You probably thought by now that you would never hear from me again. I certainly thought that. When my mom passed away on 07/04/2020, I decided a much needed break from the world was in order. Watching my best friend waste away for five months right under my nose was just more that I thought I could handle. Her death journey was slow and tortuous. I swore I would never play nurse around the clock for someone dying in my home. You know what they say about best laid plans of mice and men, right? My British aunt tried to drill it into me as a small child. Never say never. How hard is that? Apparently, it’s too difficult a concept for me to grasp.
While attempting to recover emotionally and physically from my mother’s passing, my nephew came to me regarding a pain in his pelvis which was very uncomfortable. This was two days after mom passed. He was seventeen. We were in the doctor’s office the next day. From there we were given an appointment with an orthopedic. The woman in training came out and told us everything was fine. It must just be connected to the growing pains he has had for the last nine years. Unfortunately, the doctor saw something the trainee had missed. He called me on a Friday at 5:05pm. He explained that it was most likely this rare disease I couldn’t pronounce or there was a very small chance it was cancer. Could we please be the Monday when they open the doors for further tests?
As Josh was telling me about the pain prior to the first appointment, the one word that echoed in my skull was cancer. I am not a psychic. Sometimes I just know things. I don’t like it and I am incapable of controlling when the knowledge will come to me. I knew it was cancer and I knew Josh would not beat the cancer. I hated myself for knowing that information because I couldn’t possibly share it with him.
Josh has known for years about my curse so the moment the oncologist confirmed Ewing’s sarcoma, Josh asked the dreaded question. Will I survive this, Aunt Leah. That was the one time I lied to him and I loathe myself for it. I was with Josh every minute of every treatment. I watched the poison they put into his body destroy him completely physically and damage him greatly emotionally. If I had just been honest with him, he would have opted for end of life and never had to go through that hell. It weighs heavily on my shoulders, making it hard to breathe.
I had wanted to blog about our journey together, but knowing he was going to die I couldn’t risk him reading my blog and finding out. I started the grieving process two year prior to his passing in hopes that it wouldn’t be so difficult when he was gone. Wrong answer. Josh passed away on July 28, 2022. A mere two years after my mom passed. I hadn’t even had time to grieve for her yet. We were surrounding his bed and holding his hands as he took his last breath. The sound which comes from deep in the mother’s belly when her child dies isn’t just like you see in the movies. It’s so very much worse. In that moment, I had wanted nothing more than to go with my son. Sometime during Josh’s treatment, our relationship shifted from nephew/aunt to mother/son. For those who don’t know, we got custody of Josh when he was 8 1/2. My sister was in a tough place in her life and I thought if I had her son she would be able to get things together and I would keep him warm and fed until she had gotten things together. It was never my plan to keep him forever. I thought six months to a year at most and she would have him back. Here we go again with those best laid plans. Josh was a delight to have but the guilt are away at me. Did I do the right thing? That was an every day question for me. I don’t want to go into details without my sister having the ability to tell her side. I knew enough to know he was being cared for properly and that was all I needed to step in. I had to fight the court system in Riley County, KS for one year before we could go get him. There was an adult endangerment charge placed against my sister for almost breaking my mom’s wrist and law enforcement was finally able to go on the military base and remove both of them.
The main reason I want to start writing again is so I can put my pain on this page and get it off my chest. Losing a child is not natural. It is the most agonizing thing I have ever been through. The only thing keeping me sane right now is the knowledge that every time I go through it trauma in my life, I change. I become a more compassionate, loving, gentle, non-judgemental empath. I have been a highly sensitive empath since a very young age. My mom’s bipolar disorder came with a healthy side of rage. I was the only one in the house who could feel her body start to tense up. The screaming was quite scary to the three of us. As the oldest, I felt it was my job to protect everyone. I went about learning the various things I could do to quiet that rage and I became very good at it. I never wanted to go to school because I couldn’t cut the rage off at the pass if I weren’t in the house prior to the first scream. I missed half of 5th and 6th grade. Please understand, when my mother was diagnosed, there was one medication only for bipolar and only about 20% of the population could tolerate it. She was not one of them. I try to find the good in everything. Her sickness made me a highly sensitive empath and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Perhaps someday I will explain why.
My spelling and grammar suck at this point. I will be working on that. Please give me some time. My main goal is to create a place where parents who have lost a child can come and find out they are not alone. I want them to feel fry to speak out if they feel so moved. Anyone is welcome here. All I ask is that absolutely no one give a grieving parent a hard time – about anything, including their grammar. I will block anyone who tