I felt the tears form and surface at the corners of my eyes, as if every emotion I have held back in the past 10 months were contained in that one tiny space. Autumn had just completed her last round of chemo, and it was thankfully a very “light” one, so quick in fact that it hardly seemed as though anything happened. Emotions are bizarre; humans seem to have this uncanny ability to be strong when we need to be, especially when the focus in on your child. I cannot describe how I have felt over the past 10 months, some days I felt just fine while others were quite difficult. There are so many ways one’s brain can react to trauma, so many stories it can create because our minds have a hard time shutting off.
I remember the time Autumn and I were driving down to Santa Barbara early in the morning some months ago and I had to stop to put numbing cream on her port. She was so bummed that we were going to do this AGAIN that she began to cry in sadness and frustration. All I could do was to tell her I was so sorry she had to be the one to go through this and that I would take her place if there was any way. I turned in my seat and cried more than I ever have in my life, I just couldn’t stop the tears because I felt so much pain and anger and confusion and helplessness at the situation and life altogether.
A friend whose daughter also had Wilm’s told me that the day would come when all of this would end, because nothing ever lasts forever. If yesterday was in fact that day, I am forever grateful!
Autumn loves Chinese food, so we located a delicious restaurant close to the clinic and feasted in honor of this great day! Uncle Adam, Auntie Alma, Camila, Nanie, Gramps, Uncle Bob, Janie Pie, Jeff, the girls and I were celebrating a day to remember for many years to come. One of the female waitresses sung Happy Birthday to Autumn in Mandarin while Autumn buried her little head in embarrassment, but she loved the attention, the gifts and the cake.
Today is Autumn’s 5th birthday and what a better gift to receive?? I am looking into 2012 with beautiful thoughts and happiness and peace for this little girl who has endured so much in one year. I am thinking of her sisters who have had to take a tough back seat to their sister’s illness which as anyone can imagine, is never very easy.
There has been so much love from our family, friends and this community which has made this journey a whole lot more painless to navigate. I cannot imagine going at this alone, it would never work.
Autumn returned to preschool today and loved every moment of it. When I came to pick her up at noon, she was still running at lightning speed having a blast with her little friends, it was wonderful to see. It was the first day that felt like a day before any of this ever happened, it was serene.