Yesterday, I was going through some things in my nightstand, and I found a few pages from a notebook that I had with me at the hospital, when Katie was first admitted. They are notes about what we needed to get from home, who was coming to visit, who we needed to call, what the ICU rules were, who had sent cards/gifts, etc. This was very early in our cancer journey...the first week. I had also made a note about something that Katie said at the time.
I don't know if I've adequately described how funny she was. She was very frightened, as we all were, but she was also very, very strong, sparky & feisty in a feminine, pre-teen way. This is what she said to me, at one point during her first days with the knowledge that she had cancer: "I could die. This could affect your chances for grandchildren. Don't let that get around."
Obviously, I'm now letting it "get around." I want you to know how bright she was, how she thought, and how different the world was, with her in it.
My brother and sister-in-law just had their wedding video transferred to a DVD. He was describing it to me over the phone, and saying how he felt when he watched it. That brought up memories within me. Jim & Caroline got married a couple of months before I became pregnant with Katie. When he was talking about the DVD, I thought, We didn't even know Katie then; we didn't know what we were missing. We were happy, before we knew her. Yet, we were much happier after she was born into our family (just as we were happier after David was born, than we were before we knew him). Now, Katie is gone...and we know what we are missing.
I'm glad that I kept those notes.
Some time ago, I met a creative, energetic and funny woman (through CaringBridge) named Heide Randall. She lives on the other side of the country. Her beautiful, talented daughter, Jessica (www.caringbridge.org/visit/jessicarandall) died of a brain tumor. Heide is very active in raising awareness about pediatric cancer, and she posted this poem on Jessica's site yesterday:
I know your names
You were here for hours, days, months or years
Too young to die
Too young to leave your parents, who will never be the same
Your names are written on their lives forever
They will remember your birthdays, with "if only" and "would have been"
They will count the years and measure you by your friends
They will mourn your graduations, ball games and marriages
They will hold you in their dreams
They will cradle your teddies and sleep with your blankets
They yearn for the scent of you, long gone from your clothes
They will walk into your darkened rooms and hope that tonight you will be there
They fear they may forget your faces, your smiles, your voices
They hold onto the grief that binds their love to you
They will remember the insidious unknowns that stole your breath, stopped your beating hearts
They will relive your last days, last touches, and last breaths
And rewind them again and again until they are tight in their mind’s eyes
I weep for your mothers, your fathers, your grandparents, your siblings, your friends
And all those who will never know you
And when time silences the voice of solace
I will say your names and remember
That describes this journey pretty accurately. Thank you for posting it, Heide.
I'm over at Hopeful Parents today.