- Joshua Cantrell - Joshua Cantrell - Chance Harman - Kassidy Foster
Updates on Joshua

May 13, 2007
Day at the Course

Travis and I truly enjoyed ourselves at Great Oaks yesterday (Travis, playing and I, volunteering). We cannot thank the Tournament committee there enough.  These guys are fantastic planners and only they could pull off a debut event with such success.  I look forward to next year.

We continue to be grateful for all of the fundraisers for the sake of the Harmans and the Fosters.  Unfortunately we, also, still receive bills from Duke.  We are blessed to not have to worry about financial aspects, however, thanks to the graciousness of Medical Charities and of course, all of you who have contributed.  I hope that our efforts toward keeping Samefight going will make a difference for someone else down the road, although like Pat Vaughn, I hope more that such misfortune should not befall anyone.

Right now, our thoughts are with the family of Clay Vest, all of whom are in Chicago right now.  They would appreciate your prayers, I know.  I pray for them to absorb God's grace and find the dignity to give him a blessed send-off to his heavenly home.  I hope Joshua will be waiting there for him with a milkshake in hand.

Thanks again for everything you all do.  Check the journal I just updated for more rambling, if you dare.  Love you all.


Cantrell Family Journal

May 30, 2007
2nd Birthdays

Today is the birthday of two very special little people I know, both of whom are turning two.  Destiny Harman celebrates her second year with her Nana, but unfortunately without her parents and her brother, who are in the PICU at Duke University.  Joseph Naas celebrates his second year as his brother, Nathan, celebrates the end of his life, just short of four years himself.

Tonight we cooked out with family.  A.J. and I went to my doctor's appointment this morning, which went very well.  We hung out at basketball camp then came home to do some housework.  It was a pretty normal day, and a nice one.  Even on a "normal" or a "good" day though, I will always be acutely aware of the less than normal and less than pleasant things going on in other parts of the world.  Life may be quiet on Black Forest Road, but it is not in the wings of various pediatric wards where children-- many of whom are our personal friends-- battle the emotional and physical stresses of fighting for the life that the rest of us live all too casually sometimes. 

I am also planning a second birthday party for my little A.J.  As I did when Joshua approached his second birthday, I took A.J. to the party store and allowed him to choose his own theme (we like to celebrate the independence that comes with the big 0-2).  I am excited in a way I cannot describe because I also carry a burden that I cannot describe.  Each birthday from now on seems like such an accomplishment-- not merely an excuse to have friends over and plan a party.  My most sincere wishes go out to little Destiny and little Joseph on an occasion that is truly a time to celebrate.  My most sincere wishes also go to their parents and to the Fosters, who are smiling for their children when I know that inwardly they are crying.

I would be lying to say that I never wish our lives could be different.  Joshua would be so excited to know that A.J. chose to have a basketball party.  He would beg to lick the bowl from the birthday cake icing; he would probably run around blowing a whistle like a referee.  I fantacize about the way things "might have been" sometimes...  But I am also very sensitive to reality, which makes me more grateful for small things that I may have taken for granted before.

We are still so grateful for your prayers and support and ask that you keep our good friends, the Naas family in your prayers this week as they say good-bye to Nathan.  It is so hard to believe that we were approaching this same task merely three months ago.  We could never get through this time without your love and that of God's. 


May 13, 2007

“Relentless” is the word she used to describe us.


“…In a good way, I mean.”


I knew what she meant.  I suppose “relentless” is the only word that could be used to describe the crazy family who brought live music in and out of the ward daily; who scheduled rounds of Go-Fish as religiously as the other “therapies” he was receiving; who decorated the largest hospital room on the wing from floor to ceiling with hundreds—possibly thousands—of cards that had poured in from their loving community. 


When I received this call from one of the specialists at Duke two weeks after Joshua passed away, I was surprised to hear from this person, who no longer had any professional obligation to our case.  She said she felt the need to call and let us know that she had never seen anything like our family and the way we loved Joshua.  It was inspiring to her, she said.  Made her want to go home and just love her daughter as much as she could everyday.


 I hope that my audience is reading far enough, now, to understand that I am not tooting our family’s own horn… Because I realized last night, as I lay in bed from an exhausting but very rewarding day at the Samefight Benefit Golf Tournament, that if these nice things are true about our family, we surely came by it honest.  Our friends and “extended family” in Floyd, Southwest Virginia, and other areas of the country mean business when they love.  They are relentless.  I mean, this individual who awed just at what she saw of us at Duke was not even aware of the fact that an entire community got together to pray for our children just before they left for Durham.  She didn’t know just how many people were making up crazy stories about ‘possums just because this happened to make my son smile, or any of the other truly relentless acts of love that they performed.


I continue to be amazed on a daily basis by the “relentless” love that we are shown by everyone.  People have given in capacities that I never could have imagined—contributions to birthing centers, musical programs for churches, The Brain Tumor Association, of course, to Samefight.  There are others that I am not thinking of at the moment.


Yesterday there was an absolutely awesome turnout at the Golf Tournament.  This is due to months of very detailed planning on the parts of numerous individuals—each who brought something unique to the table, I know.  Successful as it was, and as much as I like the souvenirs we were graciously presented with, the better portion of the monstrous thank-you I owe them is for the fellowship that they include us in on a daily basis.  It is not always easy to participate in day-to-day life, but in the midst of people who love so relentlessly, it is also hard to give up.


A very kind and thoughtful neighbor from Riner sent us a Casting Crowns CD just after Joshua’s services, which I have enjoyed immensely.  One of the tracks in entitled, “Love Them Like Jesus,” and it is about those moments in life when there is nothing to say or do to “make it better.”  All I can say to all of you who have supported us is: thank you so much for doing just this!  Without fail, you remind me of my duty to keep on keeping on; to be just as relentless as you are!!

c/o CW Harman & Son, 2894 Floyd Hwy S, Floyd, VA 24091 •
© Copyright 2007