“To know him is to love him”

The title of this post is taken from Caden Beggan’s community facebook page. Unlike I, you have probably been following his story. I just read about Caden today. It is always gut wrenching to read of a child and family enduring something like this, but what caught my eye was his name. Caden Riley Beggan. His first and middle name being the names and exact spelling of each of my sons. He is 6 years old, just as my Riley is.

This is a lengthy post. I have copied excerpts from posts written by his father on his community page. I am astounded by the faith of this man. The purpose of this precious ones struggle falls under one of those things that we spoke about several days ago that I just don’t understand and wouldn’t be able to change even if I did.

I am forever changed after reading this family’s journey.

November 9
“Dear friends,

Friday. Some 17 days after contracting a highly virulent infection (meningococcal septicaemia), Caden is alive.

Its malignancy, its utter loathing and disrespect for life knows no bounds. It is a mephitic organism whose stench will forever pervade my future; a poisonous and offensive bug whose sole purpose, it’s very reason for existing, seems to have been for the ruin of my son.

But, Caden . . . my champion, my hero, that tough little warrior fights on with the heart of a lion and continues to defy the odds. *His* existence will forever be a credit to him, a badge of honour, a praise to his Father in Heaven.

Let the Angels sing, Caden is alive!
Dance on your tears, Caden is alive!

I have not really seen the sun much these past two weeks, but a friend persuaded me to take a walk yesterday, and perhaps even consider a haircut (I’m assured that one was long overdue). So I did, and I did. A very kind hairdresser listened while I shared a little heartache and peppered it with a little hope. I even stopped by a clothes shop on the way back to the hospital and purchased something warm for the winter.

Daylight. Haircut. Shopping. Caden.

The streets were crowded, people everywhere busying themselves with their daily concerns, and then there was Caden. People talking, and Caden. People walking, and Caden. In every phone conversation as people raced to their destination, Caden. In every shop window, in every Christmas decoration, Caden. Then, the sun, in the last few minutes before retiring for the evening; so conspicuously absent from the dark shadows of the last 17 days, opened my eyes.

Caden was still alive; is still alive and lying in a hospital bed some five hundred yards from where I was standing. Right there, in that bustling sidewalk, I lifted my voice to the heavens, and declared that day a good day. How can I mourn the loss of a son who is still very much alive?…

I pray and I hope as one walking on thin ice, afraid to move this way or that for fear of plunging into a black abyss of despair. Last night, I fell asleep on my knees. I had few, if any words, but I held on to every ounce of faith I had and this morning I came to Caden’s bedside with a steely determination. My son lives. My son wants to live, of that there’s no doubt, and for as long as I am his father, I will fight with him and for him using everything I can. I cannot *make* him better, but I can pray. I cannot fix him, but I can share his remarkable story.

…I have begun work on a storybook that we hope will help Caden understand what has happened to him while he’s “been asleep.” It began with a dream that his Mum had. In the story, our intrepid hero (Caden) has to battle a very vicious and wicked monster. In the end, Caden defeats his foe, but with a heavy price. He then spends some time being transformed into a superhero who in turn helps others to fight their demons.

#KeepOnPinking
#PrayForCaden

Caden’s Dad — with Angela Beggan and Rachel Catherine Pattison in Linthouse.”

November 10
Day 18.
“Caden is alive.

…More upsetting was having to break the news of Caden’s hand to his elder brother, Declan. Declan is strong though, and through tears, he spent time with his brother, talking to him and asking many questions about Caden’s future. Even Ethan was excited to we Caden today. “I want to get closer daddy,” he insisted. I am greatly encouraged by this, since I really believe healing is beginning in their hearts also.

Declan’s grief was a stark reminder of the circumstances in which we find ourselves. My heart once again echoed his sorrow, “It is NOT fair!”

In truth, it is nothing short of an atrocity for which no one will be held accountable. There will be no court of arbitration, no sentence passed, or day of recompense. A merciless pestilence has perpetrated its appalling crime and I am condemned to watch my son’s slow demise as piece by piece he is stripped of his dignity, and I feel powerless to affect the final outcome.

Where is the outcry? Where are the mourners? Why aren’t you wearing black when you show up with your platitudes? Let the laughter cease and the wailing commence, for my precious Caden lies bruised and battered, slain in effect; cut down and trampled underfoot.

My heart bleeds, “It is not fair!”

And yet . . . There is so much suffering in the world, suffering that until recently, has been kept at bay, and has kindly observed a safe distance from my front door. Everyday, on the way to see Caden, I pass numerous sick children whose parents’ faces are painted with desperate anguish; desperate to have their pleas heard by some Higher Power capable of doing what they wish they could do for their own child. All around us, children are dying. So with all this suffering, can I really yell, “Foul!”? Who am I that I should be exempt from these miseries? Who am I that I should be spared this horror? Who am I to question why it did not happen to a nameless other?

