Thursday, March 11, 2010

‘Cole… I Love You to the Moon and Back’ by Aaron Dean Ruotsala – Book Review and Giveaway

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No parent even expects his child to precede him in reaching eternity.  But Aaron Ruotsala and his wife, Moireen, experienced that in September, 2008, when their three year old son, Cole, developed a terminal form of cancer and succumbed to the disease after an agonizing and painful eight week period.  ‘Cole…I Love You to the Moon and Back’ is Cole’s father Aaron’s account of this difficult – and, at the same time, spiritually awakening and uplifting – period in his family’s life.

This is from the back of the book:

This story will provoke you to laughter, tears, and cause you to examine yourself and your role as a human on this temporal journey.  [Aaron’s] prayer is that all who read this amazing story will learn from this experience in which they had no choice, to realize that when life brings you to the darkest, deepest, loneliest point imaginable, you will recognize what really matters in life.

Here is a video of the sweet little boy and his loving family:







Aaron and his wife, Moireen, were parents to three year old son Cole and his younger sister, Chanielle.  All was well; Aaron worked in his family’s concrete company, and life was good.  On July 24, 2008, after a night out fishing with the family – a night when Cole caught his first two fish – the family returned to their home, with Cole complaining of having an ‘owie’ in his tummy.  After a restless night, they took him to the emergency room.  After a battery of tests over the next several days, Cole was diagnosed with adrenocortical carcinoma, a very deadly form of cancer.  The little boy endured numerous surgeries and chemotherapy, and ultimately succumbed to the disease on September 19, 2008.

During Cole’s illness, Aaron’s cousin Julie set up a page on a website called Caring Bridge, in which a family can keep friends and other family members updated on the status of the illness, and provide updates and ask for prayers, etc…  Word spread quickly; during the time of Cole’s illness, his page was visited 600,000 times.  There are currently 1,407,186 ‘hits’ on the page. 
This book intersperses Aaron’s memories of his darling little son, medical updates and random thoughts on the CaringBridge website from him and his cousin Julie during the time of Cole’s illness, and prayers and notes of encouragement that were posted on the website from people all over the country and the world.  This little boy’s life touched many people, and caused them to reassess their lives and how they are living that gift from God.

The title of ‘Cole…I Love You to the Moon and Back’ refers to an expression of love that Cole would say to his parents on a regular basis, and summoned up the strength to utter in the midst of his struggle with the disease.  

Needless to say, Aaron’s life was profoundly changed by the death of his son.  He wants those who hear their story to remember to live a little brighter, hug a little tighter, and love a little longer.  Aaron now sees the brevity of life, and cherishes each moment with others more deeply, realizing that tomorrow is not guaranteed. Here are Aaron reflections on that subject:

How can we go through our lives worrying about things that have so little value when you consider the core values of life?  It’s unfortunate when it took something so significant in my life to make me stop running, trying to get ahead of the paycheck to paycheck routine, living just to gain something that I realize has so little value. (p. 36)

Along that same vein, here is an excerpt from Aaron’s CaringBridge entry dated August 22, 2008:

Parents, if you read this yet tonight, I suggest that you go to your children’s rooms and thank God for them; not only your children, but more importantly, your spouse.  “Thank you, Lord, for life.  But more so, we thank You for sending Your Son to die for our sins and the sins of the whole world.”  Please continue to pray for Cole and….praise God! (p. 105)

This book has touched me in a deep way.  Life is far too short for us to be concerned about things that do not matter; we need to remember to do more living, hugging and loving.  In addition, the Lord instructs us not to worry.  Here are Aaron’s thoughts on worry and how he sees things now:

Often times it [worry] would consume me.  Oh, friends, how I wish I could take back all those thoughts and just live in the moment with Cole!  We should enjoy where we are in life, enjoy what age our children are (instead of watching them grow in our minds), and take time to enjoy life now, not tomorrow or the next day, but now.  If you have a hard time taking this advice from me, then don’t.  Take it from the Lord who talks about these things in Matthew 6:34: “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.  Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” (p. 137)

Aaron and his wife, Moireen, cofounded C.O.L.E.’s Foundation in September, 2008 to honor Cole’s memory.  C.O.L.E. is also an acronym (Caring Openly Loving Eternally).  Cole’s Foundation has 1,500 members who offer encouragement, support, and prayer for children and adults who face cancer and other serious and life-threatening diseases.

In addition to serving as president of the foundation, Aaron owns and operates a concrete business with his family, speaks to groups around the country, and is a licensed pilot.  He and Moireen, with their two daughters, Chanielle and Whitney, live in Ironwood, Michigan, which is located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

You can order the book here.

This book was provided to me by Side Door Communications for review purposes.


I have an Oasis Audiobook copy of this book, read by Aaron, which I would like to pass along to one of you! 

There are several ways to gain entry:

1) Leave a comment here on the blog, telling me how you were touched by this story.  Please make sure to leave your email address in this format – sample[at]gmail[dot]com.

2) Follow me on Twitter; I will more than likely follow you back!  If you are already a Twitter follower, that counts, too!  Please leave an additional comment to that effect.

3) Follow me as a Google Friend on this blog; if you are already a Friend, that counts, too!  Please leave a separate comment to that effect.

4) Become my Facebook friend.  Please leave a separate comment to that effect.

5) Follow this blog as a NetWorked Blog Follower after you’ve become my Facebook friend.  Please leave a comment to that effect.

So there are five chances to enter!  Please limit one entry per option.

This give away is for U.S. residents only.  The deadline for entry is Friday, March 19, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. EST.  A winner will be chosen via the Random Number Generator on Saturday, March 20, 2010 and will be contacted via email.  The best to all of you!

14 comments:

Jackie Smith said...

This sounds so very good....I can't imagine losing a child. I would love to be entered in this draw. Carman sent me. I am a follower and enjoy your blog.
Thanks!!!

Linda said...

I would love to win this audio book. It's so generous of the family to share their insights for those who have ill children close to death. Please enter me.
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Linda said...

I follow on Twitter.

desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Linda said...

I'm a follower on FB.

desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Linda said...

I follow as a Google friend.

desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I have the same cancer as poor little Cole. It's a terrible disease, but much worse would be if one of my young children had it.
It's just so hard for someone so young to go. He looks like such a lovely little boy. Rest in peace, little angel.

Trinity Rose said...

Greetings,
Such a loving book. Would love to be in the giveaway. I have 7 children and really love them a lot. All children are such a blessing from the Lord.
Blessings,
Trinity Rose

wandaelaine AT gmail DOT com

Trinity Rose said...

I'm a follower here of your blog

wandaelaine AT gmail DOT com

Anonymous said...

a precious family...my heart aches for your loss...would love to listen to this book in memory of Cole

Nancye said...

I was touched by this story because of the love that is in this family. I'm not sure if I would be strong enough to endure losing a child.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

I follow you on Twitter
@NancyeDavis

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

Follower via Google Friend

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

Facebook Friend

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

I follow you on Networked Blogs

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

 
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