Gasping. Last night as I was trying to fall asleep, visions and pangs of new anxiety would shoot through me. You know when you are just about to fall asleep and you dream you are falling off of a cliff and it wakes you suddenly, almost painfully? This is what was happening but instead of a cliff, it was a new diagnosis of cancer, then sitting with my super sick son in the hospital. It made me almost vomit. My heart was racing and had to sit up to breathe because I was gasping. I feel fortunate to not have had these feelings when these events were in the present. I had moments of sadness and anger, but never of despair or complete loss. I had to keep going. But now as we wrap this treatment up I gasp as those memories play in my mind like a horror film. I had visions of this incredibly sick little boy, with almost no hair, unable to talk or open his eyes and he was wheeled into a van to be transported from one hospital to another to receive radiation.
I have these flashes of his tears shed when we had to shave his head. He cried and sobbed and there was nothing I could do to make him feel better.I remember watching him worry, as he waiting for his biopsy, just days after his diagnosis. I remember thinking that he should have been in school with the other kids, playing, laughing, learning. Other moms and dads were in the surgery waiting room talking about their childs knee surgery, or tonsils being taken out, wishing that was our story. One mom turned to us and asked what kind of surgery he was having and when I told them he was just diagnosed with cancer, the conversation turned quiet, mournful.
These things that seem like ages ago begin to wake me in the night. I am understanding the emotionally scarred soldier who wakes to disturbing battle scenes many months and many years later. Our battle scenes awake me. I feel fortunate to not be overtaken by these anxieties but I am sure they will leave a scar on my heart for the rest of my life. I think these war wounds and battle scars offer us a lifetime gift of gratitude. Gratitude to God for his healing powers, for the strength and peace that He has surrounded us with. Gratitude to friends and strangers for embracing Charity, the pure love of Christ and surrounding our family in love.
I may have nights where visions of this sick little boy pop in to my head causing a moment of gasping. I may have moments of tears thinking of our fatiguing journey. I may have heartache for the lost time of childhood in my babies lives. But even with these things, I wake up kiss my children and thank God that the are alive, that I get to take care of them and that I have become a new woman, a better mom, a better wife, a better friend, and stronger in my faith.