I have a cousin who is the bravest person I know.
She hasn’t had it easy. She was diagnosed with MS in her thirties, but wouldn’t let her doctor write it in her chart until after she was approved for the adoption she wanted so badly.
She got her wonderful son, and he has brought so much joy to her, and to our family. Her disease progressed to the point where she can’t see all that great, and she’s needed help walking. But still she lives life to it’s fullest. Always has.
Then a couple of years ago she was diagnosed with leukemia. She fought it, hard. It took a toll, but she was well enough to kvell at her son’s Bar Mitzvah last year, and she clawed and scratched her way into remission.
Then, today, I got a call from my Dad I hoped to never get. The leukemia is back.
Of course we are all devastated. My Dad asked me to call my brothers and sisters, as he just was having a hard time with it. She is his first niece, and has always held a very special place in his heart. With my stepmother’s death just seven short months ago, the knowledge that he will soon lose another woman he deeply loves has left him bereft.
And lose her we will. She doesn’t want the chemo this time.
That’s a hell of a decision to make, isn’t it? Either path promises pain and sadness and tears and sickness and heartbreak and death. How do you choose between spending as much time with your child as possible or spending less time, but hopefully feeling better? Just making that choice shows more courage than I have.
I’m just filled with sadness that we’ll lose her, sadness that her son won’t have her holding his hand into adulthood, sad that I won’t be getting her silly/beautiful/poignant e-mails.
Sad that my aunt and uncle will suffer the loss of their daughter, every parent’s biggest fear.
But there’s really no time for that. We could have her another six months, at least I hope so. I won’t waste another moment.