Friday, April 17, 2009

Be Still My Love

This morning, I awoke to a text that brought me briefly to my knees. The world gained another angel, as Josh lost his battle with cancer last night.

But don't you understand
I already have a plan
I'm waiting for my real life to begin

I don't understand why children die. I don't. I've never understood, but since becoming a mother, it breaks me even more because I think, "what if..." I put myself in the shoes of every child's mother, and I think My God, how do you go on? How?
But what I have to try, to hope, is that these children they understand. That they know that there's a greater plan out there for them, and they're okay with that. That this life on Earth, this short life here, wasn't their real life, that there is SO MUCH MORE in store for them.
I was never lucky enough to call Josh a student. The one time that I spoke with him, I joked that he needed to get better, so he could be on my team next year because I'd heard he was a troublemaker. He laughed and joked, and I held in my heart that he'd get better, and I could have those jokes every single day in class.

Any minute now, my ship is coming in
I'll keep checking the horizon
I'll stand on the bow, feel the waves come crashing
Come crashing down down down, on me

After his diagnosis, Josh didn't stop. He didn't see his brain tumors as a stop sign or even a yield sign, he just saw them as a part of himself that maybe made life a little harder, but still liveable. And so, this fall, Josh laced up his shoes and ran with the cross country team at our school. It didn't matter that he was having seizures, that it sometimes wasn't easy for him, he wanted to run. And he did. Despite all he had hanging over him, Josh crossed the finish line in FIRST PLACE during one race. Can you imagine the joy in his heart? In his mom's heart?

And you say, be still my love
Open up your heart, let the light shine in

Though I never had Josh as a student, he's become a teacher for me. He's reminded me that life is short. That excuses only hold us back. That no matter what, we all need to lace up our shoes and run, run like there is nothing holding us back. So in honor of Josh, I want only this for everyone... think of him when you don't want to do something. Think of him when it's easy to make excuses to not reach your goals and hopes and dreams. Be still for a moment, think of all you want to do and all you love about life. Think of him, then, put on your shoes, and run harder and faster than you ever thought possible.

When I awoke today, suddenly nothing happened
But in my dreams, I slew the dragon
And down this beaten path, and up this cobbled lane
I'm walking in my old footsteps, once again
And you say, just be here now
Forget about the past, your mask is wearing thin
Let me throw one more dice
I know that I can win

If nothing happens, make it happen. If you're only slaying the dragon in your dreams, make your dreams real. Hold your babies and love them today. Breathe in their sweet scents, feel the softness of their skin and hair. Tell your spouse or significant other what you love about them. Tell your friends you're thankful to have them, that you love them. Because life is short and fleeting, but it is also beautiful. Find the beauty today. Grab it, make it yours, then look up and tell Josh thank you. I know I will.

lyrics from "Waiting For My Real Life To Begin" by Colin Hay


Megan said...

That seriously brought me to tears. Thanks for posting something so inspirational. I will never understand the death of a child.

InTheFastLane said...

I am so bawling right now. And even though I promised myself to not "do" blogs at work, I had to respond now.

"The Plan" seem so hard to understand. It is obviously much greater that our limited understanding. Big HUGS to you and your students today.

Sharon - Mom Generations said...

Through the tears that are pouring from my eyes, I will create a river... and on that river I will steer my ship in my own direction. I will reach my destination and it will be Josh who brought me to the banks of the river that were there all along.

I will tell the story of Josh to everyone I know, and I know hundreds of others will, too... and in that way Josh can run to each finish line with each of us, laughing with the joy his life and his lessons have gifted us with.

Thank you, Erin... and thank you, Josh for setting each of us free. What a powerful, powerful blessing.

Anonymous said...

We'd been praying for him at church. So sad. Seems like an awful lot of bad's been going on lately :(

Mommy Mo said...

Oh, that was beautiful and sad and inspiring and heartbreaking, all at the same time.

Stephanie Wilson she/her @babysteph said...

Erin, this is beautiful. I'm so sorry.


swonderful said...

Oh, how horribly sad. I have learned a lot from watching children and parents and moms and friends go through the grieving process. I certainly don't take a single day for granted anymore. This was a really beautiful tribute.

Stillmary said...

What a touching, beautiful, inspiring post. I'm sorry that Josh's life was so short but his story, that you've shared, will influence my life.

anymommy said...

I'm really sorry. Your words are a beautiful tribute.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post woman. Josh's memory lives on...