Monday, June 30, 2008

An unexpected joy

Good morning! Wow, what an incredible weekend. I really can't speak for anyone else but I don't think it could have been any better for me. It all started on Friday evening. After a rather late swim, both Lynley and I did not feel like cooking. It was decided that we would go out to eat. Lynley tried to convince us to eat Mexican or Italian but it was not long before our protests and chants of "cook on the table" (kiddo codename for the Tokyo Steakhouse) quickly overwhelmed her. We won, we dressed, and we left. The dinner was fun as always. Although we have seen the show 1000 times, the kids faces always light up when they make a volcano out of the onions while they are cooking. We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner and practiced some magic tricks that I had picked up earlier in the day. I thought it would be fun to teach Hayden some magic while he was in the hospital for this latest round of chemotherapy.

After dinner our raucous bunch made our way up to the hospital where we found Hayden and much of his family. The magic tricks were a hit and I think Hayden will have a great time impressing his friends, nurses, and doctors. The kids had fun while we adults sat and chatted about all that is neuroblastoma. I don't usually get to talk to families this close to diagnosis. It just never seems to work out that way and families always seem to need a little space to make the adjustment. However, it is quite a privilege to be with them as they go through those first weeks and months. Through this experience I have relived so many of my early thoughts of diagnosis. I had even forgotten some of the darker more fearful thoughts that never even made their way to my diary. Things that even I, with all of this experience, fear to write about to this day. It is a terrifying time that only another parent of a child with cancer would understand. I hope that in some way I have helped and comforted them. I pray that I am making this easier for their family.

Hayden looked great!

Saturday marked the funeral for Alexa Aigner. You might think it strange for me to say that I had such an incredible weekend when I attended such a sad event. I think so to. However, let me explain. This funeral was perhaps the saddest I have ever been to. Unfortunately, I now have experience to compare. While I take something special from every funeral I attend this one truly inspired my faith. First, Crys (mom) did an incredible job of reliving Alexa's life through words. I felt so close to her and I felt like I knew her better than I ever had before. Perhaps, Crys' incredible story telling and the realization that she was gone was why it was so unbelievably sad. Regardless, I truly felt like Alexa was at peace and I could picture her in Heaven in my mind. There was a sense of relief and joy in her memory that just made me feel like she was there. As with all of these kiddos, she touched me deeply. I know I have said it before but it was sooo sad but I left knowing that she was truly at peace. The thought of Alexa's complete unearthly joy in Heaven bathed me in comfort for the rest of the weekend.

And that was a good thing to! Lynley had plans for me and for the next 24 hours she would have me gutting and installing our new french patio doors with Dr. Bob. I don't know what it is but there is something so rewarding about milling around and banging hammers with a good friend. Bob and I had a great time ensuring that every detail of the door installation went according to plan. You may not know this but I have an old and crooked house. It is not easy fitting a square door into a rough opening which is more parallelogram than square. Regardless, by 8:00 PM we had a set of doors in place and a couple of beers in our belly. Times were good.

Sunday was much of the same. It started with laundry and dishes and then quickly progressed to more banging of hammers as we finished trimming the outside of the door. It was therapeutic. I grunted.

At 4:30 PM Chance, Truman, and Preston appeared at the door for an evening out at the Rangers game. It was just us boys. There were hot dogs, peanuts and nachos for all. For the kiddos there were also icees and cotton candy. For chance and I, another gulp of that frosty golden beverage. I grunted again.

In a nutshell, that was my weekend. A little strange. Perhaps not what was expected.

But, for me, it was purpose.

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