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Lydia ’s Story

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.




Latest Journal Update

The Great Adventure

It seems hard to believe that ten years ago today we were in China awaiting Lydia's arrival at the White Swan Hotel the next day.  We were so anxious and nervous about becoming parents, and about what Lydia would be like and how she would accept us.  It was her first birthday and we missed it by a day, but we assumed we would have so many more to celebrate that missing that one birthday would hopefully not be that big of a deal, even though we were deeply disappointed we couldn't get her on that special day.  Little did we know we would actually only have four more birthdays with her.  A reminder not to take anything for granted with any loved one.

If she were alive today, Lydia would be turning 11, and because there is such a vast amount of growth and development that occurs between 5 and 11, it is fair to say I don't think we know what she would be like.  Between those years, children loose teeth, get teeth, grow taller, learn so much in school, develop vocabulary and are on the verge of being a preteen.  For Lydia, time stops at age 5.  So even though we say it is her birthday, in reality, it is not.  She will always be 5, and to imagine her any older is pure fantasy and speculation, something that can both painful and bittersweet to engage in.

For a long time I struggled with what to do on this day, this, her birthday.  To celebrate or not.  To ignore or remember.  To be sad or try to be happy.  Today, I have decided that it is good enough just to "be".  Celebrating a birthday for a dead child seems somehow strange to me, not to say it can't be different for others, but as a good friend once reminded me, "let the dead bury the dead."  To me this means that life is for the living, and while Lydia will always live on in my heart as the most wonderful of memories, she is not alive in the truest sense of that term.  I used to think it was wrong or cruel to say the words "dead" in reference to her.  Somehow the finality of those words meant that I was giving up on her, or abandoning her in some way.  I now see that this is not so.  It is simply an acceptance of reality.  Neither wishing nor prayer can bring her back.  I can no longer live my life as if she were still alive.  Part of the reality is to accept that she is gone.

I have struggled long and hard with issues of faith, and I finally realized, based on a disturbing trend I see in some to try and label another person's faith as not Christian or Christian, that I am going to define my faith based on my own terms, and no one else's.  Part of that means that I no longer care how anyone else views the consistency or inconsistency of the philosophy I hold, and I no longer feel bound by established definitions of what this or that faith means.  What I do know is that whatever I personally hold as a faith is centered around two key ideas:  love and letting go (or lack of attachment).  I am going to live my life according to these two key principles.  

The first is to love others.  I will not always love others as I should, but I am going to try my best to do so.  I will make mistakes, I will get angry and I will say things in haste, but I will try and fall back on the idea that the most important thing we can do for others is to love them as we love ourselves, faults. warts, ugliness and all.  The other principle is letting go.  I don't own something I love, I don't really own money, my house or any of my possessions, and I really don't own my own life.  They are all on loan to me, and a gift.  My grandmother used to say that if you hold a bird too tightly it will fly away and never come back, but if you love it tenderly and with care and without possession it will come back to you.  Nothing in this life is permanent.  No possessions are worth protecting via gunpoint and what is it that Jesus says about this, namely that whomever seeks to preserve his life will lose it and whomever loses his own life will preserve it.

No one nor anything can bring you happiness if you do not have peace and happiness within you. I also interpret this to mean, that you can either try and live safe, not taking chances, not giving your whole self to others, meanwhile storing up possessions and wealth, or you can view life as adventure, a gift of but a moment, in which you cherish every second and every one, and give of your whole self, holding nothing back out of fear or loss.  I choose the latter.  Life is an adventure and I choose reckless love over safety and security.

As a reflection of this philosophy, I have let Lydia go.  She is in my heart, but she is not a possession and she was never mine.  Fly Lydia fly and someday we will meet again. 

20 people hearted this



Judy Hostetler
By Judy Hostetler
Love to you all as you remember Lydia...such a bittersweet day for sure. You all are a beautiful family that gave Lydia the love and security that she needed to walk through those last 6 months with a continued zest for life. Praying God's continued blessing for the four of you...sending a giant hug from my heart to yours!
2 people hearted this
Mary Ann McCullough
By Mary Ann
Your strength and love is an inspiration. Lydia had wonderful family full of love. May you continue to find some peace. From a lady who lost her mom, 37 yrs ago today. It took time, but I feel the best way to honor her is live, live in the moment. Again, peace to you and yours.
1 person hearted this
Donna Aronne
By Donna Aronne
Remembering your sweet Lydia. Sending you light, love and peace.
1 person hearted this