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It wasn’t supposed to end this way. Doug and Mimi Marchewka endured more than enough breathless moments after their only son, Hudson was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. Its what CF families are told to expect.

Smiling Through the Pain

Hudson started having seizures at 10 months.

He suffered epileptic seizures as a child.

He was diagnosed at age 12 with autism.

A age 14 he was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis.

Cared for at the Stollery Children’s Hospital.

Hudson was his family’s warrior/hero.

He was 20 years old and had the mind of a 4 or 5 year old.

He smiled through his pain.

When Your Boy Has Cystic Fibrosis

In November 2018 Hudson began palliative home care. Doctors warned they were facing their last Christmas together. They braced themselves. Talking to the head nurse of home care in December was sobering as she asked if the Woods had the funeral home they would be using picked yet. It hit home that he really didn’t have a lot of time left.

Hudson was a big fan of Thomas the Tank Engine. One of his last family experiences was singing Christmas carols on the Polar Express in Stettler, Alberta on December 9th.

Hudson died eight days shy of Christmas.

Brokenhearted falls far short of describing their ache. Mimi says, “No parent should ever have to bury a child.”

The Marchewkas are people of faith. However, faith in God doesn’t lessen the hurt. What faith does is offer a hope for life beyond the hurt.

Mimi asked if I would help her with a memorial service for Hudson.

She shared this story.

Dollar Tree Glow Sticks

I was in Dollar Tree last night, and there was a lady and two kids behind me in the LONG line. One was a big kid, and the other one was a toddler. The bigger one had a pack of glow sticks, and the toddler was screaming for them.

The Mom opened the pack and gave him one, which stopped his tears. He walked around with it smiling; but then the bigger boy took it, and the toddler started screaming again. Just as the Mom was about to fuss, the older child bent the glow stick and handed it back to the toddler.

As we walked outside at the same time, the toddler noticed that the stick was now glowing and his brother said, “I had to break it so that you could get the full effect from it.”

Gracefully Broken

I almost ran, because I could hear God saying to me, “I had to break you to show you why I created you. You had to go through it so you could fulfill your purpose.”

That precious child was happy just swinging that “unbroken” glow stick around in the air, because he didn’t understand what it was created to do – which was “glow”.

There are some people who will be content just “being,” but some of us that God has chosen… we have to be “broken.”

We get sick…

…lose a job.

…go through a divorce.

…bury our spouse, parents, best friend, or our child.

See Us Glowing

In those moments of desperation, God is breaking us.

But… when the breaking is done, we will be able to see the reason for which we were created. So when you see us glowing, just know that we have been broken but healed by His grace and mercy.

Thank you, Mimi. Please leave a comment for Mimi below. Do you know grieving families at Christmas? Please share this post with them. Thank you.

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Bob Jones

Happily married to Jocelyn for 44 years. We have two adult sons, Cory and his wife Lynsey and their son Vincent and daughter Jayda; Jean Marc and his wife Angie and their three daughters, Quinn, Lena and Annora. I love inspiring people through communicating, blogging, and coaching. I enjoy writing, running, and reading. I'm a fan of the Double E, Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox and Pats. Follow me on Twitter @bobjones49ers


  • Melissa says:

    Mimi, I am so sorry for your loss. You are right, being a Christian doesn’t remove us from tragedy, it gives us hope for tomorrow. I love that The Lord chose to speak to you in the dollar store. That is truly The God I know. The Lord spoke to me through your words. I am also a broken glow stick awaiting my time to shine. Thank you for sharing your journey, you brought light to my darkness.

  • Lorne McAlister says:

    “Blessed are they that mourn they shall be comforted” – Jesus said. When it comes to pain in life if you feel it God will heal it. The only way to subtract from pain is to feel it. Hurt is the time for pain-feeling not pain-killing.

  • Nina says:

    What an inspiration. Thank you.

  • Schneider Margaret says:

    All the sayings, “tough times make tough people”, “this too shall pass”, “time heals”… They are just words to those who are grieving. I pray that your loved ones & God, console you & your family.

  • Nancy Elizabeth Whitson says:

    In my career I worked with several cystic fibrosis patients and I noticed something very unique and special about their take on life regardless of the prognosis. Even though the treatment was very challenging, and the victories were often marginal, their attitudes and overall acceptance of their illness was remarkable. They all enjoyed engaging fully in life, nothing seemed out of the realm of possibilities. They enjoyed being their age, music, friends, family and special occasions. Partaking in schooling and relationships willingly. Friendly and always easy to Joke around with, hardly a dull moment was noticed. Although as the disease would naturally progress and they became sicker and our challenge in treating there needs was greater and fast becoming desperate. We all had to face reality, and treat the patients and family we had grown to love, with compassion, and let go slowly. It was very difficult. They were as family not patients. Fortunately now CF patients are living longer more productively as medications, surgeries and knowledge about the illness has been improved.

  • J. Turgeon says:

    My condolences for your loss. I personally know two beautiful people who were born with CF… and they really have been glowing lights in my life and my son’s life… I pray for their health every day… God Bless you with his love and comfort in this difficult time.

  • Adena says:

    Thank you for sharing your story . It brought tears to my eyes on Sunday and again today. May you find your reason to glow through all of this. Prayers and love to you.
    May you know that your story has already made a difference in so many lives.

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