Monday, October 16, 2006

Update as of Monday October 16, 2006


Hello Everyone,

Thank you for being patient. We have been traveling quite a bit. We will try to keep you updated more frequently going forward. We know how many of you are concerned about Maria and pray for her each day and for that we are so grateful.

After our last trip to St. Jude’s I had a very difficult time. Everything seemed to collide at once and I lost my footing. For the first time we met another child at St. Jude’s with Maria’s diagnosis and they just found a spot on her spine. She is five and was diagnosed in December. Her mother and I talked and she expressed all too familiar frustrations with me. All I could think about was Maria is just a few months behind this beautiful little girl’s diagnosis date. After that we met with Maria’s oncologist about her MRI, which was “stable”. Not what we had hoped for. A subsequent review of Maria’s MRI by Ed and me later showed a slight increase in the size of the tumor, though it is still considered to be stable. Again we heard Maria’s oncologist saying to us “take this time now and enjoy it with her”. It was ripping me apart and I just started to slowly unravel. The days are passing and we need to be more aware of Maria’s symptoms. This thought caused panic inside of me. I felt myself starting to walk down the dark path where there is no hope. I let myself become overwhelmed.

On the plane ride back from St. Jude’s Ed and I were filled with sadness. I felt awful inside. But, in the midst of this, I look down at Maria and it struck me that she was the complete opposite of me. Laughing as she drew mustaches on people’s faces in the in-flight magazine. I was comforted knowing she was untouched by the trip. Living in the moment. Things are great now. Why are we worrying about tomorrow? When we do that we waste our here and now that is going very well. This is something I know, but I have to keep constantly reminding myself--over and over again. Be more like a child.

Each time I found myself in a situation where I was asked about Maria, I just broke down. I didn’t want to do that so I just avoided contact with people. I couldn’t talk to friends or family members because it was too painful to talk about. For the first time ever I started to question if there was a God and I asked Mother Teresa “if He is there—show me.” I can’t go on like this anymore.

Some of my most cherished moments with Maria are at the end of the day. She and I say prayers (we pray for all of you). She tells me about her day, jokes around with me and we laugh and chit chat about silly things. One night I was putting Maria to bed and she looked up at me and said, “You know Mom, no one ever really dies. They just go to sleep and when they wake up they are in heaven.” Yes, Maria. You’re so smart. I smile and tell her that is true. Then she asks me whether or not I know if there are Polly dolls in heaven. I love my girl. Then I think and realize that we really do need to be more like children to enter into God’s kingdom. They just trust and believe so innocently and they are so much happier and content for it. They are so close to Him.

There is something about Maria. I can’t quite describe it. She is very much a six-year-old girl, but I can’t help but see there is a beauty and a depth to her of the likes I have never seen before. I see it and I can’t help but know that there is a God because He has His arms around her and I don’t only see it, I feel it. There is a presence about her.

Though I feel good that He is with her, I am also frightened because I don’t want Him to take her away from me. I know that I have to let go and trust in Him. It isn’t easy for me. I know it is what I have to do. I’m still working on letting go. Being more like a child.

I don’t know if I’ll ever discover that day when I feel complete peace and acceptance, maybe not until I’m at my final resting place, but I know that I have to try. Maybe this is the struggle of our earthly life.

Wouldn’t you know it would be just like God to remind me of His presence through my own daughter, not to mention SO many of you. How could I ever question it?

I meet every other week with some of the strongest and most wonderful women I know. We study the teachings of the Church and what it means for us as wives and mothers. These are my Familia sisters. I call them sisters because I feel so close to them. They have helped remind me of God’s presence more than they probably even know. They give me so much strength.

