Updates on Evan

Final gifts.

Posted by: Myra
Date: June 20th, 2010

I’ve been wanting to post, but finding it too difficult to do so. Every moment of our lives were centered on the love and care of Evan. To say we are at a loss as to what to do next would be a huge understatement.

We can never thank everyone enough for helping us honor Evan with such a beautiful and heartfelt Mass last Tuesday. Father Bob’s homily/eulogy captured Evan’s spirit perfectly and was delivered so movingly. Sr. Joan’s outstanding organization skills were certainly on display as everything and everyone moved so smoothly. And, Sr. Francis Mary outdid herself with the musical arrangements. Tommy Negro’s cello piece was something we’ll never forget.

Thank you to all of Evan’s classmates (and their parents), the teachers, staff (school and parish) for helping us celebrate the joy that was uniquely Evan.

Thanks also to all of our friends, co-workers, business associates and faith community for attending Evan’s services. Your continued love and support have been an amazing source of a comfort for our entire family.

If you were unable to attend the funeral, you can view Evan’s tribute video on the EvanTube page or click here: http://www.weloveevan.com/evan_tube.php.

Although we cry an ocean of tears daily for the physical loss of our sweet Evan, we do take comfort in knowing what we believe to be true – that Evan’s spirit is enjoying eternal life with the Lord our God. And, that one day we’ll all be together again.

I would like to share a few special reasons why we believe this.

Toward the last couple weeks of Evan’s life he was very weak, and could barely stand or walk. He was getting hard to understand too, but Jeff and I could usually make out what he was saying. Around 3:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 5th Jeff and I were with Evan in his room. He was standing with our help at the edge of his bed and asked for a “group hug.” He told us how much he loved each of us and never wanted us to leave “never perish.” He then said very clearly, “The Lord loves compassionate people and the Lord loves you two very much.” While Evan has been known to say some profound things – he has never been one to quote the Lord! I felt this was a direct message to us from God. We were now aware that something “different” was taking place. I believe the Holy Spirit entered Evan’s body at this time to calm, comfort and protect him.

When Evan was ready to go back to sleep around 4:00 a.m. that morning Jeff said, “Goodnight, I’ll see you in a few hours.” Evan again replied very clearly, “I’ll see you in every day, in every flower, in every moving tree, in every miracle of nature.” Jeff and I looked at each other and chills ran down my spine. Jeff kissed Evan and immediately went to write down what he had just said.

Around 9:00 a.m. Evan woke up full of energy. He sat up in bed listening to NPR on the radio and talking non-stop to us. He continually told us how much he loved us and how grateful he was for everything we had done for him. He stayed up the entire day talking and drinking all of his favorite beverages (ice cold milk was tops). Later that evening when we were sitting on the couch he leaned over to me and said, “Help me get these wings off.” Then he pulled down on both of his arms as if removing sleeves. Well, I was certainly happy to help him remove those wings because I didn’t want him going anywhere yet.

At midnight, we were back in his room tucking him in for the night – or so we thought. Suddenly Evan says, “Let’s dance!” Jeff and I said, “Dance?!” By now, Jeff was having to literally hold Evan completely up to help him walk. We helped him to his feet and he said, “I could stand here forever, it feels so good.” Then without any help he took my hand in his and we waltzed around his room. One – two – three – turn! Then he grabbed his dad’s hand and spun him around the room. (Remember Willy Wonka when the grandparents got out of bed after 40 years and danced...) My mouth was agape the entire time witnessing this unbelievable sight. Laughing and crying, I never wanted it to end.

On Sunday, June 6th Evan lets us know he cannot see much of anything. He strokes our hands and our arms -- he continually puts on and takes off his glasses as if that might help him see better. (Each day close family and friends drop in to see Evan for brief visits. He uses each of these moments to tell each person how much he loves them and gently says goodbye to each.) He tells us he’d really like to see his friend Annie today. We call the Bales family and they come right away. Evan is overjoyed by this visit. He passes around the bongo drum for everyone to play. Later I think to myself that he did this in order to hear everyone -- he couldn’t see -- but he could hear.

Sunday night Evan tells us that he saw a man in the living room waving at him. He said he thought it was dad at first and then realized it was someone that he didn’t know. He said the man just smiled at him, waved and then walked across the living room and left. We asked if it scared him and he said no. We asked if he wanted to go with the man and he said, “Not particularly, but I wouldn’t mind knowing more about him.” True Evan.

Monday, June 7th Evan sleeps most of the day after his marathon weekend. Tuesday, June 8th we know things are again different. Evan tries to stand up, but can’t. Tries to drink, but can’t. He asks, “Who’s visiting today?” We tell him Uncle Rob, the nurse, and maybe Sr. Joan and he says, “Tell Sr. Joan to come today, not tomorrow.” We know right then that God has made it clear to Evan when he will be called home. There is no fear in his voice. A few hours later he is sitting on the edge of his bed and Jeff and I are hugging him on each side. He says, “I see the man again. He’s standing right in front of me.” We hold Evan tight.

We prayed so hard for a miracle of healing. But all along – Evan was our miracle.

 

Honoring Evan.

Posted by: Myra
Date: June 10th, 2010

Visitation will be held from 4:00 – 8:00 p.m. on Monday, June 14, 2010 at St. Agnes Catholic Church, 245 N. Amos, Springfield.

Funeral Mass will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 15, 2010 at St. Agnes Catholic Church with Reverend Robert Jallas celebrant.

Online obituaries may be found at butlerfuneralhomes.com and sj-r.com (on Friday).

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Memorial Day Weekend a very good friend (who wishes to remain anonymous) sent us this message:

“I have been raising funds for nearly 5 years in hopes to someday create an endowment at St. Johns. I never named the fund because I knew it would take time to get to the $10,000 necessary to become an official endowment. Now that we are getting close, I would like to have the fund named to honor a young friend of mine - a strong boy who has been a part of paving a path for other children there, Evan Hoffman...it would warm my heart to know that Evan’s strength and spirit will be helping other kids and families long after all of us are gone.”

We are so humbled by this remarkable gesture. When we told Evan about this he said, “That is so nice. (Pause) How much money do I have in my savings account? I want to make a large donation.” He never realized how much he had already given.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Evan Hoffman Children's Fund for St. John's Children's Hospital c/o Friends of St. Johns Hospital, 800 E. Carpenter St., Springfield, IL 62769 or St. Agnes School, 251 N. Amos Ave., Springfield, IL 62702.

 

He's free.

Posted by: Myra & Jeff
Date: June 9th, 2010

Evan’s spirit ran, jumped and soared into God’s arms at 11:30 a.m. today. No more pain. No more suffering. He’s free from this world.

 

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