Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"I don't want you to cry, Mommy."

Big Brother said this to me about 1/2 hour ago. Tuesday nights are late nights around here so I decided to enforce the non-negotiable nap time today. I'm pretty tired myself so I lay down with him. He takes a long time to fall asleep and kept telling me, "I love you, Mommy."

My dad isn't doing well. He could still bounce back, but we're only doing one day at a time and today doesn't look so good. But also it does. It looks beautiful because we are a family and we have had a billion wonderful memories together. We're not at odds and I know we have many more happy times ahead of us.

It's hard to know what is too much to tell a small child about illness and death. BB is a sensitive little guy and I think he's starting to get it, but that doesn't make it easier. He also said to me earlier, "I want you to be with me forever and not go to heaven." He has been praying for my dad and says, "Dear God, please let Papa Bruce grow up." He started talking about Papa Bruce a lot when I was lying down with him and as he began to settle I began to cry.

I cried out some beautiful memories - swimming with my dad when I was small, skiing with him as I grew up, and the time before Randy and I were engaged that we went intending for Randy to ask for my hand. It didn't quite happen that way but my hand he has and my dad approves big time. For awhile we weren't sure if my parents would ever be grandparents to our children, and they are. BB loves grandpas and it just breaks my heart that he might not have any in the near future. Randy's dad died of colon cancer years ago. BB doesn't remember him and LB never met him, but PawPaw and BB were kindred spirits. I attached a picture of BB reading a map because my dad's a map guy. They too are kindred spirits.

I'm not a total stranger to grief but this is really something. It is an indescribable pain. It feels sort of like being scheduled for an amputation and you don't know how you are going to be happy without your missing limb. You won't be the same and you'll have to learn how to do a lot of things differently. With cancer, on the one hand you have some time to wrap up loose ends (we now have none) and to tell one another how much you love each other. On the other hand, you watch that person slowly change and become different from the person you've known forever. It's a slowly dawning kind of grief that eventually feels unbearable. It's especially hard with all the back and forth that comes with a cancer diagnosis.

As I said, it's not over! My dad is still fighting. He has a blood infection and is very weak, but peaceful. I think the big question right now is do we continue the chemotherapy if he doesn't start to improve. It's all a little vague today. Tomorrow may hold some new information, or it may not. Then we wait another day.

Lamentations 3:22-23 (New Living Translation)

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.

In the meantime, we just breathe in and out and love each other. You do the same.


Ann said...

Thank you for your beautiful post, Amy. Dad and I are just breathing in and out and loving each other like crazy.

Jess said...

This post was touching....really. We lost my grandpa to cancer and it's a hard thing to go through. You described it so well with the "slowly dawning grief" bit.

I will say a prayer for you all.

Niki said...

I honestly don't know what I can say through my own tears. I love you Amy. I love you too Ann, and I've never met you. I continue to pray for your family.

Amy T. S. said...

Thanks, Niki and Jess. Things have improved since Wednesday! It's still hard though, and a long road.

miriam said...