I was taught not to hate. I teach my children not to hate. I work daily not to hate. At my core, I am human, and I loathe of something so vile and evil that I cannot stomach it anymore. Cancer.
My son Ryan came pounding on my door last night; hurried and manic. “Mom! Mom I have to talk with you! Mom, please can I come in, please!”
I couldn’t open the door quickly enough to my bedroom and fumbled with the knob. I was already asking questions while working it open. “Ryan, what’s wrong buddy? What is the matter?”
When I finally saw his face; pale, with his glasses off, I knew that it was something urgent. Something had happened and I wasn’t sure that I wanted to know what it was.
“Mom. I think Jake’s mom died tonight. I think I saw something on Facebook, but I’m not sure…”
Ryan was getting tongue tied and I reached for him to pull him in close to me. I held him close for just a moment. Any longer and we both would have fallen to pieces. I pulled way while talking with him, cradling his cheeks in my hands. “Ry, let me find out what is going on and I promise I will come talk with you in a few minutes.”
Then the search began to see if Trish’s battle was over. I sat at my computer; staring at it, conflicted. I fought with myself to turn the power on, yet if I didn’t then I might not find out what I already knew in my bones. Then, my heart versus head battle began as well. You have this innate need to hear that the news is not true, yet your mind tells you it must be. You feel a stab so deep in your heart, yet your mind tells you she no longer suffers. You tear up for her husband and children, yet you are thankful that she walks whole and beautiful with God. You think of the last time you hugged her and are pissed off, yet you are thankful you had that moment to hug her. You add this death to your questions you have for God about how life makes no sense, yet you know the answer will be there waiting for you when you see Trish again in Heaven.
I sent Mike downstairs to tell Ryan it was true. I couldn’t do it. Instead, I covered up in our bed with my comforter over my head. I thought about what my best friend, Nancy, shared with me after her son, Max, died. Her words flooded my body. Nancy shared with me that she floated through the funeral, feeling out of her body; dreamlike. That week for her remains a blur. There is not much she remembers from that time, but she retained this. One of her friends, who had also lost a child, waited her turn in the line of mourners to embrace Nancy. Looking into Nancy’s eyes, holding both of her cold hands, she said, “Nancy, you are not the first of your friends that this has happened too, and you will not be the last. You are going to have people say stupid, stupid things to you but you have to understand that they do not know any better. You forgive them. Ignore them. You will come out the other side.”
I think I want to say a little of that to Tony, Alexis, Molly, Hannah and Jake this morning. Honestly, I would rather be taking Trish some Starbucks in a few minutes, but that is not a choice anymore. Trish would want me to tell you to hold your babies a little closer today. Reach out to friends and make memories. Live your life big. Move on from petty worries and do something important for others. Life your life because you only get one shot. So go do it!