Take one look at these precious faces (right). They have been through some of the hardest things this past year and a half. On the left is Riley, the oldest of four brothers, who was diagnosed with brain cancer two Christmases ago... unbelievably, (unless you lived it) on that same day his dad found out his colon cancer which had been "successfully" surgically removed twelve months before was not only back, but stage 4.
This past July, Riley lost his dad after a short and miserable fight of 6 months. He watched him suffer but believe until the very end that God would heal him. His dad IS healed and whole now, but not the way he believed. Over this past year Riley has been bravely receiving various treatments for his own cancer. The past two MRIs showed a slight reduction in the size of the tumors. Yet, after he had been experiencing numbness in his legs and pain in his tailbone recently, this week they have discovered tumors in his brain on the other side and a new one on his spine. He is my step-nephew. His mom is in the middle and next-oldest brother Ethan on the right. His mom is the picture of grace under fire. I cannot imagine how she continues to put one foot in front of the other, except that you have to when it's your child and your husband.
Riley will start his radiation treatments today.
Riley's grandfather married my mom 15 years ago, after being a widower for 20 years following his wife's (Riley's dad's mom) death at age 36 when his boys were still in elementary and jr. high school. So, my stepfather has lost his wife at 36 and his son at 43 to cancer and is now watching his grandson of 13 years battle it. It is completely heartbreaking... really too much for one person to bear. My mother is the only grandmother (on their dad's side) that these boys have known, and believe me -- she has been "all in" as their step-grandmother. The four boys have spent numerous nights and weekends at Papa and Nonnie's house since they were babies. And their dad really considered and even called my mother "Mom" up until his death last July.
Because of the busy nature of both our families, as a step-sister who doesn't live close and given the busyness of caring for my own family, I have not personally spent a lot of time with these precious ones. But I keep up through my mom, and as a way to help people know how to pray and support them, I created a website chronicling their journeys: www.gberryjourney.com. I would really appreciate it if you would lift them all in prayer as the Lord leads you to. It is a heavy burden, too much to bear alone... but the prayers and support of the family of God have at times literally and figuratively carried this family over the past 15 months. We are grateful.