Its better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all…
As I sit at a fellow Cancer Kid’s funeral, that saying is rolling around in my head. The words people are saying at the funeral are all mumbled and jumbled in my head. I was questioning my decision to get close to fellow cancer families. Why do I do this to myself??? Here I sit at yet another kid’s funeral, my heart is ripped apart, I FEEL this Cancer Mama’s pain…and its not even my kid.
There are families that come into clinic and avoid eye contact, they would dip into a treatment room and hide from us (it felt like anyway) At first I felt sorry for them, never communicating with anyone. But as I sat here, at a funeral of a child, I thought these “hidey” people were the smartest people in the world!
Why do i put my heart out there? Why do I become friends with these kids that I KNOW have a really good possibility of dying?!?! I can hardly function dealing with my old child’s illness and possible mortality and here I am, with silent tears running down my face as they bury one of “our” babies.
I make a mental note to become one of those silent Mamas. No chitchat in the hospital halls, no checking up on the status of the admitted kid, no play dates with masks for everybody, no late night facebook chats with a Mama in distress. That’s it, I’m cutting myself off. I’m done, I’m sick of my heart getting ripped open again just when I get it stitched up again.
I look around smugly as my new found shield is gaining strength.
I sit a little taller, wipe my tears, proud of myself for making that decision to protect my heart. I look around smuggly as my new found shield is gaining strength. Then I meet eyes with the Cancer Mama who just lost her baby. She looks at me and starts crying, she moves toward me with her arms open. Shit, this is not part of my “heart is closed plan”. I don’t know what to do. She gives me the biggest hug ever, thanks me for coming, says that it “must be hard for me to be here” and whispers in my ear, “Us Cancer Mamas gotta stick together” SHIT shitty shit shit. She used my own words against me! I say that all the time to my group of fellow cancer Mamas, and here she is quoting me with my own words! At that point I realize that its true, us Cancer Mamas DO have to stick together! Through thick and thin, sickness and in health, we have bonded through our different paths with Cancer but we all are in this fight together. Even though our hearts hurt at the moment, they beam when we see each other, when you get that Christmas card with a healthy, fully grown-in haired child on the front and you know what? Even at the funerals. I’m here, my heart hurting for my fellow Cancer Mama. I’m here to represent all us Mamas out there. I’m here to respect and say good bye to the littlest cancer warrior I’ve ever met. I’m here, I’m present and I always will be.
I hope we can blaze a trail of friendship and understanding for new cancer families coming in behind us! Do not be afraid to love your fellow cancer kids and supporters! You will be thankful that you did! Thank you fellow Cancer Parents for opening your hearts to me, to us. Thank you for putting your heart on the line and your heart on your sleeve. I understand the risk you take opening your soul to others. I understand and I’m thankful.
Love you all, you know who you are! XOX