Sunday, March 13, 2011


"Daddy!!!" That's what I've heard from my little girl her entire life. She scolds me with it for doing something wrong, saying the wrong thing, acting the wrong way, or just being a weird Dad. I've gotten quite used to it. It's never delivered with an attitude or disrespect, just the fun love a little girl has for her father when she notices I've been teasing her.

Lately the "Daddy!!!" has been used in a different way since we found out about the cancer. It comes at times of pain, worry, and frustration. Times when she's forced to lay flat on her back in hopes of keeping spinal fluid from leaking and creating a massive headache for the next three days. It comes when Mom isn't in the recovery room because she was finally able to leave and eat in the hospital cafeteria, gathering her thoughts and grasping at sanity, crying tears that she doesn't want Emma to see, and Dad is the one by her side. It comes when the needles enter the room, are cleaned, and get closer and closer. I know, I understand that I'm second best, most of the time, and nothing fills a void like Mom.

Our roll as the Dad is usually different. We tend to work in the shadows, unnoticed. We're there to support, love, fix, and save. The last two items in that list are the hardest part for me with this new journey. I've had a perpetual headache for the last two months due to my lack of ability to fix my little girl. I can't save her now. I can't take this pain away. I can't put the hair back. I can't scoop her up and sing this away or distract her with my Daddy magic. This constant internal frustration must be the cause of the headaches, which in time will go away I'm sure. Her Daddy isn't built for this. My strength and determination isn't enough. This won't go away without some serious medical and spiritual help.

I often would wonder when I die, who would show up to the funeral? If, when something bad happens, who would lend a hand and offer to help? When the bomb was dropped and our lives torn to pieces on February 16, 2011 at 4:45pm, a gear was put into play within our transmission of life and faith that had never been used. I didn't even know it was there. Family, friends, close neighbors, and people we've never met, began to jump into action. I didn't ask for it. All I did as I was clouded in shock, anger, frustration, and the most raw sadness I've ever felt, was text my Daddy, stating that "we need some serious help, Emma has Lymphoma." This rush of love and support from you, our support network, scooped us all up like I couldn't do. It provided the strength and determination I lacked. It amazed me. It still daily amazes me. You've all been there this entire time and I've been too oblivious to notice. I hope I say "Thank You" enough.

Rebecca is an amazing woman. You've read her words, witnessed her ability, and felt her emotion. She's the love of my life. On May 9, 2011 we will have been together for 20 years. After 20 years I am still in awe of her ability to handle life. In college she was the top of her class. A perfect candidate to be a doctor. Loved medicine and fixing people. Sports medicine and Athletic training was the first glimpse into her ability to handle situations like our current journey. God built and prepared her for this, long ago, and we never knew. Her professor and mentor Dr. Kuglar would call her "Mrs." Not Rebeca. Not Miss. Just Mrs. He knew she had a purpose beyond Point Loma, beyond Athletic Training, and beyond anything he could teach her. God had built her to love children more than anyone I've ever seen. She left a career and future in the medical field to have kids. At first it seemed wasteful. Such training. So many hard classes, clinics, and hours of studying. Night after night she would come home with the smell of formaldehyde from dissecting humans. I didn't get it then, but cling to it now. She was built for a purpose. She's shining in that purpose. She too has been ready for this the entire time. A mom with a mission, the mind, and faith in God...Cancer should run. Not walk, or slowly leave my little girl. Run. It has no idea what Emma's Mommy is capable of.

I know I've rambled. I'm sure I've misspelled. Punctuation and grammar are probably off a bit. I'm confused. I'm scared. I cry at the drop of a hat. I feel I might get violently mad at the smallest thing that wants to hurt my daughter. I'm quiet and don't talk much. I've realized though that there is a Daddy's point of view that I want to share and that this blog, reading and writing, is therapy for us all. I need this. I've feared cancer since I was a kid. I thought it would attack me. I knew it. I didn't know it would attack my child though. When the "bump" first appeared on Emma I immediately thought it was cancer. I don't blame the doctors. I wouldn't mind "revisiting" a certain surgeon, but they're all human and I can't blame them. Had they found it earlier she would still have cancer. What can we all learn from this? Ask more questions. Insist on more testing. Think outside the box. Press for every angle. Get multiple opinions. Never give up. This is your little girl, whom you've loved from day one. Every cell in her body is from us, blessed by God, loved by all. Scoop her up. Protect her. Pray with her. Yell to the highest mountains for her and defend her with your questions. Don't give up. Love her...Forever!
- Jon


  1. It is wonderful to hear from you Jon.
    You too have moved me to tears and have expressed beautifully all of your emotions.
    There is a reason Emma has a mother AND a father! You both fill so many roles and needs and you are both truly inspiring!

