Last week, I wrote about visiting our four sweet friends that were all inpatient at Children’s. We used that as an opportunity to visit the hospital together for the first time since Sophie died. (It’s still SO weird to write that word.) I have an update on two of our friends and they are VASTLY different updates. One of them is full of joy and celebration and the other is buried in grief and loss. These two stories, along with my own current story, and a pretty difficult bible study week on suffering have made for a very hard yet, thought provoking week for me.
On Sunday, February 18th, our friend Kaylynn took her last breath in her mother’s arms. She has been terminal since October but, she’s been very stable recently so her sudden passing was a shock to her family. My heart shattered when my sweet friend text me that she was gone. I wanted to jump through the phone and grab her and hold her tight. I also was struck with very weird emotions. I was obviously just crushed that my friend has to feel what I feel. That she has to have the image of holding her child as she died and all of the horrible things that the hours afterward contain. Those are memories that NO ONE should have to endure. At the same time though, I was slightly and very selfishly relieved because now, I’m not ‘alone’. That’s not something that I’m proud of thinking….obviously I would NEVER wish losing a child on anyone. But I’ve vowed to be completely transparent throughout the last 9 months and this is part of that transparency-being broken for my friend but finding small comfort in someone else knowing how I feel. I shared last week that I felt a huge pull to become Lindsey’s friend and now I fully believe we were meant to become friends to walk this very long and hard road together. That makes me thankful. Not thankful that our sweet girls had to suffer and leave us way too soon but, thankful that we have each other to lean on.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
The Word of God has been such a comfort to me in the last 9 months but, especially in the past 7 weeks and it calls me to comfort others.
It has been so hard this week to relive Sophie’s death and the days after as I try to comfort my friend but, having friends that walked this road before me was such a blessing, I can’t sit by and not try to help another mom. Because of my tragedy it has given me a greater sense of oneness with others who experience tragedy in any form but, especially in the loss of their child. Granted, it’s only been 7 weeks and I am definitely not ‘doing grief right’ every day but, I can feel for them in a very unique way that most if not all of their friends just cannot feel. (PS-Just to clarify there is no right or wrong way to do grief.)
Yesterday, there was a light shining on this dark and rainy week in the form of another of our friends. Abigail went back to the hospital for a post-op check up after her lung biopsy last Thursday. They were absolutely SHOCKED to find out that she is NED (no evidence of disease) and was receiving her LAST CHEMO EVER yesterday! Our sweet friends were floored! Not only is their baby cancer free but, she is finishing treatment only 6 months in…way sooner than they ever anticipated! My heart was completely bursting with joy for them! I wanted to get in the car and drive to Dallas and jump up and down and cry with them! I still might just show up at their house for my own impromptu party so, Jessica get ready ha! My immediate response was oh Thank you Father for this gift but then, again, the selfishness reared its ugly head with jealousy in the midst of my joy. SO incredibly thrilled for my friends but, so very jealous of their good news and so sad that we didn’t have the same outcome. But how sweet of the Lord to remind me that even in the middle of a hard week, He’s still so good and grief is not all there is for me. The light of my friends’ joy gets to shine into my darkness and speak life to me. How good He is to give me a friend that I can be completely honest with and say-I’m truly happy for you but so jealous and for her to say-in my joy I thought of you too. How GOOD He is to provide this kind of friendship for both of us to be so fully engrossed in our own different situations but also so aware of the other person too. It’s just incredible to me that I’d never have met these amazing people if it wasn’t for cancer. Good things can come even here.
That’s the Gospel at work. Creating beauty from ashes and shining light in the darkness. Finding hope where there seemingly is none and realizing that suffering isn’t forever. God doesn’t enjoy the suffering of His creation, nor does He cause that suffering. Our God heals (Jeremiah 30:17). He walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23). Even in eternity He wears the scars of Jesus’ suffering as a constant reminder that our suffering matters to Him. God did not cause it, but God will ultimately heal it. He calls us in so many different places in the Bible to FEAR NOT.
Now, all of that doesn’t answer the lingering question that’s on my heart after a roller coaster week like this one…Why do some kids have amazing outcomes and others (like mine) don’t? It’s a natural question that I’m sure every single person is thinking that’s reading this. I don’t have the answer but, I have the divine peace that helps me say… I’m ok not knowing. It doesn’t make my grief easier, it doesn’t bring Sophie or Kaylynn or any of the other lost ones back. It doesn’t cure cancer or make any of this make sense. But there’s comfort in eternity, there’s light in the darkness, there’s healing….. on earth as it is in heaven.
Please be praying for:
1. Kaylynn’s family as they celebrate her life this weekend and start the journey that no one wants to take.
2. Praise the Lord for the healing of Abigail and pray for continued health for her as she recovers and goes on to what’s next.
3. Continuing praying for Jase and Addie as they both are still inpatient at Children’s waiting for their immune systems to bounce back.
4. Pray for us as we grieve with Kaylynn’s family while a,so celebrating with other families. Pray that we can navigate ALL of the emotions that come with that.
5. Pray for our weekly counseling sessions that we started this week. We are hopeful that we will be able to talk through our grief and grow closer to each other.