I am so proud of my son. He is faithfully serving a Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the Micronesia Guam mission. He turned 22 today, and I wanted to post this video of him bearing his testimony and speaking in Chuukese.
Happy Birthday son! I love you and miss you more than I can ever express.
July 2, 2012, I received a call on my cell phone while at work from a
number I didn't recognize. I don't usually take calls at work, but I
have been waiting for a medical appointment, so I took the call. It was
the sweetest voice on the other line..."This is Eric". It took me a
couple seconds to recognize it was MY Eric - then I was estatic. He had
called me from a pay phone in a McDonalds at LAX while traveling to
Guam. We had a chance to chat, catch up on everyone's health (both Dad
and I are doing fine) and a little information on each family member.
Eric sounded so happy and positive and just wonderful. It was so
exciting. I told my boss Eric had called all happy....then I started
crying. And couldn't stop. I cried at my desk, hid in the ladies' room
and cried there to see if I could pull myself together, and finally just
returned to my desk and let the tears flow while I worked. Hearing his
voice just brought to reality that he isn't just on an extended road
trip with friends, he is gone for two years. And I just miss him so
much. He left a huge hole in our family.
called Verizon to have his smartphone fixed to give to Bryanna while he
is on his mission. When the tech asked me to power it up to make sure
it was still covered under the warranty (it was) his cute face in his
ASU shirt smiled at me from his cell phone and I burst out crying. The
poor Verizon tech was like "Ma'am, ma'am, are you OK?" After some
blubbering on my part the guy just probably chalked me up to crazy and
walked me through the steps needed to return the phone.
guess when I am at home and immersed in the details of everyday living,
plus my chemo and always worrying about Darrell's health, I can put the
fact that Eric is gone on a mental shelf and leave it there. But
unexpectedly hearing from him or seeing his smiling face pop up just
melts my defenses. Having said that, I wouldn't have him give up this
experience for ANYTHING. He has my full support. He is just growing and
maturing and moving forward with his life and I am so proud. What an
amazing turning point in his life. An opportunity to put self aside for
two years and just serve those around you. I wish I had been a Member of
the Church when I was struggling to find myself in my late teens/early
adulthood. I would have made different choices for sure.
All my love, Elder Hadder, you are an awesome representative of the family name. We love you so much.
Bryanna had to write an essay for school. She is a Junior at Mountain View High School in Mesa, Arizona. She has a 4.4 GPA and ranks in her class. She is incredibly intelligent, athletic, beautiful, and kind.
Yes, I am her mother, so I know I am completely biased. But she is beautiful both inside and out. My little girl loves her whole family. But she is especially close to her father - literally Daddy's Little Girl. And her father has terminal lymphoma. With all her talent and abilities, she could choose to be anything she wanted to be. Bryanna wants to be a doctor. Let her tell you why, in her own words, taken from the essay she wrote last night:
I want to be a
doctor. I know that being a doctor is considered a dream job by many people,
but my reasons for this desire are far different from most. Often, people want
to be doctors because they want the ‘big bank’ and they assume the life of a
doctor is the same as what they see on Grey’s Anatomy; but I’m different. While
many have seen the amazing effects of medicine from a distance, my life is full
of examples. My dad is riddled with cancer.
When I was twelve,
young, bright, and carefree, I received a call from my mom. She explained to me
that Dad was very ill, in a critical situation in the hospital, and that the
doctors have no idea what is wrong with him. Fortunately, he recovered from the
scare because of medicine and the combined work of the doctors, but
unfortunately, weeks later after critical analysis of his illness, the doctors
diagnosed him with an extremely rare cancer: Angioimmunoblastic T-cell
lymphoma. I know that’s a mouthful and most people think that all cancers are
alike, but this cancer is so rare that the doctors in Arizona couldn’t diagnose
him without sending his biopsy screens to high-tech research hospitals around
the country. In ten years, only one hundred people were available with this
specific cancer for a research study. And this means that there is no cure.
Literally. No chemotherapy, no radiation, no magic wave of the wand. Nothing.
The doctors told him that he was going to die in two years without a doubt. Of
those one hundred people who had this cancer that I mentioned earlier,
absolutely none lived longer than two years after diagnosis.
I am now sixteen,
four years later. My dad still watches my soccer games, still holds my hand,
and still hugs me goodnight to this day. Maybe he can’t go running or even go
on a rollercoaster, but he can love his family and support us. His cancer will
never disappear and it will eventually kill him, but it is an absolute miracle
that he survives two years later than his death sentence. He scares us
sometimes; his immune system is virtually destroyed so the smallest flu or
infection might have traumatic affects, but he always stays. Thanks to
When I saw for myself
that he was here to stay, I felt the most incredible and wonderful feeling I’ve
ever experienced in my life. A warm calm enveloped my heart, and I cried tears
of pure joy. I want everyone to feel that same feeling, that feeling of
complete joy, innocent and overwhelming and pure and beautiful. And I
have the power to make others feel this way if I become a doctor. So I’ve
Instead of being
depressed over this terrible ordeal, I opened my eyes. I worry that at any
moment his cancer could come back and this time stop his heart, but I realize
that I am extremely lucky and that others have far, far worse troubles than I
do. This experience gave me wonderful outcomes: a stronger family, an
optimistic attitude, and a passion for medicine. Nothing will stop me from
achieving my dream. And when my father eventually deceases, I will only work
harder to save the patients’ lives and the emotions of their families. So, yes,
I want to become a doctor, but not for the reasons of everyone else. Not for
the money or the status or the pride, but for the emotion and the feeling and
the joy. For love. For my dad.
Last Friday, Eric opened his official Mission Call from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He has been called to serve in the Micronesia Guam mission! He reports to the Missionary Training Center in Salt Lake City on June 13, 2012.
We are so proud of Eric and his willingness to serve. He will be halfway through his Junior year at Arizona State University in Aerospace Engineering when he leaves for two years, but he felt very impressed to serve and we are really looking forward to sharing in his stories and experiences from Guam and Micronesia.
Bryanna has blossomed in 2011. She really enjoys attending Mountain View High School taking Seminary and accelerated classes. She just posted a cum GPA of 4.6. She played Varsity soccer this year, and her club soccer team, Gilber Arsenal 96 Girls Premier Black, had an awesome year! They won or was first runner up in every tournament they played except one. The just won the Presidents Cup, which means they will represent Arizona in the girls 96 category in Regionals held in June 2011 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Bryanna is a fiercely determined, intelligent and kind young lady. We knew when she was born she would turn out to be someone special. And she is.