Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Most People Only Dream of Angels, but We have Held One in Our Arms

While I cannot take credit for the title of this blog, (we all know, I am not the writer in the family and if I write something, it's usually to the tune of a well known song, I sing it in a cartoon voice, and I make up the words as I go along) it is the Angel's Hands Foundation slogan, I can testify that I have truly held an angel in my arms. Today, I said good bye to that angel. Our Heavenly Father has called my 7 year old nephew home after a two year battle with brain cancer. He is no longer suffering and I know I can see him again someday.

So, Daniel, I will miss you. I love you and I look forward to our happy reunion someday.
Daniel was such a special spirit. He had a life that was filled with heartache and sorrow for the time he was a little baby he has fought. If there ever was a child who had it pretty crappy from the very beginning, it was Daniel. In spite of all odds against him, he fought and fought. The most amazing thing was the attitude in which he fought. It is this attitude that I would like the focus of this post to be. 
One of Daniel's trials in life was when he was going through chemo treatment, he didn't eat much. Daniel with his imagination and a little help from his Grandpa Lawrence and other's around was able to turn almost anything he had to endure into a game. For example, his feeding tube. He thought it was silly to drink chocolate milk through his nose. Another example is Daniel had to do some mouth washes because of sores that developed. Grandpa Lawrence made him a "Swish Chart" where he got to put stickers on it. He hated the mouth swishes, but the stickers won out. 
In August 2010, he was granted a wish by a great organization, Make-A-Wish Foundation. He got to go to Disneyworld and meet one of this favorite characters of all time, Lightning McQueen. 
One of my favorite stories of Daniel was from August of last year. He was at R.C. Willey's, a furniture store in Utah. Daniel asked one of the salesman how he was doing. The man said things we're going so well and he was having a bad day. Daniel corrected the man and told him it was a great day. The sun was shining and Daniel was happy. Mind you, Daniel was in a wheelchair and bald from chemo. The man corrected himself and said he was right and it was a great day.
Another example of Daniel's imagination is his visits to the space station, or radiation visits as us untrained astronauts call it. He, I think, actually looked forward to the Astronaut Doctors. There he got to wear a space mask (oxygen mask) that was Strawberry scented. When he would wake up from his astronaut nap he would  he would talk about the planet he visited. Usually it was Mars because it's Red and that's his favorite color. There were times he actually looked forward to it. This just shows me that everything can be turned into a game and have a positive spin on it, no matter the outlook and how bad it is.
Eat Your Heart out Peter Breinholt,
he rocked with me first.
Kids aren't spoiled, they are just so loved. However, spoiled wasn't a term that was used around Daniel, Daniel wasn't spoiled he was just really really loved. Around Christmas time in 2010, the Orem LDS Seminary wanted to follow our Savior's example and "go about doing good." They sent Daniel 22 Christmas cards each written to Daniel, and custom decorated and written. Daniel was so happy with all the cards. His comment was, "I am so loved." Yes Daniel, you are so loved. At one point in the hospital, he was receiving gifts on a daily basis. They were a good distraction. At one point when Grandma Jan showed up Daniel asked, Did you bring me anything...I just love to be loved."

Daniel also taught us to not take things personally. Kids say the darnedest things. He often attended Kindergarten through Skype. Once a couple of boys asked him if he was a robot because he was in a computer attending class. 
He was also very found of saying Cancer Sucks. He wore a badge that said so and would wear it and point it out to people. He was very courageous.
Daniel loved to get a reaction out of people. He would often think of things that would just seem gross to get a reaction out of you. One of his favorite things to ask someone, especially his nurses because he was a ladies' man was, "What do you think of pickles and onions on your cake?" He would also like to say, "trick or treat, smell my feet" and then proceed to put his feet under your nose if he could. 
All homes need to be filled with love. Daniel loved to love. One day he felt Grandma Jan's home needed more love in it. So they cut out hearts and plastered the entire house with love. It was really sweet, and those hearts have stayed up for a long long time. I think there are still a few of them hanging around and it's been over a year.

Now if I haven't lost you or bored you yet, I think this post is really for me, it's kind of therapeutic, just to show you how wise my nephew was I leave you with this story. When we found out the cancer was back and was aggressive, his Mom and Dad planned a trip to California to spend what little time they had with them creating memories. Many of my best childhood memories were of me with my family and aunts and uncles at Disneyland, memorizing the Ghost Host at the Haunted Mansion, racing the canoes around Tom Sawyer's Island (we'd have our own canoe), and eat Monte Cristo Sandwiches at the Blue Bayou. So, when they told us they were going to California and going to Disneyland, no way was I going to let a nephew of mine go to Disneyland without me at least once. So Beth, Alyssa and I packed up our bags and spent the week in California with my family and then going to Disneyland a few times with Daniel. While we were there Daniel started to do something that showed wisdom beyond his years and gave me an idea that he knew his time on this earth was short. When you would say to him, "I love you Daniel" he would respond, "I love you too, love each other." He would say it to anyone who said, "I love you Daniel." 
With that, I love you Daniel and I will do everything I can to love others. You are gone, but not forgotten. You are loved and will be missed. I look forward to when we can be united again, so I can be an influence in your life. Someone has to Uncle No and keep you in check right? Good bye Daniel. The time we spent with you at Disneyland and getting to ride Autopia with you, will be a memory I will cherish forever. Thank you.
PS. I didn't proofread this, so sorry if it's horribly written.

1 comment:

  1. K, when I can stop crying that would be good. I'm so sorry for your family and your loss. Daniel sounds amazing. I'm keeping his "love you too, love each other" in my attitude-adjustment-bank.