Fighting the right fight

This morning there was no sleeping in for me.  The computer was calling me, knowing there were many kids that we are following who were expecting news and needing prayers.   Logging on I received many pieces of news.  Jack’s scans were clear and he is home after his relapse last year.  Jack is three and has fought cancer and been a survivor longer than he was a healthy little boy.  Today he is probably going to play with puppies and then play in the mud –because that is what healthy little boys do.  Kaiden is still a baby himself and he is fighting a brain ATRT.  He is also home and has been given a 9, on a scale where 10 is the best, for his recent results.  Oliver has been given the best news in months – another really young child fighting cancer.  Robert’s chemo is killing cancer cells and he is home and that is the best news for his family.  There are others, too many others, for whom the news is not as good.  We are praying for you Mikey.  There are also many for whom no news is the best news – and we are still praying for all of you and your families too.

Yesterday was a tough and terrible day, not the whole day just dinnertime.  It was like that when the kids were little.  Why is it such a tough time?  It should be the time when everyone comes back home after being away for one another and re-connects and rejoices in being together.  Yet it is often a time filled with frustration and exhaustion.  The day didn’t turn bad at dinnertime – it started with an innocent phone call to Kevin.  His voice – I could tell something was wrong.  He insisted that nothing was wrong, but I could hear it even before he knew it.  Yesterday, June 16th was another anniversary.  Two years ago on June 16th at 2:30 in the afternoon we took Catie to Hershey for the MRI that would reveal a tumor within her spinal column.  When I called Kevin it was 2:30.  Whether or not we consciously are aware of an anniversary or that there is something on the calendar that we are supposed to be doing or not our bodies do know.  Without giving this anniversary conscious recognition it seemed to affect us subconsciously.  This may not be a proven fact but I have seen the effects on all seven of us.

When Kevin hits the button to the garage door I desire him to come home to peace more than anything.  Yesterday there was no peace.  I was upset with each and every one of the kids for something that had occurred just seconds prior to Kevin’s arrival.  Why?   I am human.   I was tired.  I was thinking about two years ago?  Maybe.  Or it could be because like everyone else I see the fix – “I should have done this” – much more clearly in hindsight.

What is the fix?  This morning I realized what the fix was when I read Vinny’s journal.  Vinny has a very rare form of cancer.  Vinny was born with a rare condition and has had several other rare conditions throughout his young life.  Now Vinny was just placed on hospice – last week.  In his mother’s last update she wrote how she was doing research and thinks that the current condition that has the doctors stumped is actually something that is extremely rare in children.  So in the true fashion of what mothers do she started sending e-mails to doctors at 3am fighting for her son.  Vinny’s body also seems to be healing itself – he is still in discomfort and is not cured but he is no longer on hospice care either.  Why?  Because there is still hope and there is still someone fighting for Vinny and with the mother he has there always will be someone fighting for Vinny.

How does this relate?  As parents we think that our job is to raise our children and teach them about God or about whatever we think is important for them to know.  We expose them to things that interest them and we feed and nurture their talents.  We love them.   We pray for them and hopefully with them.  We try not to worry about them – but we all do.  And unless someone, even one of their friends, hurts them, we don’t fight for them.  They need us to fight for them.  That is a lesson that I lost when Catie died. 

When Catie was first sick I just wanted the pain to go away.  Then when we knew what the pain was, a tumor.  I just wanted to cut it out so that we could go back to being us – I love us, the eight of us.  Then when the tumor turned out to be cancer I just wanted to pray and believe and let God take care of healing her.  I waited and believed in a miracle.  I was so sure it was going to happen.  Miracles happen.  Jesus cured people.  The twelve cured in Jesus’ name.  All the saints performed miracles.  Let’s wait for ours.  That is what I wanted.  A miracle would give me back the life and the family that I love; the eight of us.  That was not God’s plan.  God’s plan was different.  I was not and am still not angry at God’s plan but accepting it is not easy.  Then again fighting with Catie was not easy either.  I learned a lot about myself.  I can do anything – even things that I still believe are beyond me or my desire to do.  I am a fighter –just ask Kevin.

Yesterday things fell apart at dinnertime because I fought the wrong fight.  The fab five need me to fight for them just like Catie did.  I need to fight the temptations to be upset and to be angry.  I need to fight the urge to do and to simply witness their growing up.  I need to fight the desire to correct and witness; letting the chips fall where they fall.  I need to fight for the new us and love the fab five where they are and how they are.   Knowing and trusting that God still meets me where I am.

Life doesn’t work the way that God’s works – with or without cancer.  The way faith works is a mystery – I will continue to try to figure out what God is trying to tell me.  In the end what I really need to do is accept what is.  Some of the things that I have learned to accept are that we did win our fight for Catie.  We won but not the way the world views winning.  Now we are living as a new us.  I will always love the old us.  I will always miss the old us.  I can imagine that one day the empty chair at our table will be filled and I hope for that day and pray for the person who will fill it.  Someday I will have the old us back – but in order to have that I need to fight for the fab five.

Today is a new day.  Pray with me that I fight the right fights or that I accept and see the gifts that are before me.

God is good, all the time, 

Christine, Kevin, Maggie, Max, Mia, Molly, M.E. and always Catie

2 Responses to “Fighting the right fight”

  1. Marthe Terry says:

    Courage. You all have it in a big way. God tests those he loves with Dark Nights because we are like gold tested in His fire, His Living Flame of Love–St. John of the Cross’s beautiful, mystical spirituality. Easy, NO WAY, but let go and lean on Him. You’ve been doing that and are doing it. What an exquisite witness to Him Who is good, all the time. Courage and Peace, Marthe

  2. Meg Selby says:

    You are loved by Kevin and the fab 5 and you love them. This is clear to all of us who have traveled this journey with you.

    As you said early in this posting — you’re human. Please don’t be too hard on yourself.