It's been a little while since I have written a truly heart felt blog. Tonight just might be the night. There are a lot of factors going in to this post but I am not quite sure how to cultivate it so bare with me. Spencer is inpatient for chemo tonight. He has finished it. He has one more left. I do not even know where to begin with these feelings. Almost a year ago we started this outrageously terrifying journey. I try to think of all of the experiences we have had and there are too many to intelligently conceive. Many months ago I was faced with losing my son. Losing my oldest child. Losing the one who made me a mother. Little did I know that the door of overflowing blessings would fill our home. Little did I know that eternal friendships would be made, that priorities would shift, that perspectives would completely change. Eleven months. Eleven months of hell. Eleven months of immense peace. Eleven months of holding, touching my children and loving them with a completely different kind of love. I imagine it is close to the love that our Savior, that our Heavenly Father has for us, but I do not know if that is even possible. As I hold my children, weeping, hoping, praying to have them for years and years on this earth, I feel my Saviors love, holding me, holding my griefs, my sorrows, my pains, my sins, whispering peace throughout my soul. How should I be so lucky to feel so close to heaven on this earth? My dad has knee surgery today. Isabelle, Gavin and I visited him and he made a reference to me knowing "everyone." I feel blessed to have so many friends. To know so many people. To have so many people close to me. I love making friends and I love keeping friends and I am just so lucky. Life has seemed so fragile to me lately. There have been many deaths lately. Am I afraid of death? Am I ready? Can I stand before my God and say that I did the very best that I was able? I am trying. Is that a good enough answer?I have had some heart changing experiences. For those of you who personally know me, you know that I am always busy. I have a hard time saying no, and a hard time just stopping to breathe. I had some obligations today and I decided to say no so that I could visit my dad in the hospital. I am glad I did. I love my family. I did not grow up in a fairy tale family, or even a functional family and I feel so blessed to have that now, even in my adult years. My stepmom is one of the best people I know. She is filled with so much love and service for everyone around her. She is constantly doing things for her children, including me. The Lord has blessed me with her. I am also so lucky to have awesome stepbrothers and sisters. I have a deep, true, sincere love for them. My dad and I have had many trials in our relationship throughout our lives, but I am so thankful to have him in my life. He would do anything for me. I have been dealt some pretty hard trials in this life, but more than that I have been blessed beyond measure, literally. My heart is full. I told you a couple of posts ago about the headboard story. I was able to pick it up today and meet the family. We were able to exchange email addresses and blogs. It is amazing how much I relate to this mother. I read one of her recent posts and I hope she doesn't mind but I am going to share it with it because I knew exactly the feelings. I thought for a moment that they were my words. Her son Spencer has been cancer free for six years now and it gave me hope and excitement. Her are her words:
"When Spencer was diagnosed with cancer, the surgeon told us that a cancer diagnosis was like getting hit by a Mack truck. You might survive, but from that moment on, life will never be the same. I think of that often and am amazed at how true it is. This week we're celebrating Spencer being 6 years off-treatment. Six amazing years. And tomorrow, our cute boy turns 9 years old. I told Mike tonight, I feel like we're in positive integers now. For years after Spencer's cancer diagnosis, I was counting down the years to when he turned 8 and reached the 5-years-in-remission mark. We made it, and now we are counting up the years from it.
Life really is pretty normal for us. Crazy busy, but normal. And so I sometimes forget. And then I walked into Spencer's room tonight to shut off his light, because he left it on and fell asleep. As my hand reached for the switch, I looked at Spencer and realized that it's the last time I'll see this 8-year-old version of him. And I felt a wave of sadness, followed almost immediately by a bigger wave of gratitude. A wave of realization once again that so many moms that I knew during treatment are counting the years without their children. And we're celebrating 9 years of living tomorrow. He's such a sweet boy. I softly walked across the room, bent down, and kissed his cheek. He sighed in his sleep. Man, I love that kid.
I forget sometimes that we are enjoying a "delay en route." I heard Neal A. Maxwell refer to his life that way when he was treated successfully for cancer the first time, and it's stuck with me ever since. We're all headed to the same destination. Some of us get there sooner than others, and some of us have longer journeys, but we're all heading to the same place. We were afraid, once upon a time, that Spencer's trip here on Earth would be really short. But he was granted a delay en route. We all have been, really, but I think about Spencer's most often. I think about all of the cute things he has said and done in the last 9 years and how I could have missed so many of them, but didn't.
I really still don't pretend to understand it--how one child is spared and another taken. I feel a mix of guilt and gratitude every time I go visit the blogs of our little friends who have lost their battles with cancer. But I do realize that our lives are in God's hands, and He will help us through our journeys, however long or short they may be. I'm just feeling especially grateful tonight that we get to celebrate another year with our Spencer boy tomorrow. He's a miracle of gigantic proportions in our book, and we are thankful for his part in our lives."
I am thankful that through "random" routes I have been blessed to meet this family. We are all just people on this earth trying to get back, trying to live, trying to love. Take joy in being touched by all those you cross. Everyone has something to give you. I think one of the things that makes me the most emotional is saying goodbye to the people who have saved my son's life, who have saved his spirits, who have held his hand throughout most of this journey. Spence was emotional when he realized that he would not be seeing Mike, the child life specialist, after his next visit, and Dylan, our beloved home health nurse. He loves them. He looks forward to their visits. He is this sweet eight year old boy who has come to understand the importance of relationships. He conceives the depth of true friendship. He is beyond this level of mortality. He has held the hand of God on this earth. He knows things. I am so blessed to be his mom. I am so sorry this post is so long but I have so many thoughts, and so many tears tonight. I am overwhelmed that we are so close to the end of this long journey but also so sad to be saying goodbye to routine visits from people we have grown to love. I think by now you all know that I am moved by music and by lyrics. I want to leave this, one of my favorite hymns with you. The song should be playing now. A little side note for those who do not know, ebenezer, means "stone of help".
Come Thou fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount I'm fixed upon it
Mount of Thy unchanging love
Here I raise my Ebenezer
Hither by Thy help I come
And I hope by Thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home
Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wondering from the fold of God
He, to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood
O to grace how great a debtor daily I'm constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love
Here's my heart Lord, take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above