Thursday, January 15, 2009

Latest Coleman post....a message to all of us.

This is a long one .... but SO SO worth the read.

Here's Peggy Larson's latest post on her CarePage about Coleman. She is truly one of the most inspiring women I've ever come across. I hope that some day our paths will cross because I would love to tell her, in person, how in awe I am of her and her family, and the strength, courage and grace that they have dealt with this HORRIBLE situation ... and are sharing their story with the rest of us, so we can continue to learn from what little Coleman left behind. I think her post is profound, heartbreaking but yet so completely inspiring. Get your kleenex, you'll need it. I'm not posting all of the pictures, just a couple of them - to see them all log onto their's the link ... you just need to simply sign up (enter your e-mail address). It amazes me that Peggy writes with such composure ... when you know she is breaking inside. She knows she has to go on, even though it's so hard. Her words of wisdom are something I think we should all reflect on and definitely something we can learn from.

Here's the post from Coleman Larson's CarePage. (Don't forget the kleenex.)

Team Larson Continues...
Posted 3 hours ago
Hi Everyone,It’s me again, My words have been absent from Coleman’s page, but that doesn’t mean I’ve been. Thank you so very much for the messages left here…please know how much they’re appreciated.

We’ve kind of been “zombie-ing” (not sure if that’s a word) around the house here- things just don’t seem real at times, but we’re going on…like I said before, One Day at a time…we’ve been sledding and drinking hot chocolate, playing games, recalling many memories and doing a LOT of snuggling.

Some snow time…Scott blew a big trail all over our yard.
Yes, that’s me in my pajamas! (At least they’re warm!)
It’s so different. People have said how strong we are- believe me, there are times we don’t feel very strong, not strong at all…really…but we believe for Caden, for our families, - even though our hearts hurt beyond belief, we need to go on looking for the good and counting our blessings. We have so much to still be thankful for!God continues to carry us. Any strength we can muster comes from Him. We’re still praying our hearts out- NOW more than ever. I’ll share my desk calendar again…
“When we pray, we are humbling ourselves before God and saying, “I need Your presence and Your power, Lord. I can’t do this without You.” (exactly what we’re saying right now) “when we don’t pray, it’s like saying we have no need of anything outside ourselves. Praying in the name of Jesus gives us authority over the enemy and proves we have faith in God to do what His Word promises.”
His word and His promises are holding us up…we’re leaning on that now more than ever.
I figure there are two ways we could continue Coleman’s page…I could write about how I fall asleep each night (if I’m lucky enough to have my eyes close) holding Cman’s pajamas to my face, to smell him. I could continue to write about how I see him everywhere- all of his things- how everything reminds me of him, choking me with tears until I wonder if I’m ever going to be able to breathe. I could write about how I have pulled myself off the floor as I’ve crumbled into a pile of tears- how there will ALWAYS be something missing and nothing will ever, EVER be the same. I could continue to write about things like how Caden walked alone to the children’s sermon Sunday and all I could see was Coleman walking next to him with them hand in hand… like they did so many times- how Pastor asked the kids questions, and when no one answered I KNEW Coleman would have had a comment for him- How sick I felt thinking about how we would never again have Coleman running back from one of those sermons and giving us HIS summary of what was just said, like we didn’t hear a word of it…how my arms ache… how my heart physically aches….how my heart will hurt FOREVER, and how empty I feel. I could focus on that and continue to write it in so many ways, over and over again. BUT- you already know how much we’ll miss him, and we know we aren’t the only ones.

I explained to Caden before the services that it wasn’t Coleman in the casket- it was his shell, like a crab that changes shells, he didn’t need this body any more. He goes on, just in a different way…We didn’t lose him, he will always be in our hearts and he’s waiting for us…in another place. Caden said, “yeah, HEAVEN!”

It is so hard to explain it to him, and I hope and pray we are saying the right words…yes, we will make sure he has others to talk to, not just us. That will be important. I’m not going to continue to write about the HUGE, EMPTY hole left. Although it will always be here, I just don’t want to focus on how wrong so many feel it is. Yes, it feels so very wrong in every single way, but the truth is- no words and nothing we can say or do will bring him back or change the facts. It just won't change anything. WE can't control or change what happended now, what we CAN control is where we go from here.

