Heavy Heart

Blogging is very self-serving.  It gives me an outlet to share those things going on with MY children, MY husband, in MY house, in MY thoughts, and in MY little corner of the world.

Me, me, me.

It may surprise you to learn that sometimes I get rather sick of myself.  I think I do a marvelous job of keeping that little secret under wraps.

But I’ll tell you, things happen that take me out of my ego-centric world.  Really, they do.

I don’t usually write about the non-me things because general bloggy wisdom says to focus on a topic and stick with it.  My topic is handling a crazy life with five crazy kids and their crazy parents.

So, how do I take a topic like, say, an earthquake in Haiti or violence in Libya, and write about it?  Is this the forum?  Is it fair to subject you, my faithful readers who come here looking for comic relief, to posts that are sad?

And yet, if I’m going to abide by my commitment to be honest, how can I not occasionally write about the things that break my heart?

I’ve resisted talking about tragedies that happen on a world scale, although I’ll tell you now that I care about those events to the depth of my soul.  Truth be told, I dedicate the few hours per week that I generously call “my career” to an organization that sends medical teams to people affected by disaster, conflict and poverty around the world.  I don’t mention my work or the organization here on the blog because, frankly, I say too many personal things here, and I have absolutely no desire to negatively impact our work in any way.

This week, though, we got some tough news as a family.  My 5-year-old niece, who I’ll call Kay, has been battling leukemia since she was 2 years old.  We thought it was beat, with her last treatment of a more than two-year cycle ending just two weeks ago.  We were so excited that she was finished with treatment.  Thrilled!  Ecstatic!

Sadly, Kay’s parents found out Tuesday that her cancer has returned.

I’ve never written about Kay, or about her family.  I’ve done this out of respect for their privacy.  I realize that my personal privacy settings are set to the extreme low end.  Privacy?  What’s this strange word, privacy?  Their privacy settings are much, much higher, than mine… more in the range of “normal.”

I don’t want to do anything, ever that will make Kay’s family suffer, including posting personal, sensitive information.

And yet, here I am, with my heart broken.  Not like their hearts are broken.  Not the same at all when it’s your own child who’s sick.

I have drafts written for the blog that I’ll post later this week.  They’re about my hair, my sagging body, my sister-in-law Kim who uses her spiritual gift of peer pressure for good and not for evil, my son Cai who’s a long kisser, and my foolhardy plan to run a half marathon… and why an old lady and a homeless woman make me think I might pull it off.

But for today, I have to take a time out. Because even though I’ll return to frivolous, funny posts very, very soon, if I hope to be honest and transparent here with you, you have to know that there’s a shadow on my heart at the same time.

We can live both places simultaneously.  Places of joy and peace.  Places of sorrow and uncertainty.

I’ll tell you, one of the joys of writing this blog has been the ability to connect with like-minded people all around the world.  I count it my privilege to be your friend, and I’m grateful that so many of you have reached out hands of friendship to me.  Because you’re my friends, I’d like to ask you, will you pray for Kay?  And pray for her mommy and daddy?

Or, if you don’t believe in prayer… and I confess I have problems with it from time to time myself… then follow your heart and do what you will.  Think a good thought, send a wish to the universe.

I believe in God.  I believe God hears our hearts.  Even when our questions and confusion are louder than our faith.

And I believe in hugging my kids extra tight tonight.

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
25 comments
  1. […] life battling leukemia.  In February, right around the time I decided to run the half marathon, Kay was diagnosed with a recurrence of the leukemia we thought she had […]

  2. Thanks Beth – echoes my heart song.

    1. Chelsea: and mine.

      1. One of the reasons I’m so glad for these responses is so you and Dave will know the prayers and hopes for K’s healing that are coming from around the world. These comments represent friends and strangers-who’ve-become-friends, people from the Netherlands, Canada, East Coast and West Coast of the US… and probably other places I don’t even know. I’m going to put them all together for K’s mom and dad so they know that even though it’s inevitably lonely and isolating at the hospital, people are together with them in spirit.

        Sending love to grandparents whose hearts ache like a mommy’s and daddy’s,

        B

    2. Miss Chelsea Extraordinaire! I know you’re already praying, praying, praying for your little student and friend. You’re so very good at building relationships with kids, and I just KNOW that you’re in Miss Kay’s life ON PURPOSE. So glad for you and your presence.

