Sunday, November 7, 2010
I opened my email tonight, from T a short note "I just read on PBT that Emily passed away".
My heart sank.
When Stevie was diagnosed a joined a support group for parents that were caring for children who had brain tumors. It isn't a club anyone wants to belong to and when I first joined I could not believe I was a member really. I would sit there and cry feeling so sad for these families and all they and their children were forced to endure.
One night I reached out, it isn't easy for me to do that, I like to feel strong and in control even when I know I'm not. I would rather hug someone than to be hugged.
I remember going to the movies back then and there was a St.Judes spot they ran before the film. I cried, my sister felt terrible for me, I turned to her and said "I just don't know how these people do it" She reminded me that I was doing it and it hit me, "Oh my God we are one of those families, my kid has cancer, I am a cancer mom, this may not go well"
I made many friends on that list, what usually happens though is that when a child transitions to the next world that parent also transitions to the next part of their life and we lose track of them when they do. Then just as fast another parent posts, terrified, a million questions, needing someone to hold them up because they can't sleep or eat or figure out what to do next.
We were all falling apart but we somehow managed to hold each other together, I don't know how, love is a powerful thing.
I soon became a moderator and met two amazing people who remain in my heart to this day. They still keep this list running, making sure there is always someone to greet a new parent, they offer advice, resources and will call you at the hospital at two in the morning if they think you are melting down and Melt down I did.
When it was Stevie's turn to transition I left the list.
Teresa and Julie would not let me go. They kept me, held on to me and saved me. They were like a tag team without even knowing it. These two women who didn't even know my first name just an ID on a computer screen reached out and made sure that I knew I was loved and I was not alone.
Tulips arrived over and over I still have no idea how they found them. T made a book out of my posts, wrote me every morning and became my guardian angel. Julie wrote me posts, called me and kept me in a place that felt as normal as possible, kept me human. She made me laugh, she shared her life with me, she supported me with cards and flowers and little gifts that touched my heart.
It has been three years.
Julies daughter Emily has left for pink skies.
I want to wrap her in my friendship, give her back what she has given me. Tonight I will light a candle and say a prayer that Emily is being welcomed home by all the people who love her and have been waiting so long for her return. I will say a prayer for Julie and her breaking heart.
Julie my sweet friend I love you so, I am here...this is a new club, like the one before no one wants to belong to it, but once again we are bonded, strengthened and healed by the very thing that has broken us.
You are not alone, you are loved and your sweet girl has broken free from that cocoon and can finally spread her wings...her task here complete. They are everywhere my friend, everywhere.