I have this theory which I not-so-brilliantly call the two thirds theory. It’s the idea that whenever I am two thirds of the way through something, I seem to reach my breaking point.
Whether it’s painting a room or helping my son through cancer treatment, two thirds of the way through, I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, and yet I’ve been going long enough that I’m starting to get exhausted.
That’s how I felt at the dawn of 2014 as I sat down to write about my son’s cancer.
And as we prepare for the much-anticipated end of treatment on June 5, 2015, I thought I would share this post with you once again.
It expresses in such raw honesty how I was feeling as I attempted to adjust to our new reality.
I hope you will enjoy I Still Can’t Believe It which originally appeared on Genuflected January 2, 2014.
“My son is fighting leukemia.” I still can’t believe those words are mine. Those are words that belong to someone else’s sad reality. Someone I feel bad for and simultaneously believe I will never be.
But now those are my words. Sometimes it’s hard to wrap my mind around it. Do you ever get used to saying something like that?
“My son is fighting leukemia.”
We started this battle at the dawn of 2012 with a baby who had just turned two. Now he is four, and he doesn’t look so much like a baby. When you look at him now, running around with an ornery sparkle in his eye and hair on his head, you would never know that he is two thirds of the way through one of the longest cancer treatments in existence.
You wouldn’t guess that he takes oral chemo every night, sometimes two kinds, and he goes to Omaha once a month for spinal taps and IV chemotherapy. He looks healthy, even healthy enough that some days you can forget for a moment. You can lie and tell yourself that those words aren’t your words, “My son is fighting leukemia.” But the truth is, they are.
Before bed tonight, out of the blue, Cooper told me, “Mom, if I die then I will be with Jesus in heaven, and I will still love you.” I blinked back tears. I’m glad he knows about Jesus. I wish he didn’t know about death.
But we talk about death in our family. I suppose that’s not normal; however, when you are praying for a friend’s baby and that baby dies of cancer, you talk about death. We don’t dwell on it, but it is a part of our life.
In our life, kids can die. In our life you raise money for cancer research, because you’ve seen the face of kids, like baby Knox, who needed more research.
So we won’t forget that those words are our words: “My son is fighting leukemia.” Although those words bring pain, they also bring strength. They bring the ability to talk about the hard things in life and focus on the true life that comes after this one.
Those words remind us that we are on a journey, however unwillingly – a priceless crash course in life. And that crash course has handed us countless hard-won lessons.
And those lessons we have learned amidst the suffering are the truest; the most filled with wisdom. That is why, when I feel them starting to slip through the sands of my memory like the face of a loved one who has passed, I sit there until I can remember what I don’t want to forget: what’s important; who’s really in control; the true good that lies in every person; God’s breathtaking ability to bless in the midst of sorrow; the understanding that my kids belong to Jesus, and through His mercy He is allowing me to take care of them for a little while.
So this year when I say our words – “My son is fighting leukemia.”- I’ll know what I’m actually saying. Life is hard, harder than I ever thought it could be, but it’s also more meaningful and rich with blessings than I ever dreamed possible.