I woke up a little misty eyed this morning. Sometimes the reality of our situation catches me off guard in the quiet of the early morning. Generally because I tend to spend the latter part of each evening trying to comfort Jaime before she ultimately ends up crawling into bed between Ben and I to sleep closely through the night. Yes indeed, she is 16 years old. And yes indeed, it is not a comfortable sleep. And no, I will not ask her to leave.
In the middle of the night I awoke to find Jaime (fast asleep) and holding onto my hand. So you can understand why I sometimes have to pause in the mornings to catch my breath and wipe my tears.
I confess that I worry endlessly about our kids. Each is dealing with the reality of the situation in their own way. All of them seem “ok”, but then I wonder….
Zak is always smiling, always positive, always willing to lend a hand, help out, sit down at the end of a work day and have a chat with his Dad. The days of anger and arguing are long gone. I can barely remember them in the face of this new and wonderful human being we have raised. That all seems like a bad dream that we have awoken from…only to fall asleep and face another equally horrifying nightmare. I do wonder how Zak will cope. I want to rage at the unfairness of it all. This was supposed to be our time. Their time, really. Ben and Zak. This was supposed to be their time.
Raegan has shut off most of her emotion when it comes to her Dad. I worry about that too. I have no idea if it is a good coping mechanism or a bad one. I wonder what goes through her head each night as she lays down to sleep. I wonder if she’s too young to grasp the true reality of what is going on. I feel helpless and I don’t want to keep pressing her to talk, incase that is really not what she needs right now. Every time I look at her, I flashback to an image of Ben coming into the house after work when she was just one year old, and her sliding down the stairs to greet him so that he could carry her back up.
Jaime is strong and brave every day, but she crumbles every night. I struggle to find the balance between continuing to parent her properly (“stop being rude. pick up your clothes. etc”) and allowing her to grieve. I am scared of how far into grief she may slide. She cries so easily now. I hardly ever see her smile. She is often angry.
We have decided to cancel our trip to Osoyoos. I have not yet told Raegan, and Jaime is very upset to share the news with her friend Emallee who was coming with us. Emallee’s dad had a heart attack a few months ago, and she was looking forward to this break. Its been a rough go for her this year too. I told Jaime (and will tell Raegan) that we will have a “Stay-cation”. We will take the money meant for that trip and instead we will find things to do with Ben that we can all enjoy. Then I threw in the two happiest words in the world…‘clothes shopping.’ I think I saw a brief twinkle in her eye.
Yesterday I went out to lunch with a friend, who presented me with three bracelets. One for myself, one for Jaime, and one for Raegan. The timing was impeccable.
FEARLESS. COURAGE. STRENGTH.
This afternoon the Saint-Onge Five meet together for the first time with the Oncologist and the counsellor. But first we will all enjoy some time together as a family in Vancouver. We’ll find somewhere nice to share lunch together. Then we will hold hands and head off to the meeting where we will undoubtedly cry and feel that painful knot that punches us each in the stomach continuously.
But we’ll have each other. And we will do our best to remain fearless. And to show courage and strength.