In just a little while Patrick will celebrate his ninth birthday surrounded by family and adult friends, nurses and doctors in the comforting surroundings of CHOA where this journey began. There will be no cake or plastic toys or electronic gadgets or even Legos. The only gifts will be boundless love and peace. The girls are working on letters to read to him. He can hear us but can only utter a few words at a time. His cure is very near in time. He looks beautiful. He told us tonight that he is not scared. We are coping by focusing on the imminent cessation of pain, nausea, itching, finger sticks, port accesses, and nosebleeds as well as the anticipated victory over neuroblastoma. He will continue to live in our hearts and minds forever. His legacy will be love. The many children in our lives will perpetuate this way of life for generations. They have grown up in a community of love that has intensified over the last five and a half years. They are witnesses who will testify to what they have seen. They will love their children with more focus and treat each other with more kindness because you have shown them how.

We anticipate that he will pass away this week. It could be minutes, hours, or days away – but not weeks. We will stay in the hospital until he is free. We will have his body cremated. We will sprinkle some of his ashes in Lake Glenville where Norton Falls enters the lake because that is his favorite place to fish and we can see the water flow into the lake from our home. We plan to visit with you at Patterson’s Funeral Home one of the next two Fridays, then we will celebrate his life the next day at Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church near our home. Our spiritual counselors from Haygood will officiate, but we need the capacity of Glenn. We prefer a lighthearted, somewhat casual service that celebrates our son. Details will follow. We look forward to the hugs.

Stephen and Erin