So it is with great sadness I share his post from today and one from Friday. Entirely without permission and breaking custom and all copyright rules I will run them both in their entirety and verbatim.
" At 1:55 this morning, the Unknown Son (his name is Jonathan, by the way) eased away and stopped breathing. Our son has finally let loose the bonds of earth and gone home. No more suffering, no more limitations, and no more cancer. He now rests in the lap of the Father with his cousins Jacob and Jennifer. And that's NOT a figure of speech - it's a description.
It's been a tough time - 2,439 days since his diagnosis on 10/1/2002. After gallons of chemotherapy, multiple surgeries, and visits to six hospitals, our son is finally free. After years of pain and limitations, he can now run without tiring, jump without limits, and stay up as long as he wants.
We miss him, and will every day for the rest of our earthly lives. But believe it or not, it's not all grief (but there is that). We're glad that his pain and struggles are over. But now he doesn't just have the absence of pain. He has JOY. For him, this isn't the end - merely the end of the beginning. We know that we'll be together again.
If you know us in our "real" lives and would like to read our son;s story (or just want directions to the memorial service Saturday), send me an email.
What that post does not tell you is how fast this all hit them. From Friday (as in 4 days ago):
Tough Times AheadThis tough to write. The recent post on the Unknown Son's treatment was somewhat encouraging. In the blink of an eye, this one turns our lives around 180 degrees.
This morning, Unknown Son tried to go for a walk around the hospital unit (the walking helps expand the lungs, and would speed his recovery). We noticed after a few steps that his left leg was dragging. We put him back in bed, and he was unable to squeeze my hand with his left hand. A quick CT scan followed, and revealed that the cancer had spread to his brain – in three separate spots. We hadn't known this previously since all our scans had been focused on his chest region. One was pretty large, and since it was on the right side, it was the likely cause of the problems with his left leg, arm, and hand.
This changes everything – he now likely has a matter of days rather than weeks. We gave him some radiation to see if we could slow the swelling, but at best that only buys a bit of time. So, we took him home tonight in an ambulance so that he can be in familiar settings and be as comfortable and safe as possible in the short time he has left with us.
In the meanwhile, The Unknown Wife's mother and father and one of her sisters are here. Her other sister and her family (and my mother, brothers and sister) are coming down tomorrow to lend support and see the boy.
Please keep us in your prayers as we ease his transition. For him, this is not the beginning of the end of his life – only the end of the beginning. But even though we know that he's going to a place with no more pain or limitations, and only joy, it’s going to be a rough week or so for us – likely the toughest we’ll ever have to go through.
So keep us in your prayers.
If you get a chance, send the father a quick email or comment on his post. I guarantee he will read and cherish the thoughts in this hard time. Or better, make a donation in Jonathan's name. I have no idea if they have picked out a charity or not, but two that jump immediately to mind are Livestrong and the JimmyV Foundation. Do it now. Not only will the family appreciate it, but maybe if enough of us do it, we can prevent this from happening to others in the future.
UPDATE (6/15) from the UnknownProfessor)
Since many of you have have asked, our charity of choice is: The Tomorrow Fund, 593 Eddy St., Providence, RI 02903. Put "Jonathan" in the note of the check. They're affiliated with Hasbro Children's Hospital where Jonathan had a significant part of his treatment done, and they're a very worthy recipient of any donations - they both support research in cancer and provide a lot of support (financial, emotional, etc...) to families of children undergoing treatment. They'll allow us to choose the manner in which the funds will be spent (probably something relating to computers, books, or videos), so that we can come up with something that really captures something of who Jonathan is.