I was watching the news this morning and saw an interview with the woman who was caught in a tornado last week. What is remarkable is she used her body to shield her 2 young children (6 & 8, I believe) as the tornado passed over her house. As her home was swept up into a pile of sticks around her, she held fast to her children. In the end, her children were saved by her shielding them. Her children were unharmed. Not a scratch…she lost a part of one leg and a foot.
During her interview she remarked about how instinct took over and said something along the lines of a mother would do anything to save her child. (For all you Dad’s out there, I know this is not a trait unique to women…gotta give props where props are due!) As I absorbed her statement, I was struck with an image that I have been wrangling with all day. We felt the same instinctual protective air rise around us when we learned about Declan’s cancer. This is where my image comes in. You have this intense need/want/desire/will (you get what I mean) to protect but as you go running towards your child to wrap them up in your protective arms; you run smack into a glass wall just inches from your child. You can’t reach them to help. You are helpless stranded on the sideline wanting to desperately to make it right but knowing you cannot.
It wasn’t just Declan either. It was Will, Brady and Cole. How to protect them from having to know this horror at such a tender age? How to give them hope so fear does not envelope them when they visit their brother, so they can be boys…brothers, together again if only for a few hours until it’s time to go.
It was a daily struggle to make decisions against your will to protect because in attempting to protect and save a life, the decisions were made against our instinct to protect. Please know I don’t mean we regret ANY decisions we made, we do not. What I mean is the world you are tossed into keeps you at arm’s length from the nature of instinctual protection…in order to protect, you have to harm or agree to treatment that has an incredible ability to hurt while it heals. The glass wall…SMACK!
There are so many levels of pain felt by a family dealing with childhood cancer. I was reminded today of what it’s like to have your instinctual ability to protect your children from harm pulled away from you by the biting and intensely strong winds of a the childhood cancer tornado. Each new bit of horrifying news, the treatments, the unexpected side effects, the crying you can’t fix…a piece of splintered wood, tearing at you as you attempt to protect your child from the unimaginable horror surrounding him. Hoping he will come out unscathed…knowing you will never quite be the same again, whether he does…or God forbid, doesn’t.