North Star Jan.'00

 

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A letter to Curtis Roger Vance ~ son, brother, husband, relative and friend, The North Star Monthly, January, 2000.  by Linda Vance.

The following letter is my final and finest gift to my son Curtis Roger Vance because it is the gift of freedom and love.  On the day before Curt's physical body died [December 19, 1999] I was told by his lovely angel wife Heidi that Curt was in a terrible situation because his machine was not providing him with enough air to survive but that he could and would not die because he did not want to let me down.  What a gift to me from a son.
    I knew in that moment that it was up to me who gave birth to him 26 years ago to now give him the freedom that he needed to die in peace.  I also knew in my heart that I could not just run to him and hold him and tell him that it was all right because I knew that my tears would get in the way of what I really wanted and needed to say.  So I decided to write and read, and I am so very glad that I did.  I wrote this love letter to him on Saturday afternoon December 18th and read it to him with his father and wife present before he left for North Danville and Cliff's back farm and the hunting camp and the Christmas party with his friends.  He loved it!  The story and the Christmas party complete with several angels and many stars.  That party and all the parties and gifts of love and friendship for the past 26 years from everyone were gifts greater than most people receive in a long lifetime.
    The next day was a little difficult for him as his machine really was not providing what he needed, and it required more medication to calm him.  In the middle of the morning he went to sleep, and Heidi called all of his friends and relatives to come and just spend time with him and hang out and tell him how much we cared.  When everyone had done that I decided that he needed to hear the love story again, but even more than that, his friends and family needed to hear it so that they could know that it was OK and that he would be OK.  Thankfully, I had written it down, and so, with everyone in a healing circle and his wife and niece and sister-in-law and minister on the bed with him I began to read the following letter.  Now I would like you, his friends, to read it too, so that you will understand that it is OK and that your many prayers for him helped more than you will ever know.  Also understand that Curt's last wish for you is to have happiness and peace in the new century and to go out into the world and be a true friend to every man.  World peace can be accomplished in this century one friendship and kind deed at a time.  Curtis died during this reading at peace and in love.  My hope for you is that you will live during this reading and think of Curt once in a while in Peace and in Love.

 

