November 03, 2007

While the sun is in the sky

Yesterday, I finally took this banner down from my dining room wall. It is a quote from Mother Teresa, scrawled tearfully on pieces of scrap paper and affixed to the wall with thumbtacks. It got me through a very tough day that I never told you about. Some things are so big, they can't be reflected upon until hindsight has set in. Let me bring you back in time to October 16.

I called the pediatrician that morning because Bright had woken up twice in the night screaming. Both times I went to him, and both times he was holding his head in the very same spot and asking for me to kiss it (which meant it hurt). The doctor said we should come on in. Once in the examining room, Dr. Miller asked what part of the head it was. I told him the top back left side. He frowned.

"I don't want to alarm you," he said, "but we don't mess around with the back of the head. Pain there is always a red flag."
"For what?" I asked.
"You don't want to know," he said.

Dr. Miller ordered an MRI, but we were going to have to wait a week for the next available appointment. That meant I had to worry for a week whether or not, basically, Bright was going to live or die.

Daniel took the rest of the day off, and I tried to stay busy, but the tears would not stop falling. All I would do is look at my beautiful two-year-old and I would have to leave the room and cry. I decided to take a shower. A very hot shower. While I stood under the water, worry choking me like a weed, the above quote came to my mind. It has always been one of my mom's favorites. I realized that it was true. Worrying was not going to change the result of that MRI, but it WAS robbing me the joy of my son. How, I asked Dad, do I stop worrying? DECIDE TO, He said.

So I did. I dried off, put on comfy clothes, and pulled out a pad of scrap paper. As I wrote the quote and hung it on my wall, I cried the last tears of worry I would cry about that MRI. I decided, if this is the last week of Bright's life, then dad-gummit, we are going to enjoy ourselves. And we did.

The MRI, by the way, came back normal. But by the time the results came in, I had already come to grips with the fact that my son would die. And he will. Someday. We all will. Fearing that end is like fearing the setting of the sun. We should, instead, consider what we are doing while the sun is in the sky.