Monday, November 28, 2011

Perspective for me, is never ever, very far ...

Our Thanksgiving was busy and beautiful. A house packed. A table overflowing with very non-traditional food. We  ventured away from the usual feast of turkey with all it's trimmings last year and this year, did the same. No regrets. The change suits us. Casual and no fuss. More time to hang out, talk, watch football and enjoy each others company. Although I am not a huge fan of change, in this case, change has been good. Oh, speaking of change. Any of my Catholic cohorts reading this, for the record, I am NOT, digging the changes implemented at mass this past Sunday. Those changes, are going to take me more than awhile to adjust to. As in, the stubborn side of me will be reciting things the old way ... and under my breath.

I did head out briefly, as in one stop, 2 items, done, on Black Friday. Picked up Elf on the Shelf  for Charlotte. Never heard of Elf on the Shelf? Go here and check it out. Could be a cute tradition to start in your house and if nothing else, a new twist on the old " You better watch out,Santa is watching you", that many of us grew up with. Nothing  like instilling fear, in a new fangled way, with  another generation of wee one's, this holiday season. I spent the remainder of Friday decorating and finishing up addressing Christmas cards and had the rest of the weekend planned out and then, just like that, in an instant, everything changed.

Saturday morning I received a call from my good friend Rowena. Rowena and I met, outside the bathrooms on 4E one March morning of 2009. We had each ducked out briefly from our respective childrens hospital rooms.I looked at her face and in an instant I knew her journey with pediatric cancer had just begun. It was the new diagnosis haze I saw in her eyes that gave it away. I recognized it readily, for it was that same reflection I saw in myself, not 5 months back. I hugged her and told her, as I had been told almost from the time of Zoey's birth: Hold tight to hope. Keep your faith close and let your child be your guide. In her case, a son, a few months past his 10th birthday. His name, Klein.

Klein has spent nearly 3 years leading the way. Unfavorable prognosis from the get go. A valiant fight in the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit. Brief respite from leukemia and then, relapse, after relapse, after relapse. All the while, defying odds and charting his own course. And his parents, have unselfishly allowed him to do things his way, in a quest to be a "normal" kid. That is all he has ever wanted. On the floor I would talk to him and he would speak of the things he missed the most: pizza, playing soccer and basketball and hanging out with his friends. My heart ached, each time he spoke of the life he yearned for outside those sterile walls. So his parents have allowed him to return to school, fraught with germs galore. They have allowed him to stay up late into the night playing his beloved video games with friends. They have fought the over powering desire to hole him up in the house and encircle him with their private protection. They have allowed him to be a normal preteen boy, under the most abnormal circumstances.

And on Friday, they headed to Magic Mountain, a roller coaster theme park, here in California. A pre-celebration for his upcoming 13th birthday on Tuesday. He and 16 friends, doing what teens do. Hanging out, eating junk and riding wild rides. It was on one of those rides, that the unthinkable happened. For reasons unknown to any of us, even the doctors, on one of the rides, Klein suffered two major brain bleeds. He underwent a 4 hour brain procedure at a hospital nearby the theme park. He was stabilized and then airlifted to CHLA. A place that has become his home away from home. A place where he is surrounded by a staff that has come to love him and a community that has enveloped he and his family, as their own.

He is on a ventilator. He is fighting. He continues to show us the way. As I sat by his bedside twice, over the last few days, I was reminded of the cruelty of this life. I was reminded of how fragile and uncertain all of our lives are. I was reminded, unfortunately, that I actually have not made much of gain when it comes to being tolerant of others and what they deem difficult and hard. I really thought I had adopted that " everyone has a cross to bear and a story and none is more difficult than another." mentality, but it isn't true, you know? I find that I am often resisting the urge to shout, suck it up and move on, would you? I hate that that has happened. I hate that I have lost a bit of my empathy chip. What kind of a person have I become when I do weights and measures on others troubles? I once thought I could recapture a part of it as time has passed, but I have instead decided that perhaps that the lose of it, just may be yet another unfortunate casualty of this life I have lead over the last 5 years.

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Today I circle back to what has seen me through most all the difficult moments of my life in recent years. Hope and Faith. As well as the way lite by perspective given by one far younger than myself. Unfair and beyond logic. Fight on sweet Klein. You lead. We will follow and all the while, we will wish it were not so.




22 comments:

Becca said...

Oh, I am so, so sorry to hear this. I recall you talking about him many times here on your blog. So wonderful that he's had the opportunity to live life as a child, but now I'll be thinking of him and his family, hoping he gets that chance again soon. Please keep us updated, okay?

