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Mother Brings Peace During Crisis

Cindy Holmes is a writer and pediatric nurse in Houston, Texas. She wrote an article about a mother and child she got to know at the hospital who were both suffering from full-blown AIDS. The child, Tyler, was born infected with HIV. From the outset he had been dependent upon all kinds of medical treatmentÂ…. Sometimes he needed supplemental oxygen.

But Cindy said it didn't slow him down. He was all boy—a little dynamo. He frequently raced through his Houston neighborhood with a little backpack on that held medications he had to take.Â… Sometimes he would pull an oxygen canister in the little red Radio Flyer wagon, but that didn't slow him down. Off he would go through the neighborhood playing like children play.

Cindy Holmes got to know them best when they were confined to the hospital in the last stages of their illnesses, when they both were dying. When it became obvious to Tyler's mother that he was probably going to die first, she decided she'd better talk with him about what was going to come next.

She pulled him up into her bed, and they talked about life, love, and fun. Then she brought up the topic of heaven. She said, "You know, Tyler, I was kind of hoping that you'd do your growing up here, but the doctors say your body is telling them that you might want to move on and grow up in heaven." She continued, "You know, I made a decision."

Tyler asked, "What's that, Mommy?"

She said, "I've decided that if you're going to go live in heaven, I'm going to do that too, because wherever you are, that's where I want to be."

A few days later, Cindy Holmes was in Tyler's room. She said he looked up at her and said, "Miss Holmes, will you do me a favor?"

Cindy said, "Sure, Tyler. What do you need?"

He asked, "When I die, would you put a red shirt on me?"

Cindy answered, "Tyler, why do you want me to do that?"

Tyler explained, "Well, I'm going to grow up in heaven, and I've been told it's fun over there. I'm going to have friends, and I'm going to play. But my mommy is going to come over there, too, and she's going to be looking for me. And if I'm real busy and don't see her coming, I want her to see me. So it's really important I have on something she can see. So would you give me a red shirt?" Tyler looked up from his bed and continued, "You know, heaven wouldn't be heaven without Mommy."

Cindy Holmes said, "I was overwhelmed by this inexpressible sense of peace that was on his face even at a time of inexpressible crisis. And suddenly I understood where it was coming from. His peace was the result of his mother's presence with him through his life, throughout his illness, and her promise that no matter where he went and no matter what happened, she would still be there."

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