Monday, October 10, 2011
I stumbled upon this picture the other day. It was taken after Olivia's Botox surgery, minutes after her cancer was confirmed. I looked at this picture for a long time and cried. I remember this moment, the heaviness of it, all of my fears, and my questions. I still feel it. It's all I think about.
It's true that since she is so young, it's unlikely she will remember any of what's happening right now. For this I am grateful. But it doesn't end here. Not for her. Future health problems are a given, hospitals will always be a part of our future. But even that isn't what scares me most. My Livi is a fighter, she will win every battle. I know this.
I fear the questions from her that she will inevitably ask about herself, about her eye, about her future. What will other kids think when they find out? How will this affect her self esteem? Will this make her put limits on herself that otherwise would not have been there? How do explain to her that she must always be extra careful with her body because of all this? How will I sit my child down and explain to her about her 13q Deletion? How it affects every cell of her body, how she is missing genetic material that protects her from various cancers and presents other major hurtles? How do I tell her that should she decide to have children one day that because of her RB1 gene deletion, her children would go through this same thing we are going through now? Will these things isolate her in ways I can't even imagine? When she decides to get married, what will this do to her future spouse?
Last Saturday, I went to the temple with several family members. I spent much of the session overcome with emotion. Through my sobs, I tried to sort through all of these feelings about Olivia's future and about the future of my little family. I wish that I could say I was able to make sense of what I was feeling. But I didn't. Instead, in my mind I kept hearing, "She will be happy."
I found overwhelming peace in this. And in this peace I found answers to my other questions. It is not an answer to solve her problems or to fix her little body or to even help make sense of what is happening now. But it is an answer to allow me to begin to move forward, to help me teach her, to help me help her understand, to help me to eventually understand, and to help me be the kind of mother she needs me to be.
"She will be happy."