It's been a while, and I have to remind myself sometimes how truly blessed I am.
A couple of weeks ago, the 23rd of December, some friends of ours had their 8 y/o boy diagnosed with Pediatric Brainstem Cancer. You can read about him here. As difficult as my life is sometimes, I don't have to make the choice to have 3 months with my 8 year old son, or with radiation, extend that to 9 to 15 months. Either way, my friend Stacy is going to lose her son. This beautiful, sweet, innocent little boy, their oldest child.
My heart just aches for her. I wish I could fix it, but I know I can't. It feels so helpless. It is the same feeling I had when I stared blankly into the face of my mother the day she asked me if I'd felt the baby move. I hadn't. I knew she was gone. Yet something wouldn't let me believe. I went through all the motions of drinking juice, lying on my left side, etc. I pushed on the babe inside me, and there was no resistance. I went in and took a bath, knowing that I would be going to the hospital to deliver a full term still born baby, but still not allowing myself to believe it.
Oddly enough, Oliver is the same age as my baby would have been. The pain of losing her becomes raw as I think of the struggle this young mother has before her. I pray for their family and mostly for Oliver. He's been so brave and strong already. The emptiness in my arms is all too familiar as I remember the day I went home from the hospital. I sat in the wheelchair, and turned around to the nurse for her to hand me my pink bundle before I remembered that she wasn't going home with me. The worst thing was catching up with the woman who had left just before me in the lobby of the hospital who was leaving with her new baby girl, and trying to not let her see me.
When I had gone into the hospital, the trees were still naked, waiting for the sun and spring to breathe life back into their branches. When I came home, the leaves had popped open, it seemed all at once! There were flowers blooming, everything had turned green. It was spring, my favorite time of year. A time of rebirth. A time for growth! A time for life! And I was getting ready to plan my daughter's funeral.
If it weren't for the journal my sister sent me, I wouldn't remember any of that year that followed. The parts I do remember are spotty. The pain gets better over time. I wish I'd had a closer relationship with my Savior at that time in my life. How I needed Him, and I didn't even know it. I didn't know where to begin putting the pieces of my broken life back together.
I guess if there is one thing about the Palmer family that I am so proud of, it's that they are so grounded in their love of the Savior, and that Stacy is so confidant and strong in her relationship with Him. I know they will be okay. It's not going to be easy, and I'm sad for them. But I am glad they are in a better place than I was when I lost my baby. It took me so long to heal. There are still ways that I don't think I have.
The pain lessens every day, but the empty hole is always there. I always count the kids at prayer time. Time is definitely a healer, and I thank God that we have an eternity.