Understated Magnificence

I am not sure if I have been doing Bede justice. If I have been able to find the right words. Though I suspect I could search for a lifetime and there would be no words glorious enough to befit him.

You know the blog is a funny beast in some ways. Early on I would pour my heart in to it, my child was laying next to me dying, the emotion was close for the recall. At times I have felt tethered. I have recruited so many of you to back Bede and I so desperately want to bring him to the world and hold him up as a shining example and say this is beauty and joy and light. Sometimes it is hard to write and I have found myself making myself write  to honour the support you have given him. Tonight I really want to write.

I want to say that right now he is rolling back and the forth on the floor grizzling but my goodness he is oozing heartbreaking, life altering, world shaking beauty.

Sometimes his eyes are subdued but they are pools of love and hope and wisdom and all the secrets of life that he has been so generously sharing with the people that will pause long enough to gaze into them.

Sometimes his voice gives life to his discontent but the shades of light and love dance within every inflection.

His fingers reach out and grasp me and his daddy, purposefully and with hurried conviction but he is gentle and thoughtful in his purpose.

When he wakes he smiles. His laugh is round and whole and sincere it shakes his core and then it tickles mine.

His head is close to bald but that lets the gentle afternoon light glide across it a little more easily.

He looks within himself as the sunsets and finds a non medicated peace. It’s not synthetic, it’s not prescribed, I have not raised him to have it, it can not be given. His peace wells bountifully from deep within him and if you’d like a piece of his peace he’ll freely, happily, lovingly give it to you.

His light fluctuates it is true but it is beautiful light and it always has depth. When he is defiantly glowing, persistently shining and all out dazzling it is captivating.

There is some how earth within him. He is grounded and has substance and light and weight and hope. They meld together within him and he overflows with the goodness of life. He is beautiful, he is truth.

He is understated magnificence. Who even knew that existed? Understated magnificence.
And yes there will be grief but that is for me and you and his daddy and his brother and all those who have known him or of him or who have been privileged to love him through real time or cyber waves. There is no grief for him.

He has lived. He brought it.
If we choose not to measure life in longevity but by life lived Bede has out done us all. He has found joy and adventure and experience and life in the big things and the tiny things. He has calmly, minimisingly, walked through horrors and let them go.
He has been ever present in every moment. I’m sure you could not say the same.

He has brought it.

So yes there will be grief but it is not his. Yes I posted a post where you could find grief but that is not ours. For Bede is here. What a gift.

A life altering, world shaking, course defining, light embodying, secret telling, profound soul is here. What a joy!

I think the reason I started to feel tethered to the blog and started posting less was because I doubted myself. I started seeing everyone calling Bede heartbreaking. If that is what you think then, and I say this with all my kindness, my heart breaks for you.

He is beautiful and though his life may be fleeting it is impressive, it is joyful, it is the greatest gift I never even knew I was worthy of until he raised me up and made me worthy.

Through all this bigness, big words, big heart, big impact – he is tiny, he is gentle, he is precious. Unwaveringly true.

None of this is cause to call our lives heart breaking. It is not cause for sad face emoticons to be given out like they are going out of fashion. It is not cause for pity. If I am honest, and I fear I may sound abrupt, if that is your take, I pity you.

I am sorry that his light isn’t falling on your face, I am sorry his profoundness isn’t having the opportunity to raise you up, I am sorry you haven’t experienced his healing tenderness. Lean in a little closer, smile a little more broadly, love a little more recklessly, rejoice a little more daringly and you will feel it to. His shine is generous and I know it is not just confined to his family.

Yes I posted earlier today. It was a call to arms of love and happiness and faith and blind hope.  Bede is here, dancing his way through life. He has a had a bad couple of days but he is dealing with it with smiles.
Tonight Bede’s love envelops me. His strength fortifies me. His light dazzles me. His tenderness heals me. His persistence encourages me.

I urge you to get behind the boy who will give you whatever you are open to taking from him. Get behind him with positivity.

Tonight the roses are in full bloom, the breeze is in and there is magic in the air. The world is more beautiful, more light, more wonderful because he is in it.
His is a life worth celebrating.

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(I posted a shorter post earlier today. To check it out and find out why we need your positivity leading up to the 8th of Jan click here.)

Growing.

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I am not sure what to say or do or how to act. I am sitting here, as what must surely be one of the most blessed and privileged women in the world because I get Bede. I come with humility and humbleness and hope that you will as you have so many times before, get behind Bede.

Bede’s birthday was not our best.  If it were any other day we would have taken him into the hospital.

We kept him home not for the photos or the party but just to spare him being needled and examined and scanned on his birthday.
We have been averaging a couple of hours sleep a night for the last 5 nights or so because Bede is irritated. He has been crying a bit, vomiting a lot and grizzling all the time. It was difficult to get food or fluids down his tube without making him distressed.
We were monitoring him at home but knowing within our selves that the tumour was growing.

We took him into the hospital and I knew.
We waited for the scan and it felt like that instinctive feeling you get when danger is coming and I knew.
We got called into the doctors office and now they knew.
Now it was real.
We told Gus and all he had to say was “Come on!”

The scan was just a CT scan which is not overly accurate to compare to the more detailed MRI but it looks like it is growing, it looks like we have regained the 20% we lost. Combined with Bede’s symptoms that is really not great.
The doctors resumed the drug that makes Bede’s face swell up and upped a lot of his other doses to try and make him more comfortable.

Bede is still regularly laughing at us, smiling with us, loving kisses, enjoying playing his piano and is his usual tender self. But there is also distress where before there was none.

His skin is silk, I never want to forget that feeling.
When he sleeps or when he is unsettled his fingers tip toe across the bed looking for me, he grasps me for a moment and then lets go. Happy to have his space but reassured that I am close.
His laugh remains rambunctious and resilient. His magic is soft and gentle and hopeful. His light uncompromising, continuing to lead the way.
He is weakened but he is not diminished.
He is whole.

Everything I wrote in the blog on new years day remains true. He is still evolving and developing and growing.

Every time I look for heart ache there is none. My beautiful, soulful, loving boy is here and I am thankful.

On the 8th of January we have his MRI. That will tell us definitively just how bad a position we are in.

My words can not do justice to Bede in this moment and any words I do have feel like they are all about me and how much I love him and this is about Bede.
Bede is strength and beauty and substance and light and leadership and hope. He is gentle, tender, unrelenting strength and love. He is goodness.

My words fail me, but my deep love for him implores me to write today. To ask you, the people with all the hope and love and prayers and positivity that have bestowed Bede with so many miracles, to please get behind him. Focus your happiness, hope, positivity, prayers, love, whatever you’ve got on Bede. We want as much happy time as we can get to afford him a life filled with as much, wonder, marvel, joy, relaxation, love and exploration as we can. We are not greedy, we know this wonderful life will come to an end, but for now we want more. More for us and Gus but even more importantly more for him.  I truly believe your loving and hopeful support has achieved that for him before.

I have said it before and I will say it as many times as I need to…. I promise you he is so very worth it.

As the tumour grows and effects his ability to have food or rest he manages to retain his peace.
As the chaos of cancer begins to grumble and swirl he is grounded and he smiles and laughs.
As the irritation flits in and out he loves tenderly.
We love him deeply, a love that is only paralleled by our pride.

This resilience, beauty, peace and happiness is his defining truth.
He is small but he is mighty. He is uncompromisingly Bede.

(follow up post here)

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The balance of power

I hoped but did not expect my open letter to reach Gervase Chaney’s desk. I certainly didn’t expect over 1000 Facebook shares in its first 36 hours. As the response grew bigger I was at the hospital with Bede and I started thinking about taking it down and I didn’t expect other parents to ask me not to. I certainly didn’t expect the influx of messages, emails, comments and approaches of so many other mothers thanking me for using my voice. I didn’t expect the regret from people who had been through this and had not used theirs. I didn’t expect the level of emotion behind those responses. I didn’t expect the advances of media. I certainly didn’t realize just how many of you have Bede’s back.

I think the hospital is empowered in a lot of ways and sometimes that is a negative, petty and bureaucratic power. I think Bede’s power is in the mass amounts of love he can generate and mobilise. I think that is a strong, refreshing and positive power that cannot be underestimated. I think that power is testament to his light.

In all the reactions I have had I had negative feedback from about 4 people.

I am all about honesty and accountability and context. My reactions in the letter did happen. I was desperate and I did raise my voice and I know some staff did not like that but there was context to them.  My letter provided that context.

