This post is #31 in a year-long series ... Through this series of posts I plan to share our family's experiences during our 17-year-old daughter's year-long battle with brain cancer, which began in February of 2008. My desire is to process through the events of that year from the perspective that a decade of time has brought ... for myself, really. But if you'd like to follow along, you're welcome to join me.
The weekend was uneventful ... a nice break from radiation treatments. We would be returning to the hematology/oncology clinic at Arkansas Children's Hospital on Monday, where we would learn the details of the oral chemotherapy drug Hannah would be starting. We seemed to be settling pretty easily into the lifestyle of a pediatric cancer family.
A few months after Hannah went to Heaven, I ran across the following prayer on another child's CaringBridge website. It so perfectly captures the desire of our hearts at that time ... and still.
A Cancer Prayer
by Stephen R. Chance
Dear God, We have prayed often for you to rid our child's body of cancer and never let it come back. We have prayed often for you to spare his body the harsh effects of the treatments he must endure. We have prayed for mercy and strength. But we have not yet prayed for the things about cancer we would like to keep.
Please let us keep the love that has been laid bare and that binds our family, our friends, and our community.
Please let us keep our preference to be together.
Please let us keep our appreciation for simple pleasures.
Please let us keep our ability to not sweat the small stuff.
Please let us keep our tolerance for each other's mistakes.
Please let us keep our focus on each other's needs.
Please let us keep our patient smiles responsive to normal childhood conflicts rather than the irritation that could so easily ensue.
Please let us keep our tendency to treat others tenderly knowing that we don't know all the heartbreaks they have felt.
Please let us keep the ease with which new acquaintances become good friends.
Please let us keep our enhanced appreciation for nature.
Please let us keep our motivation to live vigorously now rather than planning to live later.
Please let us keep our calling to help others fight cancer with better weapons and smarter generals.
Please let us keep our need to reciprocate the wonderfully kind favors we have received.
Please let us keep the strength to press on when faced with other illnesses, deaths, and human tragedies.
Please let us keep You at the center of our lives during good times, too.