An Amazing Girl

I just finished reading one of the most touching websites ever. http://www.alesecoco.org/ If you want to read something that both hurts and heals, this is it.

This girl's story is unbelievable in terms of the faith she has in her beliefs, and the strength she holds through her five-year struggle with cancer. It's also an inspiring story of the power of family and friends.

Alese's story hits me hard because reading it was like reliving the past with Dennis. What happens when you live through something like a bout with cancer is that it changes you forever, and slowly -- very very slowly -- melts into the back of your mind, and over a long stretch of time, you can go through the day without even remembering that you or your loved one had cancer. It took me over two years to be able to function relatively normally again after Dennis' situation had stabilized and we felt he was going to be okay. I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at one point because I could not function. I could (and did) spend many a day sitting on the couch, staring off into space. Another two to three years, and cancer was not what was foremost in my mind every morning when I got up. I had finally gotten to the point where I was more worried about getting kids to school on time and trying to figure out what I'd make for dinner. However, any time Dennis would mention a pain, or he'd get sick, the FIRST thing to pop into my head would be, 'Has the cancer come back?' This worry, I now realize, is normal for we parents who have gone through the cancer thing with our child. Even 10 years later, the worry is still there, tucked conveniently away behind the daily grind of life, ready to pop out at the slightest mention or thought. This is the way it is, and the way it will be, until the day I die.

Alese's story blows me away because she never failed to remain positive through all her hardship, and this is something I was not able to manage, no matter how hard I tried. Any faith I had in any god was thrown out the window. I could not think positively and focus on the hope and faith that my son would make it through this hurdle. I smiled for my kids, but inside I was dead. Not only could I not believe that we were actually going through something this horrid, that it was happening to us, but I could not fathom the thought that my little boy was suffering, and there was nothing in the world I could do about it. My best was not good enough.

And through all of this, I saw nothing but black, a big dark black hole that we drifted through day in and day out, just barely managing to exist. I did not know if Dennis would survive, if my marriage would survive, or if I would survive. And what was worse was I didn't know whether or not I wanted to survive. My whole reason for being had evaporated in front of my eyes. The question: Why bother with anything when there is no rhyme or reason to any of it? When something as nightmarish as your baby getting cancer happens, is there any reason to hope for anything? What in the world are we here for?

I don't feel that way anymore, at least not as strongly as I did. I do have days here and there where I am very cynical and hate the world, I'm not going to kid you. When another child or another friend succumbs to this terrible disease, I want to die alongside them. I no longer believe good necessarily begets good. My days now are more commonly filled with mundane things like who stole the last cookie and left the empty bag in the cupboard, or making sure Milly doesn't overdo the eye make-up, assuring Dennis that his only clean pair of pants don't make him look like a total geek, and trying to get at least one thing done around the house per day. This is my happiness, and I think this might be as close as I get to the absolute light that Alese managed to attain.

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