1st. There are the moms that are with their child 24 seven deep in the heat of battle. They need coffee, a hungry listener and some someone to tell them it might be okay. They need someone to nod at the right time and agree with them when they question their decisions. They need to feel like there were decisions they had a hand in making. Radiation, high dose Chemotherapy, surgery, another pint of red blood cells. They have weird and often irrational outbursts. I still feel bad about the guy just trying to take my order for a hamburger. How could he know. How could he know his little bit of push back was enough to make me a suicidal murder. Again sorry about that. These moms cling to hope like it is oxygen. Often their child still has hair.
2nd: They are me. We have been in Cancer World so long we don't even know how not to be there. Our DNA has been changed in such a way that we can walk through a crowd and find the other Cancer Moms. Sort of like the Aliens finding each other in some horror movie. We are a bit jaded. We have hope. We live with hope. We know hope is not enough. We have seen kids die, kids relapse, and suffer in so many ways we can often be numb. We have nightmares and little tolerance for lots of nonsense. Really you are worried your child did not get into Harvard. you have a child that is still fertile, did not loose 20 points of IQ because of Radiation and does not face guaranteed secondary cancer. Quit being such self-centered whiners. We too take off the heads of baristas on days it all comes crashing in on us. We have some protective walls but they are thin.
3rd: Mom's that loss their kids to this horrid disease. The rest of us are afraid of them because they have gone around a corner we don't think we can even imagine. We know we don't understand their pain and their ultimate despair. We walked 24 miles of the ultra marathon but stopped before the climb into the Himalayas. There is so much we don't understand about loosing a child but we often re-coil in horror from their pain. We have to stay in touch, we have to listen, we have to respect the boundaries they set about conversation. We have to keep trying to figure out a way to help. It is not easy but their anger and sadness needs a home, a place to rest and be healed.
4th: Oh, these are the worst. They are closer to the 3rd group with some 2nd thrown in the mix. They have become the 1st group all over again because they are running out of options. Things are not going well, Cancer is winning but not clearly. Maybe it will be okay, maybe they are going on alone up the mountain. It is hard to say. They face such horrid things. Surgery, lungs being taken out, new transplants, unknown never used drugs on small bodies. It is not a good place to be.
We are all just moms. We do the best we can. We handle what comes our way. We look to each other for help and support and some understanding. We suffer together, we find joy in things like bald heads.
In no way does this club discount the help and support for those not in Cancer World. None of us would escape with our lives without their support.
Just thinking about some of my favorite friends that in the midst of their struggles. Will try and check in this week-end. I am going to make some Pumpkin bread, because sometimes that is all you can do. Especially since not everyone loves my brussel sprouts.