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In Honor of Brooke

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Brooke’s Story

Be humble in the presence of God's mighty power, and he will honor you when the time comes.  God cares for you, so turn all your worries over to him.   
1 Peter 5: 6-7

Welcome to Brooke's CaringBridge page! Please visit often to read entries, view photos or write a guestbook note!  (or send a note: Want to send Brooke a note? Her home address is: P.O. Box 154, Chapman Ranch, TX 78347

When your child is diagnosed with cancer, your life stops, changes course, and begins instead toward a path to do anything & everything to help your baby.

Brooke is our baby; this is her story... Brooke is 6 years old and loves pink, ponies, cats and dogs, and dinosaurs. She wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up. Brooke was always a healthy child with ear infections as her biggest hurdle. She had a great summer in 2010 and even learned how to swim! By August, a few, sporadic things began to occur. First she had a couple of strange, unexplained fevers. We thought perhaps it was her ears, or a bladder infection, but those tests came back negative. Then she had a couple of intermittent times she made a "volcano" (what she calls getting sick to her stomach)...again with no real pattern or explanation. In late September, she started having a strange limp and her right knee was becoming swollen, and it was getting harder for her to walk. By the time she had stopped walking completely, and not even crawling because of the pain, the pediatrician's initial diagnosis was Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis and he immediately wanted her to stay home and wait to see a pediatric rheumatologist. Meanwhile, Brooke had begun rapidly losing weight with less appetite, and at 3, she was barely crawling, or pulling up and holding her back, but she only complained of knee and tummy pain. A sonogram, nuclear scans, MRI/MRU and later tests revealed a large mass in her abdomen pressing on her left kidney, spine, and internal organs. They told us it may be a kidney stone...

On November 18, 2010, our lives forever changed. Brooke was diagnosed with stage 4, high risk Neuroblastoma, which is a form of nervous system cancer that had spread to her bone marrow.

We have faced this battle armed with prayer warriors, friends and family ready to help pull her through. Financially it has been incredibly challenging as we have gone from a two income, one home family to a family separated by thousands of miles trying to maintain two places to live and receive health care for Brooke on one salary.  We spent an entire year living at the Ronald McDonald House in New York for the surgery of the mass and to battle the bone marrow cancer through clinical trials.  While daddy has been home most of the time working and maintaining insurance coverage, Brooke and her mom have been home for only a few weeks in the past two years as we now have Brooke at the Helen DeVos Children's Hospital in Michigan seeking new hope in a ground breaking NMTRC genomics trial and personalized medicine against her aggressive type of recurrent stage IV cancer.  We are still praying for remission daily!!

Although now she is 6 and a half, Brooke continues to bravely fight this battle and our family has set up a special charitable account, the "Brooke Hester Donation Fund" at any Wells Fargo branch. 

Our faith is strong and we BELIEVE in the power of prayer!

Thank you for supporting our Brooke through her journey!

http://www.BrookeFightsBack.org


To learn more about Brooke's foundation, please visit 

http://www.BrookesBlossoms.org

or find her on facebook at 

http://www.facebook.com/BrookesBlossoms

pinterest page

http://www.pinterest.com/BrookesBlossoms

or Twitter

@BrookesBlossoms

Latest Journal Update

3 weeks & 3 days

My heart is broken in more ways than anyone can imagine. Only God knows and can give me comfort.


Revelations 21:4


Trying to fathom how much my heart longs for my sweet Brooke - just to see her, or touch her, or experience her joyous laughter once more - all while trying not to break down in front of Benjamin who asks (only me) about her single every day and especially at night at bedtime... or to try not to become so broken and sad that the pure emotional and physical pain of grieving the loss of my firstborn baby stresses the unborn baby girl now growing within me - is also an indescribable pain in itself. Then as I try my best to hold it together to be a wife and daughter, friend and even advocate for other children battling cancer, just trying to go through the basic routines of what should be a normal day, I feel like I am constantly failing everyone around me in my state of being numb and missing my child despite the fact that I know she is safe and completely healed in Jesus arms. I am just broken and miss her so much that I cannot put into words how I feel nonstop all day and all night as I awaken in hot sweats hurting and wishing Brooke were still here to go into her bright and happy pretty-in-pink embellished bedroom to check on. Instead I keep the door locked for right now until I can bear it.


I so much appreciate each and every single note of love, spoken or unspoken act of kindness, and each prayer... and I KNOW that I cannot say thank you enough times or adequately to ALL who have impacted my life as Brooke's mother. I have so much deep gratitude that I find it extremely challenging to even sit and write thank you notes without pouring into tears and even then, I end up throwing them away for feeling they are terribly inadequate at saying how I feel and I try to rewrite them again.


My greatest hope is that God will help me to be as strong as Brooke was and that I can be the best person I can be to help others, the best mother I possibly can to my other children (even the unborn baby within me), the best daughter to my parents, and the best wife I can be for my husband. I know I have failed and will continue fail and fall short, as that is what we do as imperfect humans, and yet this is still my constant unending prayer: to have the kind of deeply patient love and joy my sweet daughter had for everyone she ever met, to smile as much as I can every day without fear of the unknown, and to have ultimate compassion for everything and everyone, despite my own narrow perspective of life as I see it through my tear stained eyes. I want to always seek the beauty of hope and the light of faith and know that no matter what, everything is and always will be okay through the love of our Heavenly Father.


I just miss my baby girl so so very much...