The letter was aimed at a bureaucratic decision that removed reactions from their context. Towards the end of the meeting Dr Chaney told us he would aim to review the decision within 24 hours. Nothing was going to have changed in that time. We sensed he knew the decision was wrong but that he was standing by it anyway. Whether we were right in sensing that or not the decision was petty and bureaucratic and it was unforgiving punishment toward a family who have tolerated and forgiven so much. The letter was context. We are not threatening people.

Now let me give you the context in which some of these incidences have occurred. They occurred in a big picture.

One that also includes the nurse who I thank repeatedly every shift because I feel when she is on I am off duty and know Bede is in the best hands possible.
The nurse who must be the only other person in the world who can sense something is wrong with Bede before I can.
The nurse that sat with Bede after her shift had ended while we were in a meeting because it was an important day for our family.
The doctor who said we could call her anytime over the weekend while she was off duty because I was so scared without her advice I wouldn’t know what to do.
The same doctor who is so giving of her time and energies not just to Bede but also to our family.

The nurse who makes sure she talks to Bede while she is treating him.
The nurses that head into Bede’s room on their way to tea break to squeeze in a quick cuddle.
The nurse who bakes nearly every shift and then SHARES it.
The doctor who in the middle of a Bede emergency made sure I got a juice to help stop my shaking.
The specialist who drove from Fremantle to Subiaco at 7:30 at night because he wanted someone who knew Bede to review him.
The nurse who rubbed my back and encouraged me on when no one would listen.
The doctors who brought him back
The doctor that listens.
The coordinator that understands.
The nurse that empathises.

I think the word ‘mistake’ is too generous for the incidences I detail in my open letter and there are many more of them. There is also a lot of good staff.  I think I acknowledged that in the letter. A lot of those staff are also outraged when these things happen.  I certainly do not want to be the person that “paints them into a box” as one criticism said.
Our voice empowers our family but it is not a petty unfair empowerment. It is an honest, true and positive power.
The letter is true. It was never meant as a criticism of the nurses or individual doctors. It provided context for a petty bureaucratic system and a petty bureaucratic decision that robbed my boys of precious home time together.

Although I am sure Dr Chaney does not need nor desire a disenchanted mother coming to his defence he seems like a nice man. He is a doctor for sick children, a father. He allowed us to say our piece in the meeting even if we did feel as though it fell on deaf ears. I asked Dr Chaney if given the exceptional circumstances and lapses if he could say he would have acted any differently and he admitted that he could not. This is not about a witch hunt. My letter was addressed to him because he represented the system that day and although he seems to lead it he is only one part of it.

The treatment that we required HITH for has finished. We still seek some reassurance that that service will be available to Bede in the future and have none. Despite Dr Chaney assuring us in the meeting that he would attempt to have his grounds for refusing us this service in writing and provided to us within 24 hours and also that he would provide us with details regarding any documented incident within the last 6 weeks, the main period for which he was making his decision, none of this has happened. We have not heard from PMH in regards to this matter. Ultimately Bede is still not availed of HITH.

At the end of the letter I said that was a one off post, that Roy and I felt the need to speak out about Bede’s reality but I am posting this today because I do not want to be the person that uses their power in a negative way. That is not and has never been what Bede or our family are about.

He may be small, but he is mighty.

– Isabella and Roy

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This is who it is all about.                                                     Bede helped us decorate the tree last night.
A proper Bede update will follow later today or early tomorrow. He is doing well. He is shining, he is developing, he is irrepressible and our love and pride run deep.

Bright blessed days and dark sacred nights.

This will be one of my longest blogs. A lot has happened in a short period of time and I am too tired to make this post beautiful, too tired to make it appealing, too tired to cull the boring bits. This is what it is. Bede’s truth.

The last week started with an ambulance ride and ended with so many of us praying. Here’s what happened.

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After arriving at the hospital on Monday Bede started to deteriorate on Tuesday night and we started to worry that we were losing Bede.

He was fighting a winnable battle but he was exhausted and he was coming from behind. He was more tired than we had ever seen him and just breathing was hard work. For the first time ever he was finding it difficult to shine through and that was devastating.

I sent a message to our family and friends recruiting love and positivity but even as I sent it I knew one part wasn’t true. “there must be more to come”. I realised he had filled us up, his light has shone bright and he has been more than enough for our family. That scared me even more. Perhaps it was time.

