My close friends and family know that despite my wise-cracking, hardened shell I project to the world I am intensely emotional. They also know that despite my ability to laugh, joke, and act silly in small groups and online that I am deeply introverted. So here I am a highly sensitive introvert. I cry when others cry and I’m shy about it. I’ve needed to write this post for a few weeks and I haven’t been able to because I cry and I’m shy about it and this isn’t my usual web presence. Sure I moan and groan about life, but I’m able to say something witty or underscore something humorous about the situation and then move on. Sometimes I even find the good in my troubles and focus on that.
I have nothing witty to say, there is certainly nothing humorous, and I am desperately struggling to find something good.
A set of very dear friends have a set of very dear friends who recently — as in during Easter week — lost their daughter to leukemia. Piper was two and half years old. Her mom, Susanna, writes the most achingly beautiful blog I have ever read. What started as a blog about a family turned into a chronicle of a little girl’s illness and a family’s loss. Every time I think about Piper and her family I can feel this tightness in my chest that squeezes my heart. While I cannot fathom the pain this family is going through, I know that I look at my children and I feel lucky and guilty at one and the same time. I’m so lucky to have two healthy kids and I feel so guilty that I get to hug my babies and Sus won’t get to hug Piper anymore, at least in this life.
I’ve never felt so helpless in my life. Obviously there is nothing I can do for Piper’s family… a card… some well meaning words… possibly a meal… but nothing can make this hurt better. I have to do something and that something is to do my little part to help fund research to cure pediatric cancer. I’ve signed on to be a shavee for St. Baldricks. St. Baldricks is the second largest supplier of funds for pediatric cancer research (the U.S. government is #1). On July 7th — what would have been Piper’s 3rd birthday — I will be shaving my head if I am able to raise $1,500 for this worthy charity.
I must admit I’m feeling like a bit of failure right now. I’ve only raised $25 and that came from my own pockets. I’m trying to master the tears and the introversion long enough to talk to people about donating. So I’m asking you bloggers and blog readers to give if you can.
The other day Sus wrote:
“So imagine not having that child next to you. Today when going about your to-do list allow yourself to have no responsibility for one of your children. Make yourself think how horrible it would be to kiss them goodbye and never ever kiss them hello again, this side of eternity.
And when you feel like you cannot breathe for how heavy this feels on your parental soul, I want you to have the moment that relieves this ache because you do still have your beautiful daughter or strong son. I don’t have this relief and I do have much sadness.”
Think of the children you know if your life. Sons. Daughters. Nieces. Nephews. Grandchildren. Godchildren. Imagine your life without their bright smiles. Cancer doesn’t seem to discriminate. Sure, right now my children are happy and healthy, but no one can ever know for certain that cancer will not claim them if not now then later. When I donate I’m helping to secure a future for my children. For your children. For the little ones who are important to you.
At the close of her post, Sus writes about a Bible verse that has soothed her in this tough time: “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living (Psalms 27:13).” Despite your views on religion, I think we can all agree that it is the goodness in life that keeps one from despair.
I hope you’ll join me in trying to do good in this land of the living. I encourage you to give — even just a little bit — to join the fight against pediatric cancer. My participant’s page is here and it is very easy to do a credit/debit donation and you’ll be able to print out a receipt for your records. I’ll be videoing the big shave on July 7th so you can all see what the bookish blogger will look like bald.
I hope you’ll give — even if it something as small as a dollar or two. Every little bit helps. I sincerely hope that not a single one of us will have to endure the pain of losing a child and I firmly believe that we need to actively fight against pediatric cancer to ensure that each child has a chance to live. Give for the kids you love, the kids you’ve lost, and the broken hearts of grieving families.