My sweet Rebekah... Left us after fighting leukemia three years

by janis cano
(colorado springs co)

Click on each photo to enlarge.

I have nine children and on Dec 29th of 2010 we lost our middle child, Rebekah, to leukemia. We spent 3 years trying to cure it which included a trip to Calif. / Mexico and eventually conventional treatment. She was diagnosed 2 mos after her 18th birthday and once the Dr's had left us to absorb the information she said "I don't want you and dad to try and decide for me...I need to make all the decisions that lie ahead" (and i think she knew that we would literally kill ourselves worrying about what path (s) to take - and we did anyway to some degree) So after being admitted to the hospital and 3 days of chemo, which not only killed the leukemia cells but also all of her good cells, she stayed in the hospital 5 wks. getting to where she could come home. After she was released -30 lbs lighter, she /we chose to try natural treatments first and went to Calif. The regiment this Dr prescribed required discipline and Beka tried for a while but being young and i think wanting to "live" life she wasn't as faithful as she should have. In the meantime she met a young man on the internet, and they began a relationship. But May of 2009, six months after her first round of chemo, her leukemia came back. So back into the hospital for another month of chemo and recovery.... And what we do as a family when our loved one is the hospital. We celebrate birthdays, mother and father's day... One thing i'm so thankful for is that we were able to be with her day and night; one of us stayed with her round the clock. Now that is cherished time even if it brings tears...
She got out and we celebrated her graduation from high school which had been put on hold when she got sick; her 19th BD and then the following day she flew to Penn. to meet her boyfriend... she didn't come back :( She cried and cried so torn; wanting to fly -wanting to be normal and fall in love, get married. She stayed all of Aug. and Sept and flew back in Oct when she and her other four sisters here and I had a wedding shopping day. She and her husband were going to have a small ceremony (justice of the peace) there in Penn and then in January of 2010 they would fly to Colo and have the 'real' wedding with the gown and bridesmaids....
We had such a wonderful day that day too and we found the perfect gown :) I kept it here for her. In November i flew to Penn to be with her on her wedding day... Such a bittersweet time!!
I flew back home and 2 weeks later she called and said her leukemia was back and would have to go into a hospital (which one!!??) for yet another round of chemo :(
We decided as a family that i would fly back to be with her.... and what a 'chapter' that was! But i would do it again! She got such poor care there it was so pitiful :( Horrible! It was there that she and her husband decided to go ahead with the bone marrow transplant that the Dr's here had been wanting her to do but in Colorado. I stayed there 5 weeks (got to know my new son-in-law) and then flew back home. They came out about 4 weeks later as she was able. Chemo is just SO incredibly debilitating :(
So we started with her 8 siblings to see who might be a good match and her brother Isaac who had just turned 18 was a "10". So we had high hopes for success!! And that was quite an ordeal - another chapter in its self. Beka, Paul and Isaac are my hero's!!!
Long story short, she went in to Children's Hospital in Denver in June where she had the bone marrow transplant and then transitioned into a "home" near the hospital and if at the end of 90 days her counts were good and no leukemia - she could come home.
We on our end had moved into a different home that was more in lines of being dust free and cleaner for her as they have to be so careful. We gave them the master bedroom with a bathroom and we were all set. I think it was about 10 days before the 90 period was up that the leukemia came back.... What to do now? The Dr's weren't so optimistic now...but there was always a 'stem cell transplant' that they could try... if nothing else it would buy her time. Again Isaac donated his stem cells....
All the while Beka was in the hospital she was so busy planning on the things she would cook, she started blogging and encouraging others on a cancer blog, she had sister time and parent time; she made cocoa and popcorn and read books together, watched movies, talked, cried, prayed, cried.... but she was SO brave and cheerful. And Paul just loved on her -ran for food that was never eaten, hugged her, verbally and physically he just loved her all the time. They slept together on her bed most of the time... so sweet and so sad.
She loved ABSOLUTELY LOVED Christmas and snow. She spent alot of her time making things for Christmas presents and listening to Christmas music...
Well they sent her home on Dec 10th with 2 weeks to live :( On the way from denver to springs she "just had to stop and do a little Christmas shopping" even though she wore a mask and Paul had to push her in a wheel chair.
She said "This is going to be the best Christmas Ever!!" And we tried so hard to make it be so... to believe that it would be.....
She had her niece and 2 nephews on her bed with her watching cartoons while she 'slept'...she just "soaked up" life. It snowed and she just gazed wondrously out the window loving the site of it...
We all pretty much camped out in her and Paul's room the last 3 days.... she'd "come up" and hear us and smile and go back to sleep... Paul just stayed curled up by her on the bed but there was always room around her for 'us'.
I know we weren't prepared to watch her leave us....
We weren't prepared for the fire dept, the police.... the coroner and finally .... the funeral home who took our sweet Beka away....
My daughter, Rachel (24) Paul and myself just knew we couldn't let her go the way she was so we shut the door and got her all cleaned with her favorite snuggly pajama's with her little cozy booties on. We were all having such a hard time and Rachel trying to encourage us through tears said "Remember this is her shell she isn't here". And I (weeping) said "oh i know..... but i LOVED her shell"
I couldn't watch them take her; I just couldn't.
We decided as a family to bury her in her wedding dress.....
And now..... 10 months later I feel like my grief is just awakening and at times its so hard to bear...
We started attending a griefshare support group about 7 weeks ago and that helped in some ways. I guess knowing that everyone grieves differently really helped; knowing that grief is still grief 2 weeks later or 10 months later or 10 years later. It hurts... it always will but somehow we learn to live around it....with it.... a new normal.
But most of my family now have seemed to move on (my siblings and mom) and even friends. And so i find myself .... alone with my grief. (I'm sorry it was so long)

