Remember Courageous Caitie? This Letter That Her Mom Wrote To Her Dad Will Make You Tear Up
Those who followed the story of Caitlin (or Caitie) Lucas, better known as Courageous Caitie, would know all about her battle with rare disease, juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML), which she lost in March 2016. She was three years old when she passed.
Within this time, we got to know more of the Lucas family as they shared their journey with us, and we continue to admire their faith, strength, and love up to this day. Here, Feliz pours her heart out in a letter to her husband Jay Jay, to reveal just how amazing he is.
Dear Jay Jay,
As you held our daughter’s lifeless body, I realized how much I love you.
Caitie’s battle started this year. I remember how bravely she went through the extractions and tests in the emergency room. For two months, we were fighting a disease without a name. Without a diagnosis, she couldn’t be treated properly. As it progressed, we saw her tiny body slowly deteriorate—moving liters of diarrhea, enduring blood transfusions, fever, and endless tests.
Hope sprang as we traveled to Singapore for a diagnosis. I remember Caitie’s excitement as the plane took off and she held our hands.
For three months, we were together kneeling, crying, and asking God for clarity. Despite the best doctors and advanced medical equipment, we realized man is not in control. During this dark time, we chose to trust and pray. We hoped that God would heal her. But God answered, “No.”
The moment she parted and you held her tightly, all the memories came rushing back: How you took charge of changing her diaper from the moment she was roomed in at birth, until the night before she died; how you persisted every morning potty-training her and giving her a bath before leaving for work; how you allowed her to play with your camera, clean and pack them.
I remember how you never said "no" whenever she asked to be carried. I remember how Caitie would say, “last embrace and kiss” and you’d give in, get out of the car, go upstairs, even if it meant doing this ten times.
You would always read ten books to her, carry her, and sing “Jesus Loves Me” until she fell asleep. You were always there for her, for us.
Thank you for dancing with her, laughing with her, and for never giving up. Thank you for always choosing to count the little victories everyday, for choosing to see the good in people and circumstances. You endured, persevered, and never gave up.
I’ve hurt you, but you never gave up on me either.
In the past, I would complain that your efforts weren’t enough, that I wanted more “leading” spiritually, and more involvement in teaching our kids. I blamed you for a lot of things: how different we were and how these differences weren’t what I wanted nor expected.
I was good at breaking your heart. And no matter how much you tried to apologize, I was prideful and demanded more. I wasn’t satisfied with your being a “good” husband and father; I demanded “great.”
But days after Caitie died, I saw how much you cried. That was when I realized I was wrong, I was actually married to a man who perfectly exemplifies grace and strength, the same strength Caitie had.
You may be shy to talk about Jesus to friends; you might not talk about the Bible constantly, and you may not be the enthusiastic husband who gathers up the entire household for Bible study. Yet, you are the perfect kind of leader for our family—a husband who is perfect for me, and the kind of father who is perfect for our children, because you love God and desire to obey what He wants in every decision. Pleasing Him is what matters most to you.
You made sure that change started with yourself and our family, and this has made all the difference. Just look at how our daughter touched others in her three short years on earth. I now know what is “great”: she is your greatest testimony of how change that starts at home is more effective than changing the world.
God said “no” to the miracle we hoped for, because He wanted to say “yes” to something bigger. Until now, it still amazes me how many people have shared their stories with us: couples on the verge of separation have reconciled and now have a much stronger relationship; those who were indifferent towards God now believe; parents who entrusted their child’s care to others are now more intentional in raising them. These are just some of the lives that Caitie has touched.
For us, Caitie’s life was an example of obedience, courage and trust in Jesus amidst pain and suffering. It shows the modeling you have shown Caitie in trusting God; yielding the fruits of joy and peace amidst struggles when we surrender our life to Jesus.
In the darkest time of our life, in the most heart-wrenching of pain, I thank you for choosing to love God before me. Because of your love for Him, I have grown to love God more and to trust that nothing happens apart from Him, and that all things will work for the good.
I promise to pursue Jesus and learn more about Him so I can be the wife and the perfect helpmate He intended, always relying in Him and not on myself.
Now, looking into your eyes and saying “I love you” will have a much deeper meaning. Life will continue to bring struggles and pain, but I know I am safe in your arms, I will be able to laugh again, as we courageously face each one exclaiming, “Jesus is enough.”
Thank you for being with me in this journey. You are indeed God’s best partner for me.
Feliz's honest and deeply touching words were originally published in the June 2016 issue of Working Mom, and much has changed with the Lucas brood since—all for the better. To start, this husband and wife's unwavering faith was returned to them a hundredfold when they were blessed with baby number three, daughter Tabitha Calea Xinyi, on February 14, 2017. The third Lucas child would have been Caitie's littlest sibling, following her baby brother Ethan who was still too young to understand his family's struggle with her when it was at its most difficult.
But the arrival of Calea was not just any other miracle of birth; now a healthy toddler, she was born at a very auspicious time and date, and seemed to be sending a message from Caitie from above.
Calea was born on 11:25 a.m., the same time that her sister passed away. Originally due on March 5, the day Feliz and Jay Jay learned of Caitie's condition in 2016, Calea chose to enter the world on Valentine's Day—a gift of love and joy in their purest forms.
At present, the Lucas family is happy and grateful, whole in their faith and filled with positivity. Yet even so, not a day passed when Feliz and Jay Jay don't think about Caitie and remind themselves that her time on earth might have been short, but she accomplished a mission much greater than her sacrifice. Their resilience and ability to cope, they attribute to what Caitie and their time with her had taught them.
It has taken a lot of life’s difficulties that has made us secured of who we are. ??When you seek Him, you will find yourself. Thankful that by His grace, our joy is renewed each morning. ?????? Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit. Psalm 51:10-12 #todaywiththelucas #family #ej4yr1m #tcx1yr5m
Wishing to continue their daughter's legacy, Feliz and Jay Jay now also manage a blog called "Today With the Lucas." There, they address all things helpful to families and talk about anything from kid-friendly recipies, their personal travels, nuggets of wisdom and words to inspire faith, memories with Caitie, family time management techniques, and even health hacks and remedies for children.
As a couple who has always put family first, Feliz and Jay Jay felt that it was imperative they do their part in making other family's lives the best they can be with practical and spiritual and emotional advice alike.
On the other hand, as individuals pursuing their own interests, Jay Jay is a thriving photographer who captures life's best moments, while Feliz has become a mommy social media influencer in her own right, an in-demand speaker whose discussions focus on motherhood, and a partner of Jay Jay in Chestknots, an award-winning wedding photo and styling studio.
But no matter what direction Feliz and Jay Jay choose to follow, one thing is certain: Caitie will always be a guiding force in their lives, a shining light that will always lead them towards the right path.
Photos from @jayjaylucas