Thursday, April 1, 2010

April 2010


One year ago, this week, began Sara and my transition back to life in the US. We left Tokyo on the night of April 1, 2009. We arrived in Honolulu on the morning of April 1 (crossing the International Date Line still confuses me).

On April 6, 2009, Sara and I were at Tripler Army Medical Center at 5:00am for her pre-op appointment. Hours later, she was being wheeled out of recovery with the cancerous tumor and lymph nodes removed from her body.

April 6, 2009

On April 1, 2010, on my way to work I heard the song "Lucky" by Jason Mraz. After Sara died, one of our friends from Korea sent me a note and a Jason Mraz CD. She said that the song "Lucky" reminded her of Sara and my relationship. I got pretty choked up.



April 1st is also my birthday, and I am happy to say that I made it through another "first" without Sara. Some friends organized a birthday dinner and even made my favorite cake that Sara used to make for me.

That afternoon, I had an appointment at Wilford Hall (the hospital where Sara did all her cancer treatment, spent 40+ days on bed rest, delivered Chloe, and passed away). Needless to say, there are LOTS of emotions that come to mind when I think about Wilford Hall.

At my annual flight physical last week, the doctor wanted me to see a dermatologist about a "growth" on my left cheek. He told me not to worry because, I was "...probably too young for it to be cancer." I wanted to say, "Really...too young for cancer...let me tell you a story..." I elected to keep my mouth shut.

I had the "growth" biopsied and will find out more next week. The dermatologist was not concerned, and neither am I.

As I was walking up to the main entrance of the hospital, I felt an emotional wave building. Approaching the main doors, I looked up at the 5th floor window, the 4th one from the left. That was the room where Sara was "locked up" on bed rest for over 40 days. Each day, as I was arriving at the hospital, I would call and let her know that I was there, and as I walked up the the entrance, she would be waving to me from that window. This time, the window was empty.

Following are a few writings that have "hit home" with me this past week. They come from "Streams in the Desert" by L.B. Cowman.

MARCH 29

See how the lilies of the fields grow. --Matthew 6:28

Many years ago there was a monk who needed olive oil, so he planted an olive tree sapling. After he finished planting it, he prayed, "Lord, my tree needs rain so its tender roots may drink and grow. Send gentle showers." And the Lord sent gentle showers. The monk prayed, "Lord, my tree needs sun. Please send it sun." And the sun shone, gilding the once dripping clouds. "Now send frost, dear Lord, to strengthen its branches," cried the monk. And soon the little tree was covered in sparkling frost, but by evening it had died.

Then the monk sought out a brother monk in his cell and told him of his strange experience. After hearing the story, the other monk said, "I also have planted a little tree. See how it is thriving! But I entrust my tree to its God. He who made it knows better that a man like me what it needs. I gave God no constraints or conditions, except to pray, 'Lord, send what it needs--whether that be a storm or sunshine, wind, rain, or frost. You made it, and you know best what it needs.'"

One year ago, I did not envision raising Chloe as a single dad. However, I am not in charge and apparently, in God's plan, this is how is was supposed to be. When people tell me, "...it was not meant to be this way," I have started responding, "Yes it was!"

APRIL 1

Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him. --Job 13:15

Because I know who I have believed. --2 Timothy 1:12

An old seaman once said, "In fierce storms we must do one thing, for there is only one way to survive: we must put the ship in a certain position and keep her there." And this, dear Christian, is what you must do.

Sometimes, like Paul, you cannot see the sun or the stars to help you navigate when the storm is bearing down on you. This is when you can do only one thing, for there is only one way. Reason cannot help you, past experiences will shed no light, and even prayer will bring no consolation. Only one course remains: you must put your soul in one position and keep it there.

You must anchor yourself steadfastly upon the Lord. And then, come what may--whether wind, waves, rough seas, thunder, lightning, jagged rocks, or roaring breakers--you must lash yourself to the helm, firmly holding your confidence in God's faithfulness, His covenant promises, and His everlasting love in Christ Jesus. --Richard Fuller

Chloe continues to thrive and is changing so quickly. Following are some recent pics.

