I can’t believe how hard this is hitting me; I didn’t know her very well - I had seen her numerous times, but my ex had a lot more contact with her and her family than I did. The few times I did have contact with her were a joy, though - she was very sweet, very upbeat.
Riley sure liked her, that’s for sure. They were diagnosed around the same time, both had the same type of cancer, both were the same age. Odds were that when Riley was in the hospital, she would be in the room next door. They became friends and playmates during those tough neutropenic times when they couldn’t play with other kids who weren’t in the same condition. They were quite the pair as the Prince and Princess of the local cancer charity, riding in the parade in their best clothes and little crowns.
Alas, though diagnosed around the same time, they caught her leukemia a good bit further along than when they caught it in Riley. She had a real rough time with treatment - I never saw her with hair in the past year that I had known her. This last month, things got worse - they hit it with the hardest, most aggressive chemo treatment they could, but it did nothing. She as scheduled for a bone marrow transplant on Friday, but they canceled it at the hospital - her body was just too weak to undergo the treatment. They sent her home with hospice. Yesterday she passed.
My ex and I have jointly agreed not to tell Riley about it, not yet. He’s a sharp kid - he is very aware of what he has and the fact that she had the same thing as him. Right now, his positive attitude and strength of spirit is one of the things the doctors think has helped him battle this condition so well - and we don’t want to weigh him down with thoughts of his own mortality. Even his doctor thinks it best that we not bring it up yet, but we all know that it will likely eventually come up. He’s going to notice that the room next door is empty, or that some other child is there that isn’t her. Again, he’s sharp. Neither of us know how we are going to deal with that, but we’ll cross that bridge when we reach it.
I’ve been on the verge of tears all night, barely slept, and continue to find myself feeling weepy about this…and it feels ridiculous. I hardly knew her! And kids die every day - its unfair, it sucks, but its life. But my little boy loved her, the way little kids love all their friends. And my heart breaks for him, even though he may not know for a while what has happened.
And a part of me feels guilty for thinking, thank Og it wasn’t him. I don’t know why my son thrives and soars through his treatments when other kids have it so rough, but I am thankful for it. I know that’s natural - it’s perfectly alright to be happy that my boy has it relatively easy, but for some reason, my heart hurts to think that.
I don’t know what the arrangements will be for her funeral, or how to handle all that. It seems wrong, somehow, to not do something for them, to not try and be supportive in what I know, what I feel in every part of my being, has to be the hardest thing they will ever face. But I don’t know how to face them, these relative strangers, to tell them how sorry I am for their loss, while my boy lives and thrives and remains strong.
I’ve rambled enough…I guess I just needed to get this out.