More Aware

Have you ever had something happen to you, something out of the ordinary, something difficult, something bigger than life and suddenly your world just gets bigger?

The is the way I feel about cancer. It's a word I had heard a million times before: in movies, in the press, and even with distant acquaintances. But I was not familiar with cancer. Who would want to be?

Now I hear and see it everywhere. No it obviously isn't more common. It's always been there. But after watching Joey suffer through the disease and then lose his battle with it (ok, I hate saying it that way, Joey didn't lose his battle--he won the right to return home to his Heavenly Father early). But anyway, my world expanded and grew and I am seeing through different eyes that none of us are untouched by some tragedy, some trial, some mess that we are forced to deal with.

Did you watch Extreme Home Makeover on Sunday? The little girl had cancer. Twice! And she begged and pleaded with her parents to let her go. You cannot imagine what it is like to have a child put their life in your hands. How agonizing it must have been for her parents to watch her suffer twice through the treatment of chemo and radiation. How helpless we feel as parents, when it is our very duty to protect them from harm. It is not natural to take your child to a place where you know they are going to be poked, prodded, and filled with medicine that makes them sick and brings so many side effects. But if you don't do it, they can't get better (if even for a little while).

I couldn't watch the whole how. I cried and cried. It was too real and too raw and still too fresh for me. You know what? It ALWAYS will be. I cannot stand to think that other people might be suffering from the effects of cancer. Whether is is exhaustion and the inability to interact fully with their family and friends. Or the sickness and hair loss. Or the days and nights spent in the hospital. The bad news. Oh the list just goes on and on.

I am so glad that the show was able to give them a beautiful home even though she did not get to enjoy it for very long. When a family member is sick, it is all consuming and all energy and effort goes into making that person well. I was so grateful for the way people stepped in to help me. It is nearly impossible to face cancer alone. I'm always grateful now when I see others or have the opportunity myself to help out. It gives me back the power when I felt so helpless to help Joe.

Here is a tribute layout to those who sent me e-mails when I was so scared and feeling so alone. I remember reading e-mail after e-mail in the hospital and crying because I needed to know that someone else was out there watching over me, praying for me and my family, and caring that I was suffering.

This second image is of the pages inside the layout pocket that contain those e-mails. (I deleted all personal information to protect those people who reached out.)

Love to all those who reach out to others in their time of need.


  1. Thanks Jen for posting this and sharing it with us. You were very open about what was happenning to your family when your son was fighting cancer, and I'm sure that helped a lot of people who were facing the same sorts of issued you were by being so open about your experiences. And I'm sure that by being so open with how you are dealing with the loss of your son, and what you are experiencing, you are continuing to help others deal with their losses. May God richly bless you and touch your heart in a special way! (((((HUGS)))))!


  2. Jen this is a really special entry. Just beautiful, thank you for sharing.

  3. Jen, I still think about you often and wonder how you're doing.
    God bless you and your family.

    your old '06 HM buddy,

  4. "(ok, I hate saying it that way, Joey didn't lose his battle--he won the right to return home to his Heavenly Father early)."
    I LOVE how you phrased this thought... so true... so very true! I've said it before and I'll say it again... YOU are such a strong, wise woman, Jen! I will always admire your strength.

    Such a beautiful layout here too! I also saved all my emails from people after losing my baby and have thought about included them in a scrapbook format some how. I love to read them whenever I'm going through a rough spot. So much encouragement from others is often great medicine for the soul, as I'm sure you know!

    I also wanted to say that I love your new blog header :) Take care!

  5. Beautiful layout. I feel the same way about children dying. Ever since my son died, I feel like there are children dying all around me (including your son). Am I more aware or are there just that many children dying? Who knows . . .((HUGS)) to you.


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