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It’s an ugly disease. It doesn’t pick and chose it’s victims wisely because it has affected too many people who are loved, cherished, needed and missed. Maybe it seems wrong to think that just because you’re a good person you deserve better than to die slowly from a painful disease, but I do. In truth, I wouldn’t wish cancer on my worst enemy. Instead, it takes children long before they have had a chance at life, adults who have full lives they have to leave behind.

I’ve been to 5 funerals in 5 months. That has to be a record for anyone who’s not in the funeral industry or a preacher. 5 precious lives taken by cancer. It sucks, there’s no more graceful or eloquent way to put it…it just sucks.

Before Peyton’s diagnosis, I’d only been to two funerals. One for the husband of a great aunt that I never even knew, people said he was a mean old man. The other was my much-adored grandmother, my father’s mother. I wasn’t able to attend the funeral of my wonderful maternal grandmother because I was very pregnant with Rachael and no one would let someone deep into her 3rd trimester fly. So my funeral experience up until this point has been very limited.

5 funerals in 5 months. It’s really not that many, because I know that our friends who staff the Children’s Cancer Center have to been to many that are people I don’t know, they’ve been doing this long before we came along and they’ll do it long after we’re gone. I don’t want to even think how many funerals they’ve had to endure, how many devastated families they’ve tried to comfort

But I haven’t figured out any trick to holding together during the ceremony. How to not concentrate on what’s been lost. In the past months, I’ve cried tears for parents who lost their child….today I cried for children who lost a father. My dear friend Kathy laid her husband to rest today, now taking on the burden of being a single mom to two grieving children. I can’t fathom her pain. Cancer stole her husband. Quickly and shockingly, at 46 and only diagnosed 7 months. Cancer leaves pain in its wake, leaves families shattered and frightened, it destroys any sense of certainty in the future.

Again, it sucks

I feel exhausted tonight. Sometimes I feel like I’m emotionally drowning in the cancer. It’s been suggested that I’m too close to it, I need to stop being so involved in everyone else’s cancer and just concentrate on Peyton’s. Stop taking on everyone else’s issues! That’s a great idea. I think I’ll just tell these friends that I love dearly that I really can’t take anymore of their emotional fallout and I’m just going to hang out in my little comfort zone for a while. I don’t think it would be wrong…it would be self-protecting, it could be my way of coping, DON’T judge me!

Yet, I know that it’s part of the reason we were chosen to be thrown into this battle. Peyton’s strength of heart, my family’s willingness to just throw it all out there, love uncontrollably and see what God has in store. I hurt and it motivates me, I see the pain and it drives me, I see the loss and it inspires me. Apparently I am one of those people that it takes a lot to force to get up and do something because that’s what this life has drawn out of me. This burning need to be involved, to be in the messy parts of other’s people’s lives that no one wants to be a part of. Until I was a cancer parent, I wouldn’t have wanted to be this emotionally involved with other people’s kids. Why would I want your child’s outcome to affect me on that level?

I’m ok with the fact that tonight I’m an emotionally gushy mess. I’m beat and tired. I can’t stop thinking about my friends that are wandering around empty houses listening for a voice that won’t speak or a footstep that never comes. Empty beds. Empty rooms

But full hearts. Full of the memories and love that will sustain them, comfort them and get them through THIS moment, worry about THAT moment when it gets here.

Please take the time to be thankful for the gift of life, the joy of family, the blessing of love. Take the time to pray for those who aren’t so lucky. Don’t take for granted that you’ll have tomorrow, that you’ll have time to do those things, say those things, accomplish those tasks. Do them NOW! If you have extra time and you DO wake up tomorrow, GREAT! Now do more.

f.r.o.G…fully relying on God


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