I wrote on our other blog yesterday about our homesickness, that being in the hospital for a month is just plain rough on a family, and we’re missing our lives–what they used to be, what they should be. I have to tell you, though, I’m missing my old blog home too. It’s challenging writing for a new audience. I know many of you are out there reading, but so are our family, strangers who are supporting us, even our son’s care providers. We’re so exposed in so many ways there, and yet I also feel this funny need to protect people from the harsh reality of what we’re experiencing sometimes. Does that make sense? I don’t know if it does. I guess I just miss how free I feel here.
Over the past couple of days, there has been a family here in the process of losing their newborn baby. It has been heartbreaking. When I came back this morning from staying at the house provided for families, her room was empty. She was gone. Another couple just had a new baby while their toddler undergoes treatment. Brand new baby and recovering mom are all both now in the room with the boy battling cancer. The cycle of life here in this place is so strange, and so many things just aren’t right. Parents here all share the same types of expressions. You know when someone has had a rough sit-down with a doctor, when a child is having an easier day, when a parent has been here alone for far too long. It’s a surreal place, this floor, one where people get a lot of earth-shattering news. But it’s also a place where people reclaim their children, where lives are saved, where families are reborn. I want to be on the other side of that. Honestly, I haven’t taken much comfort in talking with other parents. I don’t necessarily want to. Their stories are hard to process. It’s hard to accept that some kids don’t make it, that some don’t have what they need from their families, that some cruise through everything and are just fine in the space of a few weeks or months. I don’t know how to deal with these stories when I can hardly grasp our own. But I don’t have a choice. The sounds of kids crying through the walls, the family members coming to say goodbye to that baby, even the cheers for the kids who are progressing beyond these walls to a life of remission–these are all a part of my existence now. I don’t get to filter them out, and I don’t get to filter out the reminders that we’re in a pediatric oncology ward, and that our lives are forever altered by this.
I don’t know why I feel like I can share all of this with all of you more easily than with the rest of the world. These aren’t epic, personal breakthroughs or rants. I suppose we’ve all just held each other up through so many hard times without any sort of judgment that it feels safe here to be whoever I need to be in the moment–even if it’s a swearing, bitter, frustrated, devastated mom. So I guess I want to thank you guys, and also confirm for myself that I’m not going anywhere, that I still need this space, that I still need to be T from Reproducing Genius (And if you know me in real life, outside of these pages, I hope you’ll help me keep it this way). As hard as it is to navigate new waters while continuing to swim in my old pond, it’s something I’ve just got to do. What harm is there, really, in doing more writing, anyway?