Easter 2010

"Best Buds"
Ethan Ertmer and Chloe


"Rough day on the Guadalupe River"
Spring Branch, TX

54 comments:

lindsaymeyer said...

Chloe is growing into such a doll. Stay strong. Your faith inspires!

Shelley said...

It was wonderful to hear things are still as good as they can be for you. Even though I have never met you, whenever I hear "Save a Place for Me" my mind thinks of your journey and I say a prayer. I remember hearing that song on your blog months ago and now I hear it on the radio frequently!

I admire your strength. Thanks for sharing an update with those of us out here in the blog-o-sphere!

Chloe is just so beautiful!

Susie said...

Thank you so much for your update. I check very often to see if you have posted to your blog. I, like so many of your readers, haven't met you.

However, I met Sarah a few times when she was a little girl. She had a close friend named Jennifer. Jennifer's mom and I were and still are VERY close friends. Also, Sarah's brother Brent played baseball with one of my sons.

I love reading your posts....what a special man you are!

PA LaPresti's said...

Happy "belated" Birthday Brady! Chloe is getting so big & as always, she is such a baby doll. Thank you for keeping us all updated. Your faith & strength are such an inspiration.

Mel B. said...

She is beautiful!

rocknroll widow said...

chloe is beautiful. ^_^
and so was your wife.

Peppermint Patty said...

Wow! She is a beauty!

Keep on keeping on, my brother!

Tiffany said...

Chloe is so precious! Truly beautiful!

Thanks so much for your words of strength, inspiration and vulnerability. I can't imagine your day to day struggles, but I know He is walking each step with you. Thank you for sharing your journey so others can have an example of faith beyond circumstance.

Happy belated birthday!

Larissa said...

Chloe is a doll baby.

Happy Belated birthday to you!!!

slotmachinemimi said...

A beautiful little doll, sitting in a field of beautiful Texas bluebonnets--what a combination!! You always amaze me with you strength. You are just what Chloe needs in a parent. Thanks so much for the update on you and Chloe's life. Happy belated B'Day. Take care, Susan

Melissa's Thoughts said...

She is growing up so fast. Ug, I was ok with this post until I read the words, the window was empty. Loss hurts, but I'm glad you are living each day...one day at a time.

SLKozul said...

your writing still brings tears to my eyes. I hope some day that my daughters marry men with the strength and character that you share with your blog readers.

Kel said...

Wow.. so much has happened.. and you are staying amazingly strong for Chloe. I just see the word Wilford Hall and it takes me back to when my husband had to be there so much for his cancer. I too have never met yall but certain things make me think of you and Chloe and of course Sarah... what strength and faith.. I had read a comment from someone saying they hoped that their daughter meets a man with your strength and character..my oldest is married to her high school sweetheart and they are expecting their first baby. He is army stationed in Germany. She was really touched by your blogs early on when I shared them with her. At the time they hadn't conceived but she still felt so awful for being so homesick and wanting back in the states until she read how yall embraced every duty station and just made the most of life..right to the end. Stay strong Brady..and know that you have many many praying for all of you! God Bless

JRMG said...

Brady, I hear ya man there are certain locations that just strike "that" chord. I am praying for you buddy and your doing a great job with Chole!

D M Dunn said...

Thank you, thank you for posting again. I've been needing my Chloe picture fix. And thank you for sharing your heart. As always, you are an encouragement.

One last thing, who took the last picture of Chloe? He/she is reflected in Chloe's eyes. There's something really, really beautiful about that.

Montgomery said...

thanks always for sharing...hope to catch up soon...the Montgomerys

Little Pink Rose said...

I continue to check your blog and I am inspired each time I read it! Chloe is just so beautiful! Thank you for your posts and thank you for allowing the Lord to work through you. Happy belated birthday!

bass family said...

