|Photo credit: digitalsadhu on Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC|
March 11, 2008
On the eleventh of March, we found ourselves still processing the appointment we'd had with Hannah's radiation oncologist the day before. Just a few of my thoughts from the perspective of a decade later ...
I cannot imagine what it would be like to lose a child suddenly, in some sort of tragic accident. Through our involvement with the While We're Waiting ministry we've encountered so many parents who have lost children in a single moment in time ... a lightning strike, a drowning, a car accident, a heart attack ... the list is practically endless. No opportunity to say good-bye, no chance to tie up loose ends, no last words of love or reassurance. Just an incredible, earth-shattering shock when one you love so much is suddenly gone from your life. I must say that I am grateful that God did not call me to walk that road.
It seems to me that losing a child to cancer or another type of illness or disease must be a very different experience. Rather than one enormous earthquake, cancer consists of a series of tremors of different intensities. In our case, there was the initial shock of discovering the brain tumor, the shock of the cancer diagnosis, the shock of hearing the devastating list of treatment side effects, the shock of seeing our child wearing a radiation mask and bolted to a table, the shock of the cancer's return, the shock of seeing our child bald, the shock of watching chemo drugs drip into our child's veins, the shock of each worsening MRI, the shock of hearing the doctor say there is nothing else they can do medically, the shock of entering hospice care, and the final shock of our child's death. Even though you reach a point where death is expected without a miraculous intervention from God, there is still a period of shock.
You know the feeling you have when you've been punched in the stomach? That is the feeling I had the entire time Hannah was sick. Our belief that God was in complete control of the situation, and our knowledge that He truly is good all the time sustained us and gave us an unexplainable, deep-down peace, but to be fully honest, I have to acknowledge that my feelings did not always line up with my beliefs. And I think that's okay...God created us with feelings and emotions and I believe He understands that human part of us, because He was human, too.
"For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps." I Peter 2:21