...you will get by
With a little love and luck
You'll take the sky
-Jimmy Buffett, Love and Luck
This post is inspired by one of my "chosen sisters," one of my girls who came to visit during the darkest days in Philadelphia. (Sidenote - Isn't it nice to know that if life doesn't give you sisters, you can pick them?! I get the benefits of adult sisterhood without the tweenage catfights over who messed up my mascara...) She sent me a message of encouragement to say that she was, yet again, praying for me, for my mom. To say that this gal has known hard times and loss doesn't even begin to cover it. I had known her for several years before I learned just how much she had been through. A long trip and a few tear-filled stories gave me a new respect for her and for her ability to smile through the pain. I can borrow a page from her book because she is a mountain of strength.
But what she said in her message was about changing our perspective on luck. An outsider might look at my story - nearly losing my child after open heart surgery, then immediately watching my mom fight a recurrence of breast cancer - and think that the stars sure are aligned wrong for my family. It might seem that we're pretty unlucky.
Her perspective was that we are lucky beyond words. Yes, what we went through was traumatic. But we're here. We're home. We have two beautiful boys who are happy and healthy (or well on their way to good health). But more than that, my extended family is closer than ever. We were blessed to spend six weeks together in Philly, and the boys were lucky to be able to develop that kind of special bond with their grandparents. We were blessed to spend that time with our parents. We spent six weeks holding hands and being thankful for the life of our children, grateful for each heartbeat. That closeness came not just in spite of the hard times, but because of them. We're closer as a family BECAUSE of what we have been through and continue to go through. And that strength will carry us through the coming days.
I would love to say that God simply gives us strength to get through the challenges. But it's not that simple. God puts people in our paths, people like my dear friend, whose stream of prayers and love make the difference.
Don't get me wrong - I still want it to go away. I want to wake up tomorrow and learn that after just one treatment, mom's tumors are gone. Poof! But just in case the magic genie in the infusion pump doesn't work that way, I know I can rely on the love of family and friends to pull me through. And every day, I thank God for that.