Stacey: “I’ll tuck you in, if you hurry to bed, David.”
David: “Okay – thanks, Mom.”
He hurried. The fireworks boomed in the background. He was not distracted. David loves, loves, loves to be tucked in at night. No matter that he is now 13 and much taller than me, he still loves to be cuddled.
David: “I’m ready, Mom.”
I gave him a big hug. He wouldn’t let go. He just held onto me.
Stacey: “Oh, David. I love you, my boy.”
David: “I love you too, Mom. So much.”
And with that he broke down and sobbed.
Stacey: “Oh, my. What’s wrong? Are you okay?”
David: “You don’t deserve this, Mom. You don’t deserve cancer. You are such a good person, why did this happen to you?”
I gasped inside my head. What to say? I searched for words.
Stacey: “David, there are so many people who have such worse things. We have to be assured that the Good Lord only gives us that which He thinks we can handle. You are sweet to think that – but really, it’s okay. We’ll get through this. We are strong.”
David sobbed again.
David: “I don’t … I don’t want to… I don’t want you to…”
I knew what he wanted to say. Do I articulate the words for him? Do I account for the elephant in the room? I did.
Stacey: “You don’t want me to die?”
Again, sobs. He grabbed my neck once more. And sobbed.
David: “Yes. I don’t want to lose you, Mom.”
(What to say, what to say, what to say? )
The battle against cancer is not just about me. It is about my family. It is the fear of loss. It is the courage of warriors. It is the grit of dirt farmers. (those of you who know me will know what that means) It is the strength to face an uncertain future.
Stacey: “David, none of us know when it is our time. I’m not ready to go yet. I’m fighting. There is so much hope for me – for us right now. I am in treatment so that I won’t leave you. When it is our time, though, there will be a reason. You have to have faith that I am meant to be here going through this for some reason. I believe that it has made us stronger. Don’t you? We need to live each day as it comes and be grateful for every day. I am so very lucky to have this family – to have you. You were one of God’s very precious gifts to me – as were Ben, Katya, and of course your Dad. I have been very lucky.”
Stacey: “You need to think positively. It is okay to be sad. (I heard that from my readers yesterday) It is okay to cry. But, we have each other. I am too “badass” (I read from one of my readers yesterday) to let cancer get me yet. This coming week, I’m gonna whoop it’s butt one more time – I have chemo on Thursday.
David: “I know.”
And with that, he gave me another hug.
David: “I just love you so much, Mom.”
And in walked Kevin.
Kevin: “What’s wrong?”
Stacey: “David is upset that he thinks he will lose me. So, I explained to him I was too mean to die yet. And that we need to have faith. Medicine is wonderful. Faith is wonderful. We have each other. I’m not going anywhere. Not yet. I want to have grandchildren and live to be a ripe old age to be their favorite Nanna!”
Kevin talked to David in the same manner as I had. I listened to my words come out of his mouth. Then, the three of us lay together for awhile. We just hugged. We were quiet. David had calmed down.
Stacey: “It is time for me to go to bed, David. Spukuna – noche. (Russian for good night)
David: “Wyeestyana, Spukuna noche.” (Indeed, good – night)
Stacey: I love you David. I’ll see you in the morning. Sweet dreams.
One more hug and I was on my way, leaving Kevin and David to be together.
I fucking hate cancer. I hate that it makes my family have to face these sorts of fears. I hate seeing David sad and worry that his Mom won’t be around for him. I remember how hard it was to lose my own parents – and I was old. I hate the prospect of David not having a Mom at a young age – or Katya – or Ben.
And so – I will fight. I will fight tooth and nail. I cannot do this to them. I cannot leave. Surely God understands… I have children to raise.