Sunday, June 10, 2012

when alive isn't enough

I friend of mine has just completed 6 months of the most horrifying experience I can imagine - at New Years her 6 year old daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumour. They went through several weeks at Sick Kids hospital in Toronto, biopsy & tests & displacement & separation from their teenage daughter at home, then back home for months of chemo, tests, disruption, side-effects, radiation, and more tests and more side-effects.

There are permanent changes to her daughter's brain - personality, learning, eye sight, endocrine system, etc. And it will be years and years before they know the full extent of the changes. And yet, they survived. At least the initial intense battles. The family is drained, and they survived.

But my friend posted today on Facebook, 'Is it awful that 'alive' is not enough some days? ...' I wish I didn't get it, but I so so do. When first The Oldest and then The Little One tried to die last year, I bargained and pleaded and made deals with God and with them - just stay alive. We can work with anything else.

And then, the rest happened. The Little One's mental illnesses. The Oldest's addictions and stealing from his grandparents.

They are alive. And actually doing relatively well. The Little One has had what he considers a set back lately, and has moved back home to return to school. He sees it as a set-back; I see it as a really great choice that will set him up for the future.

But really, things are not better. They are not dealt with. And maybe it will be years, or a lifetime, before we ever really feel okay again. Before The Oldest sees that making amends with his family is better than whatever he's protecting in himself. Before we really know what The Little One's brain needs to make life simpler for him.

Alive is enough, and we can work with everything else. Except on the days when it's not. And then ... then we have to look to others to get us through. And I think that's okay too.


  1. Write on Edge reader here ... I really like the sentence where you say, "Alive is enough, and we can work with everything else." Glad you have a support network for the days when it's not.

    1. Thank you, Rachel. Sorry I forgot to reply for a bit there ... this blog gets lost in the shuffle sometimes.

  2. 'Is it awful that 'alive' is not enough some days?"

    I understand. Completely.

    Thinking of you today. Xx

    1. XOXOXO And I'm thinking of you and your loss. I know what you'd give to be able to say the same about your sister. XOXOX

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