Saturday, April 16, 2011


Just as we began to celebrate the new ANC levels Emma had achieved, a whopping 700, a cold has crept into our home and decided to attacked Rebecca and Ben. So now I sit, quietly watching and waiting, doing laundry, dishes, and dodging this bullet sent home from school. We've quickly shipped Emma and Joe off to Aunt Bethany and Uncle Robb's house, as a form of a bubble or retreat, thus the quiet house. This quiet, though rare in our busy family of five, can be a blessing or a curse.

When Benjamin was very little, anything that resembled "quiet" usually meant he was up to something. He would disappear off into a back room, sucking his thumb, thinking, watching, and waiting. He's a calculated little man. His tiny fingers would test things. He would find the smallest cracks on any surface. Feeling fabric from around the house, he would look for a woven gem to add to his collection of comfort blankets he named his "uh-ohs." His calculations, born of pure analytics I'm sure, would lead him to place the smallest of objects neatly into the tiniest places. This one time he put a newly purchased memory card for our camera neatly and perfectly away, somewhere in Grammy's house, never to be seen again.

Loading the photos of today onto the computer from such a card, flashed my memory like a wave crashing into the pier at O.B., with such clarity it was as though Ben was instantly 2 years old again with his uh-oh in tow. Instead he's 8, has a fever, hasn't eaten, and sleeps quietly on the couch beside me. This forced quiet time has made me think. I wonder if the memories we're making right now, traveling through Emma's journey as she battles Lymphoma, will be so clear? When she's walking down the isle in the most beautiful white dress, getting ready to change her last name forever, will we flash back to when she was 10? I know I will, through a river of tears...of joy and triumph.

Lately I've been flashing from time period to time period as I struggle to cope with and understand our new life. I found old photos of the kids. First date photos of Rebecca and I. Wedding photos. As I look at the photos from the past week, I've noticed that we're starting to get comfortable. We know what the hospital looks like from all angles, every hallway, every room. We know where to get diesel now, no matter which way the one-way street is going. We know what the chemo routine is like and what to expect. This comfort, at least when viewed during these quiet times, can scare me. I don't want to get too comfortable. We were comfortable, before February 16, 2011. I don't want to forget each step, like when Emma was learning to walk as a baby. I want to learn from it. I want to hold on to it, though if I'm honest, never go back.

Emma's growing. She's maturing. Today she's not the little girl learning to walk, she's a cancer patient on a mission. She's a face of faith. I have so much to learn from her. She's wise beyond her years now. I guess it comes with the kit, though they didn't mention that in the cancer staging meeting, and trust me, I've scoured the manual. Recently, while talking with a friend at a park, I realized Emma's quickly becoming a pro. Not quite sponsored yet, but definitely swinging for the fence with her knowledge and understanding of her new stage of life. She watches us more than she used to. She listens to everything. She takes it all in, processes it, then hums a little tune. This worries me, because I'm still very angry at cancer. I don't react the same to things. I try and hold it together because we're (the parents) are supposed to. We (the dad) are supposed to handle anything and be strong, positive, and courageous. I'm so angry, I even questioned why I should capitalize "Lymphoma" in this blog. What did it do to deserve the big L? You capitalize God, not lymphoma. Boy do I have a long way to go.

I've been told that Emma's blog is open, honest, and lets our friends, family, and even those we don't yet know, into our journey with ease. I think it allows us all to know the truth. It makes sitting at a picnic table at the park, waiting for soccer practice to get over, easier. Your conversations, thoughts, and prayers help us. It truly is therapy, maybe for us all, but definitely for me. My thoughts are scattered throughout each day. The first week after Emma's diagnosis I missed exit after exit as I drove down the freeway. I struggled to find direction. As I put my thoughts to paper (screen) it becomes real. Her situation sets in. Our future, though wide open, becomes at least a thought. If I try to say any of these words out loud, I wouldn't get past the first sentence. I'll start to cry. It's still too raw. Maybe I process things slower? Maybe my imagination it too intense? Maybe my faith isn't strong enough? Maybe I haven't given it all to Him? Like Rebecca said, "Breathe In.....Hold Your Breath.....Breathe."

Thank you for walking with us through this journey. 
- Jon


  1. What a wonderful, honest post, Jon. Rebecca isn't the only one gifted with words :) I'm totally with you on the anger thing. I felt a lot of anger/sadness/helplessness as my grandmother went through this process, so I can't even imagine how exponentially worse it all must be when it's your child. We pray every day for all of you, and we are here for anything you need.

  2. Beautiful writing, Jon! Your heart is so easy to see... To feel. God is using this heart of yours, heart of Rebecca's and heart of Emma's to help others in their journeys too. I hear about it from people who don't even know you!! Their journeys may not include cancer... They may be TOTALLY different, BUT... Emma's story, her faith and the faith that you and Rebecca share is being shared with those in much need.

    Keep sharing...

  3. Jon, I understand what you mean - one alcl parent to another. I wrote a blog post last summer that was very similar - where I refused to capitalize cancer. How dare this awful thing warrant a capital letter?

    What I can tell you, is that the anger does subside, and you come to accept that this is your child's life. You don't like it, but you find the good in it, the strength it gives them, and the clarity about how precious each day is. (but I still wont capitalize it.)
    You're family will get through this. Maggie had her last "on treatment" clinic visit today, and now she is officially done with her protocol. The year will feel both agonizingly long, and as if it is gone in the blink of an eye. The day will come. Sending hugs and prayers for all of you, as you walk this journey.

  4. No Jon! Thank you! Thank you all for sharing your thoughts, your wisdom, your fears and your perspective.
    You all continue to touch my life in ways that you will never truly understand, nor will I in all honestly.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!


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