Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Four Score and Seven Years Ago...

So today I went to Finn's CaringBridge page for the first time in...I don't know how long. Actually, I posted there on Finn's birthday in 2009, but I don't think I've been there since. I go there so infrequently now that I always stumble around and try to remember how to log in.

It's weird. How could I forget something that I knew so well? Just like I thought I'd never forget the phone numbers to the clinic that were burned into my memory or the phone number to the pharmacy.

Does time heal all wounds? Or do they just scab over? I'm feeling a little itchy at the moment.

Yesterday I got a phone call from the nurse at Finn's Denver oncology clinic. Another heartrending pediatric cancer diagnosis for a family in a town near ours and would I be willing to talk to the family? Of course!

There were a few things that brought me comfort at the worst times when Finn was sick: one was being able to communicate with so many of you via CaringBridge and hear your messages of support, and the second was the group of "cancer moms" who I became friends with who answered questions and who knew for real what was going on in our house.

It's hard. When I talked to the mom today, I could hear and feel the emotion in her voice. I could feel all of those emotions welling up in me: the fear, the helplessness, the unknown.

There are so few times in our lives that we can say we've walked in that person's shoes. This is one of them. It's an experience I would have preferred not to have had--for my child not to have had---but I will use it and if it can help someone else, I'm OK with that. More than OK.

I have often wondered if Finn's diagnosis was a message to me. And if it was, what am I supposed to do with it? I remember writing long ago that I wished messages wouldn't be sent through my children! Use me. Take me. Let it be be.

But we don't get to decide that.

Which, as a control freak, annoys me to no end.

But I digress.

Listening to this family's story, there is worry and fear, of course, but there are also parts that make me smile remembering our own situation--the family and friends who are rallying around them, bringing them food (I warned them to steer clear of the desserts lest they suffer my fate and gain 20 lbs. on the donated food!), running races, shaving heads, sending notes and cards, the prayers, the love, the positive energy.

So I guess as much as I'm thinking of this new family and Finn's journey today, I'm also thinking of all of you and how you made it all bearable for us.

I hope I can help someone like you did.


Leeann said...

Aww. I will always remember Finn's Caringbridge page. That precious boy with the hat holding the steering wheel with a big grin. What a doll baby.

I'm sorry to hear of any family going through a child's cancer but really glad that you are able to be there for them to talk to.. and for them to see the strapping boy that Finn has become.

Kristie said...

Since we moved here to OK, and Kendrie does nothing more than her yearly check ups at the oncology clinic here, no one there knows us, or knows our names. Its an odd feeling, like you said, that something that at one time completely and totally dominated our life is now a mere blip on a single day in December. I keep waiting for the day I get notice CB has shut down our site for non-use .... not sure if I will be happy or sad about that.

Professor Sepoc (Jane) said...

Natalie, both you and Kristie helped me get through my own detour into leukemia land in 2003 and 2004. It's so "rear-view mirror" by now that I didn't realize until recently that I've lost my medical ID bracelet! Time helps us all. Jane

Anonymous said...

I will be praying for this family. Thank you, Natalie, for being a sounding board for the mom.

I certainly remember those who listened to me and I will be forever grateful that I could offer some advice and an ear to others.



Lucinda said...

What a blessing you are for this mom who is starting her journey.

Send her to your CaringBridge site so she can read some of your posts. Good, bad, or ugly, you tell it like it is and that's the best thing to hear, even if it's something you're not ready for.

Beth said...

Your Caringbridge page definitely had an impact on me. I doubt I'd be blogging if I hadn't followed Finn's journey.
And, unfortunately and blessedly, you prepared me for my current role as a #1 helper for Lois' family.
Childhood cancer is a club to which nobody wants to join, but it's the club part that softens the sorrow just the smallest bit.

1dreamr said...

You're both truly blessed; she to have you, someone who can speak from experience and with sincere understanding... and you, to have her, to know that out of Finn's journey, you're able to help another mom in her moment of need...

Lisa said...

Your entry brought back such vivid memories for me, Natalie! I remember checking on you and Finn every evening before I would go to bed. You made me laugh and you made me cry. You have many gifts! I am glad that you will be able to comfort another family. I am grateful that you can put the cancer chapter of your life behind you!

Don S said...

Natalie, I think many of your friends felt as I do, that reading Finn's Caringbridge blog every day or so connected us with his and your pain, joy and hope. Your eloquent words and profound humor was priceless.
You know I keep saying that you should write a book of of his blogs, so you can help those who need the comfort you gave the Mother in your article.
When Finn was diagnosed, what would you have given for a book of your blog stories?
And it would pay for college and your nursing home room also.
I know I sound like a broken record, but your gift should be shared...