The Choice

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.


4 Responses to “The Choice”

  1. Good Fountain Says:

    Many hugs her and the entire family. There are a millions reasons we make the choices we make and million reasons not to even choose. She is bravely choosing.

    Many hugs for you too. I hope you get to spend some time with her soon.

  2. Kate Says:

    I know life isn’t fair. We see evidence of this all the time.

    But it’d be nice if it was, once in a while.

  3. learningwoman Says:

    Hi BTW, I’m so sorry to hear about your cousin. She sounds like a brave person. I hope you get some time with her soon too. xo

  4. Warm, Fuzzy Socks « Are You Going To Be This Way The Rest of The Time I Know You? Says:

    […] May 31, 2008 — BeThisWay My cousin is dying. She has a recurrence of leukemia and chose not to treat it this […]

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