Wednesday, April 4, 2012

My Special Visit With Stephen

I had the WONDERFUL opportunity to get to visit little Stephen this week. We were driving home from Spring Break in Houston and luckily, Albuquerque was only about an hour out of the way. My husband was kind enough to let us stop by on the way home. Stephen has been such a huge part of my life for the past 5 months, so I was so privileged to get to spend some precious time with him. Especially since we don't know how much time he has left here on Earth.

My heart was racing as we pulled up to their house. How would I be able to hold it together? I knew it was important to not cry in front of him, and I had to keep it together until I was back in the car. As I knocked on the door and heard his mom say, "Come in!", I took a deep breath.

I was expecting the home to feel very solemn and sad. But there was such a feeling of peace and love there. There was a very special spirit in that home. It felt....holy. Just as you enter their house, there is a very special gift that someone gave them, a big blanket with his picture printed on it. And...the tears try to come, but I hold it together. I walked into the living room and he was laying on the couch in his favorite Sponge Bob pajamas with his Sponge Bob blanket watching cartoons. I was surprised to see him awake, and SOOOO happy when his eyes met mine! I dropped to the floor and told him how much I loved him and how he was my hero. We small talked about cartoon characters for a while, but I could tell that it took a lot of energy for him to speak. Even just to smile took so much effort, but those smiles just melted me like butter! I told him about ALL OF YOU and how hundreds of people are cheering for him and praying for him and he was a hero to so many people. That made him smile. (I know a lot of you have sent him special packages, and they have received them all and are so very grateful for each and every one!!!)

He is very frail, and even just lying on the couch was hurting him. He was due for his pain medication, so I was able to watch that. He has a port in his chest where they deliver his medicines, port flushes and other things and he gets to help put the medicines into his port. It was cute to watch him do it, it was like he enjoyed it. :)

He was getting pretty worn out and I think the pain meds were kicking in so his Dad scooped him up and carried him to their master bedroom where his hospice bed is. He was just so tiny! But you can absolutely tell how much he loves his Dad, they have a very special bond. It was so precious to see his arms wrapped around his Dad, squeezing him with all the strength he had.

Then, it was time to clean and medicate his radiation burns. I felt a twinge of pain as his Dad turned him to his side and lifted up his shirt. His entire lower half of his back and buttock were burned and peeling, like a very severe sunburn. Oh, how my heart broke! He really was just skin and bones, and I could see where the tumor that was plaguing him had been growing. It was very real. I was seeing the horrible effects of that cancer with my very own eyes, not just reading the updates at my computer. Then I realized how strong that little tiny boy really was. He is a WARRIOR. His Dad asked me if I would like to help, and I did. He sprayed some sort of a foam disinfectant on his back and Stephen was cold on his burn. I can't imagine how that must have hurt. Any other kid would probably be kicking and screaming. But he just whimpered and held back great big tears. I sang him a lullabye as I wiped off the foam. My hands were shaking, but not as bad as my voice as I was trying SO hard to hold back my tears. Then his Dad put a burn cream on his back, and as it soaked in I told him the story of the 3 Little Bears to help pass the time.

He was getting very sleepy and starting to drift off. My last words to Stephen were, "I love you forever and ever and ever. Sweet dreams, little Stephen." He gave me a little smile and that was that.

His Dad was kind enough to take a picture of Stephen and I...and I will cherish it forever. Me and my little hero. :)


5 people leaving some love!:

Holly said...

We (my husband and I) have been following your journey with Stephen... and after reading his daddy's journal entry, linked from your last post, my husband had a few days of real grief for him-- whom I am sure my husband most relates to. (but obviously for Stephen too)
I don't know if there is anything we can do to help them, other than continue to pray-- but please let me know if there is anything more that would help!

Much love from Texas...
Holly (& Lance)

The Mursets said...

Natalie, you are so strong! I would not have been able to hold it together at all...I cry with every update for that special little boy. Nathan cries nearly every night praying for his little cousin. :(

What a special experience you got to have with him. Thank you for sharing it!

~Bekah said...

IT'S ALL I CAN DO TO KEEP FROM CRYING nat... You're one strong woman..i know i would've lost it but you were in a holy place and i know your comfort and presence along with God's was sooo welcoming and comforting to stephen...I can't imagine shelby enduring what stephen is. i know God is stronger than any of our weakness..prayers are lifted up now for stephen

Lisa said...

How precious, I know that time meant the world to you.

Beck said...

I just about cry every time you post about little Stephen! What a strong little boy and family!