It’s the day before Christmas Eve. I sit in a dark hospital room, looking at the bed that holds my beautiful fourteen-year old daughter. She’s asleep, finally resting despite the IV and numerous cords measuring the life contained within.
She is a shadow of her former self now. This time two weeks ago she was a vibrant, smart, talented girl, full of love and joy that was ready and more than able to give abundantly to the world.
Her future came to a halt when an MRI showed a tumor resting in the thalamus portion of her brain. We hoped for the best; however a biopsy showed a gliosarcoma, grade 4. There is no cure for this type of cancer. If we remove the tumor and aggressively treat with radiation and chemotherapy we hope to only prolong life for a little while.
The day after we discovered the tumor, Holly was in the OR to remove it. We learned from the neurosurgeon that he removed more than 85%, but at what price?
Twelve days after surgery I look upon my daughter and do not recognize her. She can’t process what I am saying nor communicate her thoughts, pain or needs. She is paralyzed on the right side and she is utterly frustrated, scared and confused.
Two weeks ago she was studying Algebra, entertaining friends with her larger than life personality and sense of humor. She was filming a movie and making all around feel the abundant joy and love she possessed. She had plans, goals, wishes, dreams and a full life ahead of her. How can this be? How surreal. How tragic. How devastating. How angry, sad, depressed and frustrated I feel all at once. How helpless I am to do anything to relieve her pain and suffering. I feel like screaming. I feel like escaping. I feel sick.
Nothing really matters anymore. The “privilege problems” I complained about are a distant memory. What I would do differently. Truly take the time to enjoy the moments and not wish away time. Impatient to reach the next developmental stage, too intent on equipping my child with the tools to be successful in this world; too caught up in the busyness of day-to-day nonsense.
Now time has stopped. The world goes on around me, but I do not take part. I sit in a room filled with well-wishing cards, balloons, stuffed animals, gifts for Holly. Texts filled with support and promises of continual prayer for peace, strength and a full recovery.
I would like to stay optimistic, but I’m reminded daily by medical staff and the child before me that the odds are stacked against us. Pain is eminent; that a life of promise will be lost.
I continue to hold on to hope – that last lingering emotion and dream. I too pray for a miracle. I beg, bargain, yell and cry to God. I place a relic and Holy Water on her. I pray to saints, I attend healing masses, I seek second opinions – will it do any good? Of course miracles can happen, but it is God’s will to perform one or not.
I’m scared for the future. Probably for the first time in my life I don’t want to plan. I want to look at my daughter who is still alive today and I do not want to think of one moment ahead.
Is my life ever going to be the same – No. Maybe I was too selfish? Maybe I was not allowing God to do his will in my life? Maybe I was consumed with this world – is that why this happened? Maybe God wants my attention.
I’m angry right now. Maybe that will change, but right now I can’t understand the point of taking such a full life and crushing it.
I believe God has his reasons. This minute I don’t want to hear them. I’m closed. I’m overwhelmed. I’m in pain and I can’t listen to anything. I put on a good face for friends, but I know differently. I feel like my life is over too.