  2. Beautiful, Jon. You're stronger than you realize.

  3. you amaze me.
    i can't believe God blessed me with you for a brother.
    i love you more than i can even express.
    God prepared you, long ago, to be the exact right daddy for your emma...every little detail of your past helped prepare you for these moments, this time, this journey.

  4. Your posts always bring me to tears. We love you guys and are praying, praying, praying.

  5. That was amazing....writing for your heart with such emotion. Thank you for sharing. Continued prayers for each and every one of you.

  6. i love what you wrote jon. you are an amazing daddy!!!!!!!!!

  7. Jon and Rebecca, this is the first I have heard of your daughters cancer. I'm sure it hasn't been a secret, I just wasn't paying attention.

    I'm openly weeping now. I have four daughters and one son. My wife Cindy and I are expecting another daughter in May.

    I relate with your fears and frustrations. I want to make everything right, to protect them from everything that might hurt them, and lay my head down at night knowing they are ok.

    I will pray for you and Rebecca, and Emma.

    With love, Kenny

  8. Jon,

    Like you, I have always been terrified of cancer. I have no idea why, as our family has not been touched by it. But it is always the first thing I think when one of my boys so much as coughs ("throat cancer, lung cancer, or, Shannon, just a common cold")
    Following your journey has brought me a sense of peace. It has reminded me to live in TODAY, to rejoice in what TODAY has to offer because we don't know what tomorrow brings. Your words have shown me that it is possible to be strong, to be positive, to be faithful, & to find joy, even in the midst of trial.

    So THANK YOU for sharing your journey. Your writings are therapy for you, but for me too. Keep writing and I will keep praying (and humming) for you all.

    :) Shannon

  9. Jon, thanks so much for sharing "Daddy's" perspective! You are a strong and amazing man! We will continue to pray for all of you. We love you guys.

  10. I keep being amazed by ALL of you--and I ALREADY thought you were wonderful....!! I love that you wrote Jon. I love WHAT you wrote. I love you.---Pam

  11. Thanks for sharing Jon. So touching to hear your side of the story. Your family is in my prayers everyday!

  12. Jon,

    I've always thought that it would be much harder to be a man in situations such as these. Daddys (and husbands) are supposed to be strong, but gentle too. You are supposed to keep your emotions from being shown on your sleeves, but yet not be emotion-less. You have done a REMARKABLE job of being exactly the kind of daddy and husband that your girls need. Jason and I have been praying a lot of specific prayers for YOU. We will continue to do exactly that as you continue to journey this road. We love you all and send many hugs!

  13. What a beautiful post, Jon. It illustrates poignantly the love you have for your daughter and the love you have for Rebecca and the boys. Glad to be along for this journey and will do whatever you need to scoop you all up and help you through this challenge.

    John and Lisa

  14. Jon and Rebecca,

    I have never felt so connected to a family's struggle with cancer as I do while reading your blog. You both have been able to express your joy, pain, faith, struggles, and parenting with such depth and full emotion that I feel like I am living it along with you. I have been drawn into your family secretly, without you knowing I am here. Lily was the instigator and has come along for the journey too.

    We pray for you all day long. My heart is wide open to the Lord's leading as I weep over your chronicles. The Spirit is pouring out over your words, ministering and drawing us all to prayer. Thank you for sharing with such intimacy and openness that we can be moved. We stand, fall, rejoice at the victories, cry for the pain, and cling to the Lord with you in this time. Your family is expanding with every word you write and every day you continue in FAITH.

    Love Tina and Lily (aunt and cousin in Christ)

  15. Emma Kait,

    we love looking at you all the time. I love the song "My Savior My God."

    love Lily

  16. Jon, I am praying for your family. I am so moved by your words and thankful to have more specific ways to pray for you all. Emma is blessed to have both you and Rebecca and God will give you the strength you need. I can only imagine the pain of watching your little girl suffer, but am reassured for you that God is the Great Physician and Comforter. Cling to Him. We will all keep praying. Love in Christ, Julie Biggers Kincheloe


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