Saturday, October 23, 2010

Alexander and the List

Little Alexander of Alberta, CA had what they thought was medulloblastoma, which is a nasty enough type of brain tumor. Instead, it was something called "Embryonal Tumor with Abundant Neuropil and True Rosetes" which has no cure. Alexander was the 36th kid in the world to be taken by this type of cancer.

Alexander was around 2 years old when he was diagnosed, and still breastfeeding. So, Alexander was breastfed for his entire life.

When his parents found out that there was nothing they could do, they made a bucket list for him. They went on vacation. They went on trips. They did everything fun that Alexander would have wanted to do until he just wasn't strong enough, and then they had people come visit until they couldn't see people anymore.

He died in the middle of the night, in the family bed.

I teared up a bit when I read that it was time; I teared up again this morning when I read that Alexander was gone.

Since starting on this cancer journey, I've encountered so many people, such a long list of parents and children, who suffer. Who "only" suffer like we did and endured the hell that is cancer, only to come out on the other end with a happy ending thus far. Who had an easier time than we did but still hurt and are still picking up the pieces. People who are still suffering.

And then, there are the angels. I remember the first angel on the Wilms list. Her name was Samantha.

You know, every now and then I think, I don't HAVE to stay in touch with the cancer community. I could close the door on that chapter of my life and save myself a lot of heartache. I don't HAVE to get close to friends on the internet that I'll probably never meet. Alexander's mother was someone I "met" through a breastfeeding/natural parenting community, and when her son was diagnosed, everyone told her to talk to me. I don't HAVE to be so "aware."

Wait--yes I do. I can't "un-see" everything that I've seen throughout the cancer journey, even though I haven't "seen" everything, since we're "lucky" and didn't have to. I can't pretend that there aren't children dying, leaving behind heartbroken families. And I can't always find people in "real life" that have any clue. It's a long list of people that I "know" as a result, but I'm glad that I know them.

So, Alexander, I hope you did everything on your bucket list. I hope you know how much you were loved down here even by people who never knew you, and I hope you're having fun up there in heaven. And I hope Pablo is chasing you around and playing with you. I also hope that the idea of heaven and little children playing is comforting to someone because I even had trouble writing it and even more trouble believing it. Cancer sucks.

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