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.


25 Responses to Zachary

  1. Now I am crying at my desk at work. But you’re right…the love it what matters. I need to go home and hug my babies. Thank you, yet again, for giving me a better perspective on the day. You never cease to amaze.

  2. Ree says:

    Thank you so much. {{{Hugs}}}

  3. Bon says:

    my heart goes out to Zachary’s mama.

    and to everyone who is hurting…because that, really, is what love is: caring that someone hurts, that they are happy, that they ARE.

    lovely post, Whymommy.

  4. cousin-in-law says:

    I have always said that kids are not supposed to be terminal ill or even “go” before parents do.
    ” It is not natural” I always say.
    However, I hear the stories and see the strength that these parents have. I agree that it is Love that gets them through.

  5. Carrie says:

    You are completely right. It is the love that matters. It is the love that makes us feel.

  6. twithhoney says:

    Focus on the love… what a great thought! And so true because if we focused on the grief, the loss, the sorrow we would never do anything.
    By focusing on the love I have been able to do so many wonderful things. Getting married. Having a child. Driving a car.
    Each of these opens a person to potential pain but we do them anyway because the love is worth the risk. And the proof is in the smile that makes your day seem so much brighter, the pain a little less intense, right?

  7. ~JJ! says:

    I need to know how you do it.

    How you find the positive in it all?

    I would be devastated just by meeting this woman, yet you have turned it into a way to heal and learn…

    I so admire you.

  8. whymommy says:

    What is my alternative? Railing against the universe and turning into a bitter woman, old before my time?

    No thanks. I’m going to get old right on schedule, right along with the rest of you. (I hope!)

  9. Ally says:

    Oh, WM, this post says it perfectly.

    And… I’ve been away from blogging for a few days and came back to see a whole new look for your site! Love it!

  10. You are right. Without love, there is nothing.

  11. b*babbler says:

    Oh, so beautiful. And so true. Really.

  12. Veronica says:

    You made me cry with this. Thankyou for such a beautiful post.

  13. maggie says:

    Lovely post.


  14. Your oldest friend, Adam says:

    You are right on with compared to love, many thing are trivial. One might say everything, if you have the right understanding of love.

    If you want something that answers the seemingly senseless questions and focuses on The Love, Alvin Plantinga has an inlook into what appear to these senseless questions in “God, Freedom, and Evil.” But, be warned…it is thick writing. Much of it is written in, what appears to me to be, a mathematician’s language, full of sets S, subsets of S, and primes of subsets of S.

    Sounds like it would be right up your alley! Do you want mine?

  15. sherry says:

    Heart wrenching and beautiful is what you have written here. Life quite often makes no sense. We don’t understand why these things happen. As we move through cancer we see that we are not alone, cancer is not age specific. And yes, there are others in the world who are hurting more deeply than we are, who carry more of a load than we do. What I learned through cancer is love…that we find love even in darkness and we cherish life for every moment, every second that we can.

  16. Alice C says:

    Thank you – that means more to me than you can know.

  17. Lynn in GA says:

    It is love that gets us through the tragedies in our lives. Nothing can ever take love away from us. Love gives us the fond memories of those who have passed on. Love causes us to press on when it looks like there is no hope. I extend my love to you and Zachary’s momma!

  18. motherofbun says:

    My heart is with Zachery and his family. And yes, at somepoint in our lives, we are all heartbroken by a tragedy or even several. But somehow we get through them. And love is a big component that new path we are forced to forge.

  19. imstell says:

    Cancer lesson #364: There is ALWAYS someone who has it worse than you. And isn’t that humbling?

    Also, it is so much easier to be sick yourself than to watch someone you love die. Ironic that the emotion which makes the process of dying so painful is the very same one that also makes it bearable.

  20. delilah says:

    Beautiful. You are so very right.

  21. Jenna says:

    This is the most beautiful thing that I have ever read… thank you for writing it.

  22. I have to add this: When my mother was sixteen and her sister fifteen, they spent a year in Nazi concentration camps, the rest of their family gassed. My mother has repeatedly said throughout my life that she only survived the camps because she had to stay alive for her sister. It was their mutual love that kept them both alive. If she had let herself die, her sister would die, too. Which is what happened to Anne Frank. Maybe I’ll do a post on this, inspired by you, the most inspirational blogorina in the blogosphere.

  23. whymommy says:

    ((blush)) But I would love to read your post.

  24. Wonderful. Especially the last line.

  25. Emily says:

    That’s just it. It is about the love.

%d bloggers like this: