Yesterday my wife celebrated her eighteenth Mother’s Day as a mom. And her third as the mom of a kid with cancer. Which means her say was a mix of extreme joy and sadness.
Ginger loves being a mom. There is nothing she would rather do than bless her children. My kids mean the world to me, but they mean even more to her. I love her for it.
Our children are all a blessing. They love our God and love other people. They show kindness to strangers and friends alike. And my wife can take all of the credit for that.
But being in the childhood cancer community is draining. Emotionally. Physically. Spiritually. Financially.
It is hard enough being the parent of a child with cancer. Watching his pain and suffering is almost unbearable. There is no pain like that of a mother watching her son or daughter suffer.
But the pain extends beyond your own family. Families with childhood cancer also suffer alongside other families. Every time a child is diagnosed you feel a punch in the gut. Your heart breaks. Again and again. When a child loses the fight you hurt with the mom, the dad, the grandparents, the siblings. You feel their pain.
And you worry. Worry that your child will be next. That you will be told, “We are very sorry, but you must go home now and watch your child die before your very eyes.”
And so the joys of Mother’s Day in the childhood cancer world are muted by the sorrows of lost battles. It is hard to celebrate holding all three of your kids close when you know dozens of parents personally who cannot do so for one reason: cancer.
I feel guilty writing about Ginger’s Mother’s Day with all three children, knowing that many of our friends suffered yesterday without a child.
I sympathize with people who spent Mother’s Day without their mom. And I hurt for moms who spent the day without their child.
I pray for the mom for whom yesterday was the first Mother’s Day without their child. And for my classmate’s mom who lost her daughter to leukemia almost twenty years ago. And for the mom who knows yesterday will be the last she will have with her child.
And I am grateful that sorrow will one day give way to joy. That laughter will replace tears. And that yesterday, my dear wife celebrated with all three of her children. May there be many, many more.