The months leading up to Christmas I was deeply struggling, I was admittedly lost and off course, and then I heard about a 5 year old little boy named Ayden in my ward who was suffering from cancer and was in the hospital. I asked my friends who had been organizing meals for his family while they stayed with him in the hospital, if I could prepare a meal for them also. I knew that I needed to get out of my own head and put myself in a posistion to serve, and yet I had no idea how it would change me.
The day came for me to make a meal and I was collecting the ingredients on my kitchen counter when my an amazingly in-tune friend called and asked me if I would like to go with her to take the meal to the family, (initially I was just going to drop it to her). I had never met them, and I was nervous, but I couldn't turn down the opportunity to deliver dinner myself. We quietly entered his room in a special wing of the Childrens Hospital, the lights were dimmed and his mother sat at the end of his bed playing cards with him. He didn't speak but his spirit nearly knocked me off my feet, this little boy lay there with tubes and was so uncomfortable and yet he was sweet and shy. My favorite moments were when his mother would be speaking of him and he would close his eyes and then peek to see if we were still there, almost as if he were thinking "They are talking about me again?" His sweet mother Amber amazed me, she told us how their wish was that he would be well enough to come home for Christmas so she could play Wii with him. We stayed for just a little while and then we headed home again, but the visit stayed with me, Ayden and Amber stayed with me.
A few days later Ayden regained strength enough to return home for Christmas and then on December 29, 2010 he passed away. I was in Las Vegas when I heard the news and I cried, thinking of his mother, father and baby sister and how they must miss him so much. I felt grateful to have had the opportunity to meet him. If this little boy and his family could be so brave and filled with faith in the midst of this terrible illness and ultimate loss, I knew I needed to pull myself together. Ayden was such an example to me, I know that taking that dinner helped ME more than it helped them, I am sure. Thank you sweet angel boy.
Last evening I was able to spend some much needed time with my girlfriends, and as usual I was home after mid-night. Then first thing this morning I received a text from a friend requesting me to call her. My stomach sank a bit when she answered the phone with a saddened voice, saying "Have you heard?", "No." I said and then she told me that our dear friend Annie, whom had just been sitting next to me on the couch hours before had returned home to find her sweet 5 year old son Ethan was gone, she went to check on him and he had passed away. Ethan has had medical problems since he was tiny, but he was such a joy, his smile could melt my heart. I looked forward to seeing him every week at church because he just smiled all of the time, just like his mama. My heart is broken for them and I can only imagine the sorrow Annie and her husband Justin must be feeling. Oh sweet Ethan, I still can't believe that I won't see you in the halls at church, I think he was the most popular person in our ward because everyone loved him so.
These two little boys have touched my life and I am positive all those that were blessed to have met them would say the same. They are missed and loved and all I have are my prayers and love to send to each of their families.
I have a fondness for little boys, and I thank Heaven for sending one to my home. They love their mamas like no other. I didn't fully appreciate why it's so hard for mothers to send them on Missions or to College or to get married until I had my little buddy. James will be 3 on Monday and I must say that the last 3 years have been some of the best in the Kelley house.
(James playing the harmonica first thing in the morning)
Thank Heaven for little boys.