Friday, June 22, 2012

Trek Atlas

I have never hidden the fact that mothering has definitely gotten the best of me at times. It has brought my weakest characterisitcs to the surface. It has taken me to my knees on more than one occasion, that's for sure!
Over the years I have had the priviledge of reading several mom's blogs who are struggling with their children's illnesses. I have read blogs of mother's who have lost their children to cancer and other random diseases. They have all touched me in unique ways. I have lifted them in prayer. They have all, in different ways, taught me something about how to approach parenting and mothering and faith, with fresh, grateful eyes.
A few months ago  I stumbled across a blog about a baby named Trek Atlas. Trek was born with a rare genetic disorder called Niemann pick disease. It is a devastating and cruel disease that is fatal by the age of three. Trek's parents Chelsea and Jarrett and their other two sons had been planning on traveling abroad with their entire family after Trek's birth. When they discovered that their son was going to die, they had a choice of what to do with their lives. They had to decide whether or not to continue with their travel plans or make a new plan to accomodate their son's fatal diagnosis.
In my opinion, they embraced life. They knew their son was dying. They knew they wanted to show him the world. And so they did! They traveled to six different countries. Even if they had remained in the United States there was little the medical community could do for Trek. Comfort care was really the only option and I guess Trek's parents figured that they could provide comfort care he needed while exploring Hawaii, Texas, Japan and Thailand to name a few of the places little Trek was able to see.
According to the blog, Trek was constantly in his momma's arms. His only source of nutrition was his mommy's milk. He was most comforted safe in her arms. Apparently he saved his most spectacular smiles for his daddy:) On June 21st, little Trek left this world. My brain knows Trek is in heaven. He is no longer in pain. He no longer has a fatal disease. He is safe and cradled in the arms of Jesus. But the mom in me can only imagine the horrible pain Trek's mommy is feeling. I can't stop thinking about how her arms must ache for her sweet,sweet boy. I know she must want to see his sparkling blue eyes one more time. His daddy can't imagine he won't see that sweet smile again on this Earth. His brothers, who are young must be reconciling their grief in their own ways too. The family is in Thailand, which was there dream but I can't help but wonder if they want desperatly to be with their family and loved ones here in the United States? I pray that don't feel as far away as they are.
Trek's story has taught me that we really do only live once. The way his parents embraced bad news and decided to continue to live life with adventure is inspiring. We all can learn a lesson through Trek's story.
The same day that Trek died I read an unrelated story about another little boy who died. His mother's only wish was that families all around the world would have banana splits for dinner. That through this simple treat you are creating a lasting memory. I have to admit that when I do this my kids will surely never forget it. It is a small gesture with large symbolism. It screams to your kids that we can break the rules. We can decide to do something special for our family. Mommy can be fun.
Sometimes I think it's sad that it takes the death of 15 month old to get my priorities straight when it comes to parenting and being grateful for my kids. It shouldn't take a tragedy for me to realize what blessings God has bestowed upon me.

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