Wednesday, August 13, 2008

One Last Day of Normal

The warm blanket of a late summer morning greeted me as I peeked out the front door to see the big yellow bus pull up to the curb. That's when I saw her standing there, her brunette hair a little mussed and her expression slightly forced. Her two kids--boy, then girl--hopped on the bus as she bravely waved goodbye...smiling a smile that she hoped they wouldn't be able to discern as unauthentic. The bus slowly pulled off, she turned and found me waiting at the foot of my driveway with arms offering safety and comfort.

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.


Loretta Speaks said...

Her story just breaks my heart. I'll be praying!

T with Honey said...

I may have to sneak off to the bathroom because I just want to cry my eyes out. I will definitely be praying for the entire family!

Cindy-Still His Girl said...

Heartbreaking. Please keep us up to date! I have no doubt you landed where you are for now for a reason. You'll be such a blessing to her.

Praying right now.

Anonymous said...

Oh how I hope his sister is a perfect match. If not, the bone marrow registry is getting to be pretty large so hopefully a match will be found. My friend's husband just went the donor procedure about a month ago. He was only gone from work for a day. I added myself to the bone marrow registry a few years ago after another friend's child was searching for a bone marrow donor.

Brendan and his family will be in my prayers.


christine said...

I echo the comments above and have already begun praying. Sometimes I find myself begging God for a glimpse into the future because in my mind I think it would make my current situation/decisions easier. It is times like this when I am reminded it would not, and am so thankful that God, like this wise mom, does not answer those prayers and protects me from the knowledge of future crisis. Have you heard Louie's talk on Hope? If not, please get it and perhaps you can share it with this couple.

Sincerely Anna said...

Wow, that is such a difficult weight to carry. I appreciate you sharing how to pray specifically for them and I will do so right now.

MiaKatia said...

Oh this really does make my heart ache. This family will without a doubt be in my prayers.

Alice Wills Gold said...

Tell Mikki that a mother in Knoxville cried along with her today.

And that she is my hero.

God bless their little family. They will be in my heart and prayers and hopes for a cure.