Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend! We appreciate all those who continue to follow the blog and inquire on Bri's current condition.
We have a decorative statement in our living room that says "Don't count the days but make the days count." Unfortunately we feel our days grow short in having Mom around the house with us and we fight to bring her comfort and peace each day. We have been successful in stabilizing her pain through the care of hospice and her Mom Teri, who has been a stalwart caretaker in even the most difficult days. There are many undesirable errands and preparations we have been working through and Teri has not hesitated to carry out many of these tasks for me and the family, along with many other responsibilities.
Last Sunday we decided to place Bri on a scale to monitor her weight loss. She tipped the scales at 76 lbs. She is now 100% bedridden, heavily sedated, and her favorite past time is dreaming. I just put her in bed from a bathroom break and she said, “Why are the cops after us?” We get a lot of good laughs at some of the things she says. However her speech and mental processing are heavily degraded at this point and conversations are something that have found their horizons. Her communications are limited to pain and bathroom breaks. She also has no appetite and is no longer eating any food, just water.
One trait that caught my eye when I met Bri is her unrivaled ‘resolve.’ Only Leyna can match it! With the stroke spasticity and muscle weakness she cannot get herself out of bed or ambulate, yet she refuses to accept this fact. For example, yesterday she tried to get out of bed on her own and took a tumble that resulted in a cut to the bridge of her nose. We try to explain that she cannot get up due to her weakness but her resolve and will are two character traits she has not given up … and in a weird way it makes me proud of her.
This journey has been equally long for our family and friends as it has been for the Stephen Family. Monday, November 3rd, 2008 is when this story began. Thank YOU for enduring this story of faith with us. If you stand against your measuring stick, Bri and I hope you find yourself a little taller after knowing her story.
I had an epiphany today while sitting in the oncologist's office. There's so much talk and paraphernalia about finding cures for cancer. There's bitter talk about why Heavenly Father would allow such suffering. I sat there thinking to myself, No. My heart tells me it's not like that at all! ... Think of the communities and families that have come together to love, serve, and mourn with one another.
Our Father in heaven provides opportunities every day for us to keep his commandments, to follow His ultimate example of serving, loving, caring for His spirit children, our spirit brothers and sisters. I get to experience firsthand on a daily basis how beautiful the hearts of mankind really are.
Turn off the news of contentious politics, crime, and adultery for a bit. You'll find a world of compassion. PLEASE ACCEPT MY GRATITUDE to all those who uplift and show me what leading a Christ-like life is really all about. Loads and loads of LOVE!!!
-Bri, March 2010