I’m sitting at the Ronald McDonald House in NYC watching the rain hit the window of our room. The drops hit with great forcefulness and then slide down gently until they land God knows where. It reminds me of “old school” cartoons where the antagonist is chasing the protagonist, hits something hard – like a wall or an anvil – and then slowly slides down like the bellows of an accordion. I know, I know… my mental illness is showing. 🙂
I am generally soothed by the rain but, unfortunately, there is no calming effect with this particular storm. What do I have to be stressed about, you might ask? Oh, only the fact that the next few days are filled with tests to ensure that Ben’s cancer hasn’t returned. And after scans, there’s a whole week of horrible, awful, ridiculously painful antibody therapy. Ben is stressed, too, so we’re geeking out on our respective electronic devices to pass the time.
We just arrived in NYC today. I didn’t sleep very well last night so I’m thinking (hoping) we’ll crash early. Ben requested pizza for dinner so I ordered online and walked in the rain to pick it up. Upon my return, I was smacked with a reminder that we’ve lost several little friends since I was last here just a couple of months ago. I fought back the tears of knowing these sweet little children wouldn’t be eating in the communal dining area or running up and down the halls or playing in the newly remodeled playroom. Their parents will never kiss their sweet faces again. Or hold their precious hand. Or smooth what hair they might have left. The parents are left – depending on what they believe comes after this life – with the understanding that they are no longer the one comforting their child. The precious life they watched come into this world has drifted out.
And if that wasn’t enough, there’s more loss to it than losing their child. Now the family has to move on. A few of the families were living here at the Ronald McDonald House permanently. One family had sold their house in Florida to live here in NYC – all to care for their cancer-stricken child. Now that their child is gone they are faced with finding alternative housing. They lose their day-to-day support system of hospital staff, RMH families and their children… it’s such a tremendous loss. I feel completely helpless.
Because you WANT to celebrate that your child is doing well. That your child’s therapy seems to be working. And there’s that bit of guilt revolving around the fact that their child didn’t have the same outcome. This is a tough group to belong to. We love each other fiercely. We become each other’s family. We cry despondently when one of the kiddos succumbs. And lately, there’s been too many who have died.
So, I’m sitting here, watching the rain and mourning the children who have recently left this earth. I hope they are somewhere wonderful, watching over their loved ones and knowing that they were severely loved during their all-too-brief time on this planet. And that this sort of love will never succumb to anything like cancer. This love is strong and beautiful.
Just like they were.