Chloe is a beautiful little lady! Thanks again for this peek into your life and your heart. Happy birthday and Happy Easter :)

Christy said...

Thanks you for sharing Chloe with us. She is a precious baby.

parks said...

i got to see aunt angie the other day... she GLOWS when she talks about your chloe!! thank you for sharing your faith and daughter with all of us! blessings as you continue to live courageously.

Kelli said...

Sweet precious Chloe is just lovely!! Thanks for sharing of your heart and your faith!!

Little Mommy said...

Like many of your blog followers we have never met. You don't know me nor do we have any family or friends in common. I was introduced to your blog by my best friend who stumbled over it reading one of the blogs she follows. Regardless, I started following your blog in 12/10 and started at the beginning. I don't believe I have ever cried so hard. I also can tell you when others write on here that they think of you and Chloe and pray for you guys they are not alone. I check your blog for updates often. I pray for you, Chloe, and your families very often. Your Faith in the Lord and reading about your love for our Lord is truly wonderful and uplitfting. I am so sorry for all you have went through. I pray that all of your "firsts" this year only make you stronger. Chloe is so blessed to have you as her father. I know from reading your blog and learning about your friends and family support Chloe will know just how much her mother loves her. Chloe will forever be Daddy's girl and lean on you always and forever because you are the best example of a strong Christian father I've ever read about. I hope you and your adorable little girl are enjoying these beautiful Spring days!
With much love and prayer support from a small town in Georgia,
Crystal

rl said...

You have a beautiful baby girl! I enjoying seeing the updates. I am praying for you and Chloe. You are a blessing to many.
Rachel

Jennifer Kay said...

The last picture in that post is ABSOLUTELY beautiful. You have reached so many people with your blog and recieve prayers from all over the world because of it. Thank you for sharing!

Sarah said...

Chloe is beautiful!I think she is a perfect mix of both you and Sara. So precious. Have fun seeing the Ruffins and Briggs soon! Jealous we will not be with you all!

Sweet Annabelle said...

Chloe is such a beautiful baby! Thank you for posting 'real' stuff of life and telling us how the Savior is walking you through it all.

Nicole VP said...

She is BEAUTIFUL! What an awesome outlook on life you've got. Keep up the good work.

Sanders said...

Chloe is so beautiful Brady! Keeping you always in our prayers.
Tami, Dan and William

Ashley Andreano Photography said...

We love the Sullivans!

-many people in Austin Texas

3fishies said...

Wow. Chloe is an amazingly blessed little girl. She is blessed by so many even without her sweet mommy there. & she has blessed so many. I don't know or understand how you've held onto your faith with all you've been through-but you are blessed too! I guess having your sweet Sarah was enough of a blessing. Stay strong. Keep your faith. Your sweet daughter is blessed to have you too.

Hello! I'm Kate. said...

Chloe is beautiful! I'm praying for y'all!

Charleen said...

Chloe has grown so much! What a sweetheart she is. We think of you both and keep you in our prayers everyday. Love, Jim and Charleen

Jana said...

Happy belated birthday, it was such fun & an honor to take photos of you & your precious daughter in the bluebonnets along with the Ertmers. It was great to finally meet you even though I felt I already somewhat knew you through your blog! Hope to see you again soon.

La Famiglia Repucci said...

She looks like Sara when she smiles. Hope you got our card. We love you and Miss you!

Jen said...

Beautiful...

Toni :O) said...

What a beautiful baby girl...she never ceases to take my breath away. You have such amazing faith...that will continue to keep you strong I know.

Charity said...

What a sweet girl! Chloe is growing so fast... she's beautiful!
Whenever I hear 'Save a Place for Me', I instantly think of you and Chloe... and I pray for you. You are constantly in my prayers...
Chloe is such a beautiful little girl.
Because HE LIVES,
Charity

Sunny said...

she looks so much like you!! so sweet!

Amanda Evans said...

