Tuesday, May 5, 2015

It is finished. My father’s life on earth is complete and I miss him more than words can describe. And yet somehow the sadness surrounding me feels like a natural response to death. It’s a different sadness than the one I have come to know.

My father’s passing has touched me deeply and I want him here next to me. But, if I look back on my father’s 90 full years of living and loving; I am confident his purpose on this earth was fulfilled. My father’s death at a ripe old age is a desired outcome, when it comes to dying. Death at a ripe old age is somehow what we hope for, what we expect.

What is not expected is childhood cancer. It disrupts the seasons of life; you are born, you live with your family, go to school, get married, have children, grow old, play with your own grandchildren and then God calls you home. Childhood cancer disrupts that order and a smart mamma like me knows it and my heart aches for the seasons of life my sons’ should have had.

I have a lingering sadness that has stayed with me every day since October 10, 1987, the day Jason was diagnosed with T-Cell Leukemia.

The sadness is what I am used to and throughout the day I try to live in the present moment. I do smile and I can find little pieces of Joy. I  push forward in my silent suffering, day by day, with hope, faith and much love in my heart. But, it’s mostly sadness that I carry in my heart and soul. It haunts my dreams with scenes of Jason dying, or relapsing to T-Cell Leukemia, it creeps into my days with flashbacks of the chemo and radiation days, or the fire burning the tissues of my sons face, chest and abdomen.

I have been told my symptoms are Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Diagnosis is good for labelling things, but the pain remains the same. No matter how many psychologists, psychiatrists, treatments or medications I grab on to for help, every morning I wake up with a deep pain in my heart. Other people’s advice or opinions do not change what I have felt and seen as a mother. I am 57, just one month shy of 58 years old and I tell you with certainty childhood cancer disrupted the seasons of my life.

copyright Sheila Ethier 2015