Reality is- Coleman’s life here changed a whole lot of hearts, he will be so unexplainably missed, but what we do with what he left us is up to us. He is not GONE or LOST to us…He will forever be with us in all we do and say. Above all, HE would NOT want us to stay sad…to stay in that dark place.All of the above is ONE way we could continue this page- not to say we won’t have ALL of those feelings… we will, some days worse than others, and I’ll write about how horribly it hurts in my own personal journal, just not here…. to me that just isn’t something that will bring any good to the people who read it-no GOOD can come from dwelling on what COULD have been, it will only bring more pain and helplessness, because NOTHING anyone can do will change it.
I don’t want this page to focus on all that we’ll be missing out on…instead, I’ll choose to write about the GOOD that came, and continues to come from Coleman’s life here. I believe that’s the way HE would want it too. He will forever be in many hearts. How blessed we are to have those memories! I’ll also write about how we’re going FORWARD from our Team can still go on and continue the GOOD from Coleman’s life. It will take us a while and we will need to go through all the stages of grief, but one day… one day we WILL be able to continue on ONE DAY AT A TIME. We can STILL make a difference in the lives of others.

Some people say there are signs- maybe it’s just something WE make up to make us feel better, who knows…but the night before Coleman’s visitation, our door bell rang, twice. Once at 8:00. We went to the door, no one there. Then at 1:00 in the morning, I was still up working on one of the photo boards as Scott came downstairs. We were both standing in the kitchen and *DING DONG*…again- no one there….physically any way.

When we let those 1,851 balloons go at the church, the wind carried them straight over our house a mile away. That night the wind had changed directions, and they would have been going over the church the opposite way. I’m so grateful for that memory of them heading straight for and floating above our acreage.

There was a bunch stuck in the tree across from the church the next day when we went to services. Then in the middle of the street was one single yellow one we had to drive around to get into the church driveway. When we left, there were three yellow ones stuck in the grass floating by the railroad tracks. I said, “look! One for mommy, one for Daddy, and one for Caden!” Caden said, “yeah…for our fooooooture!” Yes, we need to keep looking to the future- Coleman would want us to! In his words he would say, “Now let’s get our butts busy awound here!” :)

The night of Coleman’s celebration was THE BIGGEST and BRIGHTEST moon I have ever seen. It almost looked light out. I truly have never seen it THAT bright. It did warm my heart to think Coleman had something to do with it. We’ve had beautiful moonlight ever since- even through the snow.
Were all of these signs from Coleman? Maybe. It makes me feel good to think so anyway.

I’m also so very grateful we had the weather we did the day of his service. It’s been bitterly cold and blizzard-like ever since. How blessed we were to have that beautiful day of sunshine and fresh snow. Yes, it was chilly, but nothing like the cold we’ve had since. I can’t explain how perfect it was…even though we never wanted the day to come…God gave us the most beautiful, perfect day for Coleman’s homecoming. What a gift that was.

I have so many people to thank…and with risk I’m going to leave some out- I do have a few I want to add here. Please forgive me as I know I’ll think of more after I post this…
To Jessica’s mom Heide (cb: Jessica randall ) for making these to hand out…

THANK YOU so much Heide! (Heide was the one who helped me set up our Team Larson store on CafePress)A funny story about the sheets. Caden had one in his hand looking at it during the visitation. He got a funny look on his face and pointed to the pic of him and Coleman walking down the hall hand and hand and said, “huh! When’d they put WINGS on him?” He tossed it into the pew and went back to his running around!

To Darryl who drove over 800 miles to sing at Coleman’s celebration…wow, what can we say about that? God bless you Darryl. You can check him out here…

To DonAyers who used his own money in funding the Team Larson wristbands, and Sheryl Kenney who helped Don in the wristband distributions…THANK YOU for traveling so far and coming to Coleman’s celebration.

From The RonaldMcDonald house staff members to Coleman’s radiation team from Iowa City, to many of Coleman’s dr’s and nurses from the past two years who came,- THANK YOU- it meant a lot to us that you were there!

So many carepage family members who traveled the miles- (you know who you are!) You will always be family and we will ALWAYS be on YOUR team! We know the effort it took for each of you to be here. God bless you.So many who said they wanted to make it, but couldn’t- its okay- we really didn’t get to talk to anyone for more than a couple of minutes …we know you were here in spirit… and we feel the love- believe me, the love is overwhelming and so appreciated!
We’ve gotten messages from Italy, Germany, Australia, South Africa, Canada, Ireland, etc. etc. I think 16 different countries last time we counted, not to mention all over the great United States! It’s still hard to believe that so many people know Coleman’s name and the story of his journey. Wow. There are no words to explain how touched we are over that. It just continues to overwhelm us,

I have to thank Pastor Kent and our church family again. Numerous people put MANY hours and hard work into making the day special and run so smoothly. Please know we’re so grateful.

