Lydia "Liddy" Miyashita was diagnosed with AML (acute myeloid leukemia) in August 2008. She endured 2 rounds of induction chemo, but relapsed during a 3rd round of chemo. She earned her angel wings on February 24, 2009. Lydia's Hope was founded in March 2009. http://www.lydiascancerhope.com.
My name is Lydia Li-mei Eiko Miyashita. I am 5 years old, and my birthday is July 3. I was born in Guangdong Province China and was adopted at age 1 by my parents Mark and Monica Miyashita. I have one brother, Maxwell ("Max") age 3, who was born in South Korea. I have a very international family as my Papa was born and grew up in Tokyo Japan. My Mama is the boring one of the family: she was born in Elyria Ohio and is part Buckeye, part Mountaineer.
I live in Orrville, Ohio, and go to Trinity United Methodist Church. I sure know and love Jesus and know that he is watching over me all the time. I love my cats, Sherlock, Agatha, and Daisy; my bicycle; my playhouse; going to Disneyworld; playing princess with my friends Samantha and Lyla; and going to Ring and Sing at Lakeside with my friend Madelyn and my brother Max. Someday I hope to go to London and Paris with my mom.
In August 2008, I was diagnosed with a pernicious and deadly form of cancer called AML (Acute Myeloid Leukemia). I did not achieve remission until after my second induction therapy, and then relapsed during my third round of chemotherapy. Dr. Li, one of my oncologists, found my birthparents and family in China, but because I was never able to achieve remission after my relapse, I never made it to my bone marrow transplant. My parents and grandparents took my to Florida to spend the last precious days of my life, where I danced, played, and swam with my brother Max and went to Disneyworld. I became an Angel on February 24, 2009 at 4:35 pm, and am now dancing in heaven with my godsister Hannah. If you check out the brightest star in the constellation Andromeda, you will see our star: the HannahLiddy star. Hannah and I are now watching over all children in need, as well as our families.
***ALL JOURNAL ENTRIES CONTAINED HEREIN ARE COPYRIGHTED TO MONICA L. MIYASHITA, ESQ. (EXCLUDES GUESTBOOK)
Our year, like yours, no doubt, has been filled with some ups and downs. Our family lost two very special loved ones: my Uncle Carlton and my Uncle Abbie, and we still haven't fully recovered from our loss the prior year of my Uncle Dick, my mom's brother who was someone very special in our lives. We had our share of illnesses, work related issues, worries about the kids, health issues for our parents, and good friends who were diagnosed with cancer. We had our "ups" too: a new career in mediation for me, the kids learning new instruments, finally getting our garage sided and roofed, and of course, some fun trips with family and friends.
As I reflect back on this year, some things have stood out to me which I would like to share with you. I'll call these, my Top Five Things to Remember During the Christmas Season! Here we go:
5. Keep it Simple. As with most of life, the holidays are all about balance and trying to find out what is really important. Each year, I have bought into the commercialism about Christmas a little bit less. I refuse to fight with other consumers over merchandise at stores or worry about getting this or that done. I try to remember that my kids have lots of stuff and that often, the things that entertain them the most are things that can't be bought. I recently got out my old college typewriter (yes, I am THAT old). The kids have had a blast typing away on that thing, and marveling at ancient technology.
I try and give the kids, and the people I love, experiences instead of things. Experiences build memories, while stuff just catches dust and ends up in the ash heap of history. We might go to an Indians' or Cavs' game, a concert at Playhouse Square, a night at Blossom under the stars listening to the Cleveland Orchestra, or a hike with friends in which we get lost and are saved by a park ranger (true story!). All things that will shape their minds, and hearts, for the rest of their lives. Sometimes, family and friends just want time. Time to stop and listen, time to play a game, have breakfast together, or drink a cup of coffee.
