Monday, March 16, 2009

Cody's Eulogy

I've been asked by some people who were not able to make Cody's funeral if I could possibly post the eulogy. Well, here it is, and below is the wonderful eulogy that was written by Dr. Gonzalez and read at the funeral by Dr. Abu-Gosh. I'm trying to get the eulogy written and read by Sharon the Chaplain at Georgetown.

September, 11 2002…..

Cody entered this world as a miracle – our unexpected baby that was not supposed to be had fought his way into this world. Our lives would never be the same.

Cody spent his entire life fighting for just that, his life. Cody was our healthiest baby although he was hard to make happy. In many family photos he is crying. As we looked back at these pictures some time later we realized he was in pain. The beast had been taking over his little body. Three days before his second birthday he started a journey that no child should have to endure. After spending a painful week with fevers and leg pains he was admitted to Fairfax hospital. The Doctors thought he had leukemia – it turned out to be the deadliest form of childhood cancer - Stage IV Neuroblastoma. We were told that Cody probably had very little time to live. After a few questionable decisions by the team at Fairfax it was decided that Georgetown University Hospital was the best place for Cody. That decision gave us hope. It was there where they met Dr. Shad, Dr. Abu-Gosh and Dr. Gonzalez. It was this group of doctors, wonderful nurses and staff that gave us hope that our son could survive. It is this group of Doctors that we lovingly call the “A” team. Our “A” stood for angels.

Cody went through a very aggressive treatment over the next year. Most of his time was spent inpatient. Cody endured many intense rounds of chemotherapy, radiation, surgery and stem cell transplant. With the treatments came complications, We almost lost Cody in the spring of ’05 due to a toxicity from transplant but our Cody once again with his fighting spirit pulled through. He learned to talk while in the hospital. Some of his first words such as ‘milky’ referred to the medicines that hung by his bedside. All of the Georgetown staff became his second family as it was all he knew. He did give everyone a hard time but when he was feeling good we all treasured the hugs and kisses. This is when he met his girlfriend ‘Lori’ the art therapist at the time. Many years later and thousands of miles apart he always had his girlfriend. Even at two years old he wanted things his own way. One day he was trying to watch Dora the Explorer and we were talking to the nurse over his bed. He got angry and said “Trish – BE QUIET – You talk to much”! Cody was able to complete one full year of school with no treatments, just scans every 3 months. This is where he met his best friend ‘Spencer’. Although he never saw Spencer after that year he always talked about him. It was the only time his life was close to normal. He loved Hershey Park, the pool, Chuck E Cheese and the beach. We let him do all of those things. He played soccer when he started kindergarten. He was a natural, stealing and blocking with gusto. He carried the whole team – in fact we had to keep taking him out of the game to give the other kids a chance to play. Through it all Cody found time to live life while in his own special way he touched the lives of thousands. To children his own age he was just another kid. To adults he had a noticeable spirit that melted your heart. Even when he was in trouble he had a way to make people smile. He seemed to spend a lot of time in the principal’s office for altercations with other children. Cody’s time spent in the hospital made it hard to develop the social skills needed to get along in school. He earned many referrals and became a close friend of Principal Fogarty. Cody used to call them ferrals. When he got off the bus we knew immediately whether it had been a good day or a bad day. On a good day he had a bounce in his step and he would say “Mommy – I didn’t get any ‘ferrals’ today. When he had his head down and dragged his backpack up the hill we could pretty much guarantee that he had received a referral. Principal Fogarty was very understanding and gave Cody more leeway due to his circumstances. When Cody had to leave school for treatments it seemed to bother him more to miss school than the treatments themselves.

After several months of kindergarten he became ill with a stomach ache that would not go away. He had almost made it two years with no evidence of disease but it turned out the beast was back. It seemed as though every time Cody started to live like any other little boy the cancer would rear its ugly head again putting him back in the hospital.

Another chapter had started. The cancer had luckily returned to only one spot but unfortunately to one of the worst – his liver. After several more intensive rounds of Chemo we were sent to NY to one of the best Neuroblastoma surgeons in the U.S. They were not giving us any news a parent wants to hear. From their experience there was not much that could be done for Cody. Their surgeon had declined the operation he needed. Our Georgetown Doctors pressed forward and found a specialist who was optimistic about the surgery. He ended up with an 80% liver resection and pulled through once more. We couldn’t keep him from jumping off furniture within weeks of the surgery. He wanted to wrestle with his cousin Chris and his brother Justin. He would never tire of Monopoly at which he was a champ. Cody loved board games and we all knew to play by his rules and of course he always won. He was counting money and making change before his brother and sister. He spent his time in the hospital selling candy, pictures, and even band aids to all that attended him. He was saving for the beach and Hershey Park. His bug as he called it had once again been beaten. After continuing chemo Cody started the most painful treatment of all in NY in hopes of keeping the bug away. He started kindergarten for the second year in a row. He would attend for three weeks and then go to NY for two week treatments. The treatments were described as worse than labor pains. After three treatments his cancer would return. It wasn’t a good prognosis.

