Why, oh why, do I not look at a calendar when I make Rowan’s appointments at the Children’s Hospital. I mean, of course I “look” at the calendar but I wish I was a little more mindful of it in August… the month in which delivered one of my most beautiful gifts into my life only to give me the most painful and challenging “gifts” just 3 weeks later. Just yesterday Rowan had some tests at the Alberta Children’s Hospital for and I took a walk down memory lane…
August has now become a month filled with joy and pride. This year Rowan turned 5 and boy oh boy was she thrilled to be 5! This kid, this angel… I have never known a person of any age to take life as it comes and just “be” so present in every moment. She easily expresses herself and her needs and always has… but in a shockingly mature way for a little girl. She is rarely attached to these needs or wants… just expresses them and if they can be met she fulfills them… or I should say I get her a bowl of cereal 😉
August has now become a month filled with poignancy and contemplation… It’s a time where I remember having the rug pulled out from under me. I was so happy to have this wonderful life, my perfect husband and these two spectacular little girls. I don’t think I will ever recover from this pain… this loss of what I thought my life would be… this excruciating fear for my child, her health, her future. I rarely can’t find the words to describe something but the news of Rowan’s diagnosis and how I could possibly explain it eludes me. Maybe it was like getting punched in the stomach again and again for a couple of years? Every time we have been reminded that despite our best efforts Cystic Fibrosis will always be in the driver’s seat it has been like the wind is knocked right out of me… but not the initial pain of the punch… that black ache that reverberates through your core and you’re not sure you’ll catch your breath? Yes. That.
Yesterday as Rowan and I waited for her prescription to be filled and she ravenously inhaled a piece of Banana Bread (she fasted for over 15 hours for her test)… I saw a family with a beautiful newborn baby. They looked tired, scared and confused. It took quite a bit of self-control to not go up to this total stranger and just give her a hug. I wanted to whisper to her that she was in fact strong enough to handle this. I wanted to say to not let her fear impede her desire to love this baby as deeply and feverishly as her heart was begging her to. I wanted to beg her to not let this time get so blurry with despair that one day her heart would be filled with regret…
I feel like this phase of our grief is coming to a close… is it because Rowan is starting school? Is it because she is old enough to take ownership of her disease and it becomes more and more her cross to bear? Is it just part of life’s cycle? I don’t know for sure – but what I do know for sure – we are better people for the last 5 years. I am a better woman. Without enduring the last 5 years I would have never had the desire to become the woman I am becoming – it would not have been necessary – and what a waste it would have been.
I’m so ready to close this chapter of our lives…. I want it so badly. I want to lock it up and throw away the key and then shred it and burn it… the bad parts, that is. I want to destroy all of this pain that has brought me to my knees more times than I care to count.
But then there’s all of this joy and triumph and just regular blissful life that also makes up the last 5 years and I don’t know how to reconcile this Bliss with this Shit…
There’s this quote about when you walk into a storm and weather it… you never come out the same… or something like that and it’s so true. I would have never wagered even a dollar that I could find the strength to weather this storm – and I kicked it’s ass. Without this storm I would never know this beautiful calm that comes on the other side of it…. seeing this 5 year old girl take it all in stride is nothing short of a miracle. I would not have experienced the pride of having her 7 year old sister take $11.00 of her own money to buy bubbles to give the kids at the Great Strides Walk. I would have never had the courage to take $300.00 of seed money to start a magical event that has raised over $60,000.00 to help us find a cure. I would have never known with such certainty that my soul had chosen the right husband to share this journey with. All of these beautiful silver linings.
At the end of the day… all we have is this one life and what we choose to do with it. The expectation that life is never going to throw us some curve balls will surely set us all up for terrible disappointment. The opportunity to take life’s hard lessons and turn them into something inspired is the greatest gift we ever get and not a day goes by that I don’t count my many blessings.
Sometimes bad stuff happens to us to shake us up enough to find the determination to get on the path that was meant for only us. More than anything I feel like it’s time to move on from the pain and shock of Rowan’s diagnosis. Now is the time to take this new strength for a spin and start again. Start today from a place where we know that it’s not going to be easy… but of course, we all know it will be worth it!