Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Goodbye...Till we meet again...

Final Entry… Shari

It has been said that the loss of a child is one of the most painful experiences a parent can go through. Our children are suppose to outlive their parents….It sadly doesn’t always work out that way…as we weep in tears for our children who were given to us as gifts from God…we try to remember that those children who go before us have forever left footprints on our hearts and have changed us forever. They are missed dearly by all those who loved them. But we try to find comfort in knowing that as they are in the arms of our maker, they are no longer suffering. They leave their empty shells behind as they smile upon us.

Dale went peacefully early Sunday morning, the 16th of March. He entered Long Beach Memorial Hospital for the last time on Saturday morning, the 15th. His last stay was short as the doctors, nurses and support staff worked so hard to do everything possible to try and help him. Dale was most likely bleeding from his liver. Unfortunately, Dale’s liver was failing as was seen with his increased billirubin levels and the increase in his blood ammonia levels over the past weeks. With the liver failure, the production of clotting factors fell to dangerously low levels even with the infused clotting factors, he was unable to stop bleeding. Dale’s body was now fighting an uphill battle. The inevitable became apparent as family, friends and nurses stood at Dale’s bed and said their last goodbyes.

As I look at Juliann’s favorite picture of Dale, I see happiness. The picture is when Dale was in Hawaii this past Christmas at dinner in his Billabong shirt. When you look at this picture you can feel the happiness in his face as he had such a wonderful time in Hawaii. I am so thankful for all the doctors, nurses and support staff who over the past 7 years tried with all their skills to help Dale put up his most heroic fight against leukemia. They treated Dale with such compassion and dignity.

There is an article written for oncologists in the Journal of Oncology Vol. 19, No 13 July 1, 2001: pp 3294-3296, sent to Juliann by a close friend. This article is titled “The Art of Oncology: When the tumor is not the target. “But doctor what do I have to lose…?”
After reading this article it was so comforting to know that there are young doctors so wise beyond their years, who stay focused on the goal. This doctor reminded Dale and the family of the treatment history, while reviewing the realistic goals and outcomes. I watched Dale’s doctor talk to Dale on his level. He was being honest and always addressed Dale and made sure that Dale understood what was going on. He got down to Dale’s level and looked into Dale’s eyes as he talked. Letting Dale have control, allowing Dale to spend most of his time at home instead of in the hospital was a noble goal. We all appreciated how he would talk to Dale privately, so that Dale could express his views, opinions and ask questions without anyone else around. This doctor also showed that compassion does not end when the treatment ended. I pray that this sort of doctor never loses that special gift. The Inouye’s appreciated this compassionate doctor with excellent bedside manners and who acted as the patients advocate like a parent.

Dale in his short 9 years of life has done so much, touched so many hearts and left an incredible imprint on many of us. It is amazing how a little soul could endure so much without complaining or crying. Dale succeeded in making us appreciate what is really important in life. Dale through his wise eyes knew how to fight endlessly. He is an inspiration to so many.

I pray for the Inouye family as grief work is so hard and tiring. Grief of losing a child for some takes years to overcome. I pray that the Inouye’s in the near future will once again be able to laugh freely and smile. I pray that they will soon be able to feel good about feeling good. I pray that Danny and Derek will find peace and comfort in turning to God.

As Dr. Obershaw states in his book, Cry Until You Laugh, we should all search for life and for what it means to be alive; for ways to live before we die. Dale lived well. It is seen in his family, friends, activities and his constant quest for knowledge. Dale was wise beyond his years and lived life fully..

Many times the reason why things like this happen are not apparent now, and may never be known. Our God is a loving God and with faith, I think we learn to accept His plan. Our time here on Earth is so short compared to our time in heaven. Dale is no longer in pain and in his new body.

Thank-you, Dale for your bright life. Thank-you for letting us share your journey. Thank-you, for all your lessons. Thank-you, for being you. We miss you and will love you always.

We know Dale, you are looking down on us telling us not to worry about a thing.

Auntie Shari


millie said...

My dearest Dale...
We're all in a daze, not knowing what has happened to our angel on earth. But as I look up into the skies, I see you; whether its the sunshine, clear skies, the clouds or the rain. Everything about Hawaii reminds me of you. Even a downpour of rain will remind me of our last visit to the beach where we still had our picnic despite the weather. Everytime I eat a teriburger, I'll be thinking of you.

The other day as we flew back to Hawaii, Uncle Eric reminded me of why you were brought into our lives. You have taught us so many lessons. In all the years you've struggled, not once have you complained. Through all the medications you've had to take daily, all the tests, bruising, aches and pains, not one complaint.

At times, you were restricted (to the house, hospital room or your activities) you were still positive. You found things to do to bring joy to yourself and those around you. Whether it was your homework, watching TV, playing games, watching your brothers play basketball or baking; you found something to do and always brought a smile to us.

You've taught us to look at the positive things in life. To live life to it's fullest. To enjoy everyday no matter how tough life may seem. To never giving up hope.

I can't tell you how much we miss you. But, I know wherever I am, you'll be around. You have a tough job up there. You have so many family and friends who love and admire you. Be sure to watch over all of us. Don't forget to send us a little reminder when we forget about the important lessons you've taught us.

I'm going to miss the snuggling up, baking a red-velvet cake, sitting at the kitchen table, wondering what we're eating for our next meal and just being able to hug you.

Take Care my Dale, til we meet again...

All my love,
Auntie Millie

p.s. Did you introduce Grandpa George to Grandpa Tetsu? I bet they have a lot to talk about!