Christian Barker's Journal
Christian's 6 year ^^Angelversary^^
Written Dec 29, 2013 7:54pm by Sandy Barker
Today is Christian’s 6 year ^^Angel-versary^^ in heaven!!
Letter to Christian:
Today is such a hard day for us because it is the anniversary that you died at the age of 14-1/2 and we miss you so much, but it is also a happy day because we know it is the day you earned your ^^angel wings^^. After a heroic and intense 20 month battle with cancer, you are happy and healthy in heaven.
Sometimes my mind wonders to what you would look like now, sound like, be interested in, be studying in college, etc... if you had never gotten cancer. You would be 20 and I am sure you would still be the great kid you were before you got sick. I don’t linger there because I know that you are happy in heaven.
You taught us so much about trusting in God in all circumstances (even facing death), having determination to live, and always showing compassion, love, and respect to others. You will always be our inspiration as we face challenges life throws our way. You inspire us to do things in our lives and with our Gold Rush Cure Foundation (mentoring other families afflicted with childhood cancer, speaking to legislature in DC, running half-marathons to raise awareness and funding, and so many other things for this cause) that I never thought we would do.
I hope you know how much we all love you, miss you and respect you. Please pray for our family as we continue to face life without you. A piece of our family is missing, and that is so hard. But we celebrate this day because we know 6 years ago today you were told by God “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
We love you and miss you sweetie,
Mom, Dad, Garrett and Kendall
To most people December 29th is a day just like any other day. For us it’s a date that will always signify the day Christian, our oldest child, died and went to heaven. There is nothing that can prepare you for when your child is diagnosed with cancer (or any other disease) and eventually dies from it. One day you’re living a normal life, the next day your life has changed forever. To try to put into words the loss we feel is nearly impossible. After Christian died 6 years ago, we have really tried to push our grief and sadness down so we could raise Garrett and Kendall in a happy home. We are usually successful, but other times the pain of losing Christian is intense and unable to be stifled. Someone summed up the pain and yearning aspect of our loss perfectly in a facebook note to me: “Loss is not only what WAS, but what COULD HAVE BEEN!” Not only for Gary and I, but for Christian, Garrett, Kendall and everyone else. That is where our faith has to kick in and we know that God is in control, he is STILL using Christian’s life and legacy to impact others, and Christian is happy/perfect/cancer-free. We are happy for where he is (heaven) and wouldn’t selfishly want him back, but we yearn for where he isn’t (with us).
Our final days with Christian were spent pouring out our Love to him and making sure that he knew that we were with him every step of the way until he went to heaven. Christian had slipped into a coma-like state, but we took turns lying in bed with him, ‘loving’ on him and we could tell he still knew we were there. If our everyday lives could be spent showing family and friends how much we value them and love them, what an amazing place the world would be.
We appreciate the emails that occasionally come letting us know the impact that Christian’s battle had on their life. They often tell us they appreciate their kids and family more, they try not to sweat the small stuff their kids do, etc. We will forever remember the legacy Christian left for us of faithfulness, determination, respect, compassion, and love. This verse is comforting to us:
Revelation 21:4 “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, or mourning or crying or pain, for the former things have passed away.”
THANK YOU to all of you who still take the time to stop by and read these updates, and remember Christian and our family. Please pray for us as we move forward with our childhood cancer foundation, Gold Rush Cure (goldrushcure.org). If you would like to keep current on what we are doing, find Gold Rush Cure on Facebook here. To make a 'tribute donation' to honor Christian on his ^^angelversary^^, click here. It will go to Gold Rush Cure and our fight against childhood cancer and is 100% deductible.
Love, Sandy, Gary, ^^Christian^^, Garrett and Kendall
Written Dec 25, 2013 10:26pm by Sandy Barker
Dear Family and Friends,
If you know Christian’s cancer journey, you know that Christmas will always be a hard time for our family. Christmas morning 2007 was the day when Christian collapsed, we were told Christian was at the end of his fight, and we signed DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) papers.
We do our best to make sure that we are thankful for all that God has blessed us with. 2013 had so many good memories starting with us ringing in the New Year with our good friends in Crested Butte, vacationing to NYC and a cruise to Bermuda, and Garrett committing to play baseball for UCLA when he goes to college next year.
This year we lost Sandy’s great “Aunt Helen”, her Grandfather “Pop Pop” and our sweet little friend Abella Wyss. We know that Christian was there to warmly welcome all of them into Heaven.
We have some tough days ahead this week with the anniversary of Christian’s passing on the 29th, so we would appreciate your prayers. We also ask for prayers for a recently diagnosed, 15 year old Orange County girl named Saylor Voris as she fights Leukemia. She is currently in the hospital and having a tough time with and infection and pain. We know how tough it is to spend Christmas in the hospital.
We pray that 2014 will bring good health, good memories, and God’s blessing to you and your family.
Hug your kids, enjoy your Christmas with your family, and be thankful for your health and happiness. We do that with Garrett and Kendall. That is the best gift of all! Even though we miss Christian so much, we know Christian is celebrating Christmas in heaven and that makes us so happy for him!
MerryChristmas from our house to yours!
Gary,Sandy, ^^Christian^^, Garrett, and Kendall
Written Dec 19, 2013 10:54pm by Sandy BarkerDear Family and Friends,
Today we attended the memorial service for sweet Abella Wyss. It was a beautiful celebration of her life and really conveyed the determination, courage, humor, spirit, zest for life, compassion, and love she possessed. It was also heart-wrenching. Seeing and knowing these amazing parents (and they are amazing!) pay tribute to their little girl Abella was truly inspiring yet painful. Jamie and Oliver are probably two of the strongest and most determined people I have ever met. They fought valiantly and left no stone un-turned trying to find a cure for both of their children's (Abella and Hudson) cancer. Their children sought cancer treatment from hospitals in California, NY, Texas, etc.
Our whole family got to know this very special family when Abella and Christian were both in the hospital getting chemo at CHLA, and we became friends. While we HATE childhood cancer, we are so thankful we have the blessing of being friends with the Wyss' because of it. We love them and our hearts ache knowing how devastating this is...especially since Abella passed right before Christmas. Some of you may remember, Christian coded on Christmas morning, was revived, and ended up dying at about 11:00pm on 12/29. It is an extra hard time to lose someone you love. We know Abella is finally cancer-free and will be celebrating Christmas in heaven this season which is wonderful for her, yet painful or her family.
Please pray for God to comfort their hearts! Husdon died at the age of 3-1/2 almost 5 years ago, and Abella died last week at the age of 11. Losing BOTH of your children to pediatric cancer is not something any parent should have to endure.
Also, please remember to thank God for your HEALTHY children. They are a priceless gift!!