Tuesday, June 21, 2016


Perhaps the greatest lesson I learned from raising my Chris, who battled cancer for four years, was how to live and laugh in the moment. These cherished encounters are what my greatest memories are made of.

 I remember one of those hospital days when Chris hadn’t been out of bed for a while and I was trying to convince him to get up and walk around. This was important when his counts were low as lying flat for too long put him at risk for pneumonia. Chris agreed on one condition. I had to place his fart machine in my back pocket. This delightful device consists of a battery powered speaker that emits prerecorded flatulence noises that are controlled by a tiny remote. With the remote discreetly hidden in the palm of his hand, and guiding his IV pole with the other hand, Chris and I set out to ride the elevators.

 Like a squeaky symphony maestro Chris produced an array of musical farts as unsuspecting folks boarded the elevator. Since it was a children’s hospital we had lots of young victims! Nervous giggles were accompanied by furtive glances, seeking the perpetrator. “EWWW Mom, did you smell that?” One young man’s imagination had completed his sensory experience for him. “Shhh, honey. It’s not nice to say anything.” The embarrassed mom whispered as she scooted quickly towards the door. I suppressed a snicker as the two of them escaped at the next floor.

 After a while, I grew bolder and would let out a sigh of relief after each raspberry. Chris and I would tumble out into the hallway howling with laughter before hopping onto the next elevator.

 But we finally met our match when riding along with this one delightful woman. She was a neatly dressed, elderly lady, barely over five feet tall. The three of us were alone in the elevator so Chris really let it rip. Just as the doors opened for her to get off she paused momentarily and gently laid her hand on my arm. “Well, my dear, I bet you feel so much better now.” 

 Job 8:21 “He will once again fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.”

 And indeed we did feel better. We felt better when Chris strategically placed his rubber vomit in the doorway of his hospital room. We felt better when Chris super-glued a half dollar to the floor and watched folks try to pick it up. We felt better when Chris incorporated the words “elephant poop” into each of his vocabulary sentences. We felt better when Chris made Nurse Maria sing “Welcome to Miami” before allowing her to hang his chemo. Those moments of madness were priceless. It was our way of snatching back a small portion of Chris’s lost childhood, and celebrating his spirit. 

 Psalm 126:2-3 “Then our mouths were filled with laughter and our tongues with joyful songs…” 

 Who can recount an entire day from start to finish? It is the moments we remember. The snippets of hilarity and, spontaneity—that is what makes us smile or brings a grateful tear to our eye. Chris packed more of these into his 14 short years on earth than many folks do in an entire lifetime. My hope for anyone reading this who may be struggling is that you seize every opportunity to laugh. I believe that is as close as we to get to heaven on earth. 

Revelation 21:4 “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever."