Two in one Post – Brothers…Easter


I blogged about respect in my last blog.  This last Sunday my family and friends walked in memory of Trey in the Herb Kosten Kick it 5k for Pancreatic Cancer.  People did that out of respect for Trey.  That is how you treat people when you love them – you respect their memory by honoring them.  Collin honored his brother by walking in the freezing cold even though he wanted to be in bed.  We all did, for a good Sunday afternoon nap.  But this was important.  It was important for the cause.

Many things were important between Trey and Collin.  The nights that Collin would sleep in Trey’s room during the weeks that he had chemo.  The days that they watched movie after movie.  The endless video games they played.  The days Trey said I want Collin at the hospital and we checked Collin out of school without a thought.  Collin is grieving in his own way and we are handling that.  Someone asked me if I was writing a book when we were at the walk on Sunday.  I said yes.  They said all I had to do was put the caringbridge together.  I said no, there is a lot that I did not post because I knew that Trey was reading the caringbridge and there would always be the chance that Collin would hear it from someone.  I remember writing things and about 15 minutes later Trey would yell, MOM! Why did you have to write THAT! And we would laugh.  Telling people we were dealing with him pooping in his bed in his sleep was not exactly what a 15-year-old wants put out there.  But it’s a part of cancer.

My point is, with Collin, and more importantly, there is so much that goes on in our home that you cannot fathom.  Then and now.  If I show favoritism in my blogs or posts, it is never intentional.  It’s natural to grieve a loss, especially a child.  During this time, you have no idea how many nights Collin has slept with me and we have watched TV WAY into the night.  I have gotten up the next morning exhausted, but I knew that we needed to be next to each other.  (Right now, we are watching the Three Stooges!)

There were so many brother in the Bible that were SO different; Cain and Abel,  Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his many brothers, then there was Jesus who treated his disciples like brothers.  This is referenced in Matthew and in Mark when Jesus says in Matt 12:50:  “Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!”  I think Jesus covers us all with that scripture.

We are all brothers and sisters.  I would hate to think we are all the same.  I have three sisters and we are all three different as night and day, but we cannot live a day without each other.  In summary, Collin is Collin and Trey was Trey.  Collin is very special in his own right and we know Trey was also.  We made the choice to protect Collin through this whole process.  Maybe that was our mistake.  But that is just it, it is OUR mistake to handle.  God has a great plan for Collin, just as he did for Trey.  He is opening doors that we did not know were possible.  We covet your prayers for Collin, for his remaining time in 7th grade as he struggles, for his summer, and for his upcoming visits to St. Jude.


It’s like they say, Sunday’s a comin!  But before Sunday, there is Friday.  The day that Jesus was nailed to the cross.  It is so natural for me to look at Jesus as a son.  He IS the son of GOD.  For me, it hurts my heart for God.  He created us in His own image.  He knows what we feel, how we feel, and gave us the ability to feel, love, and hurt.  But he gave us the ability to rejoice! For on the third day Christ rose, just as He said He would.

Last Easter, Trey was finishing a chemo treatment.  He was trying so hard to feel good for Easter.  He wanted to come to church and that was his goal.  When he put his mind to things, there was usually no stopping him.  Trey made it to church Easter morning for the first time since he started chemo.  He got tired very fast.  This Easter my family has chosen to do something different.  We will not be attending the Friday night service.  I was first going to sing in the choir, then I was just going to sit in the congregation, then I decided it would just be too emotional.  Sunday morning, since I do not have to teach, I’m not sure what Jay and I will do.  I think we might visit another church.  We just might rest.  Ahh, rest.  In any event, we are very faithful and God knows our heart.

My prayer is that you will know the meaning of Easter…salvation…death on the cross for our sins…for me and for you…something we didn’t deserve yet received…God’s grace…Jesus as our Savior.  Without that, there is no peace as Trey tweeted one year ago:

Eccl. 3:11 “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.”


