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August 19, 2015

Bald is Beautiful...

That day has come again…it is time to shave my hair off. It is not that big of a deal for me, I have been there done that, plus I actually think I look pretty good with a bald head. I was wishing my hair would have fallen out sooner so I didn’t have to shave my legs! But that is okay – the days of shaving my legs will be over soon enough. My original plan was to have my good friend Adrian McBroom shave my head this time; Adrian is a compassionate, gentle, generous, fun, and caring individual. He and I met at George Fox University, we attended the same Graduate School of Counseling together; he graduates spring 2016. He is an accomplished hairdresser in Corvallis, Oregon and has been for many years. If you need a great haircut, style, color, or change contact:
Adrian McBroom
920 NW 9th St
Corvallis, Oregon
(503) 351-9015

…But then last night happened! It was waaaaay past my bed-time, I think around 11:30 pm and I could not go to sleep. My body itched from the morphine, my elbows itched from something, not sure what is going on there, my head itched from hair falling out all over the place. I finally sprung out of bed and announced to Curtis – “you know what I want right now… a chocolate shake with whip cream on top and to shave my head!” So I sent my new kiddo driver Jackson to the store to get celebratory chocolate shakes for all of us, pulled out the hair clippers, and Curtis and I started chopping off my hair! It felt incredibly freeing to shave off my hair – liberating for sure.

I am enjoying life right now! Every single day I am receiving letters that encourage me, share memories, laugh-out-loud stories, and express how I have made a difference in people’s lives. It really feels good. It makes me believe more than ever that we need to be compassionate, kind, caring, loving, and express our appreciation for the ones that we love – freely – every single day.
I know that my husband Curtis adores and loves me more than life itself – he shows me this EVERY single day. He continues to bring incredible joy into my life. I want to share an excerpt of a writing he did as he works to raise money to bring some of my Texas children home to see me before I pass. Get the Kleenex out – this one will touch your heart too.

Dear Christina,
All my life I knew I wanted to be a husband, a father, and share my life with my best friend. It wasn't until you were diagnosed with Cancer that I…

My name is Curtis Garrett, and the letter above is THE letter that I can't find myself finishing without thinking about losing my soul mate. Christina is someone who gives me so much life and purpose; we share our passion for joy and for helping others. Several people can say that Christina is smart, funny, irreverent, fiercely compassionate, and inspires everyone she encounters. For me, she is my reason for being a better person every day, for doing my best to love everyone around me unconditionally.

Four years ago, Christina was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. This is an aggressive type of cancer with poor a prognosis but a built in silver lining:  a 90% survival rate if you make it past the first five years. My first thought when hearing about this was to automatically go into "protector" husband mode and figure out all the ways my wife could live and of course, support this process no matter what; being hopeful and positive was the only way to continue to live and love. At the end of all of her blogs, "Christina's Real Talk", she wrote, "Today I am hopeful!" 
This is the way she lives her life every day and as her husband I had to believe that her health would get better and that she would be one of the lucky ones.  Even now, it's hard to give up and to let go of the possibility of a miracle. At the same time, because Christina is who she is ...she is preparing us all for r-e-a-l-i-t-y. How can I be hopeful and be present to the reality?

The only answer I can come up with is to be with her every step of the way. In the coming days, weeks, or months my mission is to give back to my wife and to be with her to help her relive all her best and most beautiful memories. I want to be strong enough for her so that when our only communication is eye to eye or hand to hand, she will be able to receive all the love, beautiful memories, and all the admiration I carry for her in my heart. I want to bestow upon her all of the love, care, support, and most importantly time to simply be her husband. I want to remind her everyday how beautiful her eyes are, how she still give me goosebumps when I hold her hands, and how I can fall in love with her all over again because all it takes is one conversation to understand she is the love of my life.

Christina is a great WOMAN, wife and mother. We have fostered and/or adopted 16 children over the last 11 years. Having been in foster care myself, it has always been a dream to give back. Christina made this possible and we love all our children. We never give up and once they came to us, it didn't matter where they went afterwards; we are still their parents and keep tabs on them. For Christina, this was one of the most important gifts of life.

Now I won't lie to you all if I say this is going to be easy; most days I pray so hard for any miracle to come; please keep praying and wishing to the universe or whatever other "woo woo" you like, as Christina would say, to keep her in high spirits. Christina checks in with me every day to see how I am doing; I can't tell her I don't want to lose her and I can't express to her that Iam not ready. The truth is I'm not ready to let go, so I choose to stand, sit, and be directly by her side until she takes her last breath.

I chose to take time off of work to be by her side and relive every moment of love with her; to express our love and to finish the letter I started writing to her so that I can read it to her with pride and bring her legacy and our love to light. I pray that my love will endure this pain of the unknown yet foreseen even in the hardest days.

Our financial situation has already declined to the level where it is hard for us to manage regular expenses. As we are trying not to exhaust all of our savings, I am raising money to be with my wife during this time, relive our most beautiful memories together and to be able to pay the medical and housing expenses. I will try to provide regular updates via, her blog, and social media.  Please help me spread the word and help us accomplish her BEST LIFE EVER LIST!

Curtis is an amazingly awesome guy that I love forever and have been blessed to have him be a part of the journey. He loves me even though and even when - that speaks volumes to me.

I had so many visits from my friends and family; it is fantastic - gosh I am so lucky. Thank you to each person that continues to touch my life, support my family, and love like you never thought you could. 

Today, I am hopeful~