We have all seen a beautiful photo of a beautiful child whether it's been our own, or someone proudly showing us a photo of theirs. The innocence in their faces, the honesty in their smiles and we've gushed. Yesterday I saw one of those photos but my feeling was not of happiness and I didn't gush. My heart broke, I fought the tears but one slipped out and I felt so hopeless. We met the parents of this truly gorgeous boy. Yes, he is perfect. Gorgeous little smile, beautiful little face. His parents, truly beautiful people.
I don't think anyone could possibly realise how truly devastating it is to meet another parent of a child with cancer when you are one yourself. Because we know what it felt like for us when we were first told the devastating news and the nightmare that followed. and we wouldn't want anyone to go through that. We wouldn't want anyone to feel that pain and the pain that continues long after you leave the hospital. We absolutely hate the thought of another child going through those horrors of treatment. To meet someone else going into it makes you feel completely and utterly hopeless. You want so bad to give them what they truly want so they don't have to go through this and do to their child what we had to do to ours. But nothing in our power can do that.
As we said our goodbyes after they had been to visit I walked back into my house and wanted to cry and scream at the same time. I was so sad for them and mad about the whole crappy situation. So angry that as every week passes more parents hear the words "your child has cancer". It's insane. Truly it's so insane and no matter how angry I get or how much I talk it to the nth degree or support organisations that try to make a difference, nothing is going to change soon enough for these parents or us or many, many other parents. Our children stand to suffer because not enough is done by people who 'could' make it happen.
I hate it. I hate that I sat at my dinner table with these beautiful people and I couldn't do more. Yes, I will always be there to support them in anyway possible but what they really want I can't give. I hate that. I really hate that their little boy is having to live this awful, awful nightmare when he should be doing what little boys do. And his parents have to watch, helplessly.
Seeing his little face before they left was truly crushing. Another innocent child. He never did anything wrong yet he has now entered a nightmare that will change their lives forever.
I haven't been able to stop thinking about them. At the dinner table tonight I looked at my son and I felt the feelings of sheer dread rush through me like a wave dumping me. I managed to push it back down but as it passed it left me shaken. No matter how normal our life appears on the surface, it isn't. As is it will never be for these parents.
I cannot put it into words how truly devastating that is. That the fear may appear to hide but it will always be there. And with every new family entering this world the fear appears. For its a constant reminder of what we have been through and what could lie ahead. For all of us.