Friday, May 9, 2014

My Son Earned His Black Belt And Spencer Died...

This was written around Christmas 2012...

Black Belt

He's worked...hard...almost three years
to reach this goal.

There were times,
when I picked him up from school and he begs me,
begs not to go to class.

"I'm so tired.  I hurt.  I feel like crap. I hurt everywhere. Please mom."

But I push him.
I remind him of his goal.
I remind him he'll feel better...after class.

Building His Character
Fighting Through His Chronic Pain

He wants to spar...desperately.
But I know.  I know how dangerous it would be.
So I let the neurosurgeon tell him.

"Josh, your neck is not normal. If you were kicked just once...
 the wrong way 
you would be paralyzed from the neck down
probably having to breathe with the help of a machine.
Is it worth that?"

The tears silently slide down his cheek.

But the day comes
and he tests with three other Poom Belts...
Kids he's trained with almost the entire time.
Kids who believe in him
and he believes in them.

And he passes his forms, his kicks, his push ups, crunches, 
he breaks his boards with ease
and then attempts 3 boards at once.
Faltering with the first attempt
but then tells himself...

"I beat cancer.  I can do this."
And breaks all 3 with one powerful kick!

We celebrate with the three families.
Dinner out.
Lots of food and laughter.

And we come home
And I read about Spencer.

Spencer and him mom Lynnette  
a son and mom
the same cancer

We did Story Corps a couple years ago
the sharing of our hearts

And I read
Spencer is paralyzed from the neck down.
He's dying.
They can no longer stop the cancer.
So I celebrate my son
and I grieve for Lynnette.

And two days after Josh earns his Black Belt
Spencer dies
peacefully at home.

Spencer a senior in high school
from a strong loving family.

And I remember back
when I first met them...
a nice Mormon family.

And I went to bed one night
and early in the morning I awoke with a start
sitting straight up in bed
a question burning inside me...

"Don!" I exclaimed
"From all of my church teaching if Spencer dies
he's going to hell."

"And with all of Lynnette's teaching in here Mormon church
WE are going to hell when we die."

"So what's the truth?  How can that be?"

"Well, that's why I'm glad God is the judge, April. Not us."

Why do we judge like this?

And peace flooded my soul.

Josh earned his Black Belt.
Spencer is gone...from this earth, his family.

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