I have another friend who sends me cards frequently to let me know she hasn’t forgotten and that she continues to pray for us. I’m beginning to think she has e.s.p. because they seem to come when I most need them. The thoughtful gifts, the prayer shawls and quilts made by loving hands from some of you we have never even met. A priest named Fr. Tim who is truly touched by the Holy Spirit. He speaks and reaches so many people. If you haven’t been to one of his masses you don’t know what you’re missing (don’t want to put any pressure on him or anything :). A neighbor and friend who started Wednesdays for Maria where they go to 9:15 mass and pray the rosary afterward (it’s at St. Raphael’s and you’re all welcome!). Another friend who organized Adoration for Maria who has been such a comfort to me so many times. Another friend who has vigorously helped me work out a healthy regimen for Maria. Friends who have given us of what they have—their vacation home so we could get away and spend quality time together as a family. Friends who organized Maria’s Benefit and 5K run. The Teamsters and their poker run for Maria. A photographer who offered to take our family picture for us. Students who pray for her daily. Kind people who come up to me or stop me just to tell me that they pray for Maria and our family every day. The list goes on and on.

How could I ever question the presence of God? He has revealed Himself to us now more than ever before in our lives. All I have to do is look into the eyes of my daughter or at any of you and I see Him.

So I have gone from very dark to very determined. I am not giving up. I’m back on my feet and I’m channeling the positive energy. As I’ve mentioned before, Ed and I have been praying and asking God to guide us. We have talked about how we can do more. So we are going to and we will tell you more about this later.

Disney. Yes we went to Disney for Maria’s “Make-A-Wish”. What a fun trip that was. We really had a great time. We stayed at a place called “Give Kids the World” and it really is a wonderland all for kids facing difficulties like Maria’s. Maria had her picture taken with all of the princesses and characters and enjoyed the Disney thing, but I noticed that what she liked most of all was just hanging out and being able to laugh and have fun with her family. I think the quality time meant the most to her and it did for me too. The simple things.

Dance. Maria is taking dance with her close friend across the street and some other friends from school. She has always wanted to take dance and the physical therapist said it would be a great idea and she was right because Maria LOVES it! She’s got the groove in her!

So, life is good.

We thank you all for your continued prayers for Maria.

With much love,
Ed and Megan

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

WOW! Every time I get some of your news, I am completely blown away. You and Ed are amazing. I am not a dedicated Catholic, and yet after reading your updates, I feel closer to God. I don't know if it's the power of God, or the power of Maria. God Bless all of you. Tell Maria thank you for me!!!!

Anonymous said...

Although you do not know me, I have been deeply touched by your family's story and have been praying for Maria daily. It was only yesterday that I realized my first grader at St. Raphael's was friends with Maria. She just recently told me about her friend Maria that sits with her on the bus and I wondered if it was "your Maria". At Mass yesterday as we walked past you and Maria, I saw them wave and smile at each other. It warmed my heart that my daughter Julia has been touched by Maria. Your strength and faith are a lesson for us all.

Anonymous said...

Dear Ed and Megan,

I knew exactly what you were talking about when you said there is a "depth" to Maria that you don't usually find in a 6 year old. She seems to have wisdom that adults don't have. She seems so certain and peaceful and sure. Good for her. She is such a gem. I am so blessed to know her and see her everyday at school. She makes my heart happy when I see her.

Ed and Megan, you have been through so much, I wish I could fix the hurt. We all hurt for you when you are facing your dark days. How can you not feel what you are feeling? I just pray that you have more bright days than dark days. Enjoy your precious babies, all 4 of them. We love you all so much. Keep the faith. We are all still with you.

Love,
Wendy P.

Deb Gordon said...

Megan,
Meeting every other week gives us all strength! We have all come together for a reason bigger than we know! As I like to say, "Let go and let God". That is what I have learned from you and all of the other women! We are truly blessed!

Anonymous said...

We are thinking of you as always. Love,
Rosaleen, Brian & Johnny

doodoobug said...

I have been checking your page for a while now. I am a relative of Leah James and yes she had the same tumor. One thing that I learned during research was about cyberknife surgery. One place that does it is in Colorado. You can just simply google cyberknife. It can help if they are able to do this with her. I know that at the time there was a four year old with the same tumor and he was receiving cyberknife for four years and doing well. Unlike regular radiation this just goes to the tumor, it is precision. Please look it up and see if maria is a candidate.

Thanks and good luck,
Trina

Anonymous said...

