

What a terrific Christmas. How can it get any better than celebrating the greatest Gift ever given to mankind, than celebrating with your family? I guess the only thing that could have made it better would to have been able to be with Cheryl's and my extended families, most who had gathered in upstate New York.

We attended a 6 p.m. candlelight service on Christmas Eve, then we all came back to our home for pizza. Then the grandkids each opened one present. Cindy and our grandson, Jonathan, spent the night here because her husband, Corbin, was working in the oil fields and couldn't leave. Cheri and her family went to their new home. Christmas morning, after seeing what Santa left at their home, Cheri, Marc and the two kids came back here about 7 or 7:30 a.m. We opened presents for awhile and then left for church services. At the end of the service, Jimmy, the 10 year old, went forward to request membership in our church and baptism. He had made the decision to accept Christ last summer, went and talked to the pastor in his office a week or so ago, and got up the courage to go down front Sunday.

We then returned home, had a big (delayed) breakfast and then finished opening presents. Later that afternoon we had a great dinner of ham and all the trimmings.

I was given an extra special present that had great meaning for me. Cheryl and Cindy had conspired way back last January, before my diagnosis, to put together a memory book of my Air Force career. It is a beautiful scrapbook with a large Air Force Seal on the front. They asked family members to also put together memory letters to include in the book. Most letters weren't written until recently and the memories had extra special meaning. I had a beautiful letter from my wonderful wife, Cheryl, which made me teary eyed (I think they all noticed, but didn't let on -- Remember what I said on an earlier post about tears? Ha!). Also included were fantastic, wonderful, funny, sweet, sad, memory-filled letters from my brother-in-law Bill and his wife, Diane, my sister-in-law Diane, my mother, each of my brothers, both daughters and finally, the three grandkids. I wish I could duplicate each one here, because each one was so special to me and each had a special style. However, I do want to show you what the kids wrote. The boys dictated their's and they were typed exactly as they said them.

Jonathan, barely age 11, wrote:

Dear Papa,
I love you so much - like to the earth and to the sun. I remember when you first knew about your leukemia - but you probably don't remember. Ha, Ha!

I remember when we went to Las Vegas and going to NY, NY - we walked all the way down to NY, NY! (Just Jonathan and I walked along the 'strip' to go there to the kids amusement play area.) We also went to see the Grand Canyon, which was really, really fun on my birthday!

I love it that you have a good sense of humor, you make me laugh. You are a special guy because you have hair around the sides but none on top.

I remember when every Sunday when I come to your house after church you always fall asleep in your chair. I love you so much and wish you were "cancer-free!"
Jonathan (He then signed it "Jonathan Elliott" with a heart shape for the dot over the i)

Jimmy, age 10, wrote:

Dear Papa,
I like you being my papa because you are very funny. When you tease me with jokes it shows me that you love me. I like it when you take me shopping because you always buy me stuff! Ha! Ha! Ha!

Thank you for taking me to see the pastor to talk about being a Christian and getting baptized. You set me a good example of being a Christian.

Jimmy (He then signed it James Porter)

Holly, barely age 8, went into her "office" -- one of our converted walk-in closets -- only came out to ask how to spell two words, and completely printed the following all on her own. All is just as she wrote it:

To: Papa
From: Holly your grandaughter

Dear Papa,

Your a great "Sunday school teacher" and your very bright for an elderly man like you but anyway your still my same good old Papa. Back to the point I'll love you no matter what happens to you your still the nice friendly man who's my papa. You love church very much the lord jeasus Christ loves you to and so do I. You'll always exist to me. I'll cry when you get to heaven and someday I'll see you up there and I'll also see god.

Your a great grandfather and dad to my MoM and my (large heart drawn here), Aunt Cindy.
Holly Diane
Holly Berry
Holly Diane Gray
You crack me up Papa (Large "glowing" heart with an arrow through it drawn here)

WOW! Along with all the other letters, how can it get any better than that?

These just point out that diseases and troubles and problems really do affect everyone who surrounds the person going through the difficulties. Even children understand much more than we give them credit. I don't know how some people are able to go through difficulties first without a strong faith in God, and second, a loving, supporting family.

Thanks to God and thanks to God for my family!

1 comment:

Paula Dunn said...

John, the kid's letters left me teary eyed also. I think there is a good reason God gave us tear ducts, so don't be embarrassed if you use them. We are glad the MRI showed you have a brain and that it is normal. Of course, some of us who know and love you might want to argue the point. Only kidding! God bless you and all those effected by your illness (which happens to include me). We will look forward to hearing from you on or after the 4th.