If you ask your child what the word RESPECT means, can they tell you?  Ask your 12-18 year old.  Collin didn’t have a clue.  But yet that is the buzz word now.  They don’t “respect” me.   Believe it or not, the best definition I found was in the Urban Dictionary:

It means valuing each others points of views. It means being open to being wrong. It means accepting people as they are. It means not dumping on someone because you’re having a bad day. It means being polite and kind always, because being kind to people is not negotiable. It means not dissing people because they’re different to you. It means not gossiping about people or spreading lies.

Well, that sounds kind of biblical to me.  I think we overlook respecting each other as adults in order to teach our children.  This starts about the preteen age and goes down hill!  At least it has for our boys.  I even remember dealing with it myself.  I wasn’t a very respectful child.  It turned into anger issues which has taken me 40 years to handle properly.  I know, you can’t imagine. Me? Anger issues?  Hush Donna.  I even did it to Collin on Sunday just because I didn’t like what he had on for church.  The hardest thing for me was to go to him and apologize.  I did it.  His response was, “I don’t care anymore.”  It hurt me deeply, but others assure me that he heard me.

We ran into a situation this week with Collin who is now hitting “that” stage.  I wasn’t looking forward to “that” stage; the teen years.  About two weeks ago he asked, “When am I going to be able to make my own decisions about my life?”  I’m glad I was around the corner when he asked that question and I fell out on the floor laughing.  The second time around, this is SO much easier.  Anyway, Collin had a respect issue with an adult at church this week.  I did reprimand him at church and he did get upset because he naturally defended himself.  I also made sure I got the story from the adult.

The car ride home was very quiet, but I was humming and singing to the radio to let him know that I wasn’t letting this get under my skin.  When we got home, Collin went in the house upset and Jay asked what was wrong.  I told him about the respect conversation.  “She doesn’t respect me, so I don’t care.”  To me, that relates ~ I’ll do what I want.  As Collin was going upstairs I asked him if he knew what respect meant.  He didn’t answer.  He told me everyone says that and everyone feels the same way.  I told him do not jump on a bandwagon if you don’t know where it’s going!  Be a leader not a follower.  He said he was trying.  What I didn’t tell him and Jay and I discussed is that the adults must deserve the respect.  But we did tell Collin that no matter what the adult is doing, they deserve respect. 

I hate to compare my sons.  That is a sensative matter with Collin right now, but there are just traits in their characters that are naturally different.  Trey was a leader.  He didn’t mind standing alone.  He did it often and sometimes he was lonely.  Collin is a follower and has never met a stranger.  When we were having this conversation, I tried to explain to Collin a little bit about respect and obedience because what he did was disrespectful in talking back to an adult.  I told him all the times that crowds called out bad names at Jesus and threw things at him, what do you think he did?  Collin said, nothing.  I said exactly.  And that is what we are supposed to do.  If someone says something we don’t like and as much as we want to correct them or get angry, we need to keep our mouth shut.  Collin’s reaction was–BUT, But, but. . . I said Collin, we are not responsible for THEIR actions, only our own.  We can’t control them.  Maybe if they see our actions, they will think about their own.  And I thought of Trey.  His simple actions impacted so many.  His tweets of scripture.  I think I told you where it started.  It started at home.  After the family of families weekend when he wrote on the brick Eph. 6:1 ~

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”

That is what he vowed to work on.  That brick is on our mantle for all to see and for all of us to work on.  We are also children of the Lord, who we need to obey.

Collin still struggled with the fact that people talk out of both sides of their mouth.  I told him, honey, you will see girls (I had to use girls!) huddled in a group talking about someone and then the next minute they will be that person’s best friend.  I said, don’t ask me to explain it, it is just they way it is at this age.  He doesn’t understand it and it makes him angry.  In some ways, I’m GLAD it makes him angry because he knows it’s wrong.  But he is also seeing it in adults.  He sees the youth talking about the adults and then stabbing them in the back.  I told him, don’t be a part of that.  It will go on your entire teen years.  The best thing about the whole incident ~ (and you have to know Collin) he looked me in the eyes and he listened without voices being raised. 

Then we watched Duck Dynasty as a family.  Respect.  A teaching moment I will cherish.  A moment I remember having with Trey, and he learned it.  God’s word DOES NOT come back void.  For it says in Proverbs 22:6 ~

“Train up a child in the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”

Trey may not have lived to be old in years, but he was wise in mind.  All because of obedience.  I will keep teaching Collin and keep praying that he will learn the same lessons.  Not that he will be like Trey, but that he will be the man that God wants him to be.