Megan,I work with Deb Gordon, and she shared your family's situation with me. I have been praying for you. My 4 year old daughter drowned in June. We have 3 sons.
Like you, we have a very strong faith. I believe that we will understand God's perfect plan when we go home to be with Him. Until then, we must trust that He alone is sovereign and in control.
Although my situation is different from yours, I know a great deal of what you are going through. There are many times when I don't know how I'm going to go on. And there are times when I honestly think that I cannot. But then I do. I pray. I think. I wake up in the morning and I care for my family.
I will continue to pray for you and for healing for Maria.
Warm regards,
Elyse Brasseale

Anonymous said...

Ed & Megan,

I come to your website often to see how Maria and your family are doing. You have such a gift in Maria. Thank you for sharing that gift with us.

Please know that you are all constantly in my thoughts and prayers. Miracles do happen by the grace of God and I will continue to pray for one for Maria.

God Bless you all and Keep Dancing, Maria!

Kim

Anonymous said...

Megan,

You are truly an inspiration. I am so deeply moved by your honesty about God-you are yourself a miracle-
touching others and strengthening their faith in HIM who can do ALL THINGS. We belong to St. Raphael's parish and I have two young children. I often hear God speak to me through words they say. Keep listening to God through beautiful Maria and your sweet boys. There is comfort and wisdom there.

You need to know that God has you and your precious family in the palm of His hand. Through various struggles I have had in my life, it never hurts to be reminded of that. And something I heard last night on the radio- trust His heart even when you can't see His hand. He is good. And I believe in miracles!

Many prayers and blessings...

Anonymous said...

WOW! What a beautiful little girl she is growing into, how she has grown up in just a short time, just seeing the pictures, from beginning to now, it is apparent that she has a plan with her life....the hand that is holding her is so strong. God Bless your family!

Anonymous said...

Megan,
Have you taken Maria to see Dr. Issam Nemeh? He is a Catholic physician who also has the gift of healing. He conducts healing services at different parishes all over Cuyahoga County and wherever else he is invited. You can check out his website at www.drnemeh.com to see when/where healing services are being done. You may want to consider calling the office to see if you can get an appointment for Maria. He is a praying physician and many miracles have come out of the healing services as well as from his office practice.

I have Maria's picture hanging next to my computer and I pray for her and your family often.

Kathy Loflin

Jordan said...

You don't know me, I used to live in Avon Lake and I heard about Maria in my MOPS group....so many people you don't even know are praying for you. I moved away, but you are all still on my mind.

In your last email you expressed worry that you would never see Maria in heaven, rest assured my Sister-in-Christ, if Jesus is your Lord, you will be together.

The Lord can use all things for good, your pain (though not fair)is doing God's work in people's hearts.

With much love, God Bless You.

Anonymous said...

Dear McNamara family,
I just wanted to let you know what an inspiration you are to me. I pray every day for Maria. People all over the world care about you. I am one of them. I pray the angles in heaven will surround you everyday and help guide you. May God Bless Maria and your family.
Jean, Avon Lake

Anonymous said...

I am so glad to hear that you were able to get through your dark days. They can be hard but enjoying your time with Maria is of the utmost importance.

Your faith is an inspiration as I think about how I pray to God, a different religion but also calming to me.

With much love, may all Gods Bless You.

Toby

Maureen Androsik said...

I am amazed at your strength and courage. Thank you for being such an inspiration.

Our thoughts and prayers,
The Androsik Family

Anonymous said...

Dear family,

You have a beautiful daughter. I also have gone through the same things as you have. I avoided people and kept to myself. Though my son was the opposite. He didn't let this stop him from being the person everyone knew and loved. He fought this horrible disease with courage. I saw how strong he was and he never complained about anything. He gave me strength just as your daughter will do the same for you. One of the things that I learned from my son was that it's okay to be silly, just be yourself. The time that you spend with Maria is precious. I will keep you and especially your daughter in my prayers. God Bless!

www.caringbridge.org/visit/isaiahryangarza

Anonymous said...

