Monday, June 17, 2013

On bittersweet encounters

We've seen this play out all to often over the past few weeks. An elevator ride, a wait to be "buzzed in" to our wing, a few moments of silence with a stranger who, as we both know, has some major life circumstance in common. We both have (or know) very sick children who we love a great deal, and mostly we don't say it out loud. Sometimes, though, silence is broken and the heavy air of sadness and weariness is pushed into. A connection is made and it always feels bittersweet. There is an understanding that can't be replicated, even by the most sincere, empathetic hearts of friends and family. They are walking, or have walked, the same paths as us. They know the feelings of parenting a sick child, and it feels good to be understood, even if for a 30 second exchange. But then there is the reality that we both have sick children. Really sick children. Some of our children won't be victors over their illnesses, and we all know it.

Tonight I met a sweet family in the lobby of our floor whose son had been treated at Brenner a number of years ago. They shared with me that he is in heaven now. They listened to my story and asked if they could join us in praying for Watts, and encouraged me to have hope because even in this darkness, we can remember that death has lost its sting because of Jesus. Amen. It's comforting to hear from them. And it's hard, because it makes the reality of cancer feel more real.

It's just one example of these small connections (if there is such a thing as a small connection) that seem to be happening all over the place these days (from the hallway to the internet). It's the blessing and burden of connection, and just one more aspect of this new life that we're trying to figure out.

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