Saturday, February 25, 2012

In Memory of David Crider

When my children were little, we were blessed with two great young babysitters. One of them enjoyed the kids so much that she would take them to the park and to get ice cream, just for the fun of it, at no charge to me. It was great. This young woman told me recently that she was inspired to be a mother from this job. I told her she went far beyond me, because she has 8 children, and is an amazing mother.

The other sitter was also great, but she was older, so we didn't have her around as long. Then she and her family changed churches, so I lost touch with her. But then I was asked to play for her wedding, which was a blessing to me.

I would hear about Kathy every once in awhile, and knew that she had become a fine Christian woman, and had three sons. Kathy's mother did attend our church and was a part of our Sunday school class when Kathy's youngest son, David, was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer called synovial cell sarcoma in January 2007, when he was 13. He was a gifted basketball player, and continued to play much longer than most would have even tried. He played better with one good arm than most do with both.

I never had the privilege of meeting David personally, but we were kept apprised of his condition every Sunday. It was an amazing roller coaster ride for the family. As young as he was, David was a man of God. I have never heard of one so young with so much faith and such an ability to share his faith. David kept a journal, which was filled with such insight that it simply amazed me.

On May 25, 2008, when he was 15, David wrote this final entry in his journal:

"Wow! Many things have happen(ed) this month. I had surgery on Monday at 11 am! On the 5th. Better than on the Friday that week. Surgery went well and my spine feels good. I have no use of my left leg. Right leg is ok but still very weak. My right arm and hand is coming along. Slow, but faster than anything else. I can't extend my fingers yet but it will come. I can grip bottles and other things like that. I can use a fork and spoon. And today found out I can write, I couldn't do any of this after surgery. Slowly but surely! Being able to write is nice. Can't play games like X-box, so this is pretty much it. And it's taken me well over 45 minutes to write this much. But time has no significance to me. The time of day anyways . . . I'm still planning on going to Florida in a couple weeks and then Hawaii. Just need to keep working to get stronger. It's going to be a long journey. . . A tornado hit Windsor (David's home town) and wiped out many homes. But no one died!!! Talk about a God thing! I text(ed) all my friends as soon as I heard. All of them, their family and homes were ok. No one has power but that's a minor thing right now. The town of Windsor is now on a long journey of its own. I am there in heart and spirit. We will go through these difficult times together. And we both, me and the town of Windsor, will pull through. It will take time, but what is time? People can get way too caught up in the things in life that shouldn't matter. Like having a couple gray hairs or getting wrinkles on your face. Just anything that is part of life. Pretty much everyone wants to live forever or something like that. But I guess if you don't have Christ you wouldn't want to.

Not me . . I'm very much like Paul in the Bible. Split between two things. Paul said something like this in the Bible and I have thought it for a long while. "I would love to die and be with the Lord but through my pain and suffering others are coming to know God." So I'm more useful alive in pain than dead and in paradise . . . And I'm now ok with that. Now that others are seeing God through me I'm content with living until He calls me home. I have fully given Him my life to do with it as He wants. If suffering or working hard is all I have to do, to bring others to God . . . I would do it Forever. Whatever His plan, I will accept it. My heart and feelings extend toward others much further than myself . . . I'm not going to quit or give up hope which would be easy to do. But I'm sure you already knew that if you know who I am. I have much more to say but it's time for me to go. "Live life, Love life, Love God, Live Forever." (signed) David Crider.

After his death, one of his friends wanted to do something to make a difference, so she began to have these shirts made with David's very last words imprinted on them. The family sells them for the organization "Catch-a-Dream", which sends children with life threatening illnesses on a hunting/fishing trip of their dreams in David's memory.

David and his family did go on that trip to Hawaii before his death on July 30, two months after this final journal entry.

I wish I had known David.


Amy said...

Great memorial Dawn.

Hope Dwight is getting better and you're taking time to take care of yourself.


Forty Pound Sack said...

What a special young man. His family was blessed to have him, even for such a short time. Thank you for this post ~


This entry, David's journal, and your tribute here was a joy ride for me knowing that he continued his faith and believing all along without feeling a bit sorry for himself and becoming a crying baby so filled with hate. Most people would've become weak, I think....David became stronger from it all. HE works in mysterious ways.

As with my grandson, Clint, he is ever-faithful and works by leading his church congregation almost weekly. It's amazing to know that with Down Syndrome he can make the whole people out in the pews in front of him understand that God is Good!

I really enjoyed this Dawn. it brought a bit of sunshine to me in this messed up world we live in....y'know?

Needled Mom said...

What an inspiration he must have been to all who have been touched by his journey. Thanks for sharing it with us.


Oh, I swear, at times, when Clint was just a babe, I think even back then [before he could talk -at first in sign language because of his DS 'speech barrier'] --I KNOW he had a connection with God.

To answer your question, he travels around the area with the preacher, he is up near the podium singing and leading the congregation, he conducts and leads slide shows for Sunday School students...things like that, he also does much work outside the 4 walls...and also travels to promote freedoms and beliefs with the church's congregational 'gang'....gang is not intended to be's just that I lack a better word this morning. LOL Don't blame me and my being tired today ---it's the keyboard, it's not cooperating with my thoughts.

Michelle-ozark crafter said...

Wow!!!! What a precious soul and such awesome words from that dear young man. I hope to meet him in Heaven one day!

PEA said...

What a special person David was and a true inspiration to everyone. After reading his last journal entry, it made me wish I had known him as well. As you say, it's not often you come across such a young person having so much faith in God. I love the idea of the t-shirt as well, such a wonderful way of keeping his memory alive as well as helping others. Thank you for sharing this, Dawn. I do hope that Dwight is well on his way to a full recovery!! xoxo

Sammy said...

Wow. Beautiful post for a beautiful soul. I am so sorry for his family's loss. Thanks for sharing his words with us. They made me think.

nancygrayce said...

Thank you for posting this Dawn! What an honor to have been his parents. If all of us and our children had David's kind of faith we could do so much in this world. I pray this kind of faith for my sons.

Kathleen said...

What a beautiful tribute... Got me a bit teary eyed. Hugs!

Mary said...

Dawn, a wonderful tribute to an amazing young man.

Linda said...

He was a remarkable young man Dawn. It is hard to understand why these special ones are taken so young, but I believe there is great purpose in all of it.
Thanks so much for sharing his story. It is beautiful and encouraging and so uplifting.

Glenda said...

Great tribute to an inspiring young man. Even in death, his life touched others . . . and his influence lives on. Sounds like he was wise beyond his young years.

Sharon Lynne said...

Such a special child of God.