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My gut told me it was line ball and we were in trouble. The doctors agreed it wasn’t good and we may lose him. Bede fought valiantly but I was losing my boy.

Come Wednesday afternoon I asked for a moment alone with Bede. I whispered in his ear that I loved him. I sat by his cot holding his hand and told him the truth. I told him he is magnificent and that he had exceeded all expectation. I told him he had made me happier and given me more than I could have ever asked or hoped for. I told him he had done enough now and if he was tired and if he wanted to go that was ok, he could. He had given us more than I could have ever hoped and if he chose to stay around for a while it could be our turn to give back to him but whatever he chose was ok.

He was exhausted.

ICU came and gave him more supportive measures. My incredible husband Roy describes it as “he was standing on the edge of the cliff but not looking down”. We were maxed out. Any more support meant we would have to be transferred off the ward to ICU; he would need to be anaesthetized and ventilated. We needed to consider what our wishes were for Bede. Our primary doctor one of Bede’s biggest advocates said that should the time come we ventilate. For now we fight and that made sense because he was still fighting to. She acknowledged we were in a bad place but told me she still had faith in him. We both decided it was time to get Gus in to see Bede just in case. Gus brought unconditional healing love into the room and sat by Bede as I held him and Gus read to him for a while. Then overnight what has become almost the ordinary happened. Bede put his head down and one foot in front of the other and he worked. Slowly but surely he reclaimed himself. He shined again.

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We had about  24 hours of peace. Bede remained maxed out but we suspected he was able to progress and were just giving him a chance to rest. Then it all turned again.

Bede’s body writhed and thrashed uncontrollably. He screamed in distress.

We kept pumping him full of an array of IV drugs to try and stop it but nothing worked. ICU came down and spoke to us about the possibility of anaesthetizing him and ventilating him until hopefully this episode passed. We were now losing him again but in a completely different way.

The on call consultant who knows Bede well talked to me on the phone at 4am. He said it was time to stop the drugs, they weren’t working. There was nothing we could do to make him comfortable. It was time for us to just hold him through it. That was the hardest thing I have ever done and late that sleepless night I wrote this:

I have always said Bede’s resistance to cancer was much like a peaceful protest, his gentle strength forging the way.
Tonight it’s all out war. It is violent. He is in the trenches. He is fighting a messy, dirty battle and he is doing it with grit and determination.

It almost reminds me of a shark feeding frenzy. The waters obscured by the movement, frantic, fast. His limbs are flailing his back arching, he’s cycling through uncontrollable movement and agitation before managing to ground himself for just a moment before the next round. It is unrelenting.
I’ve never liked the word fighter for Bede, I’ve always found it too abrasive for his gentle soul but tonight he is fighting for his peace, for his light, for his life. Refusing to be taken easily, refusing to leave his big brother just yet, refusing to be robbed of what he has rightfully earnt – some time off treatment by the beach enjoying life.

It was pretty accepted that Bede wasn’t aware of us at that point but I refused to believe I couldn’t reach my baby on some level. I spent the night trying to pour love into him so in the midst of his despair he wouldn’t feel alone. It took every ounce of my being to smile as I sung “this little light of mine” my voice shook and my mouth trembled but I smiled and I sung and I tried to fill him with positivity and love and so did his daddy. I think we all found out just how hard we can fight that night.

imageEven in the depths of his despair, as he thrashed and wailed, he paused. He became Bede. He looked at me and he smiled, his light shining brilliantly, dazzling until seconds later he succumbed again. He took a moment to remind us just how hard he can fight, to remind us it takes a bit more than this kind of horror to keep him down. As he thrashed his light was dimmed but unassailable he glowed. His gentle loving soul fortifying us reminding us to be peaceful be patient.

On Friday morning after 12 brutal hours neurology saw us. It wasn’t seizures. He was aware of us he just couldn’t show us that. The movements were coming from a different part of the brain and were not sure why it’s happening. Finally early yesterday afternoon we got it under control. A lot of those measures have a sedative effect so he is catching up on his rest.

Now he sleeps. His vital signs, his heart rate, his oxygen, his respiratory rate are all good. We have managed to do a miniscule reduction in the support from ICU, it is a reduction nonetheless and soon we will start him on a tiny feed of 5 mls an hour. It will be the first time his body has had food since early Monday morning.

