“They never knew how much a broken heart can break the sound and change the seasons. Now the leaves are falling faster, I believe in ever after. You gave me hope through your endeavors, now you will live forever.”
Yesterday was great, spending the day with friends. But then it all comes crashing down when I read the message on my phone this morning, and saw the posts. Now my heart spills out in an agony of tears. One bright star, smiling through the impossible cancer she faced. The star has moved on, but her light would not fade.
This is the second playmate that we have lost in the last year. My daughter, young as she is, won’t remember, and it doesn’t impact her life in any way.
But I remember.
I remember being at the Ronald McDonald House during our time in Seattle, talking with the other moms and sharing treatment stories, hardships, the progress we’d made – sharing in the collective burden of having a child with serious medical needs.
I remember coming together for the communal dinners supplied by volunteer groups, joining in the activities that were always provided. We shared about which group’s cooking we liked better, and about the difficulties in getting our kids to eat. I remember that as we got further into our own chemo treatment, my little girl would only eat chicken nuggets and, toward the end, nothing at all.
We rejoiced when one of our group got the okay to go home, whether it was just for a few days’ leave or they were done with treatment and leaving for good. There was one family who’d spent two years at Ronald McDonald, never even going home once for a visit. They finally got clearance to go home permanently, and we all cried. They were the longest running visitors at the Ron Don house.
There was a park nearby, where I sometimes took my little girl. Technically, because of her immune system, she wasn’t supposed to go to public places like that, but sometimes the little bit of joy it brought her was worth it. She loved the swings. Sometimes, a Ron Don family would join us. A few times, it was a dear little girl, six years old, who was Lanae’s friend.
That same little girl passed away last year – went home after treatment, and was back in Seattle in a month.
We’ve lost others, as well. And with the news of each one, I am reminded of the ferocity of the beast called cancer, and I feel a stir of fury and heartbreak, and I can’t help but feel the burden of the world. I look at my daughter, so strong and healthy, and I feel sad that she won’t remember these friends that she so loved to play with.
But I remember. I remember the laughter they shared, the shared struggles we faced. And I’ll keep that memory in my heart, along with so many others.
Izzy, you were a bright spot in a dark world. I’ll never forget it.