Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Reality and Hope

Today big sassy is sad. There is a little 4 year old sassy girl at her school who has cancer. She is so upset and confused. She doesn't understand why someone so little has something so bad. She keeps saying "she didn't even smoke one time and now she has cancer."
How, how, HOW on earth do I explain to my daughter that life is not fair, that just when we think we have it figured out something like this pops into your life and proves you wrong. That some sweet, sassy, innocent little girl is suffering something so big and scary is heartbreaking no matter what her age. Her parents are heart broken, her big sassy sister is heart broken and who can imagine what that brave little girl is thinking as she falls asleep every night.
I explain to big sassy about chemo and radiation, about iv's and needles I explain that her hair might fall out and that her skin will hurt from all the drugs. I tell her in the simplest plainest terms that I can the unfairness of life and the pure rawness that is cancer. Something that breaks you open and tears you apart, like humpty dumpty, with everyone running around trying to put you together again. We talk about cells, that they are like legos and how cancer is the bad cells and how the medicine that saves you can make you so sick. And she is so sad, what must my poor little sassy think in her silence as she absorbs the cruelness of the world.
There is a benefit supper, a raffle, there is a walk to give hope and all to help raise money because putting this poor little sassy girl together again is a never ending flow of money. Its hours in the car to the hospital that is hundreds of miles away, its needles, medicine and prayers. Its the brief glimpse of hope and the heartbreak of losing that hope.
 All of this while trying to remember to spend every second, every moment with your little sassy, denying death, refusing to let it in. Knowing in your heart that it is still possible, that this little girl is a gift to her parents, to her sister, to her community.
Sassy wants to hug her, she wants to go take this girl for a walk to the park and give her cookies. I explain how this is not possible that she is too ill for all of that. So now big sassy is making bracelets, beading her heart away on little stretchy stings and praying to God that he help this little girl. She wants to sell all the bracelets and necklaces and donate all the money, she wants to walk, she wants to put her toys into the raffle.
I look at her and I am proud, I am brought to my knees with her honesty, with the love she has for someone she has never met. I am honored to have a daughter who looks at someone else's pain and wants to do anything she can to fix it, to make them forget it, at least for a moment.
I cannot wait to walk the hope walk with her, to help teach sassy that while there is unfairness in this world, that there are good people out there. People like her who make a difference, no matter how small, no matter how insignificant it seems at the time there are truly good, amazing people in the world who help to make all of us feel better. I want her to know to stand up for what she feels is right and to fight against what she knows to be wrong.
Cancer might not have been the lesson I thought I was teaching sassy about this week yet somehow I feel so blessed to be able to do just that. To teach her that often times others problems are so much larger then our own and the way we respond and the things we do to help are what make us better people. To teach her that she lives in a community that stands beside each other when we have a need and rallies one another up.

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