Today he gently tip toed his fingers across my own, he smiled gently but purposefully. He is resilient.

Last night Bede’s aunt came and played the guitar and serenaded him. Her chords permeated his upset and he relaxed. She played all his favourite songs and created a few new favourites. She helped me help him resist drifting back into despair and helped us give him some sweetness.

If we didn’t know already over the last few days we have found out what our son is made of.

Bede is weakened but he is not diminished, his strength incontestable, his light indelible. His soul glistens with hope and love and beauty and light and joy. He is a blessing in its purest form.

The fight is hard but he is soft. He is tender and he is warm. The fight is robust and he is delicate.

Although it is not perfectly apt it reminds me of a quote that I came across some time ago.

 Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, 
adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. 
Darkness cannot drive out darkness: 
only light can do that. 
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

So yes the fight is hard, the cancer is dark and Bede is soft and glowing and tender and I feel like that is just what he needs to be. It is not fair and it is not right and this did not “happen for a reason”. It stinks but if there were ever a baby up to the challenge you better believe it is Bede. His soft beautiful love, his gentle soul, his resilient tenderness and his purposeful persistence have him in with a fighting chance and for this fight I’m backing Bede. Cancer ain’t seen nothing yet.

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I want to add a thanks to all the nurses who have surrounded him and us with genuine care this admission and who have prayed for him. Who have made us feel like Bede matters and is valued even in this environment that he is more than just a number on the ward that he is cared for. I want to thank everyone who has sent him love and positivity this past week. From virtual strangers to our nearest and dearest thank you. Your love strengthens him and us and enables him to work his magic.

Bede has been remarkable.

If he chooses to go it is ok. He has done enough and I have tried to be enough. Mothering him has been a privilege. I have tried to empower him to make his mark through this blog and through all of you. If he chooses to stay that would be a dream but if he chooses to go I hope you will help me to wrap him up in love and tenderness and light and joy and soulful kindness. In the meantime, while we wait, I hope you will help me fortify him with love and positivity as his light has so often fortified me for the fight.

As I nuzzle my head against his own I am at home in the world and I count my blessings.

(I did a photo post earlier today showing some of the last 6 weeks including our happier times and times of growth and joy. you can check it out here)

Photo update.

sharing a joke

sharing a joke

This last 6 weeks have been a gorgeous time of happiness, abundant laughter, growth and development.
I was working on a post a while ago and wrote this…

I want so badly for this blog to represent Bede’s gentle, strong, light filled soul. I want it to represent his resilience, his tenderness, his strength and just how profound he is but sometimes like right now he’s just my boy and I’m just his Mum. Its as simple as that and that is more than enough for me and him and our little family existing in our blessed little world. We are happy. I am busy being a mum and he is busy being a joyful little boy.

Some of you may know things have changed for us in the last week but I wanted to  share all of this with you nonetheless. The updates have been few and far between because we have been busy relishing in life and the joy of Bede.

I have another blog to go up in an hour or so. I know many of you are waiting for news on Bede. He is small but he is mighty.

Is x

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Bandana day for canteen

Bandana day for canteen

teething on the couch. happy to be home

teething on the couch. happy to be home

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so much chemo

so much chemo

hey kiddo...  you're meant to be sick

hey kiddo… you’re meant to be sick

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ede shining gently, overcoming sepsis

ede shining gently, overcoming sepsis

walking in support of  kids with cancer

walking in support of kids with cancer

swelling is starting to go down

chilling with the amazing Abby

chilling with the amazing Abby

irrepressible

Bede's 10 month birthday party kicked on onto the night

Bede’s 10 month birthday party kicked on onto the night

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irrepressible

irrepressible

and they said he wouldn't eat!

and they said he wouldn’t eat!

image he loves it. image image loving sweet potato

first water fight

first water fight

chilling out at home

chilling out at home

so sick, so tired, 2am chemo blues

so sick, so tired, 2am chemo blues

image imageimage first meet up with santa. He was wearing thongs not too sure if it was legit? carols by candle light with Gus in the choir

A quick catch up.

It has been a while since I posted. I know this for a fact because  I have been receiving messages all day telling me so.

Bede is strong, vocal, funny and shining bright. He is careful, he is an explorer, he is teething and his soul is as magical as ever.
When he speaks people listen and his eyes command your attention.

