At first read, the title of this entry is somewhat disheartening. That is actually the feeling that overwhelmed me a couple weeks ago as we entered our neighborhood, on the way home from a busy day of school. Felicity had been silent for a couple minutes, when all of a sudden she said, “Mommy had cancer.” As I tried to complete the turn for our street, I attempted to calmly respond, “Felicity, what did you say?” (deep down inside hoping that she had said something else). No….Felicity, with her adorable little voice, looked directly into the rear-view mirror and said, “Mommy had cancer.” I pulled into our drive way, put the car in park, and turned around to make direct eye contact with my little girl. It took every last ounce of strength I had not to show Felicity that my heart was not prepared to hear her say those words. “Yes, Felicity. Mommy had cancer.” And that very painful moment ended just as soon as it began. I obviously have not stopped thinking about it, though. After some time processing our short conversation, I have come away with a few truths to share.
Cancer lost its power over me a long time ago. I credit that first to my faith in God and the belief that He is Lord over cancer. I painfully trusted and continue to trust Him that He had something better for Jaime and that did not include a healed body or longer life on this side. I also believe that cancer was made powerless as I watched Jaime stare “it” down every day with a warrior-like spirit. I may have picked her up physically the last months of her life, but Jaime’s joy in the face of indescribable pain and the reality of death carried me throughout the whole experience. So, as I processed the fact that Felicity had verbally recognized her mother’s illness, it hit me. Well, I was a bit angry at first. Like I sometimes do, I asked God why He would do that? She is just a child! Her heart is not prepared for the full wave of grief to come crashing in. But look what I know! I am wrong. Two weeks ago, Felicity continued a process that will essentially render “cancer” powerless in her life’s story. This four-year-old warrior-princess, made in the image of God, and in the combined DNA of two parents, who think the world of her, spoke truth. Yes! Truth can be very painful. However, accepting truth brings an acceptance of what “is”.
Felicity has many, many tears to shed. I would be lying if I told you I look forward to answering all of her questions. It will be a painful reopening of a wound that I will carry for the rest of my life. But I will sit with Felicity and look through pictures, read journals, watch home movies, and join together with so many in letting her know how amazing her mother was. In doing so, we face the truth, enjoy this life, and agree with Jaime that her cancer…yes, even death itself is and forever will be powerless.
“Regardless of whether or not this cancer ultimately ends in my death, I have still won against it because I choose not to allow it to have power in my life. I choose victory over fear and over cancer” – Jaime Hilton