Tonight my daughter couldn’t sleep, and when I got to her room, she grabbed me with her pudgy little hands and pulled me close and said. “Mommy! I was afraid of the dark, so I wanted you here. Because when you are here, you light up the room.” She then stroked my cheek and began to sing.
“You are my sunshine, My only sunshine, You make me happy, when skies are gray. You’ll never know dear, how much I love you. Please don’t take my sunshine away.”
I curled in next to her almost weeping. Maybe she was just being manipulative and avoiding bedtime. But at that moment, I couldn’t stop thinking that within a couple weeks, I would have to tell her that I was sick. And worse, I would have to go into the hospital for nearly a month, for a treatment that would include isolation. We have yet to even spend one night apart.
The only reason that I am fighting cancer, and that I will endure and survive this treatment is for my family. So the idea that I have to be without them is devastating. Even worse, the idea that I could lose parts of them forever if I lose memories due to effects of intensive chemo required for my disease.
I know this disease will impact my quality of life, but it’s more important to me how profoundly those changes will impact my family. My 6-year-old will definitely lose me for 3 months, while I am bedridden. Her Daddy and I will be working hard just to keep things together. I won’t be able to play with her outside. I will miss her special events. She won’t have me to orchestrate her once bustling social life. And by all accounts, I won’t be up to par for at least a year post-treatment. It’s fine that an old lady like me has to suffer through this kind of disease. I’ve lived a great life. But it seems horribly unfair that the rest of her life will be marred by this experience at such a young age, and hereafter, by what is a recurring cancer.
I don’t want my baby to ever feel anything can take her sunshine away. I wish I could preserve her innocence. Her childlike comfort in know that everything will be fine, and mommy will always be here to take care of her. I want to be here, and I’m going to do my best for her and her father, who are the loves of my life.
But I hope this illness doesn’t destroy or consume what’s best in their lives. I hope it doesn’t take me away from her whether I’m alive…or not.
But as my girl said to me tonight. “Even when I’m old, I want to be near you Mommy. Even when we pass away. We can be in heaven together.”
Me too, pumpkin. But I’d rather be here.