I am sorry it has taken us so long to get on here and thank all of you for your participation in the Light the Night walk. I think we just needed some time to process our feelings and reactions to the whole experience. Chris and I were completely overwhelmed at the turnout for CJ. Not only the sea of people that were there when we arrived, but the others that came later, the amount of financial contributions that were made to the Lymphoma Society on CJ's behalf, and the people that determined to walk and carry balloons even from as far as the Bahamas to participate. People drove from way down South. People who we have never even met before came to support CJ! Thank you Aunt Penny for being our Team Captain and organizing the whole thing! We felt surrounded by love and support in this battle. At one point we took a group picture and when I looked through the lens at the size of the group and realized why we were all gathering there my heart clenched tightly in my chest. My throat went dry and I wanted to cry right then and there. Chris traded with me to take a picture and said he had the same experience when he saw the group. He had a difficult time that night. He felt very protective of CJ and could not wrap his mind around the fact that we were at a cancer walk for our son.
One difficult aspect of the night was on the way there. I decided I had better warn CJ about the gold balloons in case he asked when we got there. I told him that they represented those who had passed away from cancer. I was so worried about how to approach this because CJ still had not mentioned death once in all of this. He has not asked if you can die from cancer or if people die from cancer. I explained what the gold balloons represented and told him how lucky we are that we have the medicines we do now and that health care is so much better than it used to be. I explained to him that is the importance of doing the walk and raising the money. And he seemed to take it well and not relate it in any way to his own situation.
The hardest part of the evening was watching CJ with a white balloon. I kept looking at him and wanting to take the balloon away from him and hand him a red one. (In his heart, CJ carries a red balloon. I know that because CJ has always been a supporter of others, never focusd on himself.)
I, on the other hand, selfishly would not look at anyone else with a white balloon. I did not look at one! I refused. I don't know why but I just could not bring myself to look around. And I certainly refused to look for any gold ones. I couldn't tell you what one other person carrying a white balloon looked like. Isn't that selfish of me. I just stayed in my own little bubble and looked at CJ. I knew there were other families going through more difficult times than we are and I knew I should be reaching out. I didn't even walk around to look at the different groups that sponsored the walk and see what kind of information I could get. I just kept looking at CJ and wondering what in the world we were doing there. And why so soon? It had not even been a month since his diagnosis. It seemed like God was moving way too fast and I remember whispering to Him to slow down a bit and let me catch my breath.
CJ left a little early with his dad because he was getting tired and I drove home with the two little ones. I was overwhelmed emotionally and cried and spoke to Chris on the phone who was also overwhelmed at the whole experience and we cried together. He said CJ said to him, "Daddy, it was sad about all the gold balloons, wasn't it?" That broke my heart because I realized once again what a better person he is than me. I couldn't even bring myself to take my eyes off my own situation long enough to look at all the others around me, but my little 9 year old took the time to see all the gold balloons. That is so like CJ to comment on someone else and notice someone else. I sit here ashamed and realize I still haven't learned the lesson on compassion God is wanting to teach me. I am a slow and selfish learner. And I know the lesson will not end until I finally pass. I don't even want the lesson to end until I pass. And even that is selfish of me! "Oh what a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!"
Thank you again for all who participated on so many different levels!
We were, and continue to be, extremely blessed by your love and support.