Reality. Every moment somehow manages to be harder than the last. The frozen moments of the last 18 months. Me learning to breathe again despite the absence of air. Being told my child has a brain tumor. Finding out it is cancer. Fighting through the horrible side effects, knowing my child may never be who he was before. Living in a hospital room for 8 months. Learning the cancer is back, a relapse. A terminal relapse. Never knowing how long my son has left, but knowing the answer is not long enough. Begging God to end the suffering of my child, either by miraculous healing or taking him home to heaven. Telling my child it is okay to die. It is okay to rest, to be free of pain, of suffering. Holding my child as his last breath left his body and heart gave it’s last beat. Knowing I will never feel his heartbeat again. Placing my lifeless child on a gurney, and having to let go. Leaving to go home with an empty car seat, holding his favorite blanket, the last thing he touched. Picking out his casket, a 4.5 foot casket. Looking in his closet deciding what he should wear for eternity. Holding his Arizona Diamondbacks jersey, knowing it's the one. The one he wore to his last Dbacks game last fall. A shirt that bought joy every time. Determining what to place with my child forever. His daddy blanket, the aviator Baby Tulablanket he clung to since daddy left for basic training in Spring of 2016. That gave him comfort for 2 years, rarely leaving his side. His stuffed Taco Dragon from his favorite book Dragons Love Tacos. A beloved LEGO police car. For all the Legos that always surrounded him. And lastly Daddy's Police badge, because our son is our hero. Letting each item go, forever. Placing them forever with our son. Seeing my child one last time. Him being honored by Superman, a police officer. Damon Cole (Heroes & Cops Against Childhood Cancer) standing for our son, honoring him one last time in a way only fitting of a hero. Seeing my son in his casket. My son, my child. Cold. Lifeless. Dead. Each moment somehow worse than the last. My arms forever empty, but my heart forever full.
6 years was not enough. A lifetime would not have been enough. But Sammy was never ours. He was always the Lords. Each day a gift. And each moment I’ve been met by God, carried by God. He is my strength, my courage, my hope. He will continue to carry me through the breathless, airless moments I will face in the days, weeks, months and years ahead. Especially as we prepare to lay Sammy to rest with his Grandfather in the week to come. Having to leave Sammy's earthly body in PA and returning to AZ without him. My strength is not mine, but the Lord's.
I may never know the why of this horrible journey, but I will continue to trust that God will create the most beautiful rainbow out of my storm, out of the horrors of this journey. I have faith that God is not finished with Sammy’s story. That His story is greater than anything I could imagine. And because of Christ, I have hope. I know that one day I will be reunited with my Sammy, for eternity. And what a glorious reunion that will be. My heart is broken, and may never be whole again until that day. As there will always be a piece missing. A piece with Sammy, taken to another place. A place called heaven. But one day my heart will be whole again because of Christ.
And while my heart continues to grieve, it is also full of joy knowing Sammy is FREE.