Comments for My sweet Rebekah... Left us after fighting leukemia three years

Click here to add your own comments

Apr 11, 2014
by: kim payne

I lost my son in law on may 17 2013..he was diagnosed on may 16 2013..he didnt make it 12 hours.only 23 yrs old..he and my daughter were only married a year and 10 symptoms. ? Just thought it was the flu..his white blood cell count was 65,000..supposed to be 10 hurts today as much as it did then. My heart aches for my daughter..she is hurting and I cant do anything to stop her pain!!! I HATE CANCER.LEUKEMIA...!!

Jan 30, 2012
thank you Pat J
by: Janis

It touches my heart that you would take the time to write me. I am so sorry about your husband. 43 years is a long time to be 'one'. I don't know if you can really categorize grief in that a child is harder or a spouse etc.... Grief is grief and it HURTS! It's agonizing and we wonder if we ever really will be able to have a 'good' day or ever feel 'normal' again! Part of us is gone! And will be gone until we are together in heaven; Not knowing about heaven... I have never been there, haven't really read too much about it, it has been difficult for me to 'picture' where my Beka is. It is such a sad, helpless feeling at times... the unkown. Gradually that has eased some as i have read a little more about heaven and the Lord always shows me verses in the Bible. But I do know that God is faithful and He is good and so she is in GOOD hands whatever heaven may be like. But we miss them so!!! I don't think anyone can really lessen the grief (as with your children / grandchildren) it is a comfort to know they are around us but it doesn't touch the raw pain. Please know that you will be in my thoughts and prayers.... If i can be of any help let me know <3

Jan 30, 2012
Thank you anonymous
by: Janis

For your kind words.... I'm sorry to hear that you lost your son as well. And so young :(
I think after i found this site months ago I found the Compassionate Friends and their FB page. They are very compassionate. I also found a grief support group that i attended for 13 weeks which was helpful too.
I guess we just do what we can with each day...sometimes i wonder how i can keep going another day like the day i just had but i see others walking through this valley so i know it's possible.
May you find strength and peace in the days ahead too....from one mother to another <3

Jan 30, 2012
Finny and Curt (from blogforacure)
by: Anonymous

Thank you so much for your kind comments about Beka... It was Rachel, Rebekah's sister, who told me about your posts. I'm so sorry i haven't been in her blog to let everyone know what happened to her. Please forgive me :( If we / I can be of any help or support to either of you ~ i would count it a privilege.... my email is
Curt I don't know how long ago you posted here so i can only hope and pray that you living "gracefully" with whatever path has risen before you.
God is always always there for us ~ just reach out and He will be there in a way you never dreamed possible.
Love and prayers to and for you both
Janis (Rebekah's mom)

Dec 27, 2011
Rebekah is Missed by Many
by: Finney

I was visiting the blog site, blogforacure, tonight and reading up on some posts. Your Rebekah was one of the first people to 'friend' me on the site after I decided to set up my own blog. She was an inspiration to me and many others. I think about her everytime that I go to the site and I am so sorry for your loss. May God bless you and yours.

