I think we're always waiting for the other shoe to drop. We are here now. In this place between normal and not-normal.I knew we would always live with that waiting…with that "other shoe" over our heads.
I knew that when we rang the bell last January that we were not "done" and that nothing would ever be the same. I chafed a little against the jubilation that so many people expressed to me. There was always a fear in the back of my mind, a worry that wouldn't go away.
After all, I knew the statistics. I knew that 50% of all AML kids relapse. I knew the odds that were not in our favor.
I also knew that childhood cancer survivors face many many long-term problems. Yes, I was glad to have the luxury of thinking about "long term" problems, but I was also terrified of what was to be.
When Sam relapsed in April, when we began the journey toward transplant, there was always that second shoe hanging over our heads. When would it fall? There is no bell-ringing with BMT for leukemia. Yes, there are days that are milestones, and there are days that a survivor can breathe easily. There are ways to feel secure that leukemia isn't on the horizon…but I also knew that I would, forever, examine every bruise and bump, every cough and wheeze. I knew that after BMT, Sam faced a world of new complications and problems in the "long term" -- we were facing secondary cancers, cataracts, growth issues, brittle bones…you name it. I was very fearful of a life for Sam that was painful and uncomfortable.
And then the shoe crashed down.
There's nothing left hanging over my head any more except the terrible vacuum of grief.
It's different. It's unbearable but in a totally different way.
I'm not waiting for the other shoe to drop.
It did, and I am left tightly holding a brand-new pair of tear-stained shoes.
So where are we?
We're about halfway through our sheloshim period, the first 30 days of mourning.
I just told a friend that I'm trying desperately not to count the days since I last kissed my Sammy.
She said, "you? you count everything!"
Every day forward is another day without Sam…and I can't stop time.
Many many people keep hoping for 2014 to be a "better year."
I'm not sure there can be a year better than the one that just ended.
Because there will never again be a year with Sam in it.
|Always in his pj's...|
|Sam's famous grumpy-silly face|