I wish I could kiss her cheek and tell her goodnight and how much I love her tonight. But just like I always told Brooke, when she would ask me, "when will we get to go home again..." it will happen "in God's time" and "when it is His will for us to go home, we will." This life is but a short, temporary backyard to the glory of Heaven which Benjamin calls "up up" and in God's time I know I will see Brooke again. I just have to be patient and strong until that day comes when I go before Jesus and hope that my life was worthy enough to join my smiling daughter at His side. <><


Tomorrow will mark exactly 14 years of marriage and 15 years of a relationship for us, and Beau, I want you to know how very much I love you. ❤️
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Comments

41 Comments

Annabeth Gos
By
Dear sweet Jessica, Your words don't even adequately describe the pain you feel, as mortal words can't describe the spiritual connection you have with Brooke and how painful her physical loss is. I'm so sorry. It is so hard. We are praying for you as you now travel this journey of grief. I know you will keep turning to Him, as He truly is the ONLY one who understands the pain. We love you and continue to pray for you.
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1 person hearted this
Pam Storey
By Pam Storey
Praying for you.
Sue Koslovsky
By Sue Koslovsky — last edited
Your post is beautifully written. It comes straight from your heart which is filled with extreme sadness. Writing to all of us to express your pain is therapy for both of us. May it help you know that my husband, Jim, and I care so much for your family. One fear I have is that we might be walking in your shoes in the future as our granddaughter, Kate, has stage4, high-risk Neuroblastoma. She is six years old now, and was diagnosed at 2 years, 9 months. She goes in for scans and a bone marrow aspiration the end of July. Please, when you are saying your prayers, ask GOD to watch over her. Maybe Brooke can help her, too. We anxiously await the birth of your baby girl. Please keep us informed. Congratulations to you and Beau for the years you have been married. May you share many more years together. Remember to thank GOD everyday for your blessings , even if, through your tears, they are difficult to see. Remember that you are not alone in your grief. GOD didn't promise us roses without thorns...even if it feels like we have only thorns. With every storm, there is a rainbow somewhere and we just have to believe that GOD has a plan for our lives and sometimes HIS plan just makes no sense to us. It will get easier to cope with time, but you will never forget. The memories are embedded in your hearts and minds forever. Try to let the good memories of Brooke, with you and your family, overshadow the difficult ones. Thank you for Brooke. She was such an inspiration to us. May GOD give you peace and comfort your family in the days to come. Love, Kate's grandparents
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2 people hearted this
Pam O'Shields
By Pam O'Shields
Dear Jessica and Beau,
I remember fondly witnessing your marriage vows that hot July day 14 years ago. I remember the joy of Brooke's arrival and the heartbreak of her diagnosis and passing. I also remember reading your posts which blessed me with your faith and hope. Your grief is strong now, but I know you both will remember all the precious days of Brooke's life and fight. Her example of faith is such a testimony of your love of the Lord and commitment to teaching your children to trust in Him. May you know the comfort of the Holy Spirit and that you are in our thoughts and prayers.
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1 person hearted this
e welk
By e welk — last edited
Thinking of you Jessica. How I wish there was some way to ease your pain. We are praying for you, for peace and sweet memories of Brooke until you are together again. Your precious girl has left such an impression on our hearts, thank you for sharing her with us, such a blessed gift.
Judy Valentine
By Judy Valentine
Jessica, I can't even begin to imagine your pain. The closest I have come to losing a child was a niece of mine who I literally watched die from infancy to 13 months, not any of us being able to find out what was wrong with her. I couldn't have loved her any more if she had been born of my body! It took what seemed like forever before I could even hold another baby! I can praying without ceasing for the Peace that Passes All Understanding to engulf you like a huge, fluffy blanket, and for God to give you His strength to get you through this. I have been praying for little Benjamin so much too! He is so young and I know he doesn't understand. God has blessed you beyond measure in so many ways! First He blessed you with Beau, a wonderful man to be by your side through any and every thing imaginable and love you unconditionally! Second He blessed you with Brooke such an amazingly strong, happy, full of life, full of Jesus little girl, even in the worst times! She has touched so many hearts and lives all over the Universe that you will never know the impact she has had until you get to Heaven! Then God has blessed you with Benjamin, such a handsome, sweet, loving little guy who has the entire world ahead of him! And now, He has blessed you with your precious unborn baby girl, who I feel you are going to be amazed each and every day how much like Brooke she will be!

I have never met you in person, but I feel like I know you and your precious family personally. As long as I have breath the Hester's will have prayers going to the Throne of God for them! I can almost see Brooke running through the lush green grass of Heaven chasing butterflies with other children all with Brooke's Blossoms! I love you all and am always here for you all!

Love, Blessings and Hugs,
~ Judy ~
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Despina M
By Despina M
Praying daily for you Jessica & for your precious family. God bless & be with all of you always.
Despina
Alice Daxon
By Alice Daxon, Ontario, Canada.
Jessica my heart breaks for the pain you're going through trying to cope each hour without your precious Brooke. Please be easy on yourself and stop trying to be the perfect person to the others in your life. You are the one who needs nurturing and help right now. You're in such grief and pain and can't cope with the normal daily demands as before. Grief is so painful...a measure of the love you feel for Brooke. Take time for yourself to mourn and weep, tears are healing, and relish the happy memories to ease your sorrow. Brooke is by your side helping and loving you and wanting you to rest and care for her unborn baby sister. Take help from those around you who love you and want to help you. Sending my love and prayers and asking God to give you much strength and courage in the difficult road ahead. Brooke will always be right with you and letting you know she is there. God bless you all. 🌷 💓 🌷 💕 🌷 💓 🌷 🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷 👼🏼. 🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷 💓 🌷 💕 🌷
Kim Jolly
By Kim Jolly
Simply praying for you...sending warm hugs and a quiet presence your way.
marcia douma
By marcia douma
Jessica,, I wish that I had the words that could heal your broken heart,,but know that you and your family are not alone,,we are with you in prayers,,,,Praying you feel the loving arms of Jesus around you....I'm sure without adoubt that sweet little Brooke is being held right now byJesus..PRAYERS