Location: Palm Beach County, Florida, United States

Recently have been told I look like Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island. I hadn't heard that in years, but that is a good place to start as to what I look like, although she had a better bod. I have three boys and have been married for 13 years. Born of a Navy family, in Hawaii, one Mom, one Dad, one sister and one brother. The eldest of three children. BS in Applied Mathematics. Consider Pensacola my home town although I moved every 2-3 years of my life growing up. Currently work in the aerospace industry in an engineering position while being a Mom. Of Celtic heritage and very proud of it.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Sadness and Sorrow

Warning: This is not a happy Posting.

I am not one to cry, but some things are just too sad not to.

There is a little girl in Son #1’s class who had an older brother. The brother was diagnosed with brain cancer, at the age of 11, probably in October, if I recall. He had had a type of brain cancer when he was 5 that rendered him blind and after they operated the surgeons told the family that radiation therapy was the best chance, but to keep in mind that brain tumors were a side effect later in life. Later to the Mother meant 20-30 years, not 6. But it was not to be, that this child would stay well, and five years later it was back, and with a vengeance.

I do not know these people well. I’ve spoken to the Mother once. But it came home to all of us that they needed people to take dinners to the family and going to a small Catholic school, this is what we do; we pull in and support each other. My day to take dinner there was the last day of school before Christmas break.

I arrived at their home, in the morning as I knew they would be traveling back and forth to Miami for his treatments, in the afternoon. As long as he wasn’t uncomfortable or in pain, they were doing treatment to prolong his life. Miami is an hour and half hellish drive. They were making it every day. When I pulled into their drive, an older daughter and friend were sitting on the front lawn waiting for me. Their mother was sleeping, trying to catch any sleep she could, between having a new baby and a son dying of brain cancer. The house was decorated for Christmas. There was great effort to keep life normal. It was Christmas, a time to be happy and joyful and celebrate. I left there feeling empty and sad. A sadness that gripped my heart for days.

My parents came for Christmas and arrived on that day. I hadn’t spoken of what I had seen to anyone until dinner. What is it when you’re with your parents that things just pour out? And it did and I found myself choking up as I talked about this family and this child dying and how horrible it was and how blessed I am. My parents listened and I could tell were equally saddened by my description of the events.

Today I read that the little boy died. I won’t go to the funeral. I don’t know what to say and "I'm Sorry" to someone who barely even knows my face, seems so hollow and shallow. As I said, I only spoke to her once and that was over two years ago. I am a nameless face. I will make a donation in his name. But attend, I cannot. The death of a child is the most horrific of all horrors. I consider myself a strong person, but today, I think, not strong enough.


Blogger Harvey said...

I never know what to say around sad times, injuries & funerals. Words always seem so useless.

Most of the time now, I just say "If there's anything I can do for you, let me know" and then change the subject. I figure that way the person has blanket permission to bring it up again if they want, and I have the opportunity to try to take their mind off their problems by discussing other things.

It's still a crappy situation, though.

9:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Harvey...understand your hesitance to say anything, yet your thoughtfulness wants to reach out. Over the years I've learned people will not ask for help. Believe it or not a pan of unexpected brownies, going out for a beer or just a phone call means more when it is given without asking. Especially if it is two or more months later when everyone else has picked up their lives as if nothing has changed. The world has stopped for the bereaved. With the loss of a child it often takes seven years for the pain to lessen, but the scar remains.

9:05 PM  

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