Yesterday, last year, my Piper relapsed. She did it stealthily and quickly and not for lack of fight. Pipers first relapse was devastating...although I dare say a large portion of the past three years were devastating though I never allowed myself to think of it as so. Much like Pipers initial diagnosis and her second relapse, this first one came out of no where and knocked us to our knees both literally and figuratively.
My knees still hurting for the falling.
I remember so many things so vividly. I remember driving on the loop on the way to the ER for her fever and feeling absolutely frantic...trying to call my mom, wishing Chad didn't have to go to class, trying to sort out just why this trip (of hundreds) was rattling me so. I remember Piper perking up as soon as she was given Tylenol and I remember sharing a popsicle and watching Sesame Street. I remember asking about blood work...over and over and over again. I remember my mom meeting me there. I remember Chad meeting me there. I remember calling my friend and asking her to get Linley from school and keeping her for "just a little while" that would turn into 72 hours. I remember Chad stepping into the bathroom and taking the call from Dr. George and feeling my entire body go cold, then numb, then the sound of rushing. I remember hearing of "suspicious cells" and "don't worry quite yet" and "come tonight or first thing in the morning". I remember beginning to shake and seeing Piper who was watching me and reminding myself to get it together already. I remember the drive into Atlanta, again one we had driven hundreds of times before. I remember sitting next to Chad and thinking how different the sunniness of this drive was different to the raininess of the drive to Atlanta after her first diagnosis. I remember getting settled into our room and the parade of nurses who streamed in with tears in their eyes for my little girl they loved. I remember so many little details and I wish they were never mine to have.
Despite me remembering this date, I am terrible at anniversaries or birthdays or anything that I should know. Even so, this date and week is deep within me. The day before Pipers relapse, a dear little boy died. The day after, a dear little girl died. These were two of my closest and sweetest families that we had walked with. I was surrounded by sadness and tears and I was overwhelmed and I was beyond blessed when that little girls
Mommy came into Pipers room, late at night, after saying her final goodbyes to her own little girl. And she spoke to me of Hope. Of fighting...and trusting God.
I often mentally thank this mommy for refocusing me. For reminding me how much my God loved both me and Piper, that her future was not in my hands and I would be better equipped to love her if I trusted God. I'm
Thankful for that, for remembering that.
Mainly right now at 12:28 in the morning, I am remembering being given the choice to take Piper home or to attempt to fight. Again. And I am so glad we fought. I am so glad to have had the moments and laughter and bonding with my girl. Even the moments that sucked the joy right off of my face were beautiful for they were the result of a warm and sweet and spunky and utterly desired and missed little girl.
One year and one day later and I can clearly remember so much.