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12:15 PM: This has been a tough week. I don't think either of us had any idea how hard T'yanna's death would hit us. T'yanna was in so much pain and suffering that I wouldn't have wished for another day of that for her, but seeing her parents go through all of this is hard to see. And through all of that, they took the time to tell me specific ways they have appreciated our friendship. They have been shown amazing strength and grace (more than I have, I think). It's been so easy this week to put ourselves in their shoes. The funeral was especially difficult. There was a slide show with tons of pictures of T'yanna at various times in her life. The ones where she was bald or in the hospital made my eyes well up with tears every time, because it was so easy to see how that could have been Sophie. It was especially difficult to see Melissa and DeAngelos stand at T'yanna's casket before it was closed, covering her with a blanket, kissing her forehead for the last time, their shoulders shaking with quiet sobs. It just breaks my heart to think of how they must be feeling.

This isn't the first time a child we have known has died because of cancer, but this has hit us especially hard because we had felt so close to the family. Whenever we hear of a death, it forces us to stare the threat we're facing head on, but this time it's been harder to move on. Both of us are completely distracted, forgetful, and unmotivated to do anything but spend time together. I've come to realize that I've been soldiering forward for months now without taking much of a break. We leave for vacation tomorrow, and I worked as hard as I could this week so that I wouldn't need to take any work with me. Randall arranged to have someone preach next Sunday, so he won't have to worry about writing a sermon during the week. Our time will be completely free for fun and relaxation. Randall's dad (and his wife Donna) will be there part of the time, so we will get to go somewhere nice to celebrate our tenth anniversary, and we'll get a little help watching the girls. I really hope this will help rejuvenate all of us so that we'll be in better spirits when it's time to face the world again.

Sophie's been doing fairly well. The steroids are affecting her a lot more this month than last month. I seem to recall that the side effects were hardly noticeable last time, but this week, she's definitely not been herself. Her current food obsession is goldfish crackers, preferably baby goldfish (she is not persuaded by any attempt to convince her that they all taste the same). There has been at least one day that she ate nothing but goldfish. She's also been completely irrational and emotional at times. Yesterday, she picked out a cute little skirt from her drawer that had been Elisabeth's. It was a size 5 and unfortunately, when she put it on, it was way too big. Well, nothing else would do, and it was the end of the world that she couldn't wear that skirt. I finally found a way to pin it up with a couple of safety pins, and she eventually calmed down. Tonight is her last dose of dexamethasone, so we're looking forward to having her back to normal (when she's only occasionally hysterical and irrational).


Hey Susan, I am so sorry to hear about Tyanna. I can't imagine how an experience like this makes you feel, but I just wanted to let you know that I think about you and Sophie all the time. That little girl impacted me so much and even though I only knew her a short while she has a special place in my heart. So if she's ever too hysterical or irrational for you, you can send her over to me!

God bless you and your family.

Jennifer and I were so glad to get to see all of you last night - please know that we lift your entire family up every night. Believe it or not, I got to the gym to work out everyday with a friend of mine - and on Thursday my friend wasn't able to go with me. Without him standing there by me, I realized I wasn't able to lift as much weight. It's not that he helps me lift the weight - when he's there he simply stands and waits until I truly need him. However, when I know that he is standing there with me, I can lift far more weight that I can without him. In the same way, please know that the Body of Christ is standing there by you, waiting to help you lift the weight/burdens in your life at this time. Take your vacation - let others "lift the weight" for a while. Enjoy being with your family! And don't even worry about us out here in "cyber-space" - we know you'll let us know when there is something we need to know.

Just came across your website while searching out VBS information. Your little girl is adorable! I'm sorry for the pain you are all going through, but I know what Adam said so beautifully is true. You have more people pulling for you than you'll ever know in this lifetime, and a Savior who loves you and your child dearly. I will have my church pray for Sophie. Hang in there!