4. Time is sacred. Time is precious and sacred. Who you spend it with is important and how you spend it is something you can never get back. Time is the one thing you cannot change, get a refund on, or take back. Once it is gone, it is lost forever, so treat time as sacred, and "spend" it wisely. Before you do something, maybe ask yourself: If this should be the last few moments of my life, would I still be doing it? If the answer is no, then maybe it is time to rethink that activity. This test doesn't always work because of course there are things that we must do, like work, etc, but what it does mean is that you should think about time like a precious commodity and not waste a second.
3. Forgive, forget but don't be a fool. In most religious traditions, we have an admonishment to forgive and forget. While that is a rather ideal way of living, in most instances, we probably should both forgive and forget, as it is what is most healthy for us. But that doesn't mean we have to be a fool, and repeatedly put ourselves in a position to be abused, emotionally or physically, by a person or situation. What I mean by this is that forgiving and forgetting is kind of a two way street. If someone has committed a past wrong against you, of course, for your sake and theirs, you should forgive them. But if the person continues to commit the same or similar wrong, well, then, forgetting and continuing to endure a toxic relationship, makes you a fool. Maybe you remember those Jiminy Cricket movies they used to show us in grade school, where there is the wise kid and the "fool", and Jiminy Cricket would sing a song as follows: "I'm no fool, yessiree, I'm going to live to be 103". Jiminy knew what he was talking about because to repeatedly put yourself into a situation where the person you have forgiven will repeatedly treat you the same way, again, and again, is rather foolish. By all means, forgive, but time is precious and your mental health and well being is important in order to live a rich, full life, so keep it real about people who just don't want to or can't change.
2. Keep the Faith. In life, it seems to me, it is important to be grounded in faith. Faith grounds you in values of compassion and hope. All the great world religions share those values at their very core, whether it be Buddhism or Islam or Christianity or Judaism or Hinduism. At the heart of the message of each religion is the idea that we are to care for one another, and we have hope in a future free from the suffering of this world. Many paths, one destination. This statement might prove the most controversial of what I am writing here, but I think sometimes we make too much of our differences and not enough of our similarities. One thing Lydia's life and death taught me, is that we can be from diverse cultures, different races and a world away, and yet love can bridge those differences and make them seem rather small and unimportant. Sometimes people scoff at the idea that love can conquer all, but it seems to me that we recognize that its opposite: hate, can tear us apart, so why can't the corollary be true? I think in most instances, it is.
Faith also provides Hope. Hope that things can change; hope that God is listening and can hear our prayers; hope that all is not lost, even when a prayer seemingly goes unanswered. Hope means knowing that there is a larger story we just don't know, and accepting that there are some things we can't understand but that it is ok to live with mystery. Some of the mystery of life we can explain through science, but there are other mysteries, often known as theories, that we just can't always find the answers to. Accepting that a mystery can be beautiful and that the unknown is full of surprises should be something we embrace as part of life, instead of trying to run from it. Nowhere is mystery more prevalent in the Bible than the story of an unlikely couple who became the parents of Jesus. Mary's response to that mystery was basically: Your will, not mine. Something very hard to do and accept but an important part of faith.
1. Spread the Love. Christmas is really about love, and it is often easier to share love at Christmas more than at any other time of year, because we are in the mindset of giving. Giving of your time, your self, your gifts, your presence, and your witness is an important aspect of stewardship as a Christian. Somehow we have to remember to take the love of Christmas and make it last the whole year long. This idea goes back to other ones I discussed earlier in the list, such as keeping it simple and time. The best way to show love is to give your time and your self to others. None of us are perfect at this, but as with our kids, it doesn't always mean giving "stuff" or money. Taking the time to listen, lending a helping hand, trying to be part of the solution instead of the problem, is a big part of the equation but there is also the idea here of keeping balance in your life by remembering that in order to love others, you have to love yourself. Take care of yourself, love freely and laugh often, and remember that there is time for everything if we remember how precious each moment is.
I wish for each of you a Merry Christmas, a Happy Holiday and a blessed New Year, full of amazing experiences with family and friends, abundant blessings, balance, and time to love yourself as well as others.
Much love, Monica, Mark, Max, Sarah-Grace, Angel Lydia And the cats: Grizabella, Agatha, and Daisy.