The Stars Keep me Company…

I was up most of the night. The visions of my family without me in five years kept me up. I know, I know…

“Don’t be ridiculous, Keri. You’ll beat this! You’ll be here!”

But that’s the thing.

Most women aren’t still here who’ve been diagnosed with the type of cancer and genetic mutation I’ve been diagnosed with.

And in the past two and a half years, I’m now on my seventh different chemo treatment and not one has worked since the first.

Not… one.

It keeps growing and growing and spreading and getting more active.

I keep getting messages and reading articles that it’s the chemo that is making it spread.

Then I read messages and articles of people who denied any chemo and died within a year.

I try to keep busy because I still can run around and be a mom and I am told to rest.

So I rest and my mind says that someday laying on the couch will be all I can do, so get up now while I still can.

I ran around yesterday getting everything the kids needed for camps, physicals for school and camps. Don’t get me wrong, I am so thankful for Camp Kesem through Stony Brook. But I hate and feel sick over the fact that MY kids are the ones who qualify to go to this camp for kids with parents with cancer and terminal illness.

I got Maddie from work, and was so happy when she said she feels like she is working with family. She loves the camp counselors she will be with this year and is so happy they agreed to let her work as a counselor even though she is missing the first two weeks of camp due to leadership academy.

Then I went to Michaels wake. I met a former colleague there who was his second grade teacher after he left me. Stacy and I had to compose ourselves before we could walk in the church. We took deep breaths and grabbed some tissues.

It’s the second funeral for a student I’ve gone to in that church, and memories of seeing Israel’s little casket with his Pokémon cards came flooding back.

Yesterday, Michael has his drumsticks.

His mom Nancy is the strongest woman I know, and ended up comforting us. She hugged me and told me Michael is now in heaven telling the cancer to get out of his teacher’s body. I told her that she and Michael were my beacons of faith through hard times, and their example has lightened my path. Stacy asked Nancy how she was so strong and she pointed to a pastor and said that he taught her all about faith.

That’s the answer, you know.

Maybe we do go back to dust and it all fades to black and there is nothing once we leave. If that’s the case, I wont even know. But isn’t the other scenario a better one to live for? A bright light, with people who love you waiting for you, and those who didn’t love you, they suddenly do. You’re filled with peace and joy and are healed and whole. And when those who mourn your loss have their time come as well, you are there with open arms to say, “Welcome home. All is forgiven. You’re going to love it here.”

I took the kids to see Toy Story 4, met some friends there which was a nice surprise, then came home. Some emails went back and forth and I’m supposed to start a new drug today.

I kept reading the “Confessions of a Christian Mystic” book. She wrote of a story she was told of young children after the Holocaust. When they would meet new people, they would figure out if the person would be the type to hide them or turn them in. That’s a heartbreaking game, yet a bizarre and quick way to figure out the truth of someone. I’d like to think i would be a helper and hide people, but you never know what you would do until every decision affects your life and your back is up against wall. You ask where God is in the midst of hard times and the hard questions and despair, and I guess He is where He has always been….

In us and all around us, allowing us to make decisions that affect our lives and the course of history. When things become hard and nights become dark, we sit in the quiet, and turn our thoughts to the one who waits at the table in our hearts. We can look at the stars, light years away and yet right above us, and think of them as shortcuts to God. We breathe in the light from above and carry it into our heart, then scatter it like seeds in the wind. Somewhere along the stardust in the sky, science says we began in the big universe, with a Big Bang. I think all those stars connect like a thread, and that thread leads straight to the heart of God…

The one who loves us in our ugliest, darkest, loneliest moments and holds us even when we feel lost. The one who listens to us barter of what we would do if He would only make our wish and prayers come true.

You learn a lot in the middle of the night when you are alone with God, praying and crying and looking at the stars.

It’s what we do with what we learn that matters.

I’m going tonight to see another mother who has turned her tragedy of losing her daughter into something beautiful. I’ll be surrounded by Kait’s Angels tonight, and feel the light coming from Darla.

Today I’m praying for Nancy as she sends Michael home, and that she is filled with faith that he is with all who love him.

I’m praying for my children. They are excited and anxious about camp,

And we are busy with last minute checklists.

I’m praying for Rob, as he is working so hard, and having a wife with this illness is hard, especially when he is as quiet as he is.

I’m praying for me. For Jesus to listen to my prayers to live, and heal, and be a testament to what faith can do.

May it all be so.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

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