Monday, May 12, 2014

The Miracle of Caleb

The Mighty Mellons
"Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some people move our souls to dance. They awaken us to a new understanding with the passing whisper of their wisdom. Some people make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon. They stay in our lives for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same." -Flavia Weedn
   This is Caleb. Caleb is a little boy who was born in April 2011 against great odds. Doctors discovered while in his mama's womb that Caleb was fighting a heavy battle of a whole handful of congenital and chromosomal defects. Doctors said Caleb likely wouldn't make it to birth, and if he did, the battle of life would be too much for him. Caleb's mama and daddy heard what was said, but they knew of a Power bigger than doctors, and they believed in that Power to decide Caleb's days.
Pure love. Caleb and his mama.
   Then Caleb was born, and he breathed. Two major battles won: surviving birth, and breathing. Caleb was already a warrior.  There were tubes, wires, and beeping machines, but there was a life beyond what those things could do, and that was all Caleb and his Mighty Strength. His mama, daddy, and two big brothers- as well as a multitude of nurses, doctors, and prayers warriors around the world were in awe of this boy and His Strength. My family was among them. Every meal we prayed, "And please heal Baby Caleb." Every
bedtime we prayed for peace, comfort, and strength for Baby Caleb and his family.
   There were many ups and downs- I cannot even pretend to remember them all nor understand the depths of the strength required to endure them. I was 1,500 miles away, and praying. When Caleb came home from the hospital against all odds, we rejoiced and I cried happy tears. When Caleb became sick, we prayed fervently and I cried some more, begging God for a miracle. When he was healthy enough to again go back home, we rejoiced all the louder, never taking a single victory for granted. This Caleb guy was a fighter, through and through, and every single thing he did- every coo, laugh, reach, and roll were incredible, momentous occasions that we celebrated. He was AMAZING and his family knew it. I watched from a distance, via phone conversations and Facebook how his incredible family chose celebration every day. Their pain was evident, but their joy in their Caleb, his life, and their powerful God was even more. Every month was a huge celebration no matter if they were in
Brothers forever
the PICU or home. Every milestone was reason to party and praise God for the miracle of it all. This awesome family, their faith, their attitudes, their grace under intense fire was something beyond inspiring. Something I don't have words for. I have had a small taste of this battle with my own family, watching my sister and brother-in-law and my nephew who is profoundly affected by a mitochondrial disorder. It's gut-wrenching, and these Mellons were doing that kind of battle on hyper-drive.
   When Caleb's first birthday came in April 2012, many joyous tears fell around the world. It was a true miracle. This boy that science said wouldn't live outside the womb was still breathing, laughing, cooing, and fighting the battle before him with pure love and joy.
   In May 2012, Caleb fought his last battle and won. He finally received his healing from the Almighty. It was Mother's Day. A day mothers are honored for their love, dedication, and sacrifice, and Caleb's mama was making the ultimate sacrifice: letting her sweet warrior boy go free of his illness-ridden body. I cannot imagine the pain. I went to the quietness of my room and sobbed, my heart breaking just imagining the pain Caleb's family must be feeling, because I knew as much as I hurt FOR them it was nothing compared to what they were actually enduring.
   As the evening continued I had a whispered conversation with my husband about how I was going to tell our kids. At that time they were 5, 3, and 1.5, and we had never really dealt with death on their level, but we both knew that if we just did our evening prayer time together simply praying for the Mellon family and didn't ask Jesus to heal Baby Caleb that the kids would notice. My husband's suggestion was to just tell them, point-blank, and answer the questions that came. So we did. At bed time we went into their bedroom and I looked at those three smiling, sweet, happy faces, cuddled them close for our prayer time, holding back my tears and told them plainly, for lack of something more eloquent, that Baby Caleb had gone to Heaven to be with Jesus. The response shocked me. My five-year-old looked at me with a look of pure joy on her face and said with awe in her voice, "OH MAMA, THAT'S WONDERFUL! Baby Caleb isn't sick anymore! Jesus healed him and took him home to Heaven where no one is sad or sick or hurting!" I could not hold the tears back any longer. I squeezed my babies and told them that was exactly right. I was so shocked that such wisdom had come from my little girl, and thankful her sweet and tender heart could understand that. And that is just a small piece of what Caleb taught me and my family: That in death there is ultimately joy in God. He and his family taught us so much more, so many lessons, and were such an intensely powerful example of God's mercy, strength, and grace in the face of struggle, but my entire family will always remember- and still talks about Caleb- in the way he taught us about pure love, strength, and joy. He had a difficult mission, but he carried it profoundly.
"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever." Revelation 21:4

My deepest and heartfelt thanks to the Mellons in allowing me to publicly write about their incredible family and their warrior's journey from my perspective. Please remember them in prayer as they continue their journey here on Earth until they can be with their miracle, Caleb, again. 

1 comment: