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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Touch (the sense of touch) (08/05/10)

TITLE: Loving Luke Good-bye
By Sarah Heywood


Loving Luke Good-bye

Itís a still summer night and I am helping my son die.

You lie here on the couch, my precious Luke, and sleep. I stroke your head and then your too-thin arms. Many times throughout the night you are restless, but my touch seems to calm you. Soon it will be time for more pain medicine, but for now, I touch you -- up and down your legs, making circling motions on your distended abdomen, and over and over again on your sweet face, tracing its imprint into the memory of my hands.

I have to remind myself that a year ago at this time you were a normal eight year old. I spent my days cleaning up after your dirt trail, intervening when you teased your sisters too much, and convincing you to put down the video games and go play outside. But then there was the weekend that you started stumbling around. I thought you were just being silly. But then I noticed the tremors in your hand and I knew you needed help.

I fought rising hysteria as they wheeled you off for test after test. I didnít know what was wrong, but I knew it was something that would change our lives forever. When Dr. Hawthorne told us gently that you had a tumor pressing on your brainstem, I nearly collapsed. But I didnít because you needed me.

We weathered it all this past year - the surgery, the chemo, radiation. We all got very comfortable at the hospital and despite your sickness, you shone. Iíve never been so proud of you, Luke, as I watched you battle this demon. And then there was the day, just a few weeks ago, that Dr. Hawthorne sat us down and told us there was nothing more to be done. You would never recover, youíd never grow into a teenager or a man, we wonít see you graduate from high school or get married. The demon will win.

Well, we know he wonít really win, although right now it feels like he is. I donít think thereís been a night since your diagnosis that your father or I havenít cried ourselves to sleep. Itís hard to accept that for the rest of our lives, there will be a Luke - shaped hole in our family. But Iíll never forget the day that you asked me what Heaven was going to be like. I tried to make it sound like your birthday and Disneyland rolled together. But then you, my precious boy, commented, ďBut the best part will be that Jesus is there -- right, Mom?Ē I had to choke back the tears as I assured you that yes, that was indeed the best thing about Heaven.

I am reminded tonight of the first night that your father and I brought you home, nine summers ago. We crept into your bedroom, the moonlight spilling a lighted path to your crib. We stared in awe at this tiny gift God had entrusted to us. Night after night, I remember sitting for hours in that same room, skin to skin with you, rocking back and forth, back and forth. You would smile a sleepy, milky grin at me and I knew you were completely Heaven-sent.

And now tonight I hold you again. I ease myself onto the couch, so that your head is once again cradled in my arms. I stroke your forehead, your checks, and your chest. I want every touch to express my deep love for you. Soon, Jesus will reach out His hand and youíll step into the other side of Eternity. For your sake, I pray itís very soon. For my sake, I pray itís nights and nights away yet.

Then I will cry.

But for tonight, I hold you close and help you die, loving you with every touch of my hands.

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This article has been read 1020 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lillian Rhoades 08/12/10
Extremely "touching" story. You conveyed your feelings and brought me into the room with you. This sounds like a true story. If so, I pray God has given you the peace you need to accept His decision.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/14/10
Wow I don't know what else to say. i pray I never have to experience this type of heart-break. This is a beautiful tribute to children everywhere struggling with the fight against cancer.
Maria Egilsson08/14/10
Poignant and tearful story that evokes emotion. Thank you for writing this.
Rachel Phelps08/17/10
Powerful. Intense. Lovely.
Margaret Kearley 08/19/10
Just beautiful... there are no better words except to say how wonderfully you have captured the experience of many. Thankyou. Congratulations on your well placed win.
Francy Judge 08/19/10
Congratulations! You deserved to win for this beautifully written story.
Mona Purvis08/19/10
Hard to read because to read is to experience it at some level. And I did.
Powerful, strong, capturing. Yes, of course, a winner in so many ways.

Laury Hubrich 08/19/10
Congratulations on your #1 placing. I'm so hoping this isn't a true story yet even if it isn't true to you, it is for so many other people. Very nice writing.
AnneRene' Capp08/19/10
Congratulations Sarah! What a wonderfully written tearjerker. This a much deserved win!!
Chely Roach08/19/10
Connie Dixon08/19/10
Congratulations, Sarah. Powerful and well-written. I know this could be a great encourager to others who have or are going through the same thing.
Mary Lou Tiner08/19/10
This was very moving. You have invited your readers into a very personal and intimate experience. Because you have written so beautifully and articulately, many have already asked if this is a true story. Certainly it is many people's "story" and you have captured the emotion so well. Congratulations on your win.
Nancy Sullivan 08/19/10
I could only restate what has already been said, but would like to add my "Congratulations" and God Bless.
Coleene VanTilburg 08/19/10
I do not know if this story is true. Like someone said in other comments, it is true to someone. If this is your story, we share a common bond, for I have walked this walk and reading this account rang so true from my one experiences in may ways. You deserve a first place, for I felt the emotion of the mother's bittersweet longing and prayers. thank you.
Debbie Roome 08/19/10
Excellent writing. Well done!
Amy Michelle Wiley 08/19/10
Wow, one of our family friends just had a nine-year-old named Luke pass away from cancer a couple of months ago. His story was much the same as this Luke's... able to show God's love to so many people dispite his physical pain. Well done. Is this a tribute to a real person?
Sherrie Coronas08/19/10
It's difficult to know how to comment on stories like these - when my throat swelled before I could finish the first paragraph and tears were falling at will. I, too, pray it is not a true story for you, but if it is, I am sorry for your earthly loss. Luke and his mother both sound like amazing children of God. Great, great writing.
Theresa Santy 08/20/10
Congratulations on your well-deserved win. This was a beautiful, well-written, glorious piece.

Thank you.
Patricia Turner08/25/10
Absolutely beautiful and deeply touching. Congratulations on your well deserved win.
Loren T. Lowery09/16/10
All the previous comments sum up what is lacking in my own ability to describe this remarkable piece of writing. Congratulations on a very well-deserved EC.