Dear Curtis-
    This is a love letter from my heart to yours.  I could not tell you in person what I wanted to say or how I feel because I would only cry and so I am using the only way that I know to tell you what is deep within my soul about things.  I love you from the very depths of my being, and you are a favorite son among a group of six favorites.
    Where shall I begin?  Perhaps from the very beginning is a good place.  When my mother died of this disease I was a student at nursing school and knew that my mother was sick, but I did not know that she was going to die so I did not ever say goodbye or that it was okay or that I would be okay, and I missed that.
    We were not a huggy-kissy family and so I do not remember that part of my mom nor was I ever brought up to do that, so your illness has been hard for me in that respect, but you and your healing circle have helped me 100% or maybe 99% to come to terms with my grief and love for her and for you, too.
    When my aunt came down with the disease she called me aside and told me never to have children because I would not want them to get this disease through me now would I?  However, I decided that there are a lot of diseases and things that can happen to people so I would go ahead and have my family as I had planned, and if anyone would get this I was sure it would only be me anyway, and I could handle it for myself.
    Little did I dream that one of my babies would have it, but I have to tell you that I don't regret for even one moment that I had each and every one of the six of you, disease or no disease, because I love each of you more than life itself.  If it would possibly change anything at all I would gladly die for you today and not be afraid to do that, but God does not give me that choice.  So my mother and my aunt died unafraid and ready to live in a much more wonderful place as will you and I and all of us someday, and I honestly believe that.
    Curtis, please trust me that you will be happy and free and with people who love you as much as I do, and your father and your brothers and your wife Heidi and all your many friends and relatives both born and unborn will be with you in a moment because I believe that time in Heaven is measured in moments.  I have never knowingly told you a lie, and I know from God's word and from his whispers to me that this is true because would a God who made the sun and the moon and the stars and the rainbow as a promise give us less than perfect in Heaven?
    When your brother Charles died I was not prepared, and he was so very little I could only wonder about God's wisdom in taking him from me, but I have always secretly thought that my mother needed him more at the moment than I did, and God knew that I would have you and your brothers so he chose him for her.  I have always felt sad for myself in his parting but kind of happy for her because she was truly a great and wonderful mother whose arms were empty, and God knew that I would understand. 
    When I became pregnant with you, I was so very happy that I would do anything to protect you and so I quit smoking, ate only the best foods and gave birth to you in a 20 minute rush into the world.  You were always so active and so beautiful and so in a hurry to get things done right that I have wondered at your ability and your love of people and the land and life.  When I was still in the hospital with you I learned about angels from my mother because one night I awoke to find her sitting on the end of the bed, and she looked just like an angel with my mother's face, and she told me not to worry or fear because she would and was taking care of my baby.  I did not know at the time that she meant you too.  But trust me again Curt when I tell you that she will love you as much as I have loved you, and you will recognize her as being good and kind and loving as you are too.
    When my dad died a few years ago I wasn't ready for that either, but I knew that he would be happier with my mom, and it was starting to get harder for him to get around with his asthma and his hip pain, and I felt maybe it was a blessing that he did not have to suffer.  He was such a great man, a lover of people and his family and a real farmer, a man who took real good care of God's land.  He had time in his occupation to really see the world for what it really is and to appreciate God's love for us and his plan.
    Maybe by now God has him tending his apple orchards in Heaven, and perhaps you can help him as he always had to have another Fronzo in the village to teach and train so I will think of you when you go to join him working with him in the orchard.  In the future whenever I see an apple tree in bloom or laden with fruit I will think of the two of you together, and I will love you both will all my heart.
    Next to die was my very best friend Nancy, whom I loved so much and cared about and did fun things with.  She was a true friend who tried to keep me straight, hard as that is.  She was so very very sick that I could not wish her to live on this earth like that.  But it was then that I really started talking to God to try to get him to perform some kind of a miracle to "save her" for my own selfish reasons.  The thing that I didn't realize at the time was that God was prepared to offer her much more in Heaven.
    When she died I was in Ohio, and I screamed and cried and yelled at God WHY  WHY  WHY?  And when he answered it was with love and peace and he said to me, Linda I am prepared to offer her peace and love with no more pain or sorrow so be happy for her.  I am.  He also told me to go out into the world and become a friend to all men, which I have tried and will try even harder to do.
    Grandpa Vance was the next to die, and you pretty much know all of that.  I did love him as we all did, and he left us with a great feeling of peace.  I think he was a little frustrated because his body did not want to do what his mind wanted it to, and I would be grumpy then too.
    And now there is you Curtis, and you will always be my baby, and I will never want to let you go which is very selfish on my part I know, and it is okay to die and to leave this earth for a much better place, but it is really not easy for me to say that.  I know why God wants you to come and be with him because you are a very special person.
    I know now that I will forget to tell you some of the things that I think and feel in the letter, but I will make little P.S.'s to you for the rest of my life, so when you are up there tending those apple trees and sowing seeds of friendship and helpfulness everywhere, whenever you hear P.S.'s listen up because it will be your mother talking to you or perhaps your father because he has a lot he wants to say to you, too, and just doesn't know how.  He cries every day and cares more for you than his life too.  You know him, and he would do anything in his power to make you well.  Every day he prays to God for a miracle and just cannot believe that it hasn't happened yet.  Today he said through his tears that he didn't understand because he had prayed and begged God, and God hadn't done a thing.  What is wrong?  Well Curtis, perhaps God has performed a miracle.
    Your very life is a miracle; the love of your family to you and you to them is a miracle; your wife and lover of your soul and you of hers is a miracle; your relationship with the community and your love for them and they for you is a miracle; the healing circle is a miracle and how it has changed all our lives for the better; the love of your dog and you for him is a miracle; all of the events of the last year have been small miracles snowballing into one large one; the miracle of a new family for you with sisters and in-laws who love you with all their hearts; the miracle of the Wedding of the Century and everyone who was there will never forget the love they shared with the two of you, and those who were not there have heard what they missed and also want to share in the love.
    I guess to sum up the miracle at this time of year, it is the story of Jesus' birth, and the idea that because of your illness the whole community looks at life and this season a little differently as is shown in the heart and soul of a little eight year old boy who didn't want Santa to bring him anything this year, only health for a man he barely knew.  I guess you could say, that was the reward and miracle you should receive, blind faith and trust in a Santa or in God who can do anything.  Daddy and I remember another little boy who at the age of 14 also didn't want anything big for Christmas, just new basketball uniforms for his team, so that they could be proud to compete.
    Yes Curtis, you have taught us a lifetime of things in these few short years, the miracle of love, how to work hard and love our neighbors.  You were never judgmental or boastful.  You have loved the land and the world, and the animals.  You have always been a good boy and now, an even greater man that we are proud to call son, brother, relative and friend.  Oh, how we have all loved you Curtis in our own special way.
    And yes Curt, your father and I and your family and all your friends will continue to cry for you because we love you so very much and because it is not easy for us to let go or give up.  I guess my house and cellar attest to that for me, but when it is your time we will let you go, because in the end it is your reward and what is best for you.  Know wherever you are, or we are, or whatever you are doing, or we are doing, we will all, your Dad, Me, Chris, Pam, Craig, Cary, Carl, Alysia, Derek, all your relatives, and all your new relatives, all your friends and people who barely know you will always love you very much, you Curtis are our Angel forever.

Love,
Mom

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