When he wasn’t able to attend school because of treatments he couldn’t wait for Justin and Abby to come home from school. As soon as Justin came through the door he wanted to play ‘guys’ or video games. He and Justin were best buddies. The first words out of Justin’s mouth when he walked in the door each day was “Is Cody home”? Cody wanted to grow up to be 10 just like his brother. Cody loved Sponge Bob and his favorite character was Patrick. He liked to say that he thought Patrick was funny because he was so stupid. He knew the Sponge Bob movie by verse and his favorite color was blue. He often said he wanted to marry mommy and Lori when he grew up. He loved for mommy to tickle him and to play pirate games with daddy. He also wanted to be a wrestler when he grew up. Cody loved his cousin Chris who has been by his side since he was born. When Chris was around everyone else was chopped liver. He and Chris spent endless hours playing video games and monopoly or listening to his MP3 player. He liked to call Chris on the phone and listen to the recording. If Chris answered Cody would laugh and hang up on him. This game would sometimes last for hours. Cody loved his old dog Bear who passed away this past summer. Cody often dreamt about playing with Bear. He told us he couldn’t wait until we were all together again in heaven playing with Bear. Cody was compassionate, even after finishing the terribly painful treatments in New York he could muster enough composure to help an elderly lady into the elevator at the Ronald McDonald House. Cody loved babies or any person he deemed more vulnerable or fragile than himself. He picked up the game of foosball very quickly. Many a player underestimated his foosball abilities and lost because of it.

Those hospital trips scheduled or not trumped any other plans made in our lives. But there was one constant, not once, not one time did Cody complain about having to go into the hospital. He made it bearable for us to get through these past 4 ½ years. He was our rock, our inspiration.

The last several months have been the absolute worst. Cody rapidly deteriorated and stopped talking about fighting the bug. He was suffering great pain and pulling away from the ones he loved. Although his body was beaten down his spirit remained. He fought to do things for himself until his last hours. He was a true champion.

Through Cody thousands have been made aware of the many children battling this deadly disease. As his parents we will continue his fight against Neuroblastoma in the hope that no other parent will have to face this immeasurable loss.

We would like to thank all of our family and friends who have traveled this journey with us. Without each and every one of you we could not have done it alone. Our special love and thanks to Dr. Abu-Ghosh who shares the loss of a boy she considered her own.

Cody was and always will be our little hero. By age 6 he had been through more than most people will in their lifetime. In his short life Cody has touched many. We can only imagine what he would have done with a lifetime. He is truly an inspiration and not a day will go by that we will not miss him.

Captain Cody was a pirate who sailed on a ship with pillow sail. But, he navigated most of our world on a journey full of fierce battles and swashbuckling adventures. At times he was a ruthless looking, sea crusted sailor with a black eye patch and a smoking gun and at others he was a sweet and kind gentleman of fascinating charm.

Like other pirates, Captain Cody had mercilessly plundered in table games leaving multiple social workers, art therapists, nurses, and child life specialist lost in wild waves. He rode horses through enchanted forests, used chutes and ladders to take on fortresses and castles, seized one property after another in monopoly, sank numerous battle ships on endless wars, and conquered space on a Lego spaceship. There was nothing he did not experience or see, always displaying great bravery and courage.

Like the worst of the buccaneers, Captain Cody had seized the ultimate booty and hid it deep in his hospital room. His treasure chest was brimming with chocolate coins, precious jelly beans, candy necklaces, and golden lollipops. Always seeking greater richness, he decided to sell his precious candy one piece at a time. The price depended on the buyer, a decision that only astute business men would take. However, if the buyer looked tempted but too poor to afford the buy, sometimes Captain Cody made exceptions and gave away pieces of treasure for free in an act of great compassion.

Like most of the good looking pirates he took plenty of hostages only with his charm and invited us to navigate the seas. He is known to give a hundred kisses all at once and the warmest hugs. He laughed hard and spoke loud. He played, bargained, and cheated silently. He not only loved the seas but also enjoyed the beach where he gave wings to his pirate dreams.

Cody also had the lifestyle of the pirates; he drank life in one sip, through his adventures he experienced and enjoyed the intensity of living, and nobody or nothing broke his sword or put limits to his adventures. Through his imagination he navigated seas, land, and outer space. He would not like us to be weak; he would like us to continue on living strong with his willpower and imagination as our continuous inspiration.

Corina Gonzalez


BIG MO said...