I am persuaded that no matter how horrific my affliction, there will always be someone worse off than I. Can I really compare my personal grief to that of another? Isn’t their suffering just as valid as my own? Even if, unlike my Caden, their offspring still looks like their child. Even with a valid claim to pain, such as the agony I feel right now, can any of us ever truly understand what it is like to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes? The cry, “Unfair!” may very well itself be unfair.

However, I have observed something else alongside the suffering. In the midst of the worst, the very best has come to light. From all over the world, near and far, angels of mercy bear witness to grace and share their compassion. They come with love and with gifts, with consolation and comfort. And the grace that they attest to falls upon my brow to soothe my aching. What started as a trickle is becoming a flood, a wave of mercy bringing its relief.

In the shade of my Father’s covering, I will rest a short while and gather my strength. I will let him tell me of his great love. Let him convince me that he has not abandoned me. Let him show his loving-kindness greater than any other. Let it be so. Let it be so.”

Excerpt taken from post on November 11
“Another Sunday. Another day. Another hour. Another minute.

Every day an anniversary; a landmark celebration of Caden’s life, of Caden’s struggle, of Caden’s victories. Every day a memorial; a tearful reminder of the life Caden once had, of Caden’s losses. Every day is a thousand years. Every day is a fleeting instant. Every day an angry shout. Every day a tender whisper. Every day a mournful procession. Every day an adrenaline shot. Every day a troubadour’s song. Every day a dumbstruck tongue. Every day an isolation. Every day a crowd of comforters. Every day alone, but never alone.

Always whimpering, always smiling. Always down, always up. Cursing and blessing. Hating and loving. Agonising and hoping. Lying and promising. Fearing and trusting.

I crave the crags in the caves where the light does not disturb my lament or the saltwater waves irritate my wounds. I long for the mirth of pastoral country; simple and serene and seeded with brighter tomorrows. I am one day this, and one day that, but I am always these: Caden’s dad and my Father’s son.

I am not here to talk about me though I am deeply grateful for this space, for this community of compassion, where weary pilgrims, such as I, may share their story. I am here to talk to you about my dear six-year old son, Caden Riley Beggan.

He is my waking, my morning; my sleeping, my yawning. His smile shifts even the darkest clouds. His rantings and ramblings, his playing and his mischief are staple foods in my daily diet, and each aspect of his beautiful self is as nourishing as the next. I have placed, at times, such hopes in him; dreamt of futures and possibilities that every father would do for their own child. I suppose the truth is I see so much of myself in Caden. I have talked to God a thousand times in terms of my past, wishing my son(s) would repeat none of my mistakes, and do everything I wished that I could have, that I should have.

I’d think nothing of spending hours watching him as he etches with his pencil his fantastical worlds – a resplendent imagination. In spite of the fact that most of Christmas Days or Birthdays consisted of co-building Lego kits (though he needed no help), I wouldn’t trade one father-son play-date for any kind of treasure you’d care to mention.

As I sit and watch his fragile body, some foot and a half shorter than it should be, dressed in black scars and plastic, I still marvel at the beauty of this exceptional piece of craftsmanship. Perhaps, God’s finest moment.

It is as tragic as the rip of a saw through the Mona Lisa. No! Even more so, but I’m still compelled to laud his life; to lionise my son; to glorify my Father in my admiration of Caden’s true beauty.

The true beauty of the Mona Lisa is not in the painting itself, but in the mind of the one who created it. The true value of such a priceless work of art lies not in the single view of any critic, but the admiration of the many. And there is much to admire about my son, not least of all his courage.”

Excerpt taken from a post on November 18
“…We are not who we were, as Caden himself is not who he was. We are the first words in a new chapter, and writer’s block seeks to rob us of our imagination for the future. We are at the edge of an abyss, blindly groping our way around for a footbridge. We will not fall victim to despair. We will give no quarter to the sorrow that would inhabit our lives. We grieve, but with hope, and for many tomorrows, as many as God sees fit to grant us.

You may pity my misfortune and together we will mourn our losses, but if you cry with me, then you must also laugh with me on that glorious day when together we pen the words, “Caden is awake!”

November 20, 2012

“Dear friends,

Caden Riley Beggan
Born 29th September, 2006
Died 20th November, 2012
. . . in Mummy and Daddy’s arms.

Thank you for all your support.

Caden is alive forevermore . . .”

If you would like to send cards to the family, please feel free to send to the family home.
David and Angela
1 Wishaw Low Road
Cleland
ML1 5QU

Weekly Photo Challenge: HaPpY

Gallery

This gallery contains 12 photos.

