Saving My Grace

It's a hospital phone call none of us want to make. My friend Heather made that call three years ago. In the conversation below, she's talking to her mother about her 3 year old daughter, Grace. Her husband David is out in the hallway, holding their 7 month old son, Jacob.

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I could barely speak the words, because to speak them to anyone outside of the hospital suddenly made the nightmare a wide-awake reality.

"So, you know how Gracie's been having a fever for several days now?"

"Yaaaah....?"

"Well, we had to bring her to the hospital last night..."

"Uh huh..."

"We took her to a doctor yesterday who called us back to tell us that she has no blood left---its called pancytopenia."

"OK...what causes that...?"

"So she's in surgery right now and they're checking to confirm that she has..."
Long silence. No, I can't speak it because it is not true. It cannot be true.

"Its OK honey, just tell me."

"They think she has leukemia ... blood cancer."

"No...no...no...Oh God, no..."

I could actually really cry to her because Gracie was elsewhere. I couldn't really cry up until now, because Gracie was scared enough. But now, with my mom on the other end of the line and Gracie out of the room and David walking Jacob out and about, I hunched over to the floor and sobbed so hard that I could likely be heard all the way to the nurses station. And mom matched me. And in between sobs of grief and disbelief she kept saying, "Oh honey I am so sorry..."

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Heather moved from that moment of truth into a long journey with childhood cancer. Her daughter Grace is now a survivor of luekemia. It's been one year since her last chemo and Grace is a brilliant little girl who is busting at the seams with words, and life. And Heather has a certain quiet wisdom and weighty gratitude about her. She has now started to document her life with cancer. And her insights are worth sharing.
















Heather's blog Saving My Grace ... and Jacob is a great resource and encouragment for parent's who are walking the same difficult path. However, her overall inspiration is readable for all moms who care about their kids. For example, I relate to this quote:

"We are left to grapple with uncertainty.

Whether we believe in karma, or God, or the butterfly effect, or random chaos, we are all left to deal with forces beyond our control. At some point, we must choose to either turn things over to something greater than ourselves, or go insane trying to control every, every aspect of our lives. And every, every aspect of our babies' lives.

There is True peace in turning things over---to any higher power---even random chaos. Because sometimes our vigilance and our research and our deepest longings to make things right just won't be enough to protect us.We need to do our best to make sure that the scissors are out of reach, and that we watch our babies in the bathtub and that we speak calmly and that we don't lash out in anger. But we have no idea if the next flu virus will hit before there is a vaccine, or if the drunk driver in the next lane will crash into us, or if cancer is hiding out in our body waiting to pounce---and the greatest tragedy would be to live our lives in fear of these things or to blame ourselves when they happen.

And when I can remember that the protection of my children is not always within my grasp, I can let go and find comfort."

Heather has credibility, and she's normal, and honest. So, I want to share her blog with you.
Take a minute and go browse 'Saving my Grace.' And if you know someone who is dealing with childhood cancer, pass her link along.

Heather just finished a series of posts about gratitude, and a letter to cancer. To get a big picture of Heather's family, and journey with Grace, go click on the subject "Childhood Cancer."

And, yes, I will be a witness, she does journey gracefully.



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