I’m hoping to write a proper update for you tonight but for now this is Flash back Friday for all of our new followers these are the links to some past posts that show some of  where we have been. …

Smile Bede Is

My Gosh we adore him

Choices

 

Don’t forget to check the ‘A Baby of Substance’ and ‘About’ links at the top of the page and please don’t forget to follow the blog.

Your love and prayers and support continue to humble and strengthen us.

I spoke at a fundraising event for Bede and our family last night. The whole event and the lead up to it have felt like a warm embrace filled with friendship and love for our family.  I have attached a copy of my words for those of you who I know had been hoping to make it but in the end could not. It was a wonderful night.

Hi everyone. Thank you for being here tonight and thank you for listening to what I have to say.

I’ll give you a really quick bit of background, because as some of you know I fear the details of our journey are boring I also know some of you are here learning about Bede for the first time tonight.

About 5 weeks after Bede was born, 5 exhaustedly joyful weeks I knew something was wrong. It took 2 hospitals and another 11 weeks of relentless advocating to get the scans that finally brought us a diagnosis. Bede had an advanced brain tumour and it was certainly cancerous because it had spread throughout his brain stem and spine. His kind of cancer is rare and fatal. We get given different numbers depending on which doctor we speak to some say there are only 6 reported cases of this in the world. Some will just say it is very rare. After the biopsy and the pathology returned we pushed for a life expectancy. The doctors were reluctant to give us one because they don’t have a crystal ball but eventually, they told us, Bede had 2 years. One of intense chemo and hopefully one year of quality life at home with his family.

A lot of you who now our family know that we have tried to stay positive and happy through this experience. 
We don’t see much point in grieving while Bede is here. We will have a lifetime for Grief once he is gone. For now we make the choice to delight in every moment.

I want to be real tonight. I want you to know why your support means so much to us and what it has helped us through

I want to take this opportunity tonight to catch you up, to tell y ou about some of the realities  that I don’t blog about and hopefully help you understand why we’ve been so absent and not as present in our gratitude to you all as we would have liked.

I chose the photos that you have seen in the slideshow tonight. They are extremely illustrative of Bede’s journey. They are not the professional photos, they’re not all beautiful but they are true.  I suppose the only photos that are missing are the graphic and slightly upsetting ones that show just how skinny and ill bede became before his diagnosis.
I’d like to tell you about some of the photos you did see.

There is the photo of Bede outside.  fresh air in his lungs

I fought hard for that moment. He had had a long admission and was about to head into brain surgery less than 24 hours after diagnosis. If he was going to die the mother in me wanted him to have fresh air in his lungs and to have felt the sunshine on his face.

There were so many ‘last’ photos. The moments we were told this is very likely it. You may be losing him now in this moment. Desperate to document his last moments we would snap away. Crying, holding him and willing our love to comfort him.

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The photos of Bede and Gus when we had to decide with our doctor do we let him go for his play date or call him in to see his dying brother one last time.

You saw the moment that my acceptance of Bede’s fate and my deep faith that whatever was best for Bede is what would  eventuate crumble as I begged for just one more moment, I wasn’t ready to never again feel that the coolness of his soft cheeks, the weight of his body on mine or the beauty of our souls entwined. Just one more moment I begged. I’m not ready yet, I’m not ready.

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I chose this photo to have (on the screen) behind me tonight because while it doesn’t necessarily accurately reflect Bede’s external beauty it does speak volumes about my son.

This is my son.

Days earlier we thought the cancer was claiming him. He was on ICU level IV morphine not normally administered on the ward and at double doses. He was on IV ketamine and one on one nursing. He had spent days screaming in pain as the cancer grew. You might be able to see at the bottom of this picture the oxygen he was needing to stay alive, he was on high doses of steroids as he is now. The steroids left his face so swollen expressions were difficult.

This is him smiling in spite of it all.

Getting ready to make his come back.

This is typical Bede. This is my son.

You also saw intimate kisses goodbye as we stood on the precipice yet again of our greatest fear, moments of sheer despair. But it is in those moments where we need to make a choice. To surrender to despair and horror and brutal grief or to embrace positivity and to make sure as many moments as possible of Bede’s life are filled with love and joy and songs like incy wincy spider.

