As we travel this path back to some sort of normal we encounter people diverted from the trail. Their child dies. I so remember the first child I knew dying and how it affected me. After all this time one would think it would be less of a shock or painful or devastating. It simply is not.
If you really know the family there is this long and I mean usually two or three weeks from the time of "hospice" to death. During that time there are all these watching of the signs and never ending hope. "She smiled today and I think she is going to beat this thing." This end time, this long and difficult process just has reaffirmed for me how much life can be left in a person after so much pointed constant attack of treatment.
As a parent it is so painful to watch. After observing many children die, you get better at helping. Less thrashing around and agonizing and more positive action. A long heart felt hug. A basket of china tea cups and tea for the waiting. An extra small pot pie from MetMarket for a meal. A listening ear.
It is important to agree every time someone is grasping for hope. There just isn't any reason not to do so. The letting go process is long and hard for cancer parents even thought we have seen the need so many times before. We all start it because we are all faced with the loss of our child and each child is "our child".
We all support each other because we are the only one's that understand this terrible world. We know the fear, anxiety, and horrible dread of what might become our reality. We all plan the funeral, or memorial or what ever the final event will be in our minds during dark times. Some would scream at us because we are commanded to "stay positive" and not to even think the worst. We have to think about it and know what we would do. After the death of a child many often comment on how well everyone handled the impossible efforts of planning the funeral. It is because they thought it through BEFORE it became unfortunate reality.
I am watching a mom right now that knows in her heart her child is not going to make it. Their journey is a long slower version but the handwriting is on the wall. She is spending some of her energy on making the journey less difficult for those in a like position. Sometimes it is all you can do. Help someone else.
Lots of parents are upset as their children leave home and go to college or get married. From the moment children enter our lives we have to start letting go. We have to let someone else hold them, feed them, care for them. We have to let them find friends, walk into school, have a sleep-over and a date. It is our job to let them go and be the best they can be. But never in all our planning and hoping and dreaming do most have to think about letting them die.
Of course it could be worse, they could become Republican Dawgs or Democratic Cougs.