Layla Grace Provides Perspective Adjustment

Okay, this weekend I was taught a life lesson I will not soon forget. As you may know I am a bit of a Twitter freak…and yes, you too can follow me @papastacey. I was reading the tweets as they popped up and this one pops up from @LaylaGrace saying;

She hasn’t eaten in 13 days and acid is building up causing her to be sick. Please continue to pray for her comfort.

Followed by;

Not eating is a completely normal part of the dying process. Her body is shutting down & she isnt hungry. She drinks a little every few days.

Okay. Now I like to think that I am a tough, non-sentimental type of guy. I like to cut down massive trees with my chainsaw and ride around in big trucks. I like to swear and spit and be a “man’s man.” Of course I don’t get to do this stuff much now that I live a soft city life, but you get the picture. When my wife asks me how I am feeling I typically respond with “hot” or “cold”.

So when I see “Not eating is a completely normal part of the dying process.” and I see that they are talking about their TWO YEAR OLD daughter…I lose it. It is the saddest, most gut-wrenching thing I have ever read or thought. Forget about the tough guy image.

Of course I immediately went over and picked up Story and Annalie who were completely taken by surprise by what they probably saw as me acting all freakish and sobbing. Story started laughing with her unique donkey-bray laugh and Annalie just looked at me adoringly. They were not as emotional as I was but it made me feel a tiny bit better to hold my babies.

So later Sunday night, 2:30am actually, Annalie called out; really she just screams with her volume building as I stagger to get to her crib. Once I was sitting in the glider chair with her in my arms I just watched her taking the milk from her bottle. Even after she had finished her bottle I sat there with her and watched as she settled deeper into my arms. I smiled and watched her. And I just sat there, thinking about how far we have come.

Ten and a half months ago we were the very frightened new parents in the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Our twin girls had been born seven weeks premature and no matter how reassuring the doctors and nurses were, we were scared. Scared that these tiny little things were too tiny. Too vulnerable. Too early to the show. But even though they were tiny, they were tough. They did survive and through time, they thrived.

Story, Papa and Annalie
Story, Papa and Annalie

And through that experience we gained friends who we’ll always share a special bond with. Kelsey and Tamara were there with their precious little ones. You can follow Kelsey’s story on her blog. We all made it out of the NICU alive.

But enough about us. Back to Twitter to read;

Layla’s breathing is very shallow & her breaths are getting further & further apart. Laying next to her watching her sleep. She’s beautiful.

Followed by this morning;

Layla made it through another night. She’s still sleeping in her daddy’s arms. 

Hand me the fucking tissues as I fall apart again. From Twitter a tiny bit of background, “Layla is 2 years old and has stage 4 high risk neuroblastoma. Follow her journey as she fights this monster!”

Stage four is bad. Really bad. And she is 2 years old. So please send your kindest thoughts and prayers, blessings, donations or whatever you can to this family. And give thanks for what you have. I know that Layla Grace has changed my perspective on life. I thank her and…what more can you say? For the first time ever, I don’t know what to say other than please send your kindest thoughts to this family.


  1. I was joking that as I get older I become more of a wimp. No more cutting down giant trees with my chainsaw! So, of course, Layla Grace’s story makes me cry. Leaves me in awe of her parents.

    But I don’t really think it is some freaky by-product of age that has me blubbering at Olympic commercials & heart-wrenching reality. I think I have come to the peaceful place where it is not all about resisting the impact of things that trigger my own trauma and fears. Now that my son is a man and my marriage is nearing a decade and I have more wonderfulness than I had once been able to imagine, I find it possible to feel the pain & beauty of others in a way that makes me cry – often.

    And, every tear is 50% gratitude for a life situation that is safe enough to give into my feelings for Layla Grace, and for Papa Stacey with his 2:30 a.m. angel snuggled in his arms. You parents (us parents?) are as precious as the little ones for whom our hearts break & swell.

    Thanks for making me cry.

  2. Aw shucks. The Layla Grace story just makes me appreciate every moment I have. Perspective is everything.

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