The support so many of you have given us from high school friends sincerely reaching out through facebook, to school mums cooking us dinner and keeping us nourished, to the friends who have stayed in contact and kept up traditions like the occasional Sunday afternoon drink and the people who have continued to treat us just the same as they always did.  Your support in a real and tangible way has helped us choose incy wincy spider and playing and love.

So many of you tell us we are inspirational, and a lot of you know that doesn’t sit comfortably with me at all. It is your support that has enabled our strength and our positivity. It is your love and prayers and the practical ways so many of you have reached out that has fortified us and allowed us to be the best parents we can possibly be to Bede.

Of course in the photos tonight you also saw the smiles.

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The unadulterated joy. The victories. The inherent strength. The moments that have doubled the size of our hearts. The moments we got to have him at home in his context with his family and his community. His first solid feed. His first get away down south.

The photos mark his growth and his resilient spirit. A spirit that fortifies us for the fight. You saw his light, his grin and his enduring ability to bring beauty and joy to all those around him. I hope you also saw a happy and grateful family.
Bede is strength.

I want to take a moment to talk about Bede. Sometimes I get nervous that if I repeat the same thing too many times I dilute the message but my dear friend Carolyn, reminded me that people like to be reminded of just how incredible Bede is so here goes.

Bede is determined, he is strong, he is solid and he is true. In the words of his medical team he is persistant. They say kids bounce back well Bede doesn’t. For all the deep pits we have been in he has never bounced. Instead he takes a moment, he gathers himself, he consolidates his postion and then purposefully moves forward. Putting one foot in front of the other he gets on with the business of life. There are no spectacles, no grand moments he quietly and unassumingly dominates cancer. He is often called a fighter but it is not an angry fight it’s more like a peaceful protest. This illness that looms large may have the power to steal his life but it sure as hell will never steal his light. He faces brain cancer head on and he does it with a grace I could never have imagined.

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His indelible truth remains, his light shines bright. I know I say that often but it feels like such an apt way to describe Bede. Sometimes he softly and defiantly glows, sometimes he all out shines but he always has this beautiful happy light about him. He radiates love and warmth and something great but indescribable. He is profound.

He is tough as nails and soft as a feather.

He is courageous and triumphant, gentle and soft and his little warm hands that he tip toes across my own feel like the worlds largest blessing.

Right now in this moment he is triumphant.  He is doing better than anyone could have ever expected. He is eating solids, sitting up, babbling smiling. He plays, he takes turns, he is careful. He is an explorer. Where before Bede’s old soul was so prominent and overwhelming now his gentle persistent personality shines through and I really like the person I see.

In regards to that life expectancy we’re now told all bets are off. The truth remains that Bede could die suddenly and painlessly at any moment and while the cancer will most certainly eventually take him no one is prepared to give it a time frame. No one is prepared to underestimate Bede and his will. He is doing better than any other child that has presented with this cancer. For example while all the other babies presented at 4 months already completely blind we found out yesterday that Bede retains at least some sight.

I want to say thank you so much for your love and prayers. There have been so many times things could have gone so much worse than they did. Before the biopsy the doctors gave us weeks. So many prayed with us, sent love to Bede or just concentrated your positive energies on him. You gave him whatever you had and I earnestly believe the miracle Bede has had and the he still needs is all of you.

I’d so love for everyone here tonight to head over to the blog and at the bottom of the page in a grey box is the word follow. Click on it and subscribe and the next time we need a miracle we can call on you as part of team Bede. We so desperately want for him to be known and to be afforded his opportunity to make his mark on the world.

I really want to thank my beautiful friends who have helped organize tonight. I found the kindness difficult to accept initially but it has felt like one huge hug for our whole family. I also want to thank everyone who supported us and them by contributing to tonight and I know there are many of you.

I want to thank all of you for helping alleviate my fear that my incredible son would go unknown to the world.

I want to thank our whole school community for your support and love and prayers and I especially want to thank the year 2 mums for the meals, the fuel vouchers and for at times literally putting clothes on my back.

I want to thank everyone for coming tonight, for your support and love and for letting me tell you all the other side of the story. That might not sound as positive and as happy but is true and real.

I assure you the brutality of the journey doesn’t diminish they joy of parenting Bede. Everyday we feel a deep happiness and privilege to be the parents of two such amazing boys and a deep gratitude for all of you.

Please please please check out the blog.

Bede, maybe  small but he is mighty. Thank you.