Eph. 6:12 ~

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

Pray for us tomorrow, it is Jay’s birthday ~ without Trey.  At least Jay will be at work and hopefully busy.

Collin and Trey swim disney

Hakuna Matata

Hakuna matata – what wonderful phrase.  Hakuna matata – ain’t no passing craze.  It means no worries for the rest of your days.  Hakuna matata – It’s our problem-free  philosophy – Hakuna matata.

The Lion King, Trey’s favorite movie.  Hakuna Matata is exactly what he tweeted one year ago today.  This is the day we waited for hours until 1 p.m.  At 1 p.m. we had a conference scheduled with the doctors to get the results of the biopsy, MRI, etc.  That morning seemed to drag on forever.  Keith Cochran and Ron Norton broke nervous waiting.  Oh, those two.  They saw us through many days.  And that day, they stayed with Trey all day, even while we were meeting with the doctors.

March 6 was the day Jay and I learned to pronounce stage 4 pancreatic adenocarcinoma.  Kind of rolls off the tongue.  What didn’t roll was “terminal” or “no cure” or we will make sure he has the best “quality of life”.  And of course the worst – “11 months”.  After all those words and my chest sinking in, there was the realization that someone had to tell Trey.  Precious Dr. Sara Federico looked at us and said, “Do you want me to do it?”  I can honestly say that was the ONE time I got angry and thought, well you can’t fix this so you tell him.  I didn’t say that though.  That was shock.

I remember walking in the room and Trey immediately looked at me and said, “Mom, you’ve been crying.  What’s wrong?”  I just crawled up in bed behind him so he would not see me cry as Dr. Sara knelt down on the other side of his bed.  Everyone was still in the room, nurses, doctors, Jay, Keith, Ron, Cecelia.  Dr. Sara explained to him what was going on and she asked him if he had any questions and he said no.  She said are you sure?  He then said, “I’ll either be healthy here or I’ll be healthy in heaven.”

Thus the tweet Hakuna Matata.  Yes, what a wonderful phrase.  Our Almighty God gave my son the peace that surpasses all understanding.  Something that I’m not sure I’ll fully comprehend how he had it this side of heaven at his age. 

So many people talk about him, but they didn’t know him.  I actually feel so jealous for you.  What you see on the testimony video – that is who Trey was.  What you DON’T see is his sense of humor and boy he had it.  Everything from swinging on his IV pole to pulling the C card when he would go places to get a rise out of someone.

Short story – We were in Florida in the Nike outlet.  The cashier said boy, you need to put some weight on! You too skinny!  Those close bout to fall off you. (She went on and on and Trey just let her talk.)  Finally, Trey, with a straight face just looked at her and said, I have cancer.  That clerk could have crawled under the cashier’s desk.  We all walked out and then burst into laughter.  He did that too many times to count.  I know, sounds mean, but that’s how he dealt with it because to him, it was no big deal.

Not only was it not a big deal, but most importantly, he was ready.  He was ready to see Jesus.  He had everything in order.  There were no doubts, no fears, and no regrets.  Friends and I were talking on Sunday about the horrific event of the man that died recently when his home was sucked into a sink hole.  I’ll admit, I laughed at first at the thought.  Then, I got a chill and realized that it was an event that God knew would happen, we should be watching and paying attention.  I told my friends immediately that these are the kinds of things that we need to pay attention to during these days because we need to be ready.  Just like Trey was ready.  And the song came to mind, as songs for me always do…People get ready, Jesus is coming to take from the world his own – You’ll be goin’ home.

Are you ready?  Can you get away with the way you are living and say you are ready?  #livelikejesus  “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.”  Matt. 24:36

Now, everytime The Lion King is on tv, Collin will yell, Mom, it’s on tv! And we will watch it.  We remember when out of the blue, with his friends watching the movie he started singing the beginning of the movie (of course he was medicated).  You know, the part that is in a different language!

Hakuna Matata.  My boy is home.