I'm lying here in the silence of darkness and yet all I can hear is the echo of doctors' reports and blood work results haunting the stillness. On my back with arms flung above, I'd be lying if I said I haven't once thrown up those same hands in hopelessness, disbelief, anger. Feeling the growth in my abdomen and knowing she is laid out too in some distant hospital worrying about the mass in hers, we carry the weight of it all on our mama hearts.
Daughters and mothers, we wait in the balance of all these unknowns.
I wonder at what will bring forth life and how much in our broken world ushers forth death. How much our will to fight is everything and nothing all at once. We are no more masters of our fate than sustainers of our fragile lives and this truth is immediately tragic and reassuring as the oddest of paradoxes.
It's premature to speak of outcomes and eventuals when we are now only pregnant with uncertainties and variables. These gestational periods of suffering promise no resolutions at an expected due date, are hurried on by no dictated time table. Specialists and science wizards can warn of the worst and hope for the best but they offer no shortcuts in arriving at the outcome. Only time will tell and time can be a cruel sovereign.
No matter the size of one's eternal hope, the scope of this pain is real and present and now. When hell is this tangible, you begin to wish that transit to heaven was as available as your desire to go. And yet, you can recall a former life and precious memories, a shadowland of paradise when occasionally the sun made it's way through. Surely this too is worth the journey and reason to pause the frantic march to forever?
The daily telephone calls that were once lifelines of connection between the two of us who know the isolation that crosses bring now ring unanswered because there are just too many chemo drips and ultrasounds, hospital trips and the careful measurement of pounds (more is always preferred). The ensuing weariness leaves us desperate for solitude and silence despite our desire for companionship and commiseration.
We've been here before, her and I. It was only two years past when she was fighting off probable death (Legionnaires' and a month long coma) and ten years back that I was fighting for improbable life (another high risk pregnancy and a premature birth). We can give bold testimony to the power of miracles and our faith remains even now certain of supernatural intervention. Yet faith is a poor painkiller and hope, though a favourable lifeline, cannot offer what we think we want.
The agony that knows no language is discernable by its familiar cry - a protest derived from deep inside, more bark than sob, less whimper than wail. This becomes our worship when words fail. Our prayers become shorter even as our volume increases. And the men who hold us close know every unspoken request. Together we send them to heaven where One interprets each mangled syllable.
As I am waiting on life, she clings to it. Only a few more months for me, experimenting with different drugs and therapies to bring this babe to birth. Only a few more options and alternatives for her, experiments really to save a life without guarantee. She is my promise and future, this wee one still forming within me. She is my gift and present, this mother who has formed me within the most precious of friendships.
Sisterhood, that's what truly bonds us. Each of us daughters of a God who we trust with our lives and those of our loved ones because He has promised eternal life. Though trial unites us, it is our shared hope that binds us. Nothing can separate us, now nor ever. God is good, in Him we continually trust.
(a little background info: my mother was diagnosed late last year with late-stage colon cancer after a challenging two years of slow recovery from life-threatening pneumonia; another diagnosis of an autoimmune disease followed soon after for me shortly after learning we were expecting a darling caboose to our wild caravan of children. both of us have kept these realities close to our hearts and our pains private. more and more, the truth is being revealed as she gets thinner and my belly gets bigger and so I have finally decided it time, for me at least, to open up about this journey. this has been a tumultuous year of some hopeful highs and the lowest of heartwrenching lows for our entire family. after receiving chemo for months, her recent cat scan shows the cancer has increased; after concerns for my health and unborn baby, we have started seeing some improvements while doing our best to keep the challenges at bay. we are in the desert, my friends. please pray, if you share an unshakeable confidence in the One who created us and holds our lives on His hands. my mother is a treasure to many, her presence is necessary in this world. while she is with us, may He be constantly with her.)