Nov 30, 2011
I'm so sad
by: curt

I wad diagnosed in feb of 2010 with aml. At some point, I think it way early May...I felt the need to seek out others who were in the same situation, The first blog I found was Rebekahs. I guess what drew me to Rebekah was simple geography, I live about an hour north of Colo Springs, What kept me checking back every few weeks was her Beautiful spirit. Even though we have nothing in common except this awful disease, I took solace in her attitude toward life and family, and especially in her faith, This is something I struggle with!
When Rebekah stopped posting, I was heartbroken! After many months... I decided to try and find out exactly what happened, that's how I ended up here. It gives me great solace that She died at home, in the arms of those who love her. In the end, that's all we can hope for.
I am now day 71 post transplant after a relapse in June, when my time comes..I hope to meet it with the dignity and grace that Rebekah had.

Nov 14, 2011
your sweet Rebekah
by: Anonymous

I'm so sorry for the loss of your beautiful daughter. I am also a grieving mom, and I lost my son, Nabil, a year ago, Nov.1st. Our hearts are broken, our personal world had been shattered and there's a big void in our lives. We just have to keep moving forward to survive, and just have to learn to live without our loved ones physical presence. Finding a support group, like The Compassionate Friends, help me to cope and not feel so alone. From the group meetings I learned from experiences shared by other members on various coping ways and those further down the road give me hope of not only surviving but living with a new normal after the loss. Take care and be gentle with yourself.
Hali (from New Hampshire)

Nov 12, 2011
another broken hearted mom...
by: Anonymous

I'm so sorry about your daughter. Leukemia is so evil. My son died 15 months ago from AML. He fought so hard. He was 23 years young. I attend The Compassionate Friends meetings in my area. They also have a facebook page. There is also a facebook group called Parents of Children who died from Cancer. Lots of great support if you need it. I wouldn't be able to cope without my support groups. Sending hugs and prayers your way.
Shirley in California

Nov 11, 2011
Left us fighting
by: Pat J.

First of all I want to say,"please don't apologize for your stories length"
. Alot of us have long stories and writing it all down somehow helps us deal with our grief.
I could go on for hours talking about my husband. I lost him June 27th, of a massive heart attack. Our 46th wedding anniversary was June 26th. He had been diagnosed with heart and lung issues and had 3 warning strokes, the first in January, which we first became aware of in April, when I brought him to the ER for a terrible headache, numbness on the side of his face and double vision. All of them signs of a stroke. He was in and out of the hospital in April and May. On June 6th I brought him back to the ER-the home visiting nurse in the morning told him he needed to get back to the hospital, that was at 9 o'clock in the morning, needless to say he wouldn't go in. Finally at 7 o'clock, when he couldn't breathe he went in and it seemed everything started to go wrong. They were able to get him stabilized and he spent all his time in intensive care. We were told he was not dying. A real joke now. He returned home on June 25th and was dead by the 27th. Only God knows when our time on earth is done.
This life without him is crazy. All the tears, sometimes wonder when they will or if they will ever stop. How I can feel so lonely, when we have 5 adult children, who are always here for me and 8 young grandchildren, who love spending time with me. The emptiness I feel. We all know this thing called GRIEF so well.
I know my husband is no longer suffering and he is in a better place, waiting for me to join him one day. Your daughter is no longer suffering and she too is in a better place waiting for you, but that still doesn't make our hurt or loss any less. We all miss our loved ones so much.
All we can do is take it one day at a time. I often say, faking it until I can really make it. I am really waiting for the day to come when I can actually say I am doing okay and really mean it. Right now it is just one day at a time.
Coming to this site and a Grief Support Group through our church helps me alot. Being with people who can really understand what our GRIEF is all about helps me.
I can't imagine losing a child. My husband is the third child his mother lost. She was a widow at 54, but told me after the death of each of her children, that the death of a child is worse. I know my grief over the loss of my husband; my heart aches for your loss of your daughter.
Take care and God Bless.

Click here to add your own comments

Return to Lost Adult Child.

[?]Subscribe To This Site
  • follow us in feedly
  • Add to My Yahoo!
  • Add to My MSN
  • Subscribe with Bloglines

RSS Feed Widget


Tap into the compassion, support and wisdom of the


Essential Healing Guide

Grief Relief

Free Griefwork

Free Stress

SBI Video Tour!