There seem to be phases of life that are just heavy. They are full of problems, belonging both to you and the ones you love. Obviously for us the past 15 months have been extremely heavy. And it has opened the door for others to walk into our lives who are also carrying heavy loads tagged 'childhood cancer'. But this particular burden came from both inside and outside of our cancer world. You see, one of the nurses in the pediatric oncology department also goes to our church. Before Miss E was diagnosed we only knew each other by name. Our husbands were quite familiar and friendly with one another, but somehow our paths had yet to intersect. Well, as you can imagine, living in the hospital, in her department, parked us at an intersection. She always did a really fantastic job at being professional. She avoided having direct care of us in order to maintain a good amount of professionalism. But she always found time on her break... or lunch... or at the end of her day to check on us. A slow sweet friendship was sprouting. Seven months ago we got out of the "living in the hospital" part of treatment and we have been able to form a much more normal friendship... time one on one and also time with our families together.
I have always felt like she was a blessing to us. A special gift that God placed right in the hospital just for us! Little did I know he brought us together for our mutual benefit at hard places in both of our lives.
Four weeks ago my friend, radiant and beautiful, 28 weeks pregnant with her second son... went from excitement and trepidation over having two rowdy boys in the house, to fear that her son would not live another day. Because of multiple serious health issues with the baby, the doctors decided it would be best for this sweet boy to be born at 28 weeks gestation. Most people know that is far too early for a baby to be born. Normal gestation is 40 weeks give or take a couple of weeks. But they knew if they did not get him out, he wouldn't have a chance. So out he came. His chance at life was slim. He fought hard and he made it past those first few fragile days. Life became upside down for his family. They had a baby... but he wasn't at home. Since it was a second boy they hadn't really bought anything new... he would get big brothers hand me downs. With Samuel remaining in the NICU, at home it was almost as if he didn't exist. It was a very strange reality.
As I fervently prayed for this family, I also spent a week frantically knitting. Samuel needed something that was his. Something made special just for him. The Bible says that children are a blessing. Samuel is a blessing. No matter what the circumstances are, he is beautiful, he is important, his life has meaning, and he is a blessing. I made him a "Sammy size blankie". A small, pretty, log cabin blanket. It was made with so much love. And as I knit it, it was a reminder to be continually in prayer for him. I was a little nervous in giving it... you never know how people are feeling in these situations. But I need not fear, it was perfect. It touched his mothers heart in just the right way.
Yesterday, at precisely four weeks old, Sammy went home to the arms of his Heavenly Father. He only got to bless our lives for four short weeks. He will be greatly missed.
If only there was a way that my hands could knit away the pain in his parents hearts now...