Thursday, July 24, 2008

Marilee Christian

Fortunately for you all we have had some good response to my plea to help w/ the blog and now you will be able to hear more from competent, sane folks and less from me. There are great stories out there and starting w/ today’s post you’ll get to hear them. Those of you who are thinking about contributing hopefully in the next few days you’ll hear what is shared and you’ll stop thinking and start doing.
This first offering is from Charlie’s Aunt Marilee who lives in lives in “The Volunteer State” and was up here this summer and had a chance to see Charlie for the first time live. She has been a frequent commentor on the blog and I always appreciate her wit and humor. Marilee is no stranger to the angst of full-time care as a few years back her husband David suffered a stroke and she has since served the mission of a selfless caregiver. Thanks for the submission.

My Charlie Story

To quote Rob “We’d love to hear how Charlie has influenced you, whether big, small or not at all.” You asked for it—you got it.

I first heard of Charlie’s illness and blog through an email from Susie. What a terrible thing for Charlie, a child I had never met or held or seen. But my heart was also broken for the people I did know: my precious nephew and his wife and his grandma, my sister, who has always put her family above all else. Day after day—no, hour after hour, I checked the blog for some word that Charlie would be okay. Alas, that was not to be. But then something else happened. I found my family again.

By following the progress, the ups and downs, the gains and losses I gained what I had thought I had lost; an everyday connection with my sisters, brothers, cousins, nieces and nephews. Is that selfish? There lies a sick child, a gift from heavenly father, suffering and struggling and I’m glad that there is a blog to give me a way to connect with the sorrow and pain of my family.

And, whoa, there were pictures. There, standing by Charlie, was my family. My sisters and brothers, children I remembered as babies--grown, and some, like Charlie, I saw for the first time.

Then, as word of the blog spread, there came many more. These were people who were inspired to comment and share their thoughts, as well as prayers, for a child they did not know. But for one reason or another, they could empathize with Charlie and his family’s plight. As I read their stories, along with Charlie’s, I was amazed at the faith and resilience of the human experience. Now, I had always understood that in theory, but there it was, in the comments of families of other children who had suffered in illness or accident.

I have not always been strong and I didn’t expect to spend my golden years as a caregiver, but reading the excellent adventures of Charlie and his family have given me the great blessing of –hey, my life ain’t so bad!


Jolene said...

I love and adore my fabulous sister Marilee. Whether or not she believes it, she had been an example and influence for good in my life. Thanks for your comments Marilee, I needed to hear what you have to say. Love you tons!

Suz said...

OH MY GOSH MAR! That was beautiful! My sibs claim I have no heart but your words made me teary (yes Meggie, twice in one week!). In the past 6 months I have been able to slow down and realize the tender mercies from our Heavenly Father......and I count your wit and humor to be one of those.

Now Marilee.....lets be for getting a blog for those in Tennessee going. No excuses.

Anonymous said...

I'm at Meg's, supposedly tending Janie and Sam, reading this post and teary. Marilee, thanks so much for sharing, so eloquently, your thoughts and feelings about our little Charlie. I am heartsick about his illness. Often, as I hold him, I weep - I can't help it. Just thinking about what his life is like now and what it might have been is difficult. But then as I continue to hold him, my very soul is filled and I am a better person for being in his presence. I can't explain the feeling. I've never felt it until now and I sure don't understand the "why" of this experience. I do know that everyone who spends time with Charlie also feels of his big, powerful spirit! Faith in the plan of salvation is my anchor and I'm hanging on with all my might. I'm grateful Rob and Ang are strong and courageous and faithful. They are wonderful parents to Charlie and Britt and I'm so blessed to be part of their lives.

Marilee, through this blog, I have become reacquainted with my little sister again. You have had many great life experiences and I'm so glad to learn from you. I agree with Suz - you gotta get a blog going. If I start mine, will you start yours?

Yikes - gotta go, Janie is pulling food out of the cupboard and is chewing on some unknown object. Grandma better get to work.

Love and Miss You Marilee


Meghan said...

well mom left just in time for me to put ry, jane and sam to sleep and get online to "work". but here i am crying (i go big suz - none of this "teary" stuff). we've missed you too mar. funny how a few thousand miles and 4 hour flight can make us be so far apart for so many years. I loved seeing you & your son last month, and reading your sass the previous months. i will actually start your blog for you - you just have to populate it with your wit. that's one thing i know you are full of.

there are a few very good things that have come from charlie getting sick...but the reconnection we have had with many - albeit online - has been priceless. i might still give that all back to have coop healthy again, but i know that is not his mission. he's an amazing, sweating, pastey-white, perfect little boy who is gonna teach us all for a long long time.

TravandNat said...

I'm so glad that I'm a part of this family!! I has been awesome getting to know Marilee through the blogs, and then to meet her in person. I agree, get your blog going, Marilee!!

Charlie has inspired so many in so many ways, I'm glad that I know him and feel of his wonderful spirit!

Alysha said...

I have been reading this blog from day one and yet I am just now posting a comment. I guess I have been too cowardly and simply put, have nothing too important to say. But I want you to know how incredibly inspiring the Cooper family is to me. My twins are just a couple of months older than Charlie and I can't help but put myself in your same situation. What in the world would I do? I can say one this is for sure, I wouldn't be handling like you all are. I know you must have a close relationship with your Heavenly Father to help you along the way. When my brother passed away unexpectedly a couple of years ago (as healthy as can be, age 29) I too had to rely on the comfort of my heavenly father and the knowledge of the plan of salvation. Now I pray that David will reach out to you and especially little Charlie. It seems as though he has an amazing spirit about him and I am sure he will be in tune when someone like David is around cheering him on.

Anonymous said...

That was just beautiful. I really dont know what else to say..... amazing.

Anonymous said...

what a blessing little charlie has been for your entire family! whatever the reason, it's always a blessing to reconnect with your eternal family :) charlie is lucky to have such a caring and concerned aunt like marilee.