To all our warriors and strength…..

We are so devasted to share that our tiny hero took his last breath in his parents’ arms yesterday evening. He went peacefully onto his next journey and we all live in hopes of making him even a fraction as proud of us as we are all of him. I wish that I could begin to put into words the gratitude we feel for all of your love and prayers and kindness. Thank you all so much for joining in his fight. 

We will keep everyone posted on his services once everything is out into place. 

Love forever to all of you πŸ’™πŸ’ͺ

From their principal….

Dear Laura – Colleen is keeping us all abreast of Max’s condition. Please know that you and Jason and Declan, grandma and all members of all of your families are in our hearts and prayers. Maximus filled our hearts with so much joy and he has enriched all of our lives. May God keep you all in the palm of his hand as you face these trying hours ahead. May the grace of St Andrew be with you always- Fr. Gordon and I are here for you and your family, as needed. Give a hug to Declan. πŸ€— God bless.

Dr. J

From their first grade teacher, Mrs Sarnac

Subject: Letter to Max 
Dear Max, 

I am sorry that this illness has made your body weak. I know that you have fought hard to get better. Even though we want you to stay with us here on Earth so we can see your beautiful smile and feel your radiant love of life, I know that sometimes this cannot happen. I know that if you do leave us, your broken earthly body will remain here and you will be in heaven living among all the angels. You deserve to live there because you are truly an angel here on Earth. 

Max, I am so lucky to have had someone like you come into my life. You have taught me so much about living life in a happy and optimistic way. In your short amount of time you have made a huge impact on myself as well as everyone else who was graced with knowing you. 

My prayers for you Max remain unchanged. My prayer is that you receive peace. I have prayed for peace in one form or another for a long time. I will continue to pray for peace for you and your family. 

If you do go to be with our Lord, remember that heaven will be everything you imagined and more. We talked at length in first grade about what our heaven looks like and although I can’t remember exactly what you said, I remember the look on your face. How radiant and peaceful you looked when it was your turn to describe. That memory of you will live in my heart forever. Just know, Max, your heaven will be there for you. It will be everything you want and more. 

Max, me, Mrs. Mattfeld and Mrs Rich as well as everyone at St. Andrew will take the best of care of Mommy, Daddy and Declan and anyone else.  

I love you Max Derba. I love you and will hold you in my heart forever. 

Love Always, 

Mrs. Sarnac (Angela) 

From the boys’ second grade teacher, Mrs Mattfeld

Hi Laura, This is Colleen Mattfeld.I was sad to hear of the critical condition Max is in. My heart breaks for all of you. I hope and pray things turn around, and hope you understand my need to share some things with you. I am sending this as a text because I am not sure whether you read from your old email address. 
Hearing about Max’s tears brought me back to many conversations we’ve had in class about what happens when a person dies. As you mentioned, we can only imagine what he is thinking and worrying about. I’ve told the kids that because we are God’s children, after our bodies fail and die our souls live on…just like all the angels and saints. While death is hard and sad for those of us living (because we won’t be able to physically be with those we love and will miss them) the person whose body dies, goes to heaven to be with Jesus and all our other loved ones who have passed. There are no feelings of pain, sadness, home sickness; there are no more constraints of our body, so we can soar whereever we want to go, never feel the pain of a scrape or cut, and the best thing is, we CAN be with those we love! All the time, every minute of every day! We just can’t speak with everyone the way we normally do or feel their touch.(which does suck!! My turn donating to the dime jar!) We need to remember that when we die we can always be with those people if we want to, and can speak with them through the Holy Spirit. We won’t feel sadness like those who are still living… but we can provide comfort to them by sending little messages through the miracles of nature, that God has created and even through other people’s words and actions. 
You might have already told him all these things and answered his questions or you may have had a priest come in to speak with Max.(There is a special sacrament called the anointing of the sick, where the priest rubs special ointments on the sick person. He learned about this and saw where these oils are stored in the church) This might reassure him if things turn to the worst. 
I felt I had to share with you the school conversations Max has had with his friends and teachers. It might provide him comfort. Please remind Max that we are with him in prayer and are hopeful when this is through and he beats this thing, that he can share with us all of his experiences, bad and good. 
We love him and you all! If you feel it would be helpful, please share this with Monica and Justin, just in case they are at a loss for words when spending time with Max. The lessons might also provide you all with comfort as well.

Hi again everyone,

We just wanted to give you a quick update. Max is fighting really hard right now. The doctors have done everything that they can do and now it is up to Max. We love you all. We are so grateful for all of your continued prayers 

#neverstopfighting πŸ’™πŸ’ͺ