Just to let you all know, Angie spent some time going through facebook pictures which tell our story. She has uncovered a few other topics that I must agree need to be covered as they are important to our story. So, we will not be getting to Part II of Major Battle Won for another week or so.
Crossed Paths. This journey has been a plethora of crossed paths. God has introduced us to so many people during this journey and there is not doubt it was all by his design. He knows what we need and at every corner he has placed someone with the heart and desire to want to help. Help comes in so many ways. An ear to vent to, someone to fix our car, someone who has heard Bri’s story and sold us a car at a discount after I wrecked our Trailblazer, financial, and our huge list of prayer warriors.
There was a crossing in May that was so obviously molded directly by God’s nail pierced hands that all involved are still in awe over it. We have tried our best to allow Tori to maintain as normal life as possible. We have kept her in her pitching and hitting lessons and she continues to play softball. Brianna requires so much of our attention that Tori feels left out at times. Before Brianna was diagnosed I had sat them down one day and talked to them about having “Daddy Days”, one day a month each that I would spend the day alone with them doing whatever they wanted to do. They started thinking of things that they wanted to do and we spoke of starting them soon. When our lives started to settle into our new “normal” after radiation I wanted to do something for Tori that would make her feel special.
Tori and I went to church one morning and after church I surprised her and told her we were going to go to Bloomington to an IU softball game. We stopped on the way down and got my favorite meal, tenders and fried potatoes from Sgt. Pepper’s Chicken. It was a beautiful day for softball and we enjoyed the game. It was an awesome ending as the Hoosiers won the game in the bottom of the seventh on Amanda Wagner’s three run homer to take the win after trailing Wisconsin the entire game. Tori needed to take a bathroom break before we made the drive home and as we made our way out of the bleachers someone called out to me. It was my friend Justin Hobbs who I had taught in a motorcycle safety class. Justin’s sis Ashley was a volunteer assistant and he asked if Tori would like to meet the team. She jumped all over that and they signed a ball for her and Coach Michelle Gardner talked to her about softball for a few minutes. She was on cloud nine.
Angie wanted to go to a game as well and it was close to the end of the season. We chose to go to the doubleheader with Purdue on May 14th that would close out the season. We invited our friends the Faulkenbergs and Whitleys to go with us. Melissa surprised us and called the sports department and told them Bri’s story and they wanted to take Bri out on the field before the game. She cried and did not want to go so we did not make her. Coach Gardner spoke with us and asked about Bri coming out after the game and Bri was okay with that. At the completion of the games we were folding up chairs and Angie was approached by a lady who asked if she could ask what was wrong with Brianna. They had a short conversation and Angie pulled Bri, who was in the wagon, out to the field. I turned and recognized the lady from the previous game that Tori and I had gone to. At that game she had sat across the aisle and down a couple rows from us in the bleachers behind home plate. At the earlier game, which was the Wisconsin game, she had been with her husband but she was alone this time.
As Angie walked away she and I began to talk. I learned that her daughter, Breanna, was the starting shortstop for the Hoosiers. Then I found out what the topic of the conversation she and Angie had was about. She noticed that Brianna was puffy and knew it was steroids. She had asked Angie what was wrong with Bri and revealed that her granddaughter Alexis, or Lexi, had also had a pontine glioma. Lexi was a beautiful little girl from California that got her angel wings way too young.
As we talked I asked her how often she made it in to watch Bre play. She informed me that this was only the second game that she had been to. Bre was a sophomore and this was only the second game she had been to. Did you catch that? We had only been to two games too and they happened to be the same two games that Lexi’s grandma Arlene had been to. Coincidence? Not a chance. This was God working. As time went on we learned other things that the families had in common that are signs of God arranging this crossing of paths. One neat fact is that our favorite Hoosier softball player is named Breanna Nicole and of course our Princess is Brianna Nicole. We continued to talk as we made our way out on the field to meet the girls. They were all talking to Tori remembering her from the earlier game we had attended and they were really showing Bri alot of attention. They signed balls for all the girls and there were plenty of pictures taken. Below is a pic of the team with Tori, Bri, and Addison Faulkenberg.
And a picture of Tori, Bri, and Ang with Arlene and Breanna Saucedo.
Tori could have chosen a little different location to hold the softballs. Sheesh.
As the months bore on the Saucedo family has given us emotional support and have showered Brianna with multiple shipments of gifts. They have been so awesome to us and we truly consider them family. If you are a Facebook person please like LovefromLexi Benefit and send them love. In one of the care packages they sent to Bri there were shirts and wristbands from the benefit ride. I put one of the wristbands on when the package came in honor of Lexi and to this day it has not been removed other than to move it from one arm to the other. I am proud to carry her name in remembrance every day.
We are blessed that God has brought so many good people into our lives on this journey. They are all special to us but the ones like the Saucedos, the ones who have lived or are living a nightmare like ours, hold special places in our hearts.