We gained something of great worth recently… a new daughter. Somehow, some people tend to think Jazmin is the one who has received the greater good.
Jazmin has cancer.
Some folks admire us for accepting a girl with cancer into our family, but there’s more to this story that people often don’t see:
Our son, Eythan, came home from his first weekend to visit Jazmin’s family when he first started dating her. I nervously waited for him to come back from his trip. When he came in the door, I quizzed him.
Do you like her parents?
Do you like her sister?
Did they treat you nicely?
From day one, Eythan felt loved and accepted by Sherie, Aaron, and Vangie, Jazmin’s sister. They had two daughters that Aaron called: WP#1 (Vangie) and WP#2 (Jazmin). WP stands for wood piler. They had a home they heated with wood, so he put the girls to work helping him pile wood each year, and the nicknames stuck.
Since they never had a son, the girls were the apples of Aaron’s eye. Then Eythan came along and now he had a paintball partner, and a carpentry and mechanical apprentice. Aaron taught Eythan woodworking and how to fix his own car. He took the time to invest in our son and Eythan bonded with Aaron.
Sherie is a dream bonus-mom. She spoils Eythan and brags about him often. I’m pretty sure his self-worth went up about ten notches whenever he went to their home. We couldn’t have been happier with the way Eythan was valued as if he was already their son long before he married their daughter.
Vance and I had planned to have six children, but stopped at five since our oldest son, Kyle, had autism, and sleepless nights were piling on top of each other, and overwhelming us. I knew I would have more children one day when my kids were married and brought me home a son or daughter-in-law.
I had hoped whomever our children married would be cherished by all of us and feel like they were one of our own. It was also important that my children treat them with the utmost respect and love.
Dan came along first. He was an instant hit with our family, with his easygoing nature, quick comedy, and fondness for board games. We fell in love with Dan quickly and were overjoyed to gain a son five years ago when he married our oldest daughter, Charity. We called him our bonus-son. He called me his bonus-mom, and it melted my heart every time.
I worried more about how our girls were going to react to their brother’s wives. I had hoped it was going to be a quick transition. When Eythan stated dating Jazmin, he brought her home to meet us. Our girls adored her from day one, and so did Dan, Devyn, and Kyle. After she left that first weekend, Vance and I were having coffee, and we talked about hoping Eythan would marry Jazmin one day. We wanted her for our daughter. Our hearts were melted once again, by her sweet and kind nature.
The girls would count down the days till Jazmin could come for another visit. Our weekends were filled with laughter and fun when she was here. Eythan was grinning from ear to ear whenever Jazmin was here and she was a perfect fit to our family puzzle.
Our son Kyle, is twenty-seven and when he went on a medication a few years ago for epilepsy, it caused his skin to crawl, and he stopped wearing clothes around the house. Most of the time he doesn’t wear any in our home. You can’t force a person with severe autism to wear clothes, believe me, we have tried, and other than following him around all day wrestling him to keep them on, there’s not a whole lot we can do about it.
Jazmin didn’t bat an eyelash when she visited us, and Kyle was naked. She was sweet to him from day one. When he took her possessions and stuffed them in his toilet, she shrugged it off. Finding a girl like Jazmin to marry our family, would have been like trying to win the lottery. Yes, when you marry our family, you get the whole clan!
She was one in a million.
Jazmin had cancer we knew this, but we wanted her to be our daughter: cancer or no cancer.
A couple of months before their wedding, we found out Jazmin needed to travel to the United States to get alternative cancer treatment in Arizona. Jazmin’s medical doctors in Canada had told her the traditional medical treatment of chemo and radiation would not kill her rare cancer. The alternative would cost about $20,000.00, a month. Her parents and us, were overwhelmed with the idea of where one hundred thousand dollars was going to come from? We all decided to take a leap of faith… God could do the impossible.
Charity, started a Jazmin Faith Go Fund Me Page, on the internet. She also suggested we do a fundraiser. She poured her heart into Jazmin’s, Brains or Brawn dinner along with my dear friend Sue. Our daughter Aryanna, son Devyn, and bonus-son Dan came the day of and helped us set everything up, along with a few of our friends. We had only three weeks to pull it off, and we wondered if it was even possible. The night was fun and silly as people played games and tested their smarts on brain challenges.
Then Charity made a plan to do a maple syrup drive and bake sale in Sudbury and poured her heart into that fundraiser. I was very proud of my girls. They had done everything they possibly could to be the best future bonus-sisters, and Jazmin was endeared to them.
Jazmin has now completed a month of therapy. Her health has been improving ever since going to Arizona. She will be going back for November for another round of treatment. God did what seemed impossible through the kindness of friends, family, and complete strangers.
A few months before they were married, we added Jazmin to, Henson Chat, texting group. Eythan had changed the group name to ‘Not a Henson Yet’ to tease her, but she was already a Henson, for whether she married our son or not, we had loved her like a daughter and sister.
When they stood at the altar saying their vows and Eythan, in sickness and in health, Jazmin believed him. They had already experienced sickness from day one of their relationship. Not for a moment did Eythan want to run the other way, and neither did we. We loved Jazmin, not for what she could bring to the Henson table, but because she was a treasure.
What is your greatest treasure? House, car, fame, fortune, clothes…? These all have some value, but we don’t think about them at the end of our lives. Our family is one of the most precious gifts we will have on this earth.
We don’t want people’s admiration, Jazmin is not a charity case, she is loved and valued whether sick or healthy. We had learned this lesson long before she came along since we were gifted with a son who had autism and loved him regardless of what his health was.
Our kids have all grown closer to their new sister through this cancer journey. We’ve also formed a special friendship with Sherie, Aaron, and Vangie, along the way.
We now have seven children. God gave us our heart’s desire. Our son gained a beautiful wife and new family who loves him, our children gained a cherished sister, and we a beloved daughter.
Family… one of the life’s most precious treasures.
Do not store us for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures for yourselves in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21 NIV
Believing and hoping
*Featured photo was taken by Risk Media.
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