About Me

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Bakersfield, CA, United States
Hans was a busy, happy, sweet and fearless three year old when he was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma. He fought his disease like a "gladiator" for nearly 6 years. Hans was an animal lover to his core. He was 'guarded' at home by his three cats, Black, Orange and Cotton. He also had his Golden Retriever, Honey, to keep him company. Hans enjoyed swimming, biking, gardening, grilling (he had his very own grill!), horseback riding, playing video games, building Legos, and flipping between Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and Animal Planet. Hans loved all members of his family and he was a loyal friend. He had to go through a lot of treatment in his life. But Hans powered through it. His attitude was let's get this done! His motivation was always to get back home, to his family, pets, favorite foods and pool.

Monday, November 03, 2014

death with dignity

There is a lot of talk in the news and social media about right to die and death with dignity right now.  I wrote this for Hans in memory and honor of his life and his dignified death.  Every one has a right to their own opinion,  and the right to make their own choices with their family - I just happen to have some strong feelings on this top and I thought I'd share...


As a mother who witnessed her nine-year-old son succumb to his neuroblastoma cancer after a long battle, I have witnessed a death with dignity.  I think dignity is exemplified when one gives this life everything he’s got and surrenders control of the moment of passing to the ultimate mystery of fate, God, or the universe…

Our son, Hans, fought a battle against his cancer that spanned almost six years, the majority of his life.  His cancer progressed in the last six to eight weeks of life and spiraled quickly.  In those days he faced challenges I don’t often talk about, for it is difficult to find the words, or strike the right tone, in describing what happens to a small human body that is under such a state of attack.  Those were intensely personal and private physical struggles. I don’t frequently share descriptions of the ways in which his body failed him, and of the pain, and of the labor of the tasks of caring for him in those days.  And yet – as I look up the dictionary definition of dignity –“ the state of being worth of esteem or respect”,  and  “conduct indicative of appreciation for the gravity of an occasion or situation”, I know that my son’s last six weeks were certainly examples of such.

Throughout his long diagnosis, and throughout his last weeks, he grasped to live, fought for life, and unceasingly did the hard work of trying to overcome the burden of his disease.  He got back into the ring and fought, by any and all means, for a shot at simply being able to continue to live his little boy’s life.  Serious, businesslike, brave and strong – he went about the business of trying to beat his cancer.  In those last weeks, perhaps he knew that a point of no return had been reached. Perhaps he indicated as much with small statements.  Perhaps he had begun to accept his transition. 


In those weeks, we were all given the opportunity to witness the completeness and the fullness of our boy’s life.  We were all moved by the totality of commitment he had to being present and fighting to stay.  We were humbled by the mystery and beauty of his fight to live. We were forever altered by the power of his love for his life, and for us.   I suspect, that during those weeks, he was readied to make his transition from life to death.  And, as we lost him, there was a sense of amazing grace, a peace that defies understanding, and a knowing that we would be together again, on the other side.  I am left believing that our ultimate personal mystery, death, is best left unorchestrated. 

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

That's beautiful, Lara! xoxo Shelley

Anonymous said...

Thank you Lara for your words.
Pat K

Anonymous said...

Thank You Lara,

For your words.

Pat K

Erin's Aunt Kat said...

Beautifully spoken!

tony brown said...

Lara this is absolutely beautiful. Couldn't have been said better. Think of you all and precious Hans often! Love, Jen B

Anonymous said...

Beautiful, humbling words.
Love you guys~ Vicki