It's amazing how fast summer passes here. Mainly because we rarely have a summer that is filled with tons of warm days. But this summer was that rare one where the warm days have gone on and on allowing for enough outdoor activity that once the rains return, it is a nice change. A welcome change. My garden is thrilled anyway.
Kaysha and Anna began their summer on stage.
The dancing princesses worked hard during the year and gave spectacular performances. We were very proud of them. Kaysha had performed in a dance class on this very stage when she was five years old. Funny how time flies. This year they are moving away from being the dancing princesses in order to become karate queens. They are both loving that!
We found much time for kayaking this summer as well.
And then there was swimming and camping too.
And of course, hiking.
Outdoor cooking with home grown veggies.
We made some new friends.
I got some new transpo.
Okay, when Mark rides my bike around the neighborhood with "Blubber" on the back, half the neighborhood comes outside to watch. Blubber, aka Diego, aka Tubby, (he's really fat now) is one of the not-so baby anymore, babies, from the litter we had nearly three years back. He is the go anywhere, do anything dog. He hikes 5-6 miles with us like it's nothing. He camps happily. He goes out in the kayak like he was born to. And he loves the motorcycle as well. I don't think there's anything he doesn't like. He even likes baths! He ended up weighing 20 pounds and that is 20 pounds of pure love and joy.
Daniel went on the trip of a lifetime, or at least of his lifetime thus far, to California and hit three of the big amusement parks there. A family who lives nearby took him along on this huge trip. They refer to him as "the son they never had" even though they have two of their own sons. Yeah, they love him dearly. He seems to have been born into good fortune because opportunities seem to always come his way. Via skype, he has friends seemingly worldwide these days and is quite congenial. I do believe it is his good nature and trustworthiness that attract such good fortune and I am glad for that. He has a kind heart and always has. And for a nearly 15 year old who already stands 6'2" and wears his dad's clothing, he needs to be a gentle giant.
My kids start school tomorrow while the rest of the neighborhood started today. The house seems quiet compared to usual given that it has become the hang-out spot for a pluther of the kids around here from morning til night. I am enjoying the silence to be honest. I like that so many kids enjoy being here but I also like it when my home is more "mine" than theirs too.
Kaysha will be a junior and Daniel will be a freshman this year. Both are schooling entirely online. Kaysha has been for the last several years but this is Daniel's first year without me as primary teacher. I'm sure there'll be an adjustment period. Anna will be in fourth grade, still homeschooled by me. I am looking forward to working solely with her. Of the three, she is the strongest in academics, has the most patience with learning and enough perseverance to excel. Kaysha has a lot of artistic talent whether drawing, dancing, writing, or acting. She excels. Daniel has a more mechanical bent and good computer literacy as well. He is still quite the comedian so if you need a good laugh, you know who to call. It's such a treat to watch them grow and change and mature.
It has been just over 5 years since Samuel went to Heaven and not a day passes that he is not mentioned here at home. As we guide our teenagers into adulthood helping them to determine their place in this world and what kind of a footprint they want to leave on it, it would be easy to feel cheated because we do not have that same opportunity with Samuel. In a physical aspect, we do feel cheated. How could we not? But in a spiritual and eternal aspect, we don't. His life has made an impact on this world. There has hardly been a week that has passed since he went to Heaven that I don't get a note from someone who has been inspired by what we were able to accomplish during his lifetime. Someone looking for answers. Someone looking for help.
The most heavily visited page on his web site is the page on feeding real food through a g-tube. And as time passes, I am clearly seeing that this is the footprint he has left behind; the one that many people have chosen to follow. People who wanted what we wanted. To give themselves or a loved one a better quality of life using nutrition as primary medicine. Whether the ailment is major or minor, life threatening or simply life complicating, people are finding Samuel's site and being encouraged to try and not only try, but succeed. Most of them are not cancer related at all. But when they see how much good solid nutrition extended not only the quantity of Samuel's days but also his quality of life given all his medical issues, they are more than encouraged that nutrition can be a basis for healing.
That is not to say that I don't still hear from families with children fighting cancer who are trying to buck the system. I do. But they are few and far between because it is SO hard to get out from under the pediatric cancer cult and of course fewer still who see poison as bad "medicine." Those who do manage to break away, hope as we hoped, that maybe their child will be one to survive against the odds. Maybe their child will be the one that makes conventional therapies finally come into serious question. I wish I could tell you I know of one who bucked the system and cured their cancer without chemo. But to date, there hasn't been one. Not yet. With the total lack of support in the pediatric system, I am not surprised. It is a rough row in a swamp full of alligators. What I have seen is quality of life being honored and sometimes fought for if need be. I see people who have been told by their Oncs that their child will relapse and die within a few months of stopping chemo having that child live happily for years before dealing with relapse simply through nutrition and alternative cancer treatments. I am also seeing kids live with active leukemia that is controlled enough by alternatives and nutrition that they don't require blood products, antibiotics or hospital stays to manage it. In short, they are not "blasting off" as one of our Oncs used to call it. That is HUGE!
What will eventually be known worldwide about all of this progress, I don't know given that anyone who controls their own child's cancer effectively without conventional medicine is referred to as a "fluke" by their own doctors. I imagine this minimizing must help ease their guilty consciences. And when unconventional methods fail, they generally cannot wait to say they told us so. But of course, they fail to acknowledge that their precious chemo eventually fails as well only with significantly more physical and emotional consequences. Funny how they never want to "go there."
What I do know is how I feel in my heart. I tell these families who venture into the shaky ground that we walked on that at the end of Samuel's life and for all the years that have passed, I have had no regrets about choosing the path I did. I know that chemo would have both shortened his lifespan and tortured him to his death. That was something I wasn't going to be a part of as long as the choice was mine to make and thankfully, that choice, once mine, was never reascended. God help the person who dared to try. Mark and I were always on the same page about things and never did one thing we weren't agreed on. This is too hard a path to travel if you are not in agreement and given the divorce statistics of marriages after a child has died, this cannot be overlooked. The rest is up to God and it helps if they believe in God to begin with. Samuel's legacy was never about cancer and never will be. Cancer doesn't reign supreme where he lives. It was about love, perseverance and building faith in God. It was about people helping and caring about complete strangers and doing what their hearts told them to do.. From beginning to end. In good times and in horror. Those were the best of times and the worst of times but times nonetheless that I would never have chosen to miss. Samuel has left a huge footprint on a lot of lives and continues to do so and as I look back, I cannot help but be proud of being a part of that.
Onward and upward ever faithful to the call til we meet Him in the sky.