When You Wish Upon a Star...
Jaymun was moved back into the HOT unit this morning. No one was more happy than we were to be back where there are familiar faces. Nurse Bonnie was there to greet our little boy with welcome arms. His readmittance to the HOT unit was about as nice of a Christmas gift that we could hope for, considering that just two weeks ago today things were not looking well for him at all. Jaymun is extremely worn out from his ICU experience...his doctors are pleased with his progress, but it will be awhile until he returns to his former happy, cheerful self. Right now we are working on weaning him from all the sedation and morphine that have helped make his pain bearable during the past two weeks. It's a slow process because of all the constant, loud stimulation that happened down in the ICU. For now, we need to make things as soft and quiet as possible to ease him back into "normalcy".
Hopefully, Jaymun's story speaks volumes about the compassion and love we are all capable of if we just look outside of ourselves and seek ways to bless other people. I always enjoy passing along examples of kindness and generosity with the readers of our website in the hopes that it inspires other people to do the same. It gives me great pleasure to share this one with you....
It started a few months ago when I was searching for a gift to give our son Devon for being Jaymun's bone marrow donor. Devon gets mentioned quite frequently on this website, for the sole reason that he and Jaymun are so closely linked together for life. We were lucky to have even one of our children match Jaymun's bone marrow, as there is only a 25% chance of a perfect match. We've been told countless times of large families who are saddened to realize that none of the siblings match. A search for a worldwide marrow donor can take months, sometimes years, and many times ends in failure.
I wanted to find a gift for Devon that would remind him every time he looked at it of his bravery on behalf of his baby brother. Something spectacular and one-of-a-kind, something that he wouldn't outgrow in the near future. Devon has a great love for the solar system. He's fascinated with books about the planets and stars and galaxies. Our family is always being "educated" on some interesting fact he's picked up along the way. In fact, Devon's next goal is to save enough money to buy a telescope. I searched the Internet hoping to find a gift that would capture this passion of his--it took me awhile, but then I stumbled on THIS SITE. I immediately knew it was perfect, but was disheartened to see there was no mural artist here in Wisconsin or even nearby. I emailed the owner of Night Sky Murals and explained our situation, asking if he perhaps knew of anyone else who did something similar and lived closer. I was thinking that maybe we could hire someone to paint a smaller mural on Devon's ceiling, as the cost was not in the budget of a family whose medical issues have stretched their finances.
Shortly thereafter, I received an email from the owner, Jeff Stewart, offering to fly out and paint Devon's ceiling for no charge whatsoever. All he asked was that we pay for his travel expenses. I was thrilled beyond words, needless to say. A complete stranger who felt compelled to do something non gratus for a little boy? It's becoming a rareity these days to meet such a person. The very next day, I received another email from Jeff, telling me he was out in California painting a mural and that he had mentioned Jaymun's story to his customer. The customer offered to pay for Jeff's plane ticket on the spot. (Did I mention this wonderful news came on the very heavy, very emotional day we had to sign Jaymun's consent form for transplant??)
I picked Jeff up from the airport this past Tuesday while Devon was at school. He set up the room and began to perform his "magic" (which we still can't figure out, as Jeff paints by himself, with no one watching). You should have seen Devon's face when he came upstairs to find a strange man sitting on the couch! Jeff told the kids to lay down on the beds and floor and cover their eyes. Devon had no idea what was going on. All went dark and then behold! there was light. Lots of it. There is no way to describe the ceiling mural. Picture a starry night, with thousands of lights pinpointed in the black sky. Add a Milky Way galaxy, a comet, and several constellations.... that's what Jeff skillfully reproduced on Devon's ceiling. The longer we lay looking at the ceiling, the more 3-D the stars became.
Devon's ecstatic reaction was as you might expect. Jeff told me he thought this was better than any paid job he's ever done. We are so indebted to him for his generosity and his incredible gift to our son. Every night as Devon drifts off to sleep, he can gaze up at a starry sky and be reminded of the special gift he gave to Jaymun. The paint lasts for hours and some of the stars are still visible even in the early morning light. The great thing about the mural is that it's completely undetectable in daylight-you'd never guess the stars are there until the lights go out. We anticipate lots of camping out in Devon's room in the future with all of his siblings sharing in the adventure. Jeff told Devon that he is the only person in Wisconsin with a star ceiling mural. (I think we successfully accomplished the "one-of-a-kind" portion of Devon's gift!)
I promised Jeff I'd post a link to his website, even though he protested it wasn't necessary. It's the least I can do for him, and I have no problem whatsoever promoting his stunning work. It speaks for itself, truly. Our kids are amazed at how realistic it looks, and I'm still in shock that Jeff would take out time from his busy schedule to help us bless Devon. He even took our kids outside that night to point out all the constellations he could see in the sky above our house! And if you think his kindness to our family is a wonderful thing, wait until you hear the rest of the story. Oh yes, there's more...
Jeff also offered to paint a room at the hospital while he was here! Children's Hospital is now the proud owner of an official Night Sky Mural ceiling as well. We drove him down to work on a cancer patient room before he flew back to Utah later that day. I can't express what his work will mean to all the little boys and girls who are lucky enough to stay in that beautiful room during their treatments. It brings a smile to my face to think of them actually looking forward to nighttime approaching in the hospital.
I hope, I hope, that Jeff's gift to our family brings him back blessings tenfold. If any of you are interested in having him paint a mural for you or think it would make a fantastic anniversary or a unique birthday gift for a loved one, please contact him. You will not be sorry. I promise the end result will be worth every penny! He has invested many, many years of honing his craft to reproduce a product that leaves the owner speechless. He is even able to accurately reproduce, looking back at star charts, the way the sky looked on a particular night, such as the date of a special occasion! I am a great admirer of handmade artwork--this mural is by far one of the most spectacular sights I've yet to encounter.
Thank you so much, Jeff. I know we will never forget you. Nor will Devon. I'm glad to think that somewhere in the great state of Utah, a very kind man with a very big heart is "creating light" not only on ceilings, but in the hearts of children.