Tuesday, August 13, 2013

It Happened

Nothing special or weird happened that day.  No doctor's visits or lab results, just a plain old Friday.

And then it happened. Ben came in, looked us straight in the eyes and said, "I don't want to die." 

You could have knocked either one of us over with a feather. I couldn't even meet Mike's eyes for fear that I would shatter into a thousand pieces and scatter across the living room floor.

I asked our baby boy why he said that. He replied, "Because when you get really really old you die. And I feel like I am really really old." 

I spent the next few minutes telling him that he will live another 100 years before he is old. His body feels old because it’s tired from cancer, but the cancer will go away and his body will get strong again.  Gratefully, he agreed and bounced out of the room giggling and chattering about Scooby Doo.

I feel like a loss of... Innocence, perhaps? Like I was one person before that moment, and an entirely different person after that moment.  We knew that conversation was coming.  We were prepared, but you’re never ready.  Death is too real to our young family.  Death is something most kids think of in the abstract. Occasionally a pet dies, or even a relative, and you talk it over with your kids. Tell the little concrete thinkers about heaven and angels with halos.  No one should have to talk to their child about their own, very possible and very real, death.

Mike and I agree that today is the worst non-treatment day we’ve had.  Ben should have started Pre-K this morning. He should have chosen a cool backpack and new pencil case. He should have made his special first-day-of-school breakfast menu requests.  He should be headed to Wayside with his big brother. I should have picked out his clothes and packed his lunch. He should be with his friends from Kids First. But cancer took that away from him, from all of us.

Mike held back tears when he told me that as he watched Ethan skip into the school building, it felt so wrong. He should be walking his little brother to class and reassuring him of how fun it will be. 

It’s all just so wrong.
Little ones just shouldn't get cancer.

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