Thursday, May 3, 2007
There are times in all our lives when we find ourselves stepping back, taking a deep breath, and running into the fire, so to speak.We don't ask ourselves why, we just do it. That is exactly what cancer does to not only to your life (the one with the illness), but also to the lives of those who love you. My parents are a perfect case of this. They moved back home the night before I received my diagnosis. When I say the night before I mean they literally pulled up into our driveway with their packed to the top, U-haul, the night before I went in for my breast biopsy! They couldn't have come back home at a better time.
From that first morning, they jumped in, feet first and never looked back. To give you a better idea about my parents, you have to understand that I am their only child. (When I refer to my sister, I mean that with all my heart. Morgen and I are so close that we refer to one another as sisters.) Through the years my parents have sacrificed everything for me. My parents, Bobby and Patty, have been married for over 38 years now. They are the steadfast, unwavering force that had guided, directed and shaped my life. They are the absolute reason for my outlook on life, for my strength, my hope and my determination to beat this beast!
Through the years, my dads job took us from one home to another. I say home because, even though we were always moving from one house to another, no matter where we were, it was home. So even though we were never anywhere long, we always had a home, not just a house. Don't get me wrong! I am not painting a perfect upbringing. No one has that. My parents weren't perfect, but they loved and love me. I grew up with lots of laughter, humor, and love. I never doubted my place in their lives. I always knew that they would go through hell and high water for me. And so this cancer has shown me that all over again.
I was sickly as a child, always in the hospital, but this, this cancer, this beast has bee the hardest on them I think. The last 16 months have been exceptionally hard on my parents. I really saw a glimpse of that pain this afternoon as I sat and had lunch with my Mom. I sat there, really looking at my Mom. I saw the pain, the fear, and the worry deep in her eyes and set into her face. I could see the last 16 months all over her and I cried inside. I wondered how I would feel if it were my boys? How I would react. Right then and there, I thought to myself how much it must hurt to watch your baby ill with cancer, wondering if you will out live your child? How would you make it through burying your only child? I saw it all there in black and white on her face. Again I thought to my self how would you not only will cope, but how you will be able to help your grandchildren cope? To watch them grow knowing your child has passed? My heart broke as I sat there. I wanted to cry as I watched her sitting there across from me, the years suddenly appearing on her face. Still, her grace, reached out to me, comforting my hurt, even over her own pain present.
Today I was given another one of those bitter sweet gifts cancer has a way of suddenly presenting you with. TodayI saw into the depths of my mother's soul. I saw just how deeply my parents love me and just how willing they are to rescue me from this pain. Everyday, my Mom will come by the house. Just to pop in. She is always telling me she just has to see me once a day, to know she has hugged me, kissed my cheek and told me once more how much she loves me. I see now, understand now, that she is saying good-bye to me everyday. Making herself ready to let me go. Yet she is holding on to hope, to life and to her baby with the greatest of all gifts...love.
And my daddy? Well, he is a real southern gentleman, making it a point to stop everyday and call me, just to check in on me, hear my voice and to tell me just how much he loves me. My Daddy, how I treasure him, ad all his old stories, his jokes and the way he smiles at me as I hold onto this life of mine. He was there the day I came home from my mastectomy. He was there, to help raise my arm up and down, to spoon feed me broth and to just sit beside me as I slept in the hospital. "My daddy," I say that with the utmost affection, he was there to take me home, and see the damage, and what was left of me once they removed my breast. He has always been there for me, but having him there for me that day, was the most meaningful day I have ever shared with my dad.
As I have come face to face with chemo, and it's ugly grip, my parents where there. They were the ones to sit through my first chemo, to rush me in to the ER time and time again through the process and the ones to comfort my boys, their grandchildrenon nights Johnny and I could not. When I was at my worst, unable to eat, to focus my eyes or walk without pain, they were there. When I could feel the cold had of the Grim on my shoulder, they were there to offer support. When my precious boys, had sunk into deep sadness, it was my parents that took us all on a last minute trip to Disney World. With that trip, they provided me with a glimpse of hope, a feeling of life as it is meant to be lived and pure magic as I watched my boys smile for the first time in months while we experienced Disney Memories as a family.
Yes, I hurt for my parents as I see them worry, and I pray everyday that my Maker will be kind enough to give us many more years together. As I listen to my parents voices and watch them day to day, I am reminded of their undying, unyielding, unconditional and always present love. They say I am their hero, but the truth is that they are my HEROES! In times of my greatest need, they have been there for not only me, but for my husband and for my children. They are my rock, my fortress, my hide away from the pain. When all else fails I know they will be there by my side, holding my hand, loving me in spite of the chaos. When the fire is raging and someone is needed to run back into the burning building, I know I can count on my parents to step back, take a deep breath and run in!