I have to start out by saying that I’ve written, erased, and re-written this blog post about a million times in my head…just in the last 2 days alone. It’s a tough one and the easiest one for me to do…all at once. That may not make much sense to you right this second…but it will. I just have to get through it first.
What do you think of when you think of the color GOLD? What’s the first thing that pops into your head? Seriously…think about it.
Riches. Treasures. Jewelry. A special necklace, bracelets. Pirates Booty! (Goonies Never Say Die!). Silver and Gold (Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer style). “Stay golden, Pony Boy.”. The sunset on a beautiful, Summer day. Blonde, golden hair. A crayola crayon.
I mean…it could be any number of random things, right?! Good things. Silly things. Special things.
And those are all the things I would have though of, too….before. Before….
The color GOLD means so much more to me now…it goes so much deeper….and there will be no rhyme or reason to my definition when you read this. It will absolutely be all over the place, as I have no idea how to define it in any kind of order. But it will paint a picture. You will understand it’s meaning…but thankfully, most of you will NOT understand what it feels like. And I pray that you never, ever will. EVER.
GOLD ~ It’s scared eyes, your baby’s cries, and just a little bit…ok, I lie…a whole lot of terror. Yes, terror. It’s fear….of the known AND the unknown. It’s needle pokes, necessary poison, and hospital rooms made home. It’s worried families and scared siblings, it’s a million different doctors and nurses, some who’s names you can’t remember…and some who you’ll never forget. It’s hair loss, and feeding tubes. It’s steroids and chemotherapy drugs….SO many chemotherapy drugs. It’s holding your child’s hand while giving them a needle in their leg….day after day after day. It’s countless spinal taps and bone marrow biopsies. It’s PICC lines and port placements…and watching a stranger push a 3/4 inch needle into your baby’s chest, because it’s easier and safer that way. It’s fevers, it’s zero immune system. It’s pneumonia, and viruses you’ve never heard of before. It’s isolation and boredom. It’s missing out on school, and friends, and Summer vacation. It’s friends dying. It’s innocence lost. It’s your child asking you if THEY are going to die.
It’s strength, courage, & bravery beyond any I’ve ever seen before. It’s giggles with new friends, while running through the hallways of a hospital. It’s playing “drunk driver” with an IV pole, because why not! It’s lots of snuggles…oh so many snuggles. It’s smiling through the pain, discomfort, and ever present fear. It’s love…SO much love from everywhere, so many people….strangers, friends, and family. It’s huge, amazing hearts…LOTS of prayers, and uplifting spirits. It’s growth. It’s anger….it’s frustration, and a whole lot of “WHY??” It’s acceptance. It’s understanding. It’s faith. It’s hope. It’s our new “normal”.
It’s PAIGE. And it’s hard. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my whole life….and I’m not even the one doing it.
Childhood Cancer is a VERY real thing. It’s easy to say things like, “Not me! Not my kid!”…until it is very much your kid. Your baby. And there’s not a goddamn thing you can do about it. Nothing. Hiding from it…..not an option. Giving up….not an option. Pretending it doesn’t exist…not an option.
As a parent, it puts your entire life in check…in a single moment. You IMMEDIATELY view life differently. You take NOTHING for granted. You live every day to the fullest. You smile more. You close your eyes and embrace…the everything. And you do everything within your power to show your child that everything is going to be ok. All the while, you’re trying to convince yourself of the same thing. While you tell your other children that it’s not their fault for being mean, they didn’t do anything wrong, that their feelings are all important, too…that they matter just as much….and again, that everything is going to be ok. It becomes a balancing act like none you’ve ever had to do before…and you feel like you’re constantly teetering on the edge. At least I do.
Some days, it’s easy to feel like I have it all together. Hell, sometimes that feeling even lasts for a whole month. But then…at the least expected moment, like a kick to the gut…you are brought back to reality. You cry in the shower, you cry on a random car ride, you cry after a perfectly normal procedure that goes without a hitch….just because. I wonder if that will ever go away…. I wonder if the fear of it returning will ever go away, as that is a very REAL fear…for me. For just about every other “cancer mom” I’m blessed to be friends with.
So…GOLD will forever symbolize all the worlds mighty-est little hero’s. The ones who though but little, are definitely fierce. The ones so young, but oh so wise and strong. The ones who teach US how to live.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
Worldwide, a child is diagnosed with cancer every 3 minutes.
Childhood Cancer is the leading cause of death in children under the age of 15, in the United States.
1 in 330 children will be diagnosed with some form of childhood cancer by the age of 20.
1 in 5 children with cancer will die within 5 years of diagnosis.
There has only been ONE new medication approved to treat childhood cancers in the last 20+ years.
Our children receive LESS THAN 4% of government funding….LESS THAN 4% towards research to find a cure. LESS THAN 4%.
And yet….our children are the future. It’s a very hard pill to swallow.
This was a long one. I thank you for taking the time to read it all. It means more than you know.
I’d like to send out big hugs and lots of love to some of my fellow cancer families…ones who are currently fighting….and to those who are now happily flying with the angels above. Some I’ve never met in person…but who are forever connected to my heart.
All the love in the world to: Brooke C, Brooke M, Tae, Ava, Julia, Logan, Jack, Sadie, Jocelyn, Shawn, Abby, Bryce, Nico, Zach, Leo…and there are so many more! So many! And two of these babies belong to a few of our fellow photographers. Please send up prayers and love. No matter the day…good or bad…we can ALL use them.
And more than anything…THANK YOU to all my wonderful Aritsts Inspired family members. Your support and encouragement has gotten THIS momma through some tough days. I appreciate the love…always.
This blog entry is part of the Artist Inspired Blog Circle Series. Click here to continue on to the talented Brandi of Bg Photography’s blog to see how other artists in this circle have interpreted this months theme, GOLD.
The Artists Inspired Blog Circle is made up of an exceptionally talented group of photographers from all walks of life, from all over the world. They are wives, mothers, friends, daughters, visual storytellers, who draw from their own experiences to create art that is inspiring, unique, beautiful, and thought provoking.
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