Victoria Strong said...

This leaves me speechless. What a brave little boy. What brave parents. And we are sending thoughts and prayers to all of them.

Anonymous said...

So sorry about Kein. Will keep him in my thoughts & prayers.

Don't be so hard on yourself Heather, you have been through and seen enough of life's seemingly unfairness in the past 3 years for a lifetime. multiple lifetimes.

Glad your Thanksgiving was what you wanted, both food & family time.

Bluebelle

Emma said...

I will pray for Klein. Ever heard the quote "nothing is perfect in God's perfect plan". I find it tough too to hear what hard times people are having, and think of how God still deems it all perfect.

We just don't know in this life. When we all get to heaven, then we'll know. For now we just have to trust Him. I just want to pray, anyone who hasn't already asked Jesus into their life, I would really reccommend it. Not trying to force anyone, just want to get it out there and let folk know.

Many blessings,
E x

Anna said...

Some of us havent even seen a glimpse of what you have seen and endured. To us our stuff does seem big and looming. I am learning. I hurt for his friends and family. Just reading his story has taught me. hugs to you my friend.

stephanie said...

Son of a bit** Heather, I'm so sorry. Can't com e up with anything better.
And I'm mumbling under my breath too. I'm way to old for change now.But aren't you looking forward to Christmas Mass and all the people that only come once a year... Surprise!

Keeping Beautiful Klein in my prayers

Runningmama said...

Sad, Sad, Sad, I don't know what else to say, I hate cancer! I'll be praying for him!

Dria said...

How sad. I'm so so sorry for his suffering and what his parents must be going through. Sometimes I feel that I will never understand why any child has to experience such suffering. I just don't get it. Keeping hope and faith for him.Please share updates as you hear them.

Joyce said...

Oh dear. My first thought is for the boys who were with him. Their memories are changed forever. I remember though a few trips with my Girl Scouts where Sarah became very ill. One to King's Island which is also an amusement park. I worried so about them. But they always rose to the occasion and then some. Today I have the pleasure of seeing what they are becoming as young adults. So many are going into helping fields shaped by their experiences with Sarah, which at the time I never considered. We don't know what tomorrow holds, but do just have to trust in that faith. As hard as it is.

Klein and his family are surely teaching as they march along. Not the life they would necessarily hope for, but sometimes more powerful than we can comprehend. Thoughts of comfort going out to his family tonight.

Karol said...

So sorry, for Klein, for his family, for you, for the difficulties of life. Persevere, Heather, persevere.

Anonymous said...

Cancer sucks!

Christy Pinuelas

Elizabeth said...

I'm thinking about and praying for Klein. And for you -- I think it's important to be mindful of your conflicting feelings about perspective. The struggles we have and are having will unwind, become clearer. They always do.

Love and hugs to you. Your abiding with Klein and his family is a beautiful thing.

Kristin said...

OOOOOOOhhhhhhhhh. I hate hearing about kids who get the short end of the stick. So sad. Makes me so grateful (knock on wood) that my two kiddos are healthy over here. Praying for Klein and his family.

Melissa said...

I remember you talking about Klein before. I will be praying for him and his family.

Rochelle said...

In tears! Praying for Klein and his family!

colleen said...

Thinking of you, Klein and his family. I believe that all of our experiences in life change us and leave us hard in some spots, soft in others. I think you have made the most of your struggles and contributed greatly to the lives of others as a result, but thats just my opinion.

SECRET PEPPER PERSON: said...

Precious boy. Praying.

Kendra said...

You write so beautifully and from the heart. Your friend is lucky to have you by her side during this frightening and painful journey. I am saying prayers for Klein. Please keep us posted.

Shelly Turpin said...

Oh Heather. How I ache for that family.

Leslie said...

Coming over here from Elizabeth's place, this morning. Praying for Klein, and his family. Sometimes I think we are not meant to have "perspective," at least when it comes to things like this. Even Jesus said, "Blessed is He who is not offended by me," when He spoke of leaving his cousin John in the prison pit instead of rescuing him, as He had done for countless others. There ARE things that are terrible. Unfair. Unexplainable. Unbearable. And grieving over them should be way different than grieving over one's lost car keys or a bad head cold.

blogzilly said...

I'm sorry. There is nothing profound to say in circumstances like these. At least, that is what I have come to believe. At least...nothing that I am capable of uttering that seems worthy enough.

All my hopes.

Scrappy quilter said...

Oh so brave these kids. Hope and faith, two words I'm going to put on my fridge today because so often I tend to forget them when they are two words we need the most. Sending love to you and yours. Hugs