Thank you Mickey. It was beautiful
and all so very true of our BIG GUY. He was truley a fighter and we are all so sorry that he lost the BATTLE. We all loved Cody so very, much as you all did. As always I think of you all every day. Call me anytime, you know I love to hear from you.As your blog was, an e-mail is a good way to talk to me and get things off your chest if it makes you feel better.I love you all much. Tell Diane and the kids I said HELLO!!
Till later LOVE, MOM

Trish said...

Thanks for posting Mick.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing, Mickey. Still keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers...


Dottie O said...

Thank you.

karen said...

Thank You. May God bless you all and help you get through this devastating time. Remember Cody is now your special angel.

Kelli said...

God bless you and your family always.

Samantha said...

That was beautiful... Reading that made me love him. He is very much like my own 6 year old. I am just so so sorry... I'm sorry for your loss, I'm sorry for our loss because it seems he would of been an amazing human being...

megan said...

That was beautiful I wish I got to meet your son in person though Im sure we will met again someday in heaven. I have a little guy who is also 6 and it breaks my heart to think about the pain you have all gone through over the past years I cant imagine that being my 6 year old but you have dont so with such faith. Blessings to your family

Jacqueline said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. It was such an honest and beautiful tribute to your son.

Lots of prayers for you all as your lives continue to go forward with Cody watching over you.

Gettin Older said...

A beautiful eulogy, Thanks for posting. A great ending to a really weird day.

The Leighton Family! said...

That was so beautiful! Thank you for sharing with us!

Melis said...

I've been thinking of your family daily. I share in your pain. I can't say it gets any easier... perhaps just different as a little time goes by. I'm so sorry you lost Cody. I'm so sorry.
Melissa Mikulak, Max's mom

Anonymous said...

I just recently started reading about Cody, but in this short time, I realized just how God has used Cody and his family to touch so many lives across the world.

Thank you for writing the eulogy for us to read. I know this had to be very hard for you, but in a way it allowed all of us to be there when God reached down and welcomed Cody into the greatest love known.

Ann Stegall
Wake Forest, NC

Mommy of a miracle said...

I'm so sorry. Thank you for posting that. It was beautiful. Cody touched my heart and I know he touched many others out there as well. Cody was an amazing little boy.

Anita said...

Thank you for sharing that. I have been thinking of your family and Cody.

Anonymous said...

Mickey Thank-you for sharing. You anl are still in my thoughts and prayers each and everyday. Love you Pam K

Anonymous said...

Mickey, Thank you for sharing this with all of us. They were truly remarkable, and made me laugh and cry.
Continued Prayers for you and your family!
God Bless,

elizabethnyc said...

Mickey, thanks so much for posting those. They are such a tribute to your little guy, and a real testament to how strongly he affected those who had the great fortune to come in contact with him.
Hugs to you and Diane,

The Eadle Family said...

Those were beautiful. Really.

Anonymous said...

Yes, thanks for sharing. Cody was surely a little trooper!


Just an ordinary woman said...

Thank you so much for posting really taught me so much about your brave boy that I didn't know.

I continue to pray for your family and especially to pray for peace in your souls.

South Africa

trash talk said...

God bless you and his doctors. What a beautiful and loving testament. Thank you for sharing and allowing us to get to know you all. I'll continue to hold you in my prayers for strength in the coming days. Debbie

Monica Cassier said...

Beautiful, breathtaking....and so worthy of this rare and wonderful little boy....
I think of you, Diane, and the kids multiple times a day... I pray that your hearts will be soothed by those who love you and that - in time - you will one day find joy...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this beautiful piece with us. It is so poignant and wonderful and such an honor to the memory of your angel.

thinking of you all often,

in peace, Kate(feet)

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I was kicking myself for not remembering, exactly, some of what was said when I think back.

Cody was, indeed, a very strong, brave little boy and put up one heck of a fight!

But he didn't fight the battle alone. You-Mickey, Diane, even Justin and Daniela, helped him fight, along with his doctors, nurses, and the other medical staff. Then there was the line of support from family and friends-helping you help Cody fight.

And that's another part of why Dr. Abu-Gosh "also lost a son, that night/morning/day". You all have been right there with Cody; unable to take his illness from him BUT helping him fight the disease from the outside-in. The evil thing was attacking Cody and you attacked it back!

You all helped Cody win a bit of precious time to "be a little boy" between battles.

But now, the loss is great, it's huge, it can be overwhelming beyond words. Your world, and life as you knew it for so long, is turned upside-down and changed. Now you have to learn a new way of life. That may take a long time.

I'm sure there are (often) times when you want nothing except to have Cody back. I know that's what I want for you. I'm also sure I'm not alone; we'd all love for you to have Cody back and healthy, completely healed.

But, we can't give that to you. And that pains me.

I hope my words are not upsetting; I have struggled with posting them-"should I or shouldn't I?". Feel free to delete or edit them, if "I shouldn't have".

Molly C said...

Tearing up, that was beautiful