      Beth

  3. Beth~ I read your blog, and feel a connection to you. I will be praying for that sweet child and your family. You and I must get together sometime, even if it’s a phone call…..we have a lot of common ground!
    ~Leslie

    1. Thanks, Leslie! You and I do have a lot in common! I’ll send you a message here soon so we can chat. I’m thankful for your prayers for Miss Kay, her parents and her grandparents. They’re needed, and I’m grateful!

      Beth

  4. Joining my prayers with all the others

    1. Thank you, thank you! It’s such a blessing to know people care and are praying!

      Beth

  5. Praying in Seattle! I am so sorry – it is hard when you live with the two sides of the spectrum JOY and SORROW. You just have to wonder…….why?? Special hugs being sent your way too! 🙂

    1. Thanks for representing Seattle, Susan! I’m grateful for your encouragement, your prayers and your ongoing sincerity. You’re a jewel. If you ever get an answer to the “why” question… pass the information my way. 😉

      Beth

  6. I am praying for them and your family, Beth. I am sooooooo deeply sorry. 🙁

    1. Thank you, friend! I so appreciate your kind words, and even more your prayers!

      Beth

  7. thank you for helping me out of my me pity and complaining about a out of control teen who has all the health in the world to drive me bonkers. I am praying to God for Kay and her mommy and daddy.

    1. Thanks, Lacie! I SO feel you on your teen comment! When I’m at work and we’re responding to people who are in the middle of a natural disaster or they don’t have medical help for their kids or food to feed them, I try really, really hard to be glad that my kids are healthy and full. Full of what, I sometimes question! But weeks like this, it’s frankly much easier to be grateful that my kids are here to give me trouble. May every mom everywhere be so blessed.

      Beth

  8. Oh, my heart hurts to hear this. I will be praying fervently for them.

    1. Thanks, Kristen. I’m struck that two of my friends who’ve replied have experienced their own loss, too… I’m so grateful for your prayers, and I know they come from understanding. Blessings on you and yours, friend.

      Beth

  9. We will add her to our prayer list. I can’t even begin to imagine…..

    1. Thank you, Cathie! I can’t really imagine, either, even though she’s my niece. I think only parents who’ve experienced this can imagine. But we can all raise our hearts in hope for healing and wisdom for doctors, and I’m grateful you’re willing to be part. Blessings,

      Beth

  10. Heartbroken with you. Joining with you in prayer for Kay and her family, as well as for you and your family as well. May the mercy of God cover your heart as He weeps right along with you, and may you feel peace.

    1. As always, you are such a source of encouragement and love. Thank you and blessings.

      Beth

  11. i stare at my blinking curser wondering what to say. i try to picture hearing that news about my own child… or the child of a close family member or friend and i cringe. even trying to imagine that is painful. how much more so to live it. so my curser will continue to blink now as there is nothing i find i can say. i will be praying though as my curser blinks…

    1. Sweet friend Gwen, thank you. You know grief and loss the way so many people our age don’t… so thank you for saying something even when you don’t know what to say. I love you, love you for it.

      Beth

  12. Dear Beth, words just cannot express the way my heart goes out to you&your loved ones, but I’m giving it a try anyways (though if I was able to extend my arms way across the ocean I’d give you a big hug for sure!). I can’t get your niece and her mom&dad out of my head, and I don’t want to either, simply because I believe that thinking about someone and sending them positive thoughts&energy (which some call ‘prayer’ but can really be called all sort of things) helps, no matter what, it helps. So that’s what I’ll be doing. Also because it helps me to realize where true fortune lies: with the health&happiness of the ones you love, especially your kids. I never really gave it much thought before we were blessed with our little ones, but bliss doesn’t come from money or nice stuff (though it sure feels that way sometimes, doesn’t it), once something is not right with (one of) your kids, nothing else matters really. You go from a thousands wishes to just one.
    Will you tell your niece and her family that all the way across the ocean there are people who keep them in their thoughts and hope for the very best? Give them a big hug and yourself too (if that doesn’t work, tell Greg to give you one on me, okay? 😉 )

    Love, Carina.

    1. Thank you, Carina! I will tell my niece’s family about these wonderful and thoughtful wishes and prayers. I’ll compile them all, and I have to say that I so appreciate that the very first comment is from the Netherlands when we’re here in the States. I love our global community and you for participating with me in it. Blessings, friend.

      Beth

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