She could no longer pretend and she began to weep. And I wept, too.
You see, my friend, my across-the-street neighbor, had just put her 10-year old son on the school bus for what she knows will be his last "normal" day in a very long time. Because at 5 o'clock last night, the phone rang and she received the news she had dreaded for so long.
"It's come back."
Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), that is. He had fought the disease around age 4 and they had won the battle. He doesn't remember any of it because he was so young. But now?
"This time it will be different," she uttered through tear-filled eyes. "He doesn't know yet. We are going to tell him after school."
Just then, the bus made one final sweep past our cul-de-sac and she quickly blotted away tears, put on her happy face and waved at her children. My heart broke in two. It was such a momma-thing to do. I hurt for her and wished that I could somehow make her pain disappear.
For this family, life will not be normal for quite some time. This afternoon, they head to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital where they will have their daughter matched for possible bone marrow donation...a procedure that, while painful, could save her brother's life.
"I can't believe I might have to cause one of my childen so much pain to help save the other's life," she said. I thought to myself how hard that situation would be as a parent.
This family could use your prayers on a variety of levels:
- Bone marrow match from sister or another donor
- For Brendan, age 10, and how he will deal with this traumatic change in his life
- For Mikki and Jeff --they have struggled through a recent job transition and now the news of their child's illness returning
- For Haley, age 7, and her understanding of her brother's illness and her potential to help
We sat on the stoop for a while and, after more tears and a long hug, she turned to walk home...lost in a sea of obligations and details, oncologist appointments to make, work schedules to put on hold, school officials to inform and decisions to make on the best way to tell her children.
I turned to head back inside, more aware than ever how life can change on a dime.
Please keep them in your prayers. I'll keep you posted.