Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
Thank you Lord for ending my wait…
~Grieving Mothers Prayer~
Cancer is horrible. Nothing about it is pretty or fun. For most people it is outpatient treatments every 21 days. When you first think or hear the word cancer you have an idea that pops into your head as to what things will be like. It never ever crossed my mind that Heather would have to be put into the hospital every 21 days for inpatient treatments.
Nine different times I packed my things and helped Heather pack hers to get ready for her trip to the hospital. I made sure we had nearly everything we needed. Of course the fortunate part with us was the house was only about 3 miles up the street from the hospital. If something else was needed, wanted or forgotten it could easily be brought or picked up.
Nine different times I made sure the house was all in order when I left. All the pets had all their needs and cages cleaned out. I made sure errands were done and food was ready. I tried to make Heather and my leaving as painless as possible for Bill and Jenn. Despite my best efforts this was not an easy time for the ones we left at home.
Nine different times I packed my air mattress and bedding. I stayed the nights with Heather so she was never alone. The night time was when the biggest fears came. Most of the nights I would lay in Heather’s hospital bed and hold her as she cried or fell asleep.
As I am less than 24 hours from my own surgery my thoughts are going crazy today. While I do have my own anxiety and just want this to be done and back on the road to recovery, my mind cannot help but think of Heather. How at age 20 did she endure all the things that she did? For her, eight different times she had to think ok tomorrow I go into the hospital and they will pump me full of toxic chemicals and I am gonna feel like crap. Eight different times she had to scared and worried even though it was becoming a routine. Eight different times the thoughts of what comes next, is there really anything else that can happen?
I felt horrible as I forced Heather to get things done and get into the car to go to the hospital. It was my job and she hated to go and I hated to make her go. She may have been 20 but she was 8 years old being forced to do something that is horrible. That was my job as her mom. I say that Heather only worried eight different times because she was so sick on the ninth one she didn’t realize really what was happening. The ninth time I did not get to bring her home.
As much as I know my surgery is different and I am doing this to myself, I can’t help but think I have nothing compared to what Heather endured. My thoughts are not really about me today as much as they are about Heather and her brave, amazing way she faced the most difficult challenge in her lifetime. I hope I can follow in her brave footsteps and make her proud of me as I head into surgery tomorrow.