Yesterday was heavy. The kind of heavy that makes your eyes burn, your thoughts wander and your heart hurt. It was the kind of heavy that has dragged its way into today and has left me with a huge muddled up mess of emotions.
It was a day filled with bad news. More than once yesterday we heard the word “cancer”, attached to different people in our lives. It’s a dirty word, an ugly word – a nauseating, life altering, stupid word.
I hate that word, “cancer” – I wish it wasn’t real.
A family member, one whom I’m not sure would want me sharing the details of his illness is facing cancer. It’s scary, and unknown and emotional. He’s close to my Dad, both in relationship and in age and not only is it hard knowing he is facing such a journey – but knowing the sadness that my Dad is carrying makes it harder still.
The other piece of bad news we heard yesterday hit home in a very different way.
A little boy, only a few weeks older than my Audrey was given the diagnosis of leukemia yesterday. This sweet little man and his incredible parents had their worlds thrown into a whirlwind yesterday and nothing will ever be the same for them.
Yesterday morning started with me learning that this little man was facing something that’s symptoms sounded SO similar to everything we’ve faced with Audrey over the past 4 years. The low hemoglobin, the pale skin, the general unwell, the concerning lab results all alerting doctors to a problem and prompting the decision to airlift him to Children’s Hospital.
As I spent the day with this little man and his parents weighing heavy on my heart I was thrown back over the journey we’ve been on. My mind kept wandering back to the fevered, fear fill drives to emergency rooms in the middle of the night, to the needles, and blood draws and threats of blood transfusions.
Each time they crossed my mind I’d lift them up to God in prayer and as I did, I’d float back into other memories – trips to Children’s, hours in prayer pleading for my girl – years of unknown.
Then I heard his diagnosis – leukemia, and for a moment I thought I might be physically ill. They looked for a long time for that very thing in my Audrey, we spent days & hours terrified that they would say that very, ugly word to us and they didn’t. Nobody wants to hear that about their child, ever.
I’ve spent the last 24 hours waffling between intense sorrow, fear, guilt and gratitude.
I continually battle frustration and fear that after all these years we don’t have a diagnosis for what’s happening in our Audrey’s body. We are still facing challenges that nobody seems to be able to help us “fix” and the constant “what if” unknowns of what could be happening next. It is exhausting some days to say the least.
That being said, we have SO many ruled out, “non-diagnosis” type answers. They’ve eliminated many, many diseases and while I desperately want her healed or if not healed a name for what this is so I can fight it I am unendingly, overwhelmingly thankful for what it’s not. That gratitude went 20 times deeper yesterday.
Then there is the fear that one day we will hear something equally as awful, there are moments it almost completely takes me over. Times where I catch myself thinking of it, literally holding my breath. I can’t let myself go there.
Oddly enough there’s also this strange sense of guilt looming in my heart. Why them? What makes us different, how did we “escape” such a horrible diagnosis? (please know I am SO GLAD we did) We aren’t any better, we didn’t do anything different. God doesn’t love anyone more or less than the other. It doesn’t seem fair that they have to face this. That ANYONE should ever have to face it.
Maybe it’s my gratitude that I feel guilty about, I don’t know but it’s there mixed in with all those feelings.
Wrapping around all of it, this little guy, my family member and the other people in our lives that we heard hard things about yesterday is the sorrow. For the pain they’re facing, the fear they are consumed with, for the unknowns of their future – for all of it. It’s made me sad, so very, very sad.
There is so much I don’t understand, there is so much I’m working through in my heart, with my words, with my God. I can’t go there here. I don’t want to have the “God” debate with anyone, and while my faith & trust in Him aren’t wavering through all of this, my questions right now are too much for the vast space of the internet.
Tonight my heart is broken and my eyes keep filling with tears. I want to fix it, but I can’t. I want to erase yesterday, but it won’t go, it’s there, forever. I want to DO something, but my hands feel tied.
Instead I’m going to gather up my girls and snuggle into Corey’s arms. I’m going to love them a little harder, hold them a little tighter and maybe even cry just a few minutes longer. Then as I pray for healing and mercy for those that we love, I’m going to whisper words of thanks for all that we have.