Yesterday we celebrated the life of one very exceptional little boy. Bryce Jude. Bryce was one of the first people that we met while at CHEO. Although we didn't truly meet him at first, only heard him. We were the lucky family that was placed in the room beside the playroom and Bryce would play hockey with his family in the hallway outside our room. I remember hearing him play, and the sounds of joy and laughter and life going on despite all that he was going through became a wonderful source of comfort for me in those very early days following Phoebe's diagnosis.
We did eventually have the pleasure of meeting Bryce and I can honestly say that I will never forget him. Bryce was a beautiful boy with a simply amazing spirit. He radiated warmth and happiness and his energy was contagious. The first time I met him, really met him and spoke to him, he told me more about Phoebe's central line and dressing supplies than any nurse or doctor. He knew what type of line it was, what dressing we used and he even had suggestions as to how it could be dressed differently. He asked to look at it, which he did very gently with big eyes full of wonder and an eagerness to learn. I thought he was amazing. The smartest and most interesting six year old I have ever met. He seemed to understand all that Phoebe had been through and treated her with so much care and compassion that thinking back to it now brings tears to my eyes. Two kindred spirits united in their courage, strength and tenacity.
Yesterday at his service, many, many people gathered, most dressed in brightly coloured hockey (mostly Sens) jerseys, to pay tribute to a beautiful and courageous seven year old boy who despite his all too short time on this earth made a huge impact. It was a beautiful sight and a true testament to just how many lives Bryce touched so deeply. His mother and the reverend spoke about his lust for life, his energy and eagerness to take it all in, to relish in all that life had to offer. The message was clear and the reverend said it often. Seize the day. Do as Bryce and his family would have done and take nothing for granted. Live life to the fullest and enjoy even the simplest things. Have fun and play hard. Love and share and appreciate even the small things. This is a lesson that I have often heard families who have been affected by Cancer share. It is incredibly unfortunate and unfair that our children and loved ones suffer or are taken from us for us to gain this perspective or to learn these lessons, but with a cancer diagnosis comes a heightened sense of just how important life is. Each day truly is a gift.
Last night as I came home, I looked up to the sky and the stars seemed to shine just a bit brighter than usual. I immediately thought of sweet Bryce and his beautiful spirit and thanked him for the many things that he has taught me.
Hug your children and loved ones tightly today, tonight and every day and night in which you are blessed to have them with you. Never forget just how precious life is.