AKRON, OH. - No one will ever understand why an obituary has to be written for a child. The death of a child has been an unexplained heartache since the beginning of man and will continue until the end of time. Words fail, faith wavers, and the loss overwhelms. In the darkness that follows the death of a child, very few words give comfort. Time doesn't heal - you just learn to live differently. But in all of the heartache and hurt, you must remember that you are not alone. God knows your pain and heartache, and your child is safe in the arms of His son, Jesus. And those little angels that surround the Lord's feet will be there to greet you when this world ends. As hearts ache and time goes on, KNOW that you are not alone.
There are people who live a lifetime and don't experience the love that Arthur Joseph Bartholomew knew in his five months and twelve days on this earth. A routine ultrasound found a concern and instead of hanging around inside of his Mama's tummy until his due date of March 5th, he entered the world at 5 lbs. 5 oz. and 18 1/2 inches long at 3:17 p.m. on Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at Akron General Hospital. He didn't get to spend much time with his Mama long before his short trip down the street to Akron's Children's Hospital where the nurses and staff didn't take long to figure out that this precious little bright-eyed baby would become quite an enigma to them. Tests and scans quickly followed and the spot in his head challenged some of the greatest physicians in the world. Surgery after surgery and scan after scan this spot in his brain eluded these amazing doctors. In the meantime, Mama, Daddy, Grammas, Grampas, and other relatives were welcomed into the loving care of the Ronald McDonald House in Akron whose name should be changed to the Ronald McDonald Home because that is what it is to families in need. Their warm beds, home cooked meals, friendships, and homemade cookies made the end of the daily trips to the hospital bearable. Little A.J. continued to make his impression on the staff and nurses. The test results would show one thing and his stubbornness and determined interest in the world would show another. Aside from the tubes and having to hang out in the NICU, he grew and changed like all little boys.
Boys will be boys, and Arthur had a mind of his own. Things were going well and he finally got to leave the hospital to go home and enjoy some fresh air and his first long ride in the car on May 14th. Home Sweet Home and finally some normalcy. Yes there would be appointments, tests, scans, and visits with his wonderful friend, Dr. Roger Hudgins, but things would be normal.
Arthur Joseph Bartholomew
A scan on June 13th showed a major change. The brain bleed that had been pursued grew definitive margins. It was no longer a bleed, but a tumor. Normal didn't get a lot of time in the Bartholomew home. On June 19th an extremely risky surgery confirmed that Arthur had a very aggressive cancer in his brain and the world that loved this little boy would never be the same. He said goodbye to his friends and the pseudo family that he knew at Akron Children's and he took his last long car ride home to be with his family who loved him. There are no words that can explain the hurt, anger, and difficulties in caring for a baby under hospice care at home. The emotional rollercoaster that followed took its toll on Arthur and his family. But throughout the living hell that was suffered, the most important thing that trumped all was love. Arthur was loved. He knew it and the world knew it. At 10:55 p.m. on Friday, June 29, 2012, Arthur transitioned from the loving arms of his Mama and Daddy into the glorious love of the arms of Jesus. He now experiences love and peace that our breaking hearts on earth cannot comprehend. In the blink of an eye, he met his great-grandparents who awaited his arrival and in a blink of an eye, he will greet those of us left behind.
Arthur Joseph Bartholomew is survived by his loving parents Ryan and Katie (Harris) Bartholomew of Willard, Ohio; maternal grandparents Mike and Kim Harris of Ishpeming, MI; paternal grandparents Bob and Rose Bartholomew of Warrens, WI; paternal great-grandparents Art and Joan Winkelman of Laona, WI; uncles and aunt Bryan Harris and Shasta Olson of Ishpeming, MI, Warren Bartholomew of Burnsville, MN, and Cliff Bartholomew of Warrens, WI; cousin Lux Harris of Ishpeming; Godparents Stefanie Batovanja of Hinton, Alberta, Canada and Jason Schafer of Milwaukee, WI ; and numerous extended family members and friends. Life on this earth was brief for Arthur, but his impact was infinite. As we struggle to trust without understanding, we must always remember that Christ has always had a special place in his heart for children. Jesus said, "Let the children come to me. Do not hinder them. The kingdom of God belongs to such as these." And he laid his hand on their heads before he left that place. Matthew 19: 45.
Services for A.J. will be held at the Secor Funeral Home in Willard, Ohio on Sunday, July 1, 2012. Visiting time will be from 3:00 p.m. until the service begins at 4:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorials are requested to Akron Ronald McDonald House, 245 Locust St., Akron, OH 44302 or March of Dimes NICU Family Support Care of Akron Children's Hospital, One Perkins Square, Akron, OH 44380.
Arthur's obituary and guestbook may be viewed and signed at www.secorfuneralhomes.com