Pastor gave Coleman a service I think many will remember. We should all take a look at children, and how simple their faith is…when do we somehow change and stop making it so simple? As Coleman sang, “Jesus loves me, this I know! For the Bible tells me so…” There were many adults who sang that, along with This Little Light of Mine and God’s Army…just as Coleman would have loved it. Those were among his favorites and it meant a lot to us to have them included in the day. Also thanks to Pastor for singing "God Must Be a Cowboy at Heart"...I could hear Cman singing along as you sang it. He loved that song.

Pastor talked about the shortest verse in the Bible, “Jesus wept.” John11:35…
(Read John, Chapter 11…about the death of Lazarus.) or look it up on the computer…

Did Jesus weep because Lazarus had died? Did he weep because Lazarus’s family was hurting so much and He felt for them? OR did he weep because He KNEW what He was about to do? After four days in paradise He was going to bring Lazarus back to Earth- back to this imperfect world…after Lazarus had the chance to experience the perfection that waits for us!
The selfish part of me wants Coleman back here…A part of me wants that so badly, so I can hold him, hug him, tell him how much I love him, talk with him, hear his voice…. The fact is, I already did all of the above, and truly cherished each and every moment of it. Coleman is free to be in the paradise of perfection- it’s the selfish part of me that wants him back to this world of imperfection. Yes, how I wish I could have watched him grow- to see what he would have become here…to watch Caden and Coleman grow up together. The way we thought it would be. My heart will forever ache for that- I truly believe he could have taught so many a thing or two, even more than he already did… but the truth is, Along with all of the good things, THIS is a place with pain, with worries, with heartache and troubles…Cman missing out on those things doesn’t make me sad. He paid his dues here and more than earned his reward. He enjoyed all the good things here too and made the world a better place for his being here- WE had so many dreams for him…but we never DREAMED he would make so much out of the time he had. Look at what he did while he was here! Will ANY of us be able to say WE’LL touch that many lives? I hope so. It’s all up to us.

Coleman’s reward was going to the place we’re all hoping to make it to one day. Maybe tomorrow, maybe 80 years from now… None of us knows for sure. It’s what we do while we’re HERE that’s important. We can’t waste our time…for NONE of us knows what tomorrow will bring. I can’t remind everyone enough… “AN ACT OF KINDNESS, NO MATTER HOW SMALL, CAN BE THE GREATEST GIFT OF ALL.” How bright will our little lights shine? What do we consider the most important things to us? Does our day to day living reflect that? Do we worry about what people think of us? Who are we really trying to please?

We need to get off our high horses and stop thinking we’re all so important…stop being so stubborn, selfish and proud – look at how quickly a child forgives… how they just know what they know-but how willing they are to still learn. How giving of themselves they can be. Somehow as we get older, we lose some of that along our way. We think we have it all figured out and know it all. We lose a lot of the openness and willingness we had as a child. We need to shine like the children do in their faith.

We’re all children of God- just with many different looking shells, but all the same on the inside. We all have the same set of feelings. Although there are some who think so, not a ONE of us is any better than the other, no matter what kind of house we live in, what kind of vehicle we drive, how much we’ve collected in our bank accounts. None are higher than another in His eyes. God made each and every one of us. He wants us to be good to one another- To make a difference in other’s lives while we’re here. To GIVE more than we receive, and I’m not just talking money, but of ourselves…Coleman certainly did that. And we couldn’t be MORE proud of him.

We owe it to him to keep that going. Is it going to be easy? No, I'm sure it won't, but we'll push on...for him.

We’ll keep raising funds and awareness for childhood cancer research and continue in the fight full force. We’ll keep doing our Random Acts of Kindness in Coleman’s honor. (we’d love to continue hearing yours too!) We’ll keep his legacy going- the legacy of a five year old that has made us all think a bit differently…to “Neva Div Up!”

