There is a woman in my cancer yoga class who has a child. A six-year-old child. And when I heard that, my heart momentarily leapt, thinking of the playdates that we could have, and the moments over peppermint tea and apple slices, and the relaxing in the back yard as we both recovered from chemotherapy sessions and watched our children play. My mind raced with both happiness, in finding a fellow mom there at The Wellness Community , and sadness, for the child whose mother has cancer, and the mother who must explain these things to her child.
But, as it turns out, it is not the mother in that family who has cancer. It is her child. Little Zachary, age 6, has cancer that is not responding to chemotherapy. He has no more chemo options, and his mother is … well, distraught would not be an exaggeration. She held it together well, but as we talked, walking to the twin minivans in the parking lot, it was evident that she has a lot on her mind.
And now I have a lot on my mind too. I’ve been thinking a lot about her today. About how hard it must be for her, her husband, and child. About whether Zachary has little brothers or sisters at home, and what it’s like for them. But mostly about her. What must it be like to be the mother of a child who is very ill?
As it turns out, it’s easy enough to find out, in these blogging days of the internet. There are heartbreaking stories everywhere, about the nephew with a terminal illness, the son with cancer, the daughter with lymphoma, the mother with brain cancer. Then there are the stories of loss. Of infants taken too soon. Those born too small to thrive. Those who were lost in the womb, labeled “miscarriage,” perhaps. Those who never got to rest in their mama’s arms and smile beguilingly at their daddy with newborn coos. And what is the greater tragedy? Where is the greater pain?
As I realized in reading bon’s post earlier today, this is a senseless question. We all have tragedy in our lives, and we all have loss. No hurt is trivial. And yet, they all are, compared to love.
Today, let us focus on the love.