You are such a strong man of God, Brady. I've been following your posts since Sara passed. We arrived at Osan around the time you left, so we have the AF prayer link. Just wanted to let you know the Evans' family is praying for you and for little Chloe! May God's peace continue to guide you through this year of "firsts."

The Evans Family

Beth said...

Once again, your post was encouraging to me. I love how you realize that everything is God's plan, there is so much to hope in when we trust Him for everything! Thank you!

chowgilly said...

I just wanted to share a song that i heard recently that made me think of you and your sweet little girl
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7AYio2NX1U

Denise said...

I am happy to hear that things are going well. Chloe has gotten so big! You are doing such a great job - keep up the good work & like always, you are always in my prayers.

宏泰 said...

thank for share, it is very important . ̄︿ ̄

Mrs. Lady Sofia said...

Brady,

First, happy very belated birthday. My birthday is actually the day after yours (April 2nd), funny that.

Anyway, each time I come to your blog, and I "see" the faith you have in God, it humbles me, deeply. I'm also glad that each time I come to visit your blog that your faith in the Lord continues to grow stronger and stronger. I am sure that your strong faith in the Lord helps others as well (it certainly helps me).

Well, thank you for sharing the latest pictures of your cute baby girl, Chloe. She's really growing, and getting more beautiful each day. I liked the "Best Buds" picture that best. It's a cute one. :)

At any rate, take care, and as always, thank you for sharing your stories with us fellow bloggers in the blogsphere.

~Mrs. Lady Sofia~

Me said...

Everytime I read your blog, I cna't help but cry. YOu are such a strong man. God bless you and your little Chloe.

Jessica said...

I know you don't know me, but I knew Sarah in college from Young Life. I enjoy keeping up with sweet little Chloe and hearing how you are doing so I can pray for you both.

She is so beautiful! Glad to hear you survived another "first" and are doing well.

diaxdia said...

Hi Brady, hope the results of your tests were good and that your silence from the blog only means that you are very busy with Chloe.

But if you have some time drop a few lines and let us know how are you doing healthwise.

Have a good weekend.

Carri said...

I'm just thinking of you and little Miss Chloe today...praying that it's a good day spent celebrating her awesome Mom!

M said...

Brady,
I'm another one of those who has never met you, but feels like I know you from your blog. I've been thinking about you and Chloe today and praying for you. I hope that it was a good day and that you were able to spend it with your wonderful extended family.
Myra

Amy H said...

Thinking about you and baby Chloe today. I'm sure Mother's Day is tough this year but you look like you are doing a great job on your own.

Summer said...

Praying for you and Chloe today.

Stephanie said...

Beautiful daughter. Beautiful wife. Beautiful Faith, Hope and Strength! Truly a beautiful story and testiment. Thank you!

Susan said...

Hey Brady. I doubt you remember me. Rob and I vacated the house you and Sara moved into in Japan. I found the website of Oh So Posh photography, and thoroughly enjoyed the video of Chloe. How very sweet and precious her heart shaped birth mark. Looks like someone got Sara's heart anyway! Your faith is so inspiring and uplifting. You are doing a great job taking care of yourself and Chloe, one day at a time. She is just so beautiful and precious! Incredible little girl you two have. I hope someday we can see you in person and I can love on that little girl of your's. Before I sign off, wanted you to know that you and our oldest, Gabe, have the same birthday. Pretty cool (and hard to forget:) Oh, and thank you for your very moving observance of seeing God's amazing work the darker the night. Hadn't ever thought that, and how hopeful it is. Thank you! God bless, Susan (Stimpson)

Karisa said...

It has been a couple of months since I read your blog and as always, it has left me in tears. Your story touches me to the core. We too are an AF family. Our younger daughter Laurel is only 6 days older than Chloe. You and I share the same birthday. I think I have a picture of our daughter Annika in that same swing from our time at SOS. Anyway, these are silly superficial things, but it is no coincidence that I happened upon your blog. Thank you for continuing to share your story.