This isn’t the post I’d planned for today. I’d meant to talk about my afternoon at my kids’ elementary school, where I spent several hours helping with Christmas parties. Naturally, my camera hung around my neck and was fairly active the whole time. I was looking forward to sharing some of those images with you. But those photos and reflections will have to wait. Something else has come to my attention that takes precedence over school Christmas parties. As much as I wish this weren’t today’s topic, I feel compelled to share this with you, because this blog is about the parenting journey, and there are few things in the parenting journey more poignant than a mother losing a child, or, in this case, when a mother herself is dying.
I am not that person, though we are all dying daily, as my father reminded me (much to my horror) at the ripe old age of six. The person is a fellow blogger named Emilie. I first “met” her through a writers’ list of which we are both part. And then, about six months ago, one of our fellow list members wrote to tell us Emilie had been diagnosed with cancer and requested our prayers. When I went to her blog that day, I felt such an immediate connection to her. We are the same age, we are writers, we both live in the Midwest, we both have lived in the Pacific Northwest at some point in our lives, but most of all, we are both mothers.
Emilie is the mother of two young, beautiful boys, and I know that the thought of leaving her children is unbearable to her, and also what has caused her to cling so vehemently to life. But now, it seems, another course has been laid out for her. She is as accepting of it right now as anyone in her position might be; in fact, more than most would be. She is a thinker, and she’s grappled with all of this in her head and made the most sense of it she can, but her heart is a little bit behind, as would be the case with any of us in her position. When my friend Laura, mother of four, was dying of cancer in 2000 at age 39, she, too, struggled mostly with the thought that she was abandoning her children. For a mother, it’s as unnatural a thought as they come.
I am sharing Emilie’s photo (which she agreed to let me use when I first mentioned her, back before my blog was on Area Voices), as well as the link to her blog, not because she needs the publicity (her blog has been quite active) but because her writing is a gift to us all. It’s regrettable that it took Emilie having cancer for me to have been pointed to her writing, but in that, I have been rewarded many times and am so thankful. I know she wouldn’t like being called brave or any of those other noble words, because most days she feels just as vulnerable as the rest of us, but it’s hard not to view how she has approached her cancer with anything less than true admiration. The second reason I am sharing this is because there is always a need for more prayers. Even if the end is, in fact, as near for Emilie as it appears today, our prayers might be just what she needs to travel through this final phase in grace.