I recently attended the funeral for a dear friend’s son. He was 13.
He was amazing, just like his mother. I couldn’t help but be amazed by her strength, but I guess she had gone through so much already.
Her son had an aggressive form of cancer in his brain that was found accidentally a few years ago after he had been playing baseball at school and was hit in the head. Hopeful, doctors removed the tumor and started chemo. His recovery was strenuous on his family, but he prevailed with flying colors. He seemed to be miraculously cancer free.
Then, another tumor appeared. Then, another. Surgeries, chemo and hospital stays became the norm.
His mother made T-shirts and held cancer rallies to raise funds to help her pay the hospital bills and to benefit other children as well.
He couldn’t go to school. You’d think he would want to get out of classwork, but he studied hard while stuck in bed most days. He was very intelligent and a sweetheart.
He also was an inspiration to other children in the hospital with him. He stayed upbeat and always had a smile on his face. He liked to make cookies with his uncle.
For a time, he seemed to prove his doctors wrong that this cancer would cripple his life and end it soon. He went back to school. At the beginning of summer, he went in for a routine checkup. His mom was certain he was fine and healthy. Doctors found another tumor, and bloodwork showed that the cancer had seeped into every part of the kid’s body, including his blood. There was surgery, and after, only time.
Through it all, he smiled, he prayed and he was thankful. He loved his mom so much for all she had done for him, pretty much on her own. She took him to concerts, the mountains and other trips all the time. He even met the Jonas Brothers, and his Make-A-Wish was granted. He met Kobe Bryant. This amazing boy wanted to be an inspiration for his little brother, too. He never complained and played with him as much as possible.
A few weeks ago, he told his mom that he wasn’t afraid to die and that he was ready to be with his grandma and grandpa in heaven to watch over his family. All the while, his mother stayed by his side.
At his funeral last week, his classmates sang a song to him. They made posters and other artwork to celebrate their friend. Songs from his iPod were played while photographs of his life were shown to attendees on a big screen. A smile in every picture.