Frankie and his Dad have left for some time at home. They took a dog pillow for our dear mutt Sam, to ease his old body as the weather cools off and winter sets in.
When I’m smoking outside the hospital or the House I often run into Michelle, who I first met the night Nick’s blood pressure dropped.
My smoking sucks and Nicholas despises it. He actually snarls at me. What he says is a mixture of I hate how you smell and you’re a complete idiot for smoking when I have cancer. He called me “a stupid-o.” Both of the boys tell their dad and I what they think about the smoking, but normally (there’s that word again) I wouldn’t tolerate how Nick is speaking to me. He’s angry at the world, his mother IS an idiot and he had to come out from under the covers to tell me off.
The good (I like to think) thing about my smoking is the bonding I’ve done with other mothers who smoke. I met wonderful women at BC Children’s Hospital while we stood around appeasing our filthy habit by puffing. We shared our stories, hugs and packages of Kleenex when the dams broke and tears streamed. I go back to Nick’s room drained and feeling kind of peaceful. I’m smelling of smoke no matter that I wash my hands and brush my teeth, but he’s got a mom in a better mood and frame of mind. This might be a poor attempt at rationalizing my addiction but right now it makes sense to me.
Someone always has a different perspective, or they just inspire you to dig deeper and keep on trucking. Michelle’s son Thomas is 13, a year older than Nick. He was diagnosed just this month. There is a tumor on his brain stem called a glioma. It was discovered when the pressure caused his left eye to begin drifting inward. This kind of cancer is unusual and aggressive with a brutal prognosis. The docs told Michelle they can’t operate. Chemo and radiation will not stop the tumor’s growth. Nick’s initial diagnosis was optimistic. Learning he had cancer was a kick in the gut. For Michelle she was knocked down and the kicking hasn’t stopped.
Michelle brings Thomas in to visit Nick. Other than giving me hell about smoking these are the other times he’s come out from under the covers. At first the boys were sweet in their shyness with each other. Nick tells me he and Thomas would have been friends had they met at school. Just as Michelle and I need each other so do Thomas and Nicholas. I think sometimes God brings us people when we need them the most.
For these children cancer is a fierce storm. Our kids believe they have a six – foot wing span, and boldly they turn their little faces into the vortex. Bravely, faithfully, innocently, they fly for all they are worth. They never give up fighting for their piece of calm blue sky because they believe it is theirs to have.