Today marks eight years since my leukemia diagnosis! The details of that day will be forever etched in my memory. But that’s not really what I wanted to talk about today. I’ve had this in my head and heart for some time but just haven’t taken the time to sit and write in down. I thought today would be a good day.
Other than my granddaughter, Dana, who is twelve, my other five grandchildren have no memory of me not having cancer. The only one that might have minimal recollection is Caleb, and he’s only nine. He was only one and a half when I was diagnosed. Ethan had just been born, and Jonah, Lily, and Elias were yet to be. So their whole lives have been accustomed to hearing that Tadee can’t do that or we can’t go see Tadee right now or Tadee isn’t strong enough to pick you up right now or playing peek-a-boo behind my mask. The first time we thought I was going to lose my hair, Dana and I played dress up with my wigs to help her feel more comfortable with the idea that “it’s just hair.” Every time I have gone into the hospital, the kids have come over for a special time together and a picture because I just don’t know when it’s going to be my time not to come home from the hospital.
But the thing that has gripped me the most is the innocent way they have embraced the reality of my situation. Especially Jonah. Last summer was really rough. I was in the hospital for almost six weeks, and it was pretty touch and go there for a while. It was scary to say the least. My grandchildren would FaceTime me, when I was able to, and it has been such a blessing over these years to still be able to communicate with them even when I wasn’t able to be with them in person due to my weakened immune system. But Jonah would always ask, whether on FaceTime or on the phone, “Tadee, are you going to die today?” And I would simply respond with a smile, “No. Not today, buddy.” And then he would ask the same thing the next time and the next. And my answer was always the same. No, not today, buddy.
Well, a year has passed and I am much more stable. Jonah hasn’t asked me that question in a while. But I know that it is only a matter of time that it will once again become part of my and their reality. Right now, Tadee can keep up a little better, not wear a mask except in the yard, and I can even pick a few of them up. I am thankful for every day God has gifted me. Eight years ago, we never expected that I would still be here. Hoped, prayed…yes. Expected…only with God. Now that I’ve gotten this far, our hope has expanded. But we still just take one day at a time.
And no, Jonah, I don’t think I’m going to die today. <3