Yay! How much do I LOVE this week’s photo challenge?! A LOT! It was tough for me to choose only a few, but I have done it! Are you ready? Here we go. Strings of lights hung above a walkway. … Continue reading

Five Minute Friday: Welcome

I’ve been awake since four and when I finally decided to get up the first thought that came to mind was, “It’s been nine years.” I snuck downstairs and opened my laptop to see what the FMF prompt would be and how it might relate to this anniversary. This is what I found.

I’m a big definitions girl. I like to see a word dissected into smaller words and explained in black and white. When reading the definition of welcome this part caught my eye; used to indicate that one is relieved to be relinquishing the control or possession of something to another. Today, if you ask me what I think of this word as it relates to my relationship with the #1 man in my life, this is what I would say…

Nine years ago today, the man of my dreams vowed to love me forever.
To support me in mind, body and spirit.
To walk with me down whatever path we were led.
To love my daughter as his own.
He welcomed me in a way that no one ever had.
He knew all most of the good, the bad and the ugly.
He saw something that even I could not see.
Maybe I didn’t see it then, but I have gladly relinquished control of my heart into his keeping.
Looking back, I am humbled and delighted at where God has brought us over the last 10 years.
We now have these incredible children. Two of which are boys.
I love seeing Chris with our boys! They try to fill his size 13 footprint, but they are still learning and growing, striving and reaching.
Chris welcomes the challenge of being an exemplary father to our sons.
It is not always easy, but he knows that their feet are quickly catching up to his and one day they will welcome a family of their own.
We welcome this time in our journey when we can watch our children explore and discover.
We welcome another anniversary signaling God’s presence in our lives throughout another year.

Five Minute Friday: Grasp

When seeing the prompt from Lisa-Jo’s Five Minute Friday post, these verses from Ephesians 3 are the first thing that came to mind. Please know that when it comes to memorizing scripture, or anything for that matter, I am just about the worst there is. I have been praying this for my children and Chris as well as close friends for more than a year and there are times when I still have to look it up to get the exact wording right.

I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

I love these verses. The main word in the midst of the rest is grasp.

What better way to attempt describing the word and it’s meaning than with the beach? You have the water…as far as the eye can see. The sand…too many grains to count. The sky…bigger than life.

So when I tell my boys, “Look left and look right…look up and out as far as your eyes can see. Do you see an end?” They respond quickly with their answer, “No.” I take the opportunity to explain God’s love in the best and most simple way I can, “Right. It’s like the love of the Father for each of us. Never-ending.”

When I realize the validity of this illustration, it is too much, even for me to grasp and I stand, drenched in the grace that is now my reality because of it.

Life…with a side of childlike perspective

The verbal and facial expressions seen and heard between my boys are some of the best material. You just can’t make this stuff up. Yesterday was no different.

This is the conversation had between my four and six-year-old while driving home at the end of the work day.

Caden (4 years old): “Ri, how long do brothers take care of each other?”
Ri (6 years old): “What do you mean?”
Caden: “How old will I be when you stop taking care of me? Six?”
Ri: “No, ten. When you’re ten you can do stuff cause you’re grown.”
Caden: “Like what kind of stuff?”
Ri: “You can drive a car…eat what you want…stay up late and get a job.”
Caden: “Oh.”
Me: “Ri, you can’t actually drive a car when you’re ten.”
Ri: “What?! Why not? I’ll be grown by then!”
Me: “You can drive a car when you’re sixteen.”
Ri: “SIXTEEN?! That will be forever!”
Caden: “Bella’s sixteen.”
Me: “No, darling, she’s fourteen.”
Ri: “WHAT?! Isn’t she in college?”
Me: “No, honey. She’s in high school.”
Caden: “Will I still be with you when I’m in college?”
Ri: “Yeah, we can live with mommy and daddy forever.”
Me: “Um…well…it doesn’t really work that way. When you go to college, you usually live on or near campus.”
Ri: “What kind of beds do they have at college? Are there fluffy, comfortable beds?”
Me: “You will probably take your bed when you move.”
Ri: “WHAT?! I’m not big enough to carry my bed!”
Me: “You don’t carry the bed, you pack everything in a truck…never mind. You don’t have to worry about college right now!”
Caden: “How old are you, mommy? Twenty-one?”
Me: “Do I look twenty-one?”
Caden: “No. You look twenty-five.”
Me: “Okay, I’ll take that.”
Me: “Ri, why are you so concerned about growing up fast?”
Ri: “I want to drive my girlfriend around.”
Me: “Who’s your girlfriend?”
Ri: “I haven’t found her yet.”

Priceless.