On September 18, 2017 at 7:59 am, Maxwell James Oskam came into the world, and changed our lives forever. He was a feisty, joyful, and simply amazing baby boy. He brought unimaginable joy to our hearts, and taught us so much about unconditional love.
Maxwell was a vibrant, active, healthy infant. When he came down with a fever the day before Christmas, we were concerned, and after a visit to our local hospital, we were advised that he had a virus, and it had to run its course. Less than 48 hours later, without any warning, in a moment, our beautiful son left our arms and went home to the Lord. In a moment, our perfect and vibrant son left this earth and went to heaven suddenly in front of our eyes. We were blessed with only 3 months together.... 99 days.
There are not words to describe what it feels like to have your child’s heartbeat stop, and to have your own continue. The heartache doesn’t allow for a single breath without pain. We were, and have been every day since, living our worst nightmare. We learned quickly that there is no manual that could ever prepare you for the devastating emotions that you will experience. The waves of grief wash over you without mercy, and you realize that you now exist with a huge gaping hole in your heart the very size of your child.
Finding the strength to put one foot in front of the other some days is more than we can bear, but we do it out of sheer determination and love for both our boys. There is no education or life experience that could ever prepare you for the reality of becoming a parent of an angel and a child on earth. Nothing can prepare you for the stares, and the feeling that all eyes are on you to see how you are possibly going to survive after such an enormous loss.
With each day that passes, you wonder why your child was chosen, why your family has been chosen to take this journey. We would never have willingly chosen this journey, or this path for our lives, but it is the path we are on. We have had to place our trust and our hope in God, and rely on our faith that we would one day understand why Maxwell is gone.
When that day came, we heard a word that we had never heard before. Neuroblastoma.
“Your son had an aggressive form of cancer.” You would think that after all we had just been through, that nothing would come as a shock to us anymore, but this news shook us to the core. How on earth is it possible that this PERFECT child was suffering from something so terrible, so devastating, this disease that took over his tiny body with a ferocity that was unlike anything the doctor had ever seen?
To be completely transparent, we still have not come to terms with the fact that our son died from cancer. It will never, ever be something that we can wrap our mind around, it will never be something that we accept.
When Maxwell went to heaven, we had two choices. We could fall apart, lose all faith, or we could choose to focus on the love we have for him, and turn that love into his legacy. After searching our hearts deeper than we ever have, and with the love and support of our family and friends, we have chosen to begin a new journey with Maxwell.
The Maxwell James Oskam Foundation has now been established in loving memory of our son. It is our promise to preserve Maxwell’s memory, while walking in faith to bless others in need, and to work diligently to increase Neuroblastoma awareness. It is our goal for all funds we raise to be dedicated to further Neuroblastoma and pediatric cancer research.
There is a peace and a sense of comfort of knowing Maxwell’s legacy is finally beginning, and with your help, we will be able to continue a beautiful journey with our son.