Thursday, September 03, 2009

September 3rd and 4th

Today is September 3rd. The first man I fell (really fell) in love with, passed away about seven years ago, before Rob and I were even married. We had met as teens and as I grew up a bit I could see things that were going to be real problems for us. I broke up with him (he did not make it easy) and shortly afterwards married my first husband. He begged me not to marry him, telling me that he was the wrong person for me and in hindsight, he was right. I spent many years wondering how things might have been. He found a woman who was right for him and had a good life with her and their two sons. Sadly, he was a heavy smoker from an early age and this lead to him having lung cancer. While he battled it courageously from those I talked to, it was probably diagnosed late. I think of him throughout the year but especially on September 3rd. This would have been his 58th birthday.
Tomorrow is the anniversary of my son's diagnosis with leukemia. It was the day after Labor Day that year. I will never forget seeing the school buses (the hospital was located across the street from a Catholic school). I was keenly aware that my son might not start school with them. Later that morning we learned he had leukemia and that he needed immediate hospitalization to begin an intensive chemo regimen. What was not anticipated was the reaction his body would have and for the next four and a half months we practically lived in the hospital. The few times they sent him home did not last and within a day or so we would be back. After the second month I came to feel that the pediatric ward (adolescent wing) was my home away from home. The other mothers and nurses were my support team. Many friends shied away, and the ones who tried to keep in touch, simply didn't understand. He never was able to go to school that entire year. He did get "passes" from his doctor to attend a bonfire and such activities. I will never forget driving him there and parking where he couldn't see me...sitting there and crying for joy that he could have a few hours to be "normal". Every year since then, when I see the school buses picking up the kids that first day, it is very difficult. This is the first year that I did not break down and cry. My son is still with me. I am so very fortunate. He will never be the person he was before. He has an overwhelming sensitivity to the plights of others which sets him apart from most people. He is keenly aware that he is different and thinks people look at him differently. There are no outward signs except for his scar where his Hickman line was removed. Most of the scars are deeply hidden. He can talk to me about it, knowing I went through my own battle. I know this. My world forever changed that day. Facing the possible mortality of your child is overwhelming. I was luckier than many because I still have my son. I will always be keenly aware though that none of us have a guarantee. I want to go back and be the naive young woman who never had to think of those things. A part of my innocence left that day. I mourn that each year around Labor Day. It was better this year though, for the first time.


Missie said...

I couldn't even begin to say I know what you went thru when your son was sick!! I can't imagine!

I'm so glad he's doing well now.

Ronni Gordon said...

That sure is a lot of stuff. I know how complicated these dates can be. So happy that your son is doing well.