Today my heart aches. It isn't broken per se, because hearts are muscle and muscles don't break. They get crushed, they can tear or shred or even rip. I feel like mine is crushed because life weighs heavy on my heart right now.
Friday one of my good friends (and also a classmate) found out that after 15 months in remission, the cancer is back. Stage 4 this time (that's the worst stage, where treatments extend life rather than curing anything). Her kids are 11 to 3 years old.
I haven't said anything to her or anyone about it yet. It's been too much. I've been rattling around, looking for the right words, but there are no words. There are no words for stage 4 cancer with 4 kids. Words don't capture staring mortality in the face as it creeps into your friend's features.
Yesterday I was immeasurably saddened to hear about the bombing at the Boston marathon. It crushed my heart some more. I appreciated all those who shared that Mr. Rogers quote about looking for the helpers when something bad happens. The spouse is always listening to the news radio station. I'd meant to request that the news be silenced before the Kid got picked up from daycare, but I forgot. They talked about the news of the bombing a little bit, and then an ambulance passed the car. All on her own, the Kid announced she would count the vehicles she saw that were helping. It boggles my mind that she thought of that all on her own. She remembered it probably from some earlier traumatic event.
I know that the chances of remission once the cancer hits stage 4 are low. Very low. I know this means it's time to start talking about death with the kid. I'm not sure there are words though. Are there words to talk about how sometimes moms die when their babies are still little? Or will anything I say scare her more than is necessary? The reality is scary and sad. Already I can tell that death is something that worries the kid. She's lost 2 pets and a beloved great grandpa already, so death isn't totally new to her. It's just extra hard to explain that death isn't confined to great grandparents and elderly pets, that even moms can die, sometimes suddenly and other times in a long and agonizing march to the end.
Ugh. My heart is just crushed. I'll need it uncrushed so I can continue to function. I've spent a few days hiding from my email and pretending this isn't happening. It's time to face it all, sobbing and laughing and whatever else may come. None of us know for sure how much life we have left. It just aches when you know the answer to "how long do I have?" is "not long enough. "