Dear Allistaire Kieron Anderson – beautiful name, soul, and child,
Your mom asked if friends would write memories of you and the meaning you hold in our lives. Yet, a single card would not be adequate. Truly, this blog post is woefully inadequate. How can a piece of paper, bits of electronic data, or even all of the words imaginable capture the meaning of your precious little life to me? How special you are, for what you’ve done, both literally and figuratively, for me and so many others.
I first met you shortly after your second birthday. I remember your bald little head and your tenacious little spirit, cruising the halls of the cancer unit on a tricycle. You had energy and fire! At the time, Caden was refusing to get out of bed due to the pain cancer inflicted on his bones. Watching you gave me my first dose of hope at a time when my spirit was painfully crushed. You showed me the resilience of children through your bubbly personality and silly antics, all while tolerating the onslaught of chemo and cancer treatment, stuck in a hospital, connected to an IV pole. The way your mom personalized your hospital room, complete with decorations and a cute card on the door with your picture and the quote, “Though she be but little, she is fierce.” It gave a feeling of home away from home to an otherwise sterile environment. She protected your nap time with little signs indicating as such. Everyone who encountered you there knew you were a loved, cherished child. You are a prime example that the children cared for in that hospital have stories and are unique little people, not just another patient. In fact, you taught me that you can love a nurse enough and draw that love back in to the point that she can no longer be your nurse. But isn’t that what this life is about? To love others as God himself loves us? Thank you for being that tangible arm.
You played a part in showing me a level of joy I did not know was possible before cancer. The immeasurable tears, heartache, pain, and fear felt for your life during your first relapse gave rise to simple yet intense bliss in seeing you hike the M trail near your home and riding unfettered on our boat. Oh, to remember the days when such basic things felt so impossible, but to witness you do these, yes… overwhelming joy and gratitude.
You have been a friend to my children. Your bond with my son, only possible between children that have experienced what you two have, has been an important part of teaching challenging life lessons and healing. Your giggles will always resonate in my heart over that crazy pair of clowns pretending to be doctors in the hospital hallway. Is there really anything more precious in this world than the laughter of a child? You’ve impressed us with your ability to down syringes full of medicine in record time yet take hours to finish a single cup of milk. Caden feels quite indebted to you for introducing us to the most wonderful Pagliacci’s pizza (me, too). In your final days at home, thank you for asking to see Caden and Camryn, and giving them the opportunity to see that though cancer threatens your life and ravages your body, your spirit and playful nature remain.
Allistaire, because of your life, I have been introduced to people that have changed mine. Your dad with the gentle way he speaks to you and a friendship with my husband due to the mutual understanding of the horrors they’ve witnessed (the mutual love of whiskey helps, too). Your sister with her longing for adventure but sensitive heart – a friend that always wants to play. Your many aunts and uncles with their awe-inspiring athletic abilities and a fierce love for family that would make the world a better place should all know such endearment. Your grandma Jo Marie with her strong, yet caring nature, and her faith holding her, despite the incredible hardships she’s experienced. Your aunt Jo who, at the sudden loss of your uncle Jens, asked, “What are you up to, God?” rather than the “Why?” so many of us wonder. Though a young woman, she shows such spiritual maturity in those words. These beautiful hearts within our own community that I likely would not have known, if not for you.
And of course, your mom, my first friend behind those heavy, foreboding double doors to a unit no parent ever wants to have their child behind. First her friendship, and then her faith, proved to me what genuinely beautiful is. She encouraged me to take the next steps with my faith, growing my relationship with God and knowing my Lord Jesus with so much greater depth. The mutual fears and hopes we’ve shared, the countless tears and hugs. The courage shown with our promise to never turn our eyes from each other’s pain. The power of expressing our experiences, though words are inadequate. To wonder at the grand intricacies of God’s creation. The motivation to change, find a cure for this wretched disease, all while “lifting our eyes.” Her honesty and loyalty have shaped how much I value these attributes in others. Friends on this earth, sisters through Christ.
Through your final days, I have been blessed to witness the amazing love of others, all because of you. I have only seen a small part of the outpouring of love and support for you and your family, yet it is profound. In this broken world, it is humbling to see such demonstrations of goodness, of humanity’s desire to serve.
Thank you for all of these amazingly precious memories and gifts, Allistaire. Bet you didn’t know you could do such things in six short years! Though today our tears fall like the spring mountain rains and our hearts burst with the thought of the suffering you’ve endured and the impending loss of you, we have faith in seeing you once again, in a perfectly healed body, with joy greater than what you showed us on the M trail, your giggles echoing through heaven. We love you, Allistaire Kieron Anderson. May you be greeted with a “Well done, good and faithful servant!” upon your entrance to heaven. We will continue to honor your life by working toward a cure and remembering all that is special about you.
With love always, Pam
To read more of Allistaire’s mom’s blog, go to: http://www.conglomerationofjoy.com