Rock Bottom…I pray…rock bottom

I have a problem and its not healthy. It doesn’t serve Jacob. It definitely doesn’t serve me. It doesn’t serve anyone. It makes this process harder…,especially for Steve.  I don’t sleep. I only think. 

When talking to a friend the replay was: “Of course. You want Jacob to be okay. You are going to be a wreck.” she replied. 

But it’s that and so much more. 

I want and NEED them ALL to be okay. Every single one of these children. I see them. I watch them. I love them. They are mine. 

This isn’t very unusual for me, I have always had a lot of children. A lot. Not just two, but hundreds and two. 

It can be extreme. I can put my kids last. WAIT. That’s not fair. Not last. More like in order of importance of need.

This story pops in my mind.  It is the terrorist bombings of 2017 in Chelsea. The day after (or maybe the day after that) there was a strange package on the Highline right next to Avenues. NYC was on high alert. This had to be taken very seriously. We went into lockdown mode. No child could leave the building. We had to move hundreds of the children to one side of the building, packing classrooms, and sit and wait until the bomb scare was cleared (which thankfully it was).

It’s was a lot of responsibility. All of those children and faculty lives in your hand. Looking to you for directions. Making calls. Important calls. 

When I got home that night (LATE) everyone (family and friends) kept asking me “How was Benno?!” Everyone knows that Benno has a severe anxiety disorder. This had to be so scary for him. 

“How was he? Was he crying?” 

 “I don’t know. I didn’t see him.” 

Steve couldn’t comprehend it. “So you didn’t check in on OUR child?” 

I didn’t. I didn’t even check on him when it was over. 

Maybe I’m missing a gene. Maybe I’m not maternal, I treated him just like all the rest. He was one of my hundreds and two children. I wasn’t protecting him, I was protecting ALL of them. 

No. I did not see him.  The only kids I checked in on personally were the children affected by the bomb attack earlier that week, the kids that lived in that neighborhood who still couldn’t go home. They were my priority. They were the ones that I ran to. 

 I can still name them all. All 6 of them. 

So I’m having a really hard time here. 

This is my literal hell. This is NOT the place for my disposition. This is not a place where I thrive. It is a place where my soul just dies because I’m helpless. Completely helpless. I don’t have the ability to help them. And some of these children are SO SO sick. 

And I am low…really low. 

And it got lower…

I saw Benno.

I haven’t really seen him. That has been semi on purpose. So I can focus on Jacob, but also to shield me.  I know that sounds terrible. I know I have another child. But you don’t know Benno.

But I saw Benno. 

It wasn’t on purpose. He was supposed to be out, but he doesn’t really go “out.” I should have known better. I went home to try and sleep. I had three hours “off,” but there he was.

And I can’t really write about it, because one day he will read this and while I go on and on about Jacob’s strength…I can’t say the same for Benno. Benno deserves to have his strengths shown, a full picture, of the really kind intellectual child he is, but I can’t write about those things. I only write in the NOW and I only have time for NOW.

I’ll put it this way… I’m unclear which child is sicker. Which child is more in need. I don’t know who to prioritize. 

I mean I know that Jacob is sicker, but Benno…geez…Benno is sick too. Benno is unhinged. Benno is spiraling. Benno is sicker than Jacob.  Jacob is laughing. Jacob is talking. Benno is…I can’t write.

And I hit my bottom. There is just so much one person can do.

Jacob needs me. 

Benno needs me. 

When I called a friend in this desperate moment, she said “I have nothing to say to you. I really don’t. You are in a nightmare. The only thing I can say is that the sun will rise tomorrow. You at least know that.”

Well, the sun did rise and I got to start this whole “life” again. This whole nightmare. 

And honestly, I would NOT be able to do this without you. I’ve gotten some breaks from the mom show. You have sent robotic teachers! You have sent yourselves. You have sent toys. I share them with our neighbors. We all thank you. 

 And the letters! Jacob received letters from his friends from school even ones from Chabad (his school prior). I think Jacob liked the letters, I LOVED them. I read each of them three times and plan on pinning them up all over his room. And the best news! Jacob’s white blood cells finally came back up! He has immunity and he looks so much better.  So we get to leave the hospital tonight. Jacob comes home.  

Now get 4 days with Jacob and then we do it all over again. Another round.

Another day is now done. 

Only a year to go.

Please say this is rock bottom.

Join the Conversation


  1. Abby:
    I read each and every blog and sometimes twice. I write a post/response after almost every blog that I delete because I never know if it is the right thing to say! I’m so glad that Jacob’s blood count is better🙏! Might be talking out of turn but you are an excellent mother, friend, writer and all around human being! Don’t judge yourself, You are just prioritizing what you deem is most important at that moment! Michelle and I pray for Jacob daily!

  2. There are no words. I read your blog every day. I can feel your suffering and pray for Jacob every day. I am O+ and plan on giving blood for Jacob. I wish I could do more.
    Sherry Kelstein

  3. I like Ryan, and am sure like many others, delete so many comments I want to share with you. Each time you write Abby, we are holding our breath because your writing is incredible, and we feel you through this blog. Your pain is our suffering too now. We are devastated by this marathon, but we promise we will be here for your family til the moment Jacob comes home cancer-free -and we are understanding of your complicated, real, and tragic position along the way. Thank God for your brilliant minds (!!!!) and endless compassion (!!!!!) and Steve’s endless drive (!!!!) that will take you to the finish line stronger and closer. May God bless you and your family with strength through each round, and the ability to focus on the healthy end result to get you through the most difficult times.

  4. Abby – I’m catching up on a few posts as we were in a no service part of the world, but I pray every day for you all. I also delete many comments after typing them, but please know, nobody should be judging you. I’m in awe of you, I’m learning so much from reading, not just about you, your family and friends, but also the cancer, the treatment and the feelings around these.

    Your blog is unmissable – and I want to thank you for laying your thoughts and feelings out.

    I hope today was better, that Jacob and Benno had good days. Xxxxx

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