A sinking feeling

This morning, something dug a painful pit in the depth of my stomach that will probably be there for a while.

One of my son’s best friends is dying. Brain cancer. The child’s parents are preparing the biggest birthday bash ever for their child’s fifth birthday because it will be the last. Five freaking years old. How can you die at five years old? How will the parents – my friends – survive that? How CAN you survive that? We found out by email. They found out recently. They are expecting not more than a year to live. It could all be over by Christmas.

Of course, selfishly, I’m thinking about how I will tell my son. The parents have requested that we keep the prognosis secret for now as they haven’t told their child. But I’m not sure how I can tell my son that his friend has this big bad disease without him asking me if his friend will die. And I don’t want to lie to him. So I guess I’ll wait before I talk to him about it, wait until the disease shows and he asks questions, or until the friend knows. Or until I am told that it would be better to tell him now. Because I don’t know what’s best: tell him now and give him something to worry about for a long time? Or wait and give him less time to grieve.

Of course, there is also the pain my friends are going through. They are away right now but coming back soon. They have a baby too, a year and a half. What a horrible situation for everyone. Their child is supposed to start kindergarten in the fall, and I assume that will proceed as planned if the child is well enough, but at the same time, what’s the point if there is really nothing that can be done to stop the cancer? I mean, if I was the parent, I would want to stop working and pull my child from school and just… I don’t know. Travel, spend time with my family, rack up some debt and take a shitload of photos. But I don’t know, because I am not in their shoes. And I am tremendously grateful for that. Can you imagine, too, introducing this child to a whole kindergarten class and impose the mourning upon those 5-year-olds? That must be an awful decision to make consciously. But then, what if the child really wants to go to school? Shudder!

Of course, it could always happen to me. And that is the other really hard thing about seeing friends decimated by illness. I can’t help but both feel relieved it’s not my son and worried it could be. Life sucks. There is really not much we can do right now, except for offer our help to make the birthday party the best-ever. We offered help, but if they don’t want to take it there’s even less we can do. They say when life gives you lemon, make lemonade. But what when the lemons are rotten?

We are planning on running in our friend’s honor at the next Terry Fox run. I’ll mention it when we form the team and maybe you can donate to the cause if you can spare a few dollars. In the meantime, I’ll go grieve… and spend some time with my healthy children. Fingers crossed.

If you know us and are worried about which friend I am talking about, please don’t comment and name names on this blog. I don’t want to name the child for obvious reasons. Just ask me.

One Response to “A sinking feeling”

  1. L’enfant “de rechange” | Far Ouest Says:

    [...] ans se meurt d’un cancer (si vous n’avez pas suivi cette histoire, la voici en anglais ici et ici). Je comprends mieux [...]