Good morning, Ed & Meghan. I was just checking in on your angel. I was happy to hear that things are stable. I'm sure you would take stable forever. As always, your strength and faith in God are awesome. Keep going, never give up.

With hope,
Jeff Bissett (Justin's dad)

lisa in columbus said...

I hope that things continue to be stable, and I am praying for a miracle for you! You have a beautiful family, and Maria is precious! Thank you for sharing her story with everyone, it is those like she (and you!) that make me realize that there is still much beauty in the world, even in the midst of turmoil. God is gracious, and may He bless you greatly with the gift of a healthy Maria! I am praying!

Carmen said...

Ed, Megan, Maria and family,

I'm so sorry I missed you when you were at the Clearchannel studios. I can not tell you how my heart weeps for Maria and yet how I grin when you explain how much fun she has in the moment. Her artwork in the in-flight mag just confirms that children appreciate the present no matter what the circumstance may be. I will continue to pray for Maria and your entire family.

Take Care,
Carmen

Laura Notarianni said...

My quiet prayers are specific ... I'm asking for a cure. Please know that by sharing your feelings and challenges you are inspiring so many souls. Today, I will play Polly dolls with Alicen a few minutes longer ... yesterday (All Saints Day), she asked if there is a Saint Polly. God's love to you and your family.

Laura Notarianni

liz gilges said...

The line about Maria saying no one ever really dies, they just go to sleep and wake up in heaven, has got to be one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard. Honestly. That must be one of the many, many graces He is giving to her at this time. How fortunate she is. Still praying for you all everyday.
Liz Gilges

Anonymous said...

hope everything is going well. we've been praying daily.

Anonymous said...

Dear McNamara Family,

I cannot imagine the pain you must be experiencing but please know that you are in our prayers always. If only words could comfort or we could reach out and touch you somehow... but we can only tell you that we are with you in prayer and that we care deaply what happens and wish that there were something to do to help. Please give our love to each of you in your touches and your words. love,Uncle Joe and Aunt Val

Anonymous said...

A friend shared Maria's story with me today. As a mother of 2, I cannot image the depth of what you have experienced this year. My prayers are with you and your family.

heather nagle said...

Hi Maria and Family,
I am an old friend of your mom--we were cheerleaders together!! I just heard of you today and felt compelled to visit your site. I too have a six year old little girl who LOVES Polly's. I want you to know that my family and I are thinking of you right now and all throughout the day. We're sending you a lot of positive energy to make you better. You are a very lucky little person to have a mom with such beautiful spirit. Here's a hug and a kiss from West Park-XOXO!
Love,
Heather (O'Donnell) Nagle

cowgirrrl1972 said...

I am a mother of 5 girls from Elyria Ohio and cant imagine what your family is going thru! As I was driving my girls to school this morning I was listening to 99.5WGAR and found myself with tears just rolling down my face. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your entire family @ this difficult time. My family would love to send you some items thru the mail for Maria. Please email me at cowgirrrl1972@yahoo.com. Again our thoughts and prayers go out to your entire family!
Sincerely,
Shawna Cowger

Anonymous said...

November 10, 2006.
I've been praying for Maria since April and don't very often add a comment.
A mom of a 2 year old and a 6 month old was tragically killed in a car accident this week. At her memorial service last night, the priest said something that I thought would bring you comfort should you need such comfort at a later date.
To the question, "Why did God take her?", the priest said, "God didn't take her, he WELCOMED her."
I thought of your family's struggles and Maria when he said that, and I wanted to share it with you.

Nancy Connor of Colorado superfans@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Know that there are people who are constantly praying for you and Maria. Friends of mine have added Maria to their prayer list from the beginning of her illness.
Remember that God is always with you and watching over you even in the darkest hour. He will carry you through it all.
I agree that Fr. Tim is wonderful!! God has brought him to St. Raphael because we need him so much to help us through all the sickness in the parish and school. Keep the faith.

Anonymous said...

Hi Maria,

Kate and I wanted to wish you a happy birthday. Hopefully you had a wonderful time with all you friends and family.

We continue to think and pray for you daily.

Kate and Matt Vignale - Phoenix AZ