Coleman pushed on through his stem cell transplant, through so many procedures, all the while saying, “I KNOW Jesus is dunna help me mommy. I KNOW it.” I hear those words in my head and know in my heart Jesus heard them too. We have no idea what’s in store for our family, but I KNOW God will lead us, Jesus is “dunna help us”... Coleman will ALWAYS be a part of it. His life was such a gift to us- such a blessing! Well Done Coleman… well done.

So if you’d like, stop back to his carepage…I’ll keep writing of the silly things going on around here- believe me, there are always sillies. I’ll keep posting the amazing acts of kindness sent to us, (I have several back ones to catch up on!) I’ll keep updating on what Team Larson is up to. We’ll keep in touch as we move forward whatever that might bring…and if you know me, you know I’ll get off on a rambling or two! Some things NEVER change.

I want to add the verse on a card we received from the Hospice staff today. Nadine said she thought it was written by Coleman- I couldn’t agree more! THANK YOU NADINE!

By Pam Reinke

It’s time to go,
My task here completed.
I have left my mark.
I’ve listened, I’ve learned,
And loved…
Such a grand adventure
This thing called….life!
Although I leave
My laughter remains
In the soft chiming of leaves;
Seek my presence in all
That’s green and gold.
My eyes,
the sun and moon,
Sometimes winking your way,
Sometimes bright
I greet your new day…
Hold me, remember me,
Feel me in everything you see,
For I have not left you,
Only embarked on my next journey
Finally free… finally whole.

***Coleman’s journey here was an amazing one. I smile to think of what his next is like.

I’m only adding these here because people have asked for addresses NOT because we’re asking anyone to donate…

The Paula J Baber Hospice House
2630 9th Ave S
Fort Dodge, Iowa 50501

Ronald McDonald House
730 Hawkins Dr.
Iowa City, Iowa 52246-2509

And if you’re donating to we have a team for an upcoming walk in Des Moines on Feb. 28th !!! More on that to come, but here’s our team page…Curesearch walk

Okay not sure how to get our team page on here, but if you click on the site above, click on Des Moines, and search for Team Larson, you’ll get to our page, and I’ll get on trying to get it figured out to make it easier. I’m sure I’ll post more about this the closer it gets- believe me, you’ll get tired of hearing from me!

Here’s our team Larson store, just because I’ve had requests for it…we’re NOT asking anyone to purchase anything!
Team Larson Store at CafePress

And just in case there’s the slight chance there’s someone reading this who hasn’t signed the petition to help in the fight, please take the couple of minutes to do it here…
Please click to sign the Childhood Cancer Awareness petition.

And join us in the fight to bring the awareness these kids deserve!
click and go to PeopleAgainstChildhoodCancer.

Remember 1 in 330 innocent children this year WILL be diagnosed…not- “MAY” be…”WILL BE!” One out of four of those families will be like us in saying good bye to their child way too soon.
Will it be a child YOU love? I pray it isn't...
We were one of those families- Never thought it would happen to us. NEVER. BELIEVE me.

Thank you for continuing to pray for our family. Not just saying you will, but for really DOING it! We appreciate that. Not only for us but for ALL the families in this fight…. For all families who have been separated from a loved one due to cancer or in other ways. We ALL need those prayers.

Thank you for continuing to check in on us as we embark on OUR new journey without our physical Coleman. HE will never be lost to us…just waiting in a different place, but ALWAYS living on in our hearts, and guiding us in our “foooooture” here on Earth…. until we see his face again.

***Whew! Okay, I just made MYSELF tired rereading that- Guess I had a bit more to say here than I thought when I sat down! You know…it’s that rambling thing! Thanks for listening.***

Blessings to you all,

Okay, I already forgot something! Ps. To the Hospice Staff- we will forever be grateful for these hand sculptures you did- to the special ladies involved in making them- you’re angels. THANK YOU!

Caden’s and Coleman’s (see how tightly Caden was holding on! You can see every wrinkle in Coleman’s knuckles

They let 1851 balloons go at his celebration service .... to celebrate each day of his life. Green and Yellow were their team colors ... I think Coleman's dad works for "John Deere" so they were Coleman's favorite colors!!
Here are the beatuiful hand sculptures that the hospice house made for the Larsons. Hospice workers are truly, truly amazing, aren't they? This is something that Peggy, Scott and Caden will have forever and can remember their last days with Coleman.

Here is Caden and Colemans. Heartbreaking.....he obviously knew how close he was to losing his other half. As a mom of twins, I can't imagine seeing what that does to the other twin.


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