Dear readers, this is practically a Choose Your Own Adventure post because (lucky you) YOU get to choose the title, maybe even the main theme. Should this be called December 2nd can Suck It? Or do you prefer to read a post titled Days to Remember? Maybe it depends upon the day you’ve had today or how tired you are. Or maybe it depends upon your inclination for pessimism vs. positivity. Maybe it depends on how you look at unforgettable dates. Either way, you get to pick. What is my blog today really about? What’s the appropriate moniker?
I’m writing this because a Facebook memory popped up today. Here’s what the memory said: Dec. 1, 2016: Feeling worried.
I remember that time in my life. I was worried. More than worried, to be honest. You see, four years ago on this very day, my daughter Ally was scheduled to have an MRI the next day (December 2nd) as a precautionary measure. We had seen the pediatrician earlier in the week about her recurring headaches, and our doctor ordered an MRI. I assumed everything would be all right, but still…I worried because that’s what moms do.
Flash back to today. After reading this post, I got to thinking about the weird days that we can’t help but remember. Days that stick with us even though time has passed. Some of these days are good. Some are heartbreaking. And yet we can’t get these dates out of our heads.
Here are the days I remember:
July 3: My grandpa died. I was not prepared to find my parents and my sister returning home to tell me that Gramp’s heart had stopped.
August 1: My grandma died. Gram lived with my family for many years, and this was a hard blow.
December 23: Rich got down on a knee and asked me to marry him. That was one of the best nights I can recall, even though I’ve now forgotten the proposal itself.
December 2: We found out that my daughter had a “mass” on her brain and we should immediately head to Children’s Mercy Hospital. We quickly packed a bag as surgery was imminent for Ally.
July 1: Joel was born AND Rich’s dad died. Same day. Same year. The universe never ceases to teach about joy mixed with sadness.
June 28: I delivered my sweet baby girl. I remember feeling so happy to be a mother of two.
July 10: This is the day CMH told me Ally’s cancer was terminal. I was alone at the hospital with Ally. Rich was traveling. One of the three worst nights of my life.
April 3: This is the day we knew for sure Ally would not get better. Up until then, I was so sure we’d find a way to beat this thing.
May 3: Ally died. And the universe again wanted to teach me about joy mixed with pain. We lost our beautiful, kind, happy, beloved daughter. But at the same time, her suffering ended. She was “read into heaven” by her two best friends, and she died listening to Harry Potter, her favorite book series.
See what I mean about dates? They get me every time. These dates sneak up on me and remind me of the most deeply meaningful moments in my life. Sometimes I feel like I’ve been hit in the gut. And sometimes I laugh as I cry. Sometimes I brace myself for the pain that resurfaces no matter how much time has passed. I understand at my core that life is a mixed bag filled with happy times and great losses. Still, I will forever wish to shout to the void, “Suck It, December 2nd!” It’s a day that I wish I could undo, omit, recant. I can’t, and I know it I can’t. Going forward, December 2nd will always represent a shift in my life. I am no longer the version of myself I was before Ally’s diagnosis. I am sadder, I am wiser, and I am trying to be kinder. I am more aware of the value of each and every day, ordinary or extraordinary, happy or sad.