By the time we met my mom Grace had a 102.6 fever. CHLA advised us not to risk the drive out but to go to the nearest emergency room. She wouldn't walk, talk, or drink. She kept falling asleep wherever she could. The miracle was finding a CHLA nurse we knew working there that day who was able to successfully access her port. After she was given Tylenol and fluids I left her to Chad's good care while he waited 5 hours for the ambulance transport to CHLA and I ran out to get in a little time at the wedding.
By the time I made it back to CHLA Grace was herself again, although a sick version. But she sat up to eat the slice of wedding cake I smuggled in for her. Her cheeks weren't flushed and she was talking. Chad went home and Grace and I have been here since.
We've met two newly diagnosed families this trip. Thankfully we're able to be more social since Grace isn't contagious and she's allowed to spend time in the playroom and reading room. Overall our stay here has been friendly, and even though we'd rather be home, we're thankful for all the hugs and hellos we've had from our nurse friends.
Every time we are inpatient it hits me how many children have cancer.
All of the children we meet become part of my heart. There are even more kids in the Facebook groups and in foundations we belong to. There are so many that I can't take them all in, but now and then one of those children hit a chord in my heart. I don't even know what the endearing common denominator is, but they share the same space of importance to me with the cancer children we know personally.
One of those is Liam. Maybe it's because he always wears the same knit "Minion" hat that my own son has. I've been following Liam against my own advice- sometimes being so connected to too many suffering children bleeds my heart dry- but he's somehow made a spot where he belongs in my life. Liam is dying tonight. He has that same terrible neuroblastoma cancer that took Bailey a few months ago. He's fought so hard and his parents cling to Jesus with faith that amazes me.
It hurts fresh every time I hear or read the words "we're in PICU and not expected to survive the night." Most adults I know, often including myself, shy away from facing our mortality. We fill our lives so full that there isn't time to wonder about the next day, let alone the end of our days. Sometimes it's hard to think of how many children, and parents, have to face that reality, and the children in particular seem to do it with such ease and grace.
Children do not doubt that heaven is real and that God loves them. I think it's a natural faith that we're each born with that erodes away as we grow older. It's not a wonder that Jesus said we have to try to unlearn being adults and become children again if we're to enter the kingdom of heaven.
I'm praying today for Liam to have a peaceful journey, should he go to heaven tonight.