|Birth: ||Dec. 10, 1990|
|Death: ||May 2, 2013|
Whitley Lenna Reeves Barnard, 22 of Magnolia, Arkansas passed away on Thursday, May 2, 2013 at her home.
She was born on December 10, 1990 in Magnolia. She was a 2009 Salutatorian Graduate of Columbia Christian School, a Senior Business Major at Southern Arkansas University, and a member of the First Baptist Church where she was a member of the choir.
She is preceded in death by her maternal grandmother Clarice Boone of Magnolia.
Whitley is survived by her husband Matthew Barnard of Taylor; mother Nanette Reeves of Magnolia; father Cris Reeves and wife Jane Marie of Camden; sister and brother Mallory and Bradley Reeves of Magnolia; paternal grandparents Barney Hugh and Nelda Reeves of Magnolia; maternal grandfather Eugene Boone of Magnolia; father and mother in law Rickie and Marion Barnard of Taylor; sisters in law Melanie Jeffrey and husband Chris of Lewisville, TX and Hillary Franks of Magnolia and a host of aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews who adore her, and a multitude of prayer warriors.
Funeral services will be Sunday, May 5, 2013 at 2:00 pm at the Columbia Christian School Gymnasium with Bro. David Watkins officiating. Burial will follow at Forest Grove Cemetery under the direction of Lewis Funeral Home, Inc. in Magnolia. Visitation with the family will be Saturday evening from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the First Baptist Church Sanctuary.
In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to the Whitley Reeves Barnard Stained Glass Window Memorial, c/o Columbia Christian School, 250 Warnock Springs Road, Magnolia, Arkansas 71753, or Whitley Reeves Barnard Finish Strong Scholarship, c/o SAU Foundation, PO Box 9174, Magnolia, Arkansas 71754-9174.
Pallbearers will be Austin Patureau, Ben Reeves, Jordan Burks, Colton Burks, Ryan Burks, and Josh Poiencot. Honorary pallbearer will be Jeremy Reeves. (www.lewisfuneralhome.biz)
Tribute to Whitley (written April 28th)
Who is Whitley Lenna Reeves-Barnard? Humanly there is no way to capture on paper her true spirit but I will attempt to give you a small glimpse of this precious baby girl that has blessed this earth for 22 years. Whitley was a beautiful baby in her parents eyes of course - spoiled by her grandparents and adored by her aunts, uncles, and cousins. When her little sister and brother were born she immediately took on the motherly role and continued it throughout her lifetime. She looked out for them in time of need, gave them advice, comforted them, and steered them straight if she thought they were being disrespectful or even wearing clothes that didn't match. She loved her sister and brother from the very bottom of her heart! Whitley loved everyone - her spirit was naturally bent that way. She was shy as a child but when she made friends they were lifetime friends. She was homeschooled until 7th grade but attended church on Sunday and Wednesday where she made friends and social contacts. She attended AWANA through the 6th grade memorizing scripture every week. In the final Upward Basketball ceremony she was awarded the white star for most Christlike. Her biggest fear was thunderstorms. If a really bad storm came up she would sometimes get so scared that she would literally throw up. Then at the age of twelve she asked Jesus into her heart and accepted Him as her Lord and Savior in our home. From that time she learned that all those verses she had memorized had new meaning to her personally. She was no longer afraid of thunderstorms. "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." 2Timothy 1:7 was what she used many times. She began to grow in her faith and little did we know how important and to what magnitude her faith would be challenged until this present day. In the 7th grade she began attending a Christian school where each day she heard Bible verses and Bible truths furthering her Christian walk. She was a 2009 Salutatorian graduate of CCS and would have graduated May 3rd from SAU with a Business Management degree. Whitley has always LOVED to sing. She started taking voice lessons and gained confidence in her vocal abilities. She joined the choir at FBC and loved her experience there. Occasionally she would be assigned to sing a solo in church. The last time she sang was in May of 2012 and she chose "Steady My Heart" by Kari Jobe. In March of this year she got to personally meet Kari Jobe at one of her concerts - she prayed for Whitley. In May of 2012 she had a cough that kept nagging her so she went to the doctor and was prescribed antibiotics and an inhaler and told to come back in 2 weeks if not better. After 2 weeks she was still coughing so she was prescribed stronger antibiotics and cough perles and a shot and a re-check in 2 weeks. In 2weeks the cough was still there and an X-ray was done and she was immediately sent to a hospital in Texarkana as her lungs were not clear. This was on June 18th. On June 21st the doctor came in and told us it was not good - a bronchoscope revealed that she had adenocarcinoma of the lungs and from that day her life would never return to "normal". After the doctor left Whitley looked at me and said, "No crying Momma". She has always looked out for everyone else - even in her worst hour. We sought treatment at MD Anderson in Houston. The Texarkana hospital first contacted St. Jude's and their cancer coordinator looked at Whitley's records and said she would best be served in Houston. The oncologist in Texarkana told me if it was his daughter in that condition he would take her to Houston. You don't just make an appt. and get in at MD Anderson. You have to go through referrals. We left Texarkana and had to wait. A family friend knew someone who had a doctor friend who made some contacts and bypassed all the paperwork that was going on between the hospitals and before we knew it MD Anderson was calling us for an appointment with Dr. William William. This was just one of the many ways we saw God at work. From the first time Whitley met Dr. William and his assistant Michele she was completely confident and at peace with her care. Dr. William was up front from the beginning as he told us her cancer could not be stopped - only shrunk and slowed down. She had Stage IV Lung cancer which had spread to her liver and bones. They wanted to treat her cancer with everything they had while at the same time allowing her to maintain the best quality of life possible. She began her first chemo treatment in July. She tolerated it well with only mild nausea and never had hair loss from the chemo. She continued college classes and her part-time job at an architect firm. She did all the things she wanted to do with friends and never let it get the best of her - especially her cheerful attitude! And it was contagious. When someone in your family has cancer you all have it in some form. Whether you are the caregiver the cheerleader, the moral support - you are attached in a very real way. Whitley's attitude and her faith permeated throughout our family. Then as we shared her story it spread. After months of chemo her scans showed that the cancer had begun to grow which meant that the first line chemo was no longer working. She was put on a 2nd line chemo and for awhile it had some good results but as with the other chemo lost its effect around February. In December she was able to see a dream come true and marry her love Matthew Barnard. Another of God's blessings in her life. In January she began having some dizzy spells and headaches and a brain MRI showed that the cancer had spread to her brain. She was also having back pain so they started radiation to her brain and spine. This helped her back pain and stabilized the cancer in her brain. The brain radiation caused her to lose her hair. This didn't bother her. Since the 2nd line chemo was no longer working, as a last resort they tried an oral lung cancer fighting drug with a 5% chance that it would attack the cancer cells. Whitley began having severe lower back pain about the same time so she also had 10 days of radiation. After returning home and only 15 days of the oral drug, she developed severe stomach problems, nausea and vomiting. They asked us to return to Houston to the Emergency Center where they evaluated and admitted her. An initial X-ray showed fluid on her lungs but a follow-up ultrasound revealed it was just more cancer growth. After several days on IV antibiotics her condition worsened and the medical team realized that there was no longer any curative measures for her. They discharged her by air-ambulance to come home with hospice care for her final days on earth. We have all stayed with her round the clock. I have watched her for hours just breathing. We have kept her comfortable and made sure that she knew she was never alone. We would whisper 'I love you' many times and many times she would whisper it back. But now we can tell that she is so worn. Her body is giving in to the cancer. But not one time - not once - through this whole battle has her sweet spirit given in. Her faith is firmly planted. Yesterday I began reading through Proverbs. I don't think that was by accident. The beginning chapters are compelling us to gain wisdom and understanding and oh how I have wanted to understand this situation. I have great peace about Whitley and where she will spend eternity. She does too - and what a comforting thought. But to have your child stricken with such a cruel disease is almost unbearable. Then this morning I believe I gained new wisdom and understanding. Whitley is His child and we were blessed to receive her for this short time. I am so thankful that He allowed me to be her mother. I believe that God is using Whitley's life to reach other people for His glory. ONLY God could take a small-time girl from a little rural town who was stricken with a horrible disease and use her to reach people from other cultures, across social barriers, and around the globe. But He didn't choose just any girl - He chose a girl who was grounded in her faith, respected by her peers, and able to reach out to the hearts of others. Some may wonder how she can be so calm through a raging battle with a non-curable cancer. She would want us to tell you it's because she has peace with God. One Sunday night she and I were riding home from church and we approached the "what if things didn't go great" subject. We both agreed we knew either way she would be okay because she was a born again Christian. Another time she was laying in her bed and I told her people wonder how you can be so calm about all this - I said what would you tell them. She said because I know that I'm going to be okay. So I know without a doubt that Whitley's hope and faith is in her Savior Jesus. She has no fear in death. We will be the ones in sorrow for losing her from our presence. Until we will see her again in heaven. But if her faith has inspired you in any way don't let her story end here. If you don't have that same assurance if you were to leave this earth please accept Jesus as your Savior. If you have attitudes that aren't pleasing to be around do what someone said and "Whitley Up". If everything we did was contagious to those we are around would it be worth spreading - think of Whitley and spread something positive. Her dream was to graduate from college this May then go onto cosmetology school. She wanted to have her own salon and also volunteer to help others less fortunate. Do something for someone else with her in your thoughts. Never will you all know how much you have strengthened this family by your overwhelming support. God has used each one of you in a special way to bless us. To say thank you for your prayers seems so small. Many times people would say all I know to do is pray - and prayer was everything we needed. We love you all dearly and ask that you continue in prayer for our precious baby girl. And above all give God all the glory for the precious life of Whitley!
Follow-up (written April 29th):
Today has been excruciating as we have watched our precious baby girl lay in pain and the cancer actually fight so hard against multiple pain meds without giving in. At one point Whitley looked at me and went back to her original first-day diagnosis request and said, "Don't cry". I tried not to let her see me cry again. Later in the day she whispered to all of us around her bed, "I want to pray for y'all". I told her to go ahead and then we would pray for her. She probably prayed in her heart as she didn't have a lot of breath for words. We all broke down and bowed our heads and prayed in silence. She would whisper back to each one of us 'I love you' throughout the day and those words we will cherish always. She and I were completely alone in the trailer for a few minutes and I sang to her some songs I always sang to them as babies - "Jesus Loves Me", "Hush Little Baby", "Rock A Bye Baby", and "Jesus Loves Loves Me" again as I held her hand. She rested so peacefully after that and I was reminded of many times that I was able to truly care for her and she would thank me during this illness and I thanked God for letting me have this last precious moment to do something for my sweet girl. Around midnight her precious body finally found some rest and the fierce battle inside gave up. She is no longer responding to us and is not eating or drinking at this time. We don't know how long she will stay this way but we long for her to have peace and pray in that direction.
Follow-up (written April 30th):
Stronger meds were administered around the clock today which kept Whitley sedated and comfortable for most of the day. We stayed by her bedside and held her hands and spoke to her. When she could she would try to speak back.
Follow-up (written May 3rd):
Whitley's body continued to be in a battle with the cancer and we stayed with her and kept medicine as our only weapon to ease her pain. But we prayed continuously. At all times she knew we were there with her. We told her to go ahead and go to her new Home because it would only be a short time until we would meet her again. As the night rolled in the final battle began and we stayed with her until her last breath Thursday morning, May 2nd. She was brave and unafraid through it all. Losing my daughter to cancer was the hardest thing I have ever faced in my life. And I know that the days ahead are going to be very hard as we begin to feel her absence in a very real way. But we will always have her beautiful spirit and so many treasured memories etched on our hearts. We rejoice in the assurance that she is in a far better place than the one she left and we will see her again. I am so proud of my daughter and the life she lived.
As we close this final chapter of the "Dear Prayer Warriors" Journal I don't really know how to thank you all. Some of you I don't even know. But I can tell you that you have had a very big impact on this journey in helping to minister to this family through prayer, your very kind and uplifting words and by helping to encourage our precious baby girl to keep up the fight. God truly used you along the way.(Written by Whitley's mom and posted on Facebook.)
Forest Grove Cemetery
Created by: H&M Phillips
Record added: May 05, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 110066006