Mike & His Fight

May 30, 2011 by  

My brother-in-law Michael Lovato is a fighter.  No other way to describe it.  Today, he lies in a hospital room in Casper, WY fighting cancer.  He has already fought and won two rounds of kidney transplants.  Mix in a courageous fight this year against cancer, which just some three weeks ago he was declared “cancer-free”.  Our entire family rejoiced that God had been with Mike and he had beaten the big C.  But now, in just the last week, a very progressive cancer has spread and taken over his body and mind.  The prognosis is grim.  I know if there is anyone who can beat it, it is Mike, but at this point, it looks like a heavenly intervention would be required.

Lovatos_Grandpa

Stevie, Mike, Grandpa, Stephanie and Ashley

My sister, Stephanie, is such a strong woman, or at least she shows herself to be.  I do not know how she remains so strong with all she and Mike have been through.  It is amazing, to say the least.  I am so proud of her for demonstrating such strength and courage in the face of adversity, but I know on the inside, she is weeping like the rest of us.  I’m sure she has her private moments where she let’s it out.  That is good…she needs to.  I know she is trying to be so strong for my nephew, Stephen, and my niece Ashley, both of whom are also showing amazing strength.  My thoughts and prayers are nearly exclusively with them all.

Mike entering our family over 12 years ago was truly a blessing for my sister and my niece.  Mike became the father figure Ashley so desperately needed and longed for.  While he is, on paper, only her step-father, it does not ever feel that way.  He loves Ashley as if she was his very own.  And Ashley needed that.  So did Stephanie.  Then, thanks to Mike, we were blessed with the addition of Stephen some 10 years ago.  What an awesome, strong young man he is.  I can only imagine what is going on in his head.  He absolutely idolizes his father (and rightfully so).  I know Stevie will be the same fighter Mike is, I just pray he doesn’t face a fraction of the battles his father has.  I hope his battles will be the fun kind, as he continues his pursuit of his black belt.

I feel helpless sitting here in Overland Park while my big sister is going through this; but that’s what she wants.  She told me on the phone she wants me to stay here–she doesn’t want me to remember Mike how he is right now.  She wants me to remember him as the champion fighter he has always been.  And I will, no doubt.  This is just another sign of how strong my sister is.  I want to be there for her, but she wants to be there exclusively for Mike.  I respect and understand that.

Cancer is the most hideous disease I can ever imagine.  It takes far too many people, far too soon.  I pray for the miracle that will allow Mike to win this fight.  He is definitely up against the ultimate opponent.  While the odds may be against him right now, I know that I, for one, don’t count him out.

Sending love to and prayers for Mike, Stephanie, Stevie and Ashley, along with the rest of my family,

–RElledge

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May 20, 2011 by  

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I Love You Mommy!

May 8, 2011 by  

It’s hard to imagine life without my mother.  My sisters would undoubtedly tell you I am a mama’s boy.  I don’t really know that to be the case, considering I have a close relationship with my dad, too, but if that’s the case, so be it.  My mom is a great woman, and I am proud she is my mom.  I am thankful we have a day each year designated to pay our respects and show our love to our mothers, though they most certainly deserve far more than a single day a year.

My Mommy and My Princess

Mothers are truly amazing, and their work and efforts do not get recognized near enough.  I see that much more clearly now, having two kids of my own and a step-son.  My wife is a wonderful mother, too.  As are my two sisters.  If you pay even the slightest bit of attention, you will recognize what superior people moms are.  My mom, my wife, and both of my sisters all work(ed) full-time jobs (my mom retired a few years back).  Yet, when their work work is done, that is when they kick it into high gear.  From changing diapers, cleaning house, cooking dinner, running errands, getting kids to practices/games/events, doing laundry… man, the list is overwhelming and non-ending.  The  things they do blow my mind.  I am spoiled.  I am fortunate.  The mothers in my life are champions.  I get exhausted physically and mentally at work, and when I get home, I just want to relax and chill.  My wife picks up my slack.  I feel the pain when my wife travels out of town.  I do not know how many times I have told her that she is a much better primary care giver than I am.  She is.  I am thankful for all that she does in taking care of me and the kids, much like my mom did (and still does) and my sisters do.

My dad’s mother passed away just a few weeks ago.  This is his first mother’s day where, at least in physical form, he cannot thank his mother for all of the wonderful things she did for him.  I can’t even imagine being in that situation.  I saw his post on Facebook this morning and shed a tear.  Mothers are so important.  My mom’s mom passed back in 2004.  Seeing my mom posting pictures of her yesterday makes me realize that even 7 years later, a mother’s love is never forgotten.

On this Mothers’ Day 2011, I find it so easy to say “Thank You” and “I love You” to the moms in my life:  my mother, my wife, and my sisters.  And oh, I would be remiss to not mention my mother-in-law.  What a wonderful mother she is, as well.  Mothers are remarkable.  While it is easy to say today, I realize I need to say it again tomorrow, next week, next month, and all the days ahead.  Without mothers, we’d all be in trouble.

To all you wonderful mother’s out there, Thank You and Happy Mothers’ Day.

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