Lets Support Luke Coyle & Family
In response to the countless offers and requests to help and support the Coyle family, we are setting up this Go Fund Me account to raise money for grocery and food delivery, and child care related needs that arise during treatment. Please keep praying, and wishing every good thing for Luke and the entire Coyle family. The care and compassion within our St. Raymond community is inspiring.
First and foremost, I’m grateful for our son, Luke. Prior to his diagnosis, he was probably the one of our children that I understood the least. He was tough to rein in…spirited, crazy busy, always in motion and constantly pushing my limits. Throughout the course of his treatment, I saw that energy and passion reduced to nearly nothing. I am so grateful that it’s back.
We watched him fight to get through some incredibly difficult days, and I can’t imagine how horrible he really felt. He rarely complained. He worked hard to keep it together, going to his siblings’ games, hammering through countless sets of Legos and forcing himself to eat when all he wanted to do was puke. I watched him like a hawk the entire time, fascinated and absolutely in love with the way he put his head down and got it done. When I look back at these months, I’m so grateful for the blessing of “pause” that this provided. We watched a hundred movies, played a thousand games of darts, cards and tabletop foosball. We read a few great books, all the while coming to understand each other in a whole new way.
It sounds crazy, but I miss that time. I treasured it. Moreover, though, watching his recovery is like Christmas morning every day. Pure joy. The closest thing I can compare it to is the birth of each of our four kids. We feel that same baby birth joy every day now. I cried when he scored a soccer goal a few weeks back. (I’m sure the other parents thought I was crazy!) He asked me to put gel in his hair the other day. It was awesome. Hair!!! Our days aren’t perfect. I still lose my patience. Our house is usually super messy, and some form of insanity keeps us consistently out of control, but we are joyful. Luke is glowing.
I’m grateful for my husband. When we got married, we surely didn’t imagine a night when a surgeon would call us in to tell us that our child had brain cancer. When we vowed to stick with each other for better or for worse, I certainly wasn’t thinking this kind of worse. We held on to each other, sobbing. Then we picked ourselves up and went to see Luke. John Coyle held me up the entire time. I’m stating the obvious when I say that this was a really good time to be married to the right person. I am in awe of the strength he mustered to go to work, take care of his aging parents, coach the St. Raymond track team and maintain his ever-positive attitude the entire time. We prayed together nearly every night. I would not have survived without him.
I am grateful for Lucy, Grace and Andy, our three rock stars. When their world was absolutely turned upside down, they stayed selfless and positive, supporting their brother in any way they could think of. While Luke was swimming in new toys and attention, Andy had no idea what was going on. Lucy was dealing with typical middle school kid stuff, and Grace was working to balance school and sports with little attention from me. Lucy was a leader. Grace was always thinking of sweet things to do for Luke. Andy kept us laughing. Thanks to their love and resiliency, we drew closer together. I’m so grateful for the consistency, regularity and humor that they provided for us. They kept our train on the track. Thank God for each of them.
I’m grateful for our extended family. I think our parents took it hard. I can only imagine what it was like for them to watch their children, John and I, suffer as we did. I’m pretty sure that my mom had every distant relative, grammar school friend and grocery store clerk she knew praying for us. The second I made that first call to my sister, Deani, the floodgates of caring were opened. My siblings called, flew into town, took care of the kids and sent packages at every turn. John’s East Coast and Irish clans were equally generous and supportive. All of our relatives and their friends were incredibly kind. Prayers for Luke literally wrapped around the world.
I’m grateful for our school community. Most who know us know how much we love Catholic education. This experience certainly reinforced that appreciation. My sweet grammar school friends, Gabriella and Jennifer, initiated a Facebook prayer group. People I hadn’t spoken to in 35 years showed up every day. The St. Cecilia and Mater Dei communities kept Luke on their radar throughout the year. The current cross country team at Christian Brothers Academy went to mass on the day of Luke’s surgery. The thought that these kids I have never met gathered to pray for our boy still brings me to tears. The seeds we’ve sown throughout our years as Catholic school students and parents have grown into the relationships that fueled us. We are so grateful.
The St. Raymond School community was and is amazing. It’s hard to put into words what their support and action means to us. I honestly couldn’t care less about academics and test scores. Our kids’ grammar school experience has been beyond blessed by the quality of children and families with whom they’ve grown up. Our every need was met by these thoughtful friends – meals, cards, rides, playdates, visits and adventures. Shannon and Chris, you set a new standard for the meaning of friendship. Thank you to all our Cardinal pals.
John’s work colleagues were super supportive. We’re forever grateful for the flexibility and understanding he received during this time, not to mention the good insurance : ) I don’t know what people do without it.
Beyond our family and school communities, we’ve been blessed by a myriad of quality friendships along the way. From TNT to good buddies met at random jobs and places throughout the years, our network of support runs deep. I liken it to when they do those body passes at concerts…like when many hands move Bruce Springsteen out into the crowd then pass him up back to the stage again. Thank you, friends, for the giant body pass. You carried us through.
The Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital care team was awesome. While our experience was no fun, they made it OK. Those people have a magical calling. I honestly don’t know how they do it every day, but they are angels. Thank God for them.
We spent many days in waiting rooms. I often glanced around at the other kids waiting too, imagining their stories, wondering about their families and diagnoses. I drove past that hospital a hundred times in our pre-cancer days, not giving a thought to the kids spending time in there.
Today we see life through a different lens -- one of joy, appreciation, and recognition of the need to help other kids like Luke. We pray every day that this is behind us. We try to let gratitude overtake the fear, and we move forward with faith.
This year has been a miracle and a blessing. We’re eternally grateful for your great goodness to Luke and our entire family. Love, peace and good health to you all, dear family and friends!
Love, Coyle Family