Thursday, August 7, 2014

Honest advice

A friend's mom was diagnosed earlier this year with brain cancer. She recently completed chemotherapy and radiation, and the family was feeling hopeful.

And then this week, they learned that the tumor has spread. It's aggressive. It's GBM -- the same kind of tumor that Steve had.

My friend texted today to ask for advice on what to tell her two young children.

Sometimes the truth is too difficult to bear, even when you know it must be told. But I knew that she asked because she expected me to be honest.

I wrote: "Tell them that her cancer is difficult to cure. That you will be praying for a cure at the same time that you are praying for her to feel no pain and for her complete healing. If they ask you if she's going to die, you tell them that people often die within a few months. And you are praying for more time if it's without pain."

This is a friend who took excellent care of our family while Steve was ill and for months after. She was in our home during rough trials. She prayed steadfastly for us. I would love to protect her and her children from the trauma of losing a very special mom and grandmother.

Yet we don't get to shelter people -- even the people we love -- from tragedy, from illness, from death.

Instead, we are charged with standing with people as they experience pain. We have been created to love one another, to support one another, to hold hands, to answer phone calls, to listen and to offer advice when asked.

It is that kind of love that has sustained our family for so many years now. I thank God every day for Katie and Cooper. I thank God every day for Steve. And I thank God every day for the people who have made our journey smoother.

Cooper, Tyra and Katie, this week, off Ocean Drive, Kennebunkport, Maine