Dear Brinley,

Today is an important day.  Four years ago today , September 3, 2008, four doctors stood over us and told us you had cancer in your blood.  That was the scariest sentence that has ever been spoken to me in my life.  It was the most devastating day of our lives.  You don't remember very much of it.  You are too young right now to talk to us about this, but I have things to say to you today.  So I will say them here.

On one hand I can't believe it's been four years already, on the other hand it is starting to feel like a lifetime ago that you went through those difficult years.  Most of the time I don't think about it.  That is a blessing, because there was a time when I thought about cancer every hour, every minute, every second of every day.  Now it is a memory I have to search for and pull out when I want to, with occasional times where it is brought to the surface immediately by something that is said or something I see.  The fact that you don't remember much is also a blessing.  I remember our bishop telling us you wouldn't remember most of it.  It didn't make it easier, but it was true.  You remember how you felt on chemo, and the sleepy medicine, and your port, but so much of it has faded from your mind.

I know we are submerged in the world of childhood cancer.  I also know that many people wonder why, when you are doing so well, we feel the need to continue the battle.  You won right?  We don't need the support any more, we are a happy, normal family.  Why are we constantly asking for people's help still for this cause?  Do we just like to relive it to get attention?  I am sure those thoughts have entered the minds of those around us.

There are a few reasons we continue with the fight.  One of them is for those left behind on the battlefield.  We love them and can't leave them.  We know they need our voice from this side of the battle because they are in the trenches and can't speak right now.  We can do the easy part now that we are out of those trenches.  Another reason we are so involved, and the greatest reason, is you.  Without you we would never know about this world that only existed in our peripheral vision.  You made us look at it straight on, wide eyed, and we were shocked and appalled at what we saw. We will never be the same because of it.

The same way we honor veterans who have fought so bravely, there are specific times in which we promise them we will never forget them and what they have gone through. This is how we honor you.  We don't care if you remember or not, we remember.  And we honor you by never forgetting.  September 3rd is our family's own personal 9/11.  Our own D-Day.  The day cancer attacked our family, because by attacking you, it attacked our family.  And yes, this enemy is as real to me as any enemy that exists to man.  It is a threat that seeks lives to destroy, families to devastate, people to break.

So every September, during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, I will search my memory, and read back through the writings, and look through old pictures.  And remember the way you fought, and the way you suffered, and the way you conquered.  I will share with others where you have been.  Not because I want attention for it, or for you, but because you are a childhood cancer HERO and should be recognized as someone who fought the beast and won.  Until there is a cure, I will fight for those who I know are where you have been right now.  I fight for them, yes, but it is because of YOU that I fight.  You are a war hero, and what you have been through should NEVER ever be forgotten, by any of us. I witnessed it, and therefore could never push it aside as though it didn't happen.  

I honor you this month Brinley.  I love who you are.  I love what you bring to our family.  We would be much less without you, and I will always know that we could have lost you. And I thank God that we didn't.



mCat said...

This is a most beautiful tribute and she will forever treasure it, and you as her biggest cheerleader, champion and fan

Alissa said...

Beautiful. We do love our sweet Brinley!

Carl and Starla said...

I'm glad you keep fighting for those "still on the battle field"! Love the letter and love that you care enough about others and your family that you still fight the fight.