As a community, we prayed with him. We begged God for healing. After a break from chemo, they learned his cancer was continuing to spread. It broke everyone's hearts. But for the rest of my life, I will never forget how Ethan faced this news. In his eyes one of two things would happen. One: God would perform a miracle and he would be healed on earth. Two: Ethan would be healed in Heaven. He told the whole world he was fine with both. He said either way he wins. I will never forget that. His faith at 18 is still to be admired.
He came up with a bucket list and his friends and family helped him accomplish his wishes. He planned a "Going Away" party and asked everyone to celebrate with him.
He planned his funeral, he turned 19, and then he went home....to Heaven. I will never forget his funeral. Before this past year, I had never cried so much in my life. The moment that I have engraved in my memory forever was seeing his parents with their arms lifted in praise after they received the Eucharist. I was in complete awe of their faith as they were facing any parent's greatest sorrow. But they were rejoicing. Their hearts were aching for their son, but I saw their hearts rejoicing.
It's a moment I go back to often, especially during this past year. As I look back now, it was a moment that was preparing me for Lily. I wanted to one day be a parent with that kind of faith.
The song Ethan picked for his funeral, the one that his parents lifted their hands in praise to was "I Will Rise" by Chris Tomlin. It has reminded me of Ethan for the past five years. Several times on my way to my OB appointments with Lily it would come on the radio. I would always think of him and ask him to pray for Lily and pray for us.
We also played this song at Lily's funeral. While my hands were not lifted in prayer for all to see, my heart was rejoicing and thanking God for the gift of my daughter.
This morning I went for a bike ride as the sun was coming up. The sky was grey and it was a misty rain which never happens here, especially in June. Below the grey clouds, the sun was starting to pink through. This song, again, came on my iPod. I couldn't help but think this was a gift from above and I could envision Ethan and Lily dancing and celebrating on his feast and sprinkling a little rain on this desert.