I started this post when we launched our blog in January 2014. Every time I sat down to write, I could never find the right words and all of the emotions and uncertainty that came with the situation still felt raw. So, finally two and half years later, here it goes.
About four weeks after N was born, my mom, best friend, and biggest cheerleader, was diagnosed with Stage IV Follicular Lymphoma. I was completely shocked and overwhelmed with this diagnosis in so many ways, but mostly because my mom is invincible in my eyes. I can hardly articulate what my mom’s presence, love and support means to me. So, I certainly couldn’t imagine my life without her.
Prior to learning this news, we spent the weeks following N’s birth soaking up every part of our son. The joy I felt when N was put in my arms was so pure, raw, breathtaking; like nothing I had ever felt before or may again. I wanted to live in that moment forever. Then, when we took him home and became even more deeply enchanted with this life we created and the love that overshadowed everything else that used to be important.
Pieces of this happiness were quickly snatched when we were brought back to reality upon her diagnosis. I remember there was about a month between learning she had lymphoma and finding out the specifics like the type, location and stage. Every imaginable scenario ran through my head. I tried to remain hopeful while preparing myself for what may lie ahead.
I was confused and trying to sort out all of the feelings I was experiencing like this new kind of love and adoration for my son; finding the strength to offer the support my mom and family deeply needed; and grieving for the moments I so wanted but wasn’t sure we’d have. I was constantly conflicted between the moments of joy, love, pain and fear. Most of all, it felt unfair that this perfect baby had just come into our lives and we were then questioning if he’d even get to know the beautiful person he’d call Grammie.
For a while, I felt resentful of these experiences occurring simultaneously. When I actually could process my emotions, I wondered if I was feeling the wrong thing at the wrong time. In the moments when I was hurting, I wondered how I could be sad with this sweet baby in my arms; and in the moments I was treasuring his loveliness, I would think how could I be enjoying this moment when such uncertainty existed. I wanted to simply enjoy my new baby without the pain of everything else going on. And then, in the next moment I would feel completely selfish for having this feeling at all.
Looking back today, I have to believe the timing of all of these things was fated. In the middle of fear, uncertainty, and sadness, we were given hours of endless snuggles, the sweetest baby coos and smiles, and the blessing of new life. N’s arrival actually couldn’t have been more perfect; he was the sunshine that broke through the middle of the storm.
We recently learned, after six months of aggressive chemotherapy and an additional two years of maintenance therapy, my mom will have her last treatment in July 2015 and officially be in remission.
When she called to tell me we just sobbed. We could hardly talk to each other. I am truly grateful for where we are today and, as hard as it is to admit, for the journey our family took together. Our faith is deeper and our bonds are stronger.
Crisis is defined as a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger. Would it be easier or better if we didn’t have to experience it? Some may say yes. I’m not so sure. The mark it leaves on us, we take with us the rest of our lives. Through the storms we gain clarity on what’s most important and for what we’re most grateful. And it makes the “happies” more happy.
There will be more Christmases, more birthdays, more giggles, more hugs and kisses, and more memories that we get to soak up and hold on to. I am so grateful there will be many more happies with my mom.
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