A few weeks ago, Garrett and I took the shortcut home. As we came down a wooded hill, there stood a mother deer and her two fawns in the middle of the road. They were adorable, still having spots and looking very young for this time of the year. I slowed down to a crawl and the deer and her babies hopped across the road to a nearby yard. We stopped and watched the fawns prance around and then dash into the trees. As I drove away, Garrett and I discussed how cute the deer were and continued home, smiling at our encounter. A few weeks later, as I drove that same road on my way back to school, I came upon the mother deer again. She was, like the last time, standing right in the middle of the road. This time, however, there was only one baby at her side. I drove very slowly, looking intently for the other fawn. There was only one. I could barely breathe, let alone continue my drive. The tears streamed down my face as my mind made instant parallels between that mother deer missing her fawn to me, forever missing a child. It took all the strength and courage I had that day to continue on to school. Since that day, I have looked for that mother deer every day, somehow feeling a strong connection with her.
When we go places as a family, I always feel as though we are leaving someone behind. I wonder if the mother deer keeps on looking for her missing baby. When I see a family, I wonder if they are all there. When someone looks at us, I wonder if it is obvious to them that we are an incomplete family. Our lives are not normal and, as another DIPG mom stated, we do not exist in a”new normal” either. There is nothing normal about losing a child and that pervasive feeling of being incomplete will always tug at my side. I cannot tell you how many times strangers have commented on the number of years between the boys and Claire…the comments like, “Well, you finally got your girl!” or “Wow! That is a big gap between kids!” Sometimes we don’t say anything and the stranger escapes that conversation without incident. Most times, however, I dig up some courage, take a deep breath and I tell them about Grace.
Monday, September 13 is Childhood Cancer Awareness Day. To mark this day, Reflections Of Grace Foundation will receive 20% of your total bill at Max and Erma’s in Monroeville. You can eat in or take out any time throughout the day and all you have to do is present our coupon. The coupon is available on the foundation website, www.reflectionsofgrace.org. What a good reason to spend some family time together eating out! We are not permitted to hand out the coupons on site, so be sure to remember yours when you go.
The DIPG world has been shaken once again this past week. Four children have gained their wings, two of which are children whose families received family grants from us this summer. Please offer prayers for the families of Ashani Morris (http://www.carepages.com/carepages/PrincessAshani) and Kole Miller.
In addition, another family we know has just learned that their beautiful daughter is experiencing tumor progression--please lift up Nicole Mackintosh (http://www.carepages.com/carepages/NicolesNotes) and her family in prayer.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. I urge you to pray for the families that will never again be fully complete because of childhood cancer. I urge you to tell the story of a child who bravely battles their cancer without complaint. I urge you to find a few extra moments to spend with your child this month just because you can.
Believe it or not, just last week, I saw the deer in the middle of the road once again. I approached her with trepidation because I did not at first see the fawn. As I got closer, she jumped to the side of the road. I watched her dash into the bushes and to my surprise, there stood not one, but two fawns, waiting for her to join them. This time, as the tears began to stream down my face, I could only imagine how it felt to be that mother deer that was, again, complete.
“…hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast…”