- lack of guile or corruption; purity.
I remember being told that the second year without Griffin was going to be harder than the 1st. I remember thinking how could it get any worse than what we were experiencing at that moment. Well I can honestly say now, I agree- the second year is worse. The first year we were numb, we were walking in a fog, and quite frankly still in shock. Odd to say but it's almost like that shock protected us from feeling the intense pain.
Now in the second year, reality settles in. Griffin is never coming back. Not that we believed in the first year that he was going to come back to us, I think it's more the agony of accepting that he is gone that occurs in the second year. Accepting that nothing can be changed.
As a mother I grieve for Griffin, I grieve for the life that I use to have and I now grieve a life of innocence. When we first have children we don't spend too much time thinking "what if they die?". Yes we worry, a natural instinct as parents.. like when they get on the school bus for the first time- we worry, when they get their drivers license we worry, when they go to college- we worry.... but do we really go as far as "what if they die?"
In December, one Friday night Everett started to experience a painful stomach ache. With him crying out in pain, he begged to go to the drs and at this point he was petrified of drs... so for him to be begging to go we knew something wasn't right. This stomach issue created two ER visits and 1 Five Star visit in one weekend. As we walked through the doors of the ER... the same ER that we heard the life changing words for Griffin, it brought that trauma back to the surface. We again walked the halls with the same drs we faced when Griffin was getting his work up done in August of 2013. In hindsight those doctors knew it wasn't a concussion for Griffin like we thought, they knew it was much more serious but before they told us otherwise.. they needed the medical proof to support. For those hours we waited for results, we pushed those scary thoughts out of our head... focused on a possible concussion and honestly even went as far as thinking he had an infection and he just needed a strong course of antibiotics.. because we at the time were living a life of innocence.
So now we are in the ER with Everett...When I signed him in, Adam and the kids went to the bathroom, and I said to the the admitting nurse,.... "I have lost one child to cancer, and will not lose another". I urged every test possible to be conducted so they didn't miss anything. We were thinking maybe it was his appendix or a possible bowel obstruction because of the intense pain. As we waited for testing to be done and the results... it was torture. I remember saying to Adam "what if it is bad, like really bad?" The sad part is, Adam couldn't reassure me it wasn't anything "really bad"..he couldn't tell me it was going to be ok.... because we have lost that innocence as parents. After 6 hours in the ER we learned that Everett had swollen lymph nodes in his intestines, which is painful and mimics appendicitis. I asked every Dr from attending, to resident to even the nurses for reassurance it had nothing to do with cancer. They all said no, and most likely from an infection. We felt like we dodged a bullet this time....
So now we grieve for Griffin but we grieve the innocence to parent Everett and Grace. I will never look at a headache the same. I will never look at growing pains in Everett's leg as just that...growing pains. I will never look at Grace and think I lost one child so I won't lose her. Guess what.. I live everyday with the notion that something could happen to Everett and Grace. This is just another "ugly" that comes with losing a child to cancer (losing a child to anything really). This "ugly" drives me to continue to spread Childhood Cancer awareness. To not only educate those who will hopefully never experience this loss but to encourage everyone to keep Childhood Cancer on the forefront. With every newly diagnosed child with cancer that we help through Griffin's Guardians.. my heart feels heavy for them because they too have now "lost that innocence".
I hope that if you are reading this, you are still helping Griffin's Guardians reach these families right here in our community..helping us to spread our name, helping us to spread our mission , helping us to bring a little bit of sunshine into their lives because they have lost so much already with just hearing the words "your child has cancer".