Last Fall, if you remember, Finnigan broke his leg and we spent a few days in Hershey. Well, I was listening to the radio yesterday and they had an oncologist from Penn State Hershey as their guest. It reminded me of something I wanted to share.
Because the pediatric ward was really packed when Finnigan broke his leg, he was put in the pediatric cancer wing of the children’s hospital. One night when he was finally sleeping comfortably, I got up and walked up and down his hall. I remember seeing onc. or hema. under each and every name in that hallway…except for Finnigan’s. I stopped outside his door and just began to sob. It really put our situation into perspective. In just a couple of days our baby would get to go home. His leg would heal in a matter of weeks and he would go about his life as if nothing ever happened. I wondered how many parents walked out of the 7th floor elevator wondering if their babies would ever get to go home. I wondered how many parents walked the floors of the cancer wing knowing their babies would never leave the 7th floor alive.
The next day I got in the elevator to go down to the cafeteria and ended up sharing the elevator with a gentleman. It’s funny, even only being there for a few days, you can pick out a parent of a hospitalized child, they just look a little worn around the edges, constantly tired. I was feeling it that day, but this parent, he was all smiles and so polite. He asked me who I was there for, I explained that we were there for my son and how Finn had broke his leg. He was very sweet and said he’d pray for us and hoped that Finn was on the mend soon. I asked him who he was there for, he said his son, he was a teenage boy who was battling cancer for the second time in his life. He told me how his son had such a deep faith in God. How he was so positive through it all. From the gist of our conversation, I gathered that his son would not be leaving the 7th floor and that his time here was ending soon. When he talked of his son’s faith, he never mentioned the healing of his son, or his son’s faith that he would be healed. Yet, through our few minutes of shared conversation he never stopped smiling, he was so positive and kind. His faith was just as strong as his son’s apparently. What do you say to someone who is watching their child die before their very eyes. Saying, “I’ll pray for you.” somehow doesn’t seem to be enough.
This spring, Elizabeth and I were at the dollar store buying balloons for the boys when we struck up a conversation with another lady who was buying balloons. Apparently she and a bunch of other folks were going to put balloons on a young man’s grave who had recently passed away this winter from cancer. It was his birthday. After talking for a few more minutes, we put the pieces together…it was the boy who’s father I had shared the elevator with. He was a local boy, he went to the same school system Elizabeth did. She even remembered a fund raiser at school for his benefit.
Small world indeed. It brought back to mind the conversation I had with his father, how even though his son was dying, he was smiling and encouraging a mom who’s son had a broken leg, who’s son would live. He said he’d pray for us. I wondered, and I still wonder now. Would I have that kind of faith? That kind of courage? Would I Lord? If my child was dying of cancer, would I love you enough Lord, to praise you even in the midst of my heartache? And his son, who was so full of faith, even in the end. I know someday, I will get to meet this incredible young man, I want to hug him, and thank him for his courage and his faith because I know he touched at least one life with it.