On October 23, 2010, under a full moon and surrounded by friends and family, Cooper Barghols took his last dose of chemo. It was a night of rejoicing! We don’t publicly celebrate many of the milestones these days, but we do recognize them among ourselves. The anniversary of his diagnosis. The cancer-free day that coincides with his birthday. The last day of chemo.
That day – that last day of chemo – was ten years ago today.
In my prayers, I often visit with God about those three and a half years that we were in the thickness of treatment. We were in the desert – literally and figuratively. But now my thoughts are always focused on the provisions God made for us … the people he put in our path. This 10-year anniversary is yet another opportunity for me to acknowledge and thank those people. I have literally been working on this blog post since September 12th, when I woke around 3am and could not go back to sleep. I have typed and deleted many versions. I’ve gone back and read our Caring Bridge site, my journal, my emails, my letters and my Facebook entries. I’ve finally decided that it is impossible to thank people individually – publicly – without missing and offending someone. There are literally hundreds of people that we know directly who provided support to us – and thousands if you count the people we don’t know directly. It has been quite overwhelming to contemplate.
In 2015, Big Daddy Weave released a song that makes me think of Cooper’s journey. It makes me cry every time I hear it. Hope. Love. Life. Grace. Justice. Mercy. Kindness. Victory. Freedom. These are the words that resonate with me. Within the lyrics, these are how the words appear:
If I told you my story
You would hear Hope that wouldn’t let go
You would hear Love that never gave up
You would hear Life, but it wasn’t mine
If I should speak then let it be
Of the grace that is greater than all my sin
Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him
If I told you my story
You would hear victory over the enemy
You would hear freedom that was won for me
You would hear Life overcome the grave
God’s love wrecks me. And when I contemplate the tremendous medical team that saved my kid’s life and the family, friends, and complete strangers that supported us through Cooper’s cancer journey, I am also overwhelmed with emotion. I wish you all could just sit in that headspace with me and contemplate the magnitude of your impact on our family.
That full moon ten years ago was divinely placed. To this day, a full moon to me and Cooper is like the rainbow was for Noah (see Genesis 9 if you need a refresher). It is an everlasting covenant between God and us … reminding Cooper and me that God is with us, and that He works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28) Seeing the full moon is a friendly reminder that God is in control. And that God is good. All the time.
Today – ten years after his last chemo treatment – Cooper is thriving. He knows the blessing of this life he’s been given, and he aims to make the most of it. My last blog was an ode to him – and worth reading if you want to catch up on his life in general.
Ultimately, all of this is meant to convey that we are celebrating in the Barghols’ house today. We’re celebrating the life being lived by Cooper, and we’re celebrating all of you – who made this day possible. Thank you. Sincerely.