Thursday, August 13, 2009

Adam's Story

Please keep in mind…I started this on Sunday when we were about to get hit with the storm that knocked our power out…

Ok everyone...As I'm sitting here staring out the window at the black clouds of the storm rolling in, hoping that I don't lose my internet connection, I'm going to give you my short story about Adam. This might end up being a long story...just as a heads up. :-) This is way too long overdue.

I met Adam in August/September of 2007. We were both in the RCIA program at our church. During class, we never really talked much. Actually, I don't think we really started talking until closer to the end of the class in about February of 2008. Neither of us had been baptized, and we were two of 11people that would be fully received into the church at the Easter Vigil in 2008.

As the Easter Vigil rolled near, Adam and I started to talk a little bit more. It never really got to be much more than ‘Hi, how are you today’, and ‘ok, talk to you soon’. We were more acquaintances than anything at that point. Then, the day of the Vigil was really when our friendship was firmly rooted. The 11 of us that would be baptized were given brown garments to wear over our clothes. Mine was huge, and his was a little bit small. I walked up to him and asked if he wanted to switch, so we did. After that, he sort of confessed to me that he was very nervous about going through with the baptism. I said “Adam, no one will look down on you if you’re not ready. You have right up until the time you get into that baptismal font to decide if it’s what you really want. If you’re not ready, don’t do it. And don’t feel ashamed either.” He said ‘thanks’ and we went out to get everything started. Everything started outside, by the fire with our candles…then inside the church. You should have seen the church all lit up just by candle light. It was just gorgeous. By the time we were ready to do the baptisms, I kept my eye on Adam as best I could. He was right behind me in line. When I got out, I turned so I could watch and see if he went through with it. I was so happy when I saw that he did! (I’m getting goose bumps and teary eyed just typing this!!!)

We 11 were all dismissed to change into our dry clothes and our clean white garments for Confirmation, and our First Holy Eucharist. The whole night was just amazing! It’s something I will NEVER forget… At the end of the Vigil, I found Adam and gave him a big hug and said “I’m so proud of you!!! How did it feel?” To which he replied “Thanks, it was the most incredible feeling I’ve ever felt!” That was when I realized that he was someone special…not just to me, but to everyone. His spirit, attitude, outlook on life, it was just incredible.

Fast forward a little bit…to around June or July of 2008. Adam and I had talked a little bit off and on, but not a whole lot since the vigil. Michael and I were sitting in church, and when they got to the intercessions, Adams name was mentioned as part of the 'prayers for the sick' and I looked at Michael and said “What’s wrong with Adam???” He said “I’m not sure…” I finally found out that he had been placed in the hospital to have surgery to remove some cancerous growths/cells. I had this strange pull to visit him. It was like I couldn’t NOT go visit him. I HAD to go see him. I was being pulled to him. I made some calls and found out where he was and asked Michael if he wanted to come with me, but he said no. I hopped in my car and drove out to U of M Ann Arbor by myself.

Adam was pretty surprised to see me there, but he was grateful that I had come to see him. He had just had surgery to remove two ribs, and the muscle around them. At that point he told me that it was ‘muscle cancer’. I had never heard of it. When I got to my car, I sat there for a few minutes and cried. I couldn’t understand why such a horrible disease could be happening to another great person! Since I had never really heard of muscle cancer, I started doing some research when I got home. I wasn’t having much luck, but then again, I didn’t really know what I was looking for. They told him that they were pretty sure that they had gotten everything with the surgery, but if it came back, there wouldn’t be much time left for him as it was a very aggressive form of cancer.

A lot of the dates are pretty fuzzy because I had been using the calendar in my old phone…which wound up in pieces in my car…and I didn’t put everything on my calendar.

August 7th, 2008 there was an RCIA dinner for all candidates and catechumens from the prior year. Everyone was hoping Adam would make it there, and I even offered to give him a ride. Well, he declined my offer, but he was there! It was so good to see him. He was again in good spirits. Only a few of the candidates came to this dinner, even though there were about 25 people in our class. We went around the room talking about our favorite thing so far that summer. I honestly don’t remember all of what it was that I said other than visiting Adam, but I remember his. He said that having people visit him while he was in the hospital was a great part of his summer. Seeing all those people really made him feel good.

By that time, the RCIA program was about to start up again, and Adam and I were both sponsors. I was giving him rides to class, and it really gave us a chance to get to know each other better. I asked him about his girlfriend, and how things were going at home. He always was so happy to talk about these things. His girlfriend had gotten into Westpoint Military Academy, so he didn’t get to see her much, and at this point, I don’t even remember whether she knew everything that had gone on. He loved her…a lot…and didn’t want to interfere with her schooling. It was in September that I found out the cancer had returned, and there were 6-12 legions on his lungs.

I’ll never forget this day…I have the text messages still saved in my phone. November 19, 2008. I got this message from Adam: “I’m really scared I’m not going to make it through all of this.” I was crushed. I responded with this: “Oh, adam :-( plz don’t b scared. Have faith itll all happen how its sposed 2. I really dont know what I can say to help except that only God knows for sure.” (Pardon the abbreviations, texts are very character limited). Every time I see that or think about it, I get a little teary again. I commend him for his honesty…and I’m so grateful that he opened his heart to me during his struggle.

Many times it was hard to know if he would be having a good day or a bad day. There was another RCIA dinner on December 16th. We were both there, and everyone was happy to see him again. As per usual, he was in great spirits! I think that’s what helped his family through this also. I can’t imagine going through it the way they did, but I know that his positive attitude had to have helped some. At some point, he had to be ‘bubble boy’ as he called it. Meaning he had to avoid public places for the most part and large crowds. Again, through all of this, he always had such a great attitude!

I don’t remember exactly when it was that I asked Adam to read at the wedding. He just grinned from ear to ear and said “Really? I would love to.” He was so happy and so excited to do it…nervous, but very excited. After a couple of weeks, while we were at RCIA, I showed him which reading he would be doing – 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:8A. For those of you who don’t know that passage, it’s the “Love is patient, love is kind…” I copied it down for him, along with another Bible passage about strength, just for him. One day, he came to class and told me “I got a brand new suit just for your wedding” with a big smile on his face.

Prior to his last chemo treatment in mid-late April, he called me. Ok, let me just say, Adam didn’t usually call me, he usually just sent me a text message…so needless to say, I was a little worried. We talked for a few and he mentioned that his previous chemo treatment left him as a ‘bubble boy’ for a couple of weeks. Since his last treatment was from 4/23-4/25, he was worried that if he had to be a bubble boy again, it would cut too close to the wedding, or over lap it. Well, I told him to just stay positive and to keep me posted. A couple of weeks went by, and on May 4th, I asked how he was feeling and how likely it was that he would make it to the wedding. He said “I have neutropenic fever so I gotta be a bubble boy”. I said ok, just to focus on his health and getting better, and I made arrangements to have another reader at the wedding. He was so excited, and was so looking forward to it! I was bummed for HIM!!! All I wanted was for him to feel better.

I went to the hospital to see him May 14th. I sat with him for a little while though he wasn’t very coherent. I talked to him some, telling him not to be afraid, that he’s loved, and that so many people were praying for him. On my way out, I saw his mom, sister, brother and dad. She told me how much he cherished our friendship, and that he was really looking forward to reading…and I said “I really wish he could be there” and cried. I left a comment on his facebook page later that day saying “Adam…you are in so many of our prayers. Be strong. There is a plan for you. It was good to see you today, even if you are in the hospital, it’s still good to see you. You will be missed for sure on Saturday, and you’re first on the list for the prayers of the faithful. You may not be there physically, but I know you will be there in spirit. I pray that you will get better SOON. <3” Adam’s health took a turn for the worst on May 15, 2009. He was placed on a ventilator, and the doctors said that the cancer had spread to his brain.

The wedding day all went by so fast, and Adam was missed for sure! But I knew he was there. On May 17th, I got another email late that evening, letting all of us know that Adam was called home to God. I was very sad, but I had a strange peace about the whole situation. He was not suffering anymore, he was no longer in pain, and he was comfortable, at peace. I pointed to my email with Michael sitting next to me, tears in my eyes. He didn’t quite know what to do. I knew I wouldn’t be home for the funeral which crushed me too. We would be on our honeymoon…

A few weeks later, I talked to his mom again and I found out that Kasia went to visit him in the hospital, and left the corsage that she wore during her reading with Adam. He wore it until he passed Sunday afternoon.

I will miss him for a very long time. His spirits, his great attitude, and his wonderful outlook on life…I’ll miss it all. He is still much loved, and I personally pray for him still. I think about him a lot, wondering how he is, who he’s with, and what he’s doing, which brings me to the next part of this story…

Late last week, I had a dream. I was with Adam’s sister, in front of a large white house. It was a 2 story house, 4 windows on the top floor, 2 windows and huge French doors on the lower floor. There was also a small bench in front of the house; the wooden kind, with wrought iron armrests and legs. I sat on one end, and his sister sat on the other end to my left. After a few minutes past, I saw Adam walking towards us. I glanced at his sister, and she didn’t seem to notice him coming. I looked up at him and just mouthed “Wha? Wait…” He said “Don’t worry, you don’t need to say anything, no one else can see me”. Then he sat down between his sister and I and we carried on a conversation…based on thoughts. The only part about the conversation that stuck with me after I woke up was this… I asked “How are you doing?” and he said “I am fine.”

You’re loved Adam, and missed. I know now that you’re fine…


"People do not die for us immediately, but remain bathed in a sort of aura of life which bears no relation to true immortality but through which they continue to occupy our thoughts in the same way as when they were alive. It is as though they were traveling abroad."

-Marcel Proust

1 comment:

trevmom said...

Such an amazing story for what I'm sure was an amazing person!!