Saturday, July 4, 2015
"Ask his Mommy if he liked dogs, 'cause in heaven he always has lots of dogs around him."
I posted this picture on Facebook a couple days ago, and promised to share the special story behind it. So, here it is...
You all know Rowan as "Iron Man", well this is "Captain America", Julian Andrade.
Some of you already know about Julian. He passed away a little over 3 months ago. Here he is, with his amazingly strong, beautiful parents, Valerie and Joe.
Rowan didn't know Julian, but we knew about him, as we all ran in the same medical circles. His Mom and I followed each other's child's Facebook pages, but we had never met each other in person. We have prayed for each other, and sent each other messages of encouragement though.
A few weeks ago, Julian's Mom messaged me to ask me to have Rowan let her know if he ever dreamed of Julian, like he often dreams of Chrissie and Jalene. She knew it was a long shot, since they never met in person, but as you can imagine, her heart just ached for any news of her little angel. I told Rowan to let us know if he ever did dream of Julian and he said, "Oh, Captain America? Ok, I will try." A few days went by, and Rowan didn't say anything about it...and I didn't ask. Mainly because I didn't want to force the issue. As much as I would have loved to have a message for his Mommy, I wanted to make sure it was real and organic. I knew that if he really did dream of Julian, he would definitely tell me.
A couple more days went by and Rowan woke up one morning and told me, "I saw him in heaven Mommy, twice." I asked him who, and he said Julian. Then he asked me, "Did he like dogs?" I told him I had no idea. Then he told me, "Ask his Mommy if he liked dogs, 'cause in heaven he always has a lot of dogs around him."
I wasn't quite sure how I should handle that, since I didn't know his Mommy very well, but I decided to just send Valerie a message and ask her, "Did Julian like dogs?" That's when it got real. She let me know that they had bought a dog 2 months before Julian was born, and that the dog died exactly 2 months after Julian died. And, that they were known for feeding all the strays in the neighborhood, so there were always dogs around Julian.
Rowan didn't know that. He couldn't have. Only God.
A couple days later, Rowan woke up smiling again and told me, "Julian let me pet his dog last night". I told him how special that must have been, and Rowan went on to give me another message for Julian's Mommy. Rowan says that Julian told him, "Tell my Mom there's nothing else she could have done, she did everything for me." Then he said, "And look at this place, it's better here, everything is better here." I asked Rowan why he thought Julian said that and he told me, "because he wants her to know it's not her fault, and he's ok. He's in a better place, a lot better place."
Again, I messaged Valerie, explaining what Rowan dreamed about. I told her what he said Julian said to him, and again, we were both blown away. She says that she really needed to hear just that...it's what she worries about, what she keeps playing over and over in her head...could she have done something more, or anything differently that would have changed things.
Again, how could Rowan have known that she had this guilt, or these questions? How did Rowan know that she needed that specific reassurance? Only God.
As you know, Rowan came into the hospital this past week, very sick. He is in Pediatric Intensive Care battling sepsis.
When Joe and Valerie heard where Rowan was, they asked if they could come visit so they could meet him. I was worried that it would be too hard on them to be back in this setting, but she insisted that they wanted to. That is when these pictures were taken...
It was such a bittersweet moment. Meeting this wonderful family, hugging them, crying with them, watching Valerie rub Rowan's knee, like she must have done to Julian a thousand times, and watching Joe pray the Lord's Prayer over Rowan, as he must have done to his own son when he was in the hospital too. My heart broke for their loss, but at the same time was about to burst with the love and tenderness they were showing to Rowan. It took such strength and courage, immeasurable strength and courage. It was a moment I will never ever forget. And I know that we will be friends for life now. They thanked me for Rowan's gift to them, his messages from Julian. And I thanked them for the peace and courage Julian was giving Rowan through these signs/dreams.
Before they left, they gave me a gift bag for Rowan. He wasn't awake, so he didn't look through the gifts, but they did pull 2 very special things out to give to him right away. I knew Rowan would cherish them, and believe me, he already does. The blue stuffed giraffe was Julian's. His name is "Pedro" and always went to the hospital with Julian. They wanted Rowan to have it. I almost lost it. What a tremendous gift of love...it was as if they took a piece of their hearts out and handed it over to Rowan. I asked Rowan today what he thought about them giving him Pedro, and he said, "I'm not even sure there are words to describe it, it makes me feel so special. But, I think Julian is glad I have it now. It makes me feel more connected to him."
They also gave Rowan one of the "Team Julian" bracelets which he will proudly keep forever.
Rowan hasn't let Pedro out of his sight since he received him. He has slept with Pedro, and Jalene's angel bear every night. And I have a feeling, its going to stay that way.
Thank you Joe, thank you Valerie, and thank you sweet angel Julian. Oh how I wish the circumstances of our meeting were so very different for you. I wish that Rowan and Julian had met here on Earth and were the best of friends, but I thank God that at least they are already friends in Rowan's dreams in heaven. I pray Julian continues to talk to Rowan, and send you sweet messages. And most importantly, I hope you believe Julian...that you did everything you could, and that he is in a much, much better place.
We are sitting here in the hospital room, and Rowan just said that Julian is probably watching all the fireworks from Heaven, with lots and lots of dogs around him. And, I guess it seems fitting that I finally had a moment to do this post on the fourth of July... I hope it blesses the Andrade's and honors their own little Captain America, Julian...
May God bless your family and bring you peace and healing. Thank you for sharing Julian with us, and for giving Rowan such a special treasure. All our love and prayers...always!