I’m learning the greatest gift is his childhood, his innocence. His view of life. His understanding that evil only lives in TV shows (and the White house…sorry dad). And of course there are superheroes to save the day. Good always win. Evil just makes a good story line. Without it there is no exciting battles. He likes the battles.
We told Jacob he has cancer.
It has been recommended to us by our doctors and the incredible child life specialist team. Their reasoning: Jacob will be surrounded by other children at Sloan with cancer and he will hear this word from every corner of the room. Let’s be honest, he already has. When he loses his hair, people will point and whisper “cancer.” He will know. Of course he will know. Jacob soaks in all. Jacob is aware. He is the one who has the three tubes sticking out of him. He is the one who walks into sterile rooms with his parents behind double doors and lays down in front of machines We must control the narrative. So we told him.
“You know that bump that they found in your belly like daddy had in chest, they found out what its called. Do you want to know what it is called?”
Jacob: (silent nod)
Jacob: “Cancer rhymes with answer.”
I was taken aback from his response. This is not a Jacob thing. On occasion he will make up silly songs using rhymes, but it wasn’t a song, it was just a statement. “Cancer rhymes with answer.”
It hung there for a bit. I mean cancer is the PROBLEM, not the answer.
I live in world of problems/ questions.
- Why did my husband get cancer?
- Why did my child get cancer?
- Why when I accepted the cancer and just prayed that it hadn’t traveled north, did he light up like a Christmas tree on his scan, including the bones in his skull?
- Why is this happening to my family?
I could go on and on…I have a list going. I’m on page 6. Pages of questions, but no answers. I’m looking for answers.
Jacob just said “cancer rhymes with answer.” Looking for meaning here. Looking to understand really anything right now. And as we know, Jacob only speaks truth.
Maybe its a simple as a child being a child. The clever nonsense that comes out of their mouths. Like just now when he explained to me the difference between a “statue” and “sculpture.” “Statues hold things. Statues are stronger. It’s not the sculpture of liberty mom. Its the statue of liberty.”
Or maybe its more.
Maybe its more concrete. Cancer was the answer to his belly pain. That is the answer. That is what caused it. We started this journey due to his constipation. Yep. You heard that. Constipation is what brought us in.
Or maybe there is an answer I don’t yet know. Maybe there is meaning that I can’t see yet.
I have walked this path before. By NO MEANS is it similar. Steve’s cancer feels like nothing now, a blip, a rained out game. But walking away from almost losing Steve this last October, we changed our lives and I found meaning in the pain. We decided that life was short and we wanted to live “our best life.” We became one with the sea. I started a business to make sure no one felt the way I felt; unprepared and unqualified for the day to day realities of independent living. I founded Mind the Gap. It brought answers to problems in education that needed to be solved. I was going to help millions! I saw such good.
I hope that to be true now. However, it just seems unfathomable. I see my son suffering. I see how unfair the world is. How unfair it is to me, Steve, Benno and Jacob. To my extended family. And to all of you who need to bear witness.
But its true answer does rhyme with cancer. I can’t deny that.