When I first encountered the FB Page Courageous Caitie, I deliberately avoided it because ever since I became a mom, I suddenly developed an emotional incapacity to process and accept stories of children suffering from diseases, cruelties and poverty. I intentionally avoided investigative documentaries featuring child labor, trafficking and poverty and social media accounts of children with serious illnesses. However, that does not mean that I turn blind for these children, I still care and I still help the best way I know but I have to skip the details.
Last week, the sad news about Courageous Caitie succumbing to a rare type of leukemia did not escape my newsfeed. For the first time, I opened her page and as expected, I cried a river. I went home with swollen red eyes.
Six days after her passing, I find myself back-tracking her and her family’s journey through her parents’ website Your Page Meets Mine. I particularly enjoyed browsing her photos, they are so full of happiness, innocence, love, light and life! I find myself touched, saddened, inspired and renewed in faith. What’s so special about Caitie? What pokes my heart, really? Her journey and final fate, at least to me, a stranger and an outsider from the family may be no different from other children’s tragic stories. I mean, there are many children in the world suffering from life-threatening diseases, some have no money or support pa. Some only had curable diseases but still died due to the lack of proper treatment or access to medical care. While some are healthy yet greatly suffer from day to day poverty and are victimized by wars and all forms of viloence.
Three of my favorite posts in Caitie’s parents’ website:
Caitie, to me, seemed to have had a good life until she got sick. Her life may be short but it was filled with happy memories and love and care from many people. So, it puzzled me at first why her life suddenly caught my interest. First and foremost, I think it’s because I’m a mom. I could never imagine myself in her mommy’s shoes. NEVER. God knows I’m not that strong. I always pray at night that He won’t trust me that much, with that same burden and that He won’t let my kids go before I do. I even say, “God, strip me off with everything except for my family.” Mawala na lahat, pero syempre sana ‘wag naman. I always pray that He spares me from those kinds of trial. Mahina ako sa ganyan ‘Lord, alam mo ‘yan. Simple cold and cough pa nga lang, umiiyak na ko eh, so ‘pano pa kung iba. Di ko talaga kaya.
When I think of it, Caitie and her parents are truly stronger than me. And, that is because of Jesus, their love and faith in Him. They inspire me to draw my strength from Jesus too.
The life of courageous Caitie teaches me to raise my kids in and with Jesus. She reminds me that I should prepare my kids more than anything else to know, follow and love Jesus. It’s the most important thing I should teach them. More important than counting numbers, memorizing ABC and writing their names.
Her life affirms that I should always choose family experience over material things. Life is not permanent. One way or another, it would end. So, what’s the point of earthly possessions? We should always cherish our togetherness as a family.
Her life also reminds me not to delay anything else. We should not wait to do things we want and can do now. Life would not wait. It just happens every day. We should not delay doing things out of fear. We should work to afford dreams and create happy memories and not accumulate material wealth which could not be brought in the next life. I won’t delay letting them run, play and lie down in the grass, for example. I won’t delay a beach or nature trip.
Her life reminds me to think of eternal life. That it is something we should all get ready for. That there is hope in every tragedy. That the only gate to Heaven, the God’s kingdom and paradise is through Death.
Her life reminds me to cherish every single chance I get to love and care for my kids because that is an opportunity, a miracle from God which not all were given.
Her life reminds me that God is the ultimate miracle performer and the sole giver of life and nothing would stand against His plans for each and every one of us. 30+ medical doctors, months of stay in hospitals, blood works, biopsies, lab tests and so on and so forth. Nothing happened, at least in our naked eyes but in God’s eyes, surely things are happening just as He purposed.
Her life reminds me of Mama Mary’s sorrow when she saw the scourged and then crucified Jesus, her son and how her heart was pierced by a sword just like what it said in the Scriptures.
Her life reminds me of the reality of the 3rd world health care industry. Imagine, 30+ doctors (some are even specialists), 4 hospitals I think, countless lab tests, needle pricks and thousands of pesos bills were not able to diagnose a rare case of leukemia (JMML). Where was Dr. Gregory House? While it’s true that early detection may not have altered anything, it would have lengthened the acceptance stage and “sulitin” moments of the family. Although I believe that Caitie and her family have lived their lives together to the fullest, just like what God has intended. But still, health and medical improvements could make things better.
Her life opens doors to an advocacy, a mission and a call for improvement in the country’s medical industry. And that include the medical facilities and equipment and the doctors especially pediatricians, diagnosticians and pathologists.
Her life reminds me to use my camera, as in abuse it until it breaks down! Cellphone cameras are good but not as good as the quality a real camera gives. It saddens me to think of all those good photos I took using a phone camera. A little bit of a zoom would blur them. I should have used a real one. Not too late, though. Not too late.
Lastly, she reminds me of my own children. She is about the same age as my son, my eldest Jonath and she has a bit resemblance to my daughter, Claret, especially in the picture below and I think they share a common lullaby – Jesus Loves Me. At first, I was in denial of some sort that they look alike (with a nonsensical fear that they’d have the same destiny) but when I said it to my husband while showing him the picture below, he said, “Oo nga eh, ‘yun din agad napansin ko.”
|Photo from Instagram
I encourage everyone reading this to pause for a moment and whisper an ardent prayer for Caitie’s soul and for all other children suffering, from diseases, rare or common, curable or not and from sadness, depression, war, cruelty and poverty. May God protect all children and may He use each and every one of us to perform such acts that would protect children and glorify Him.
Once more, thank you, Caitlin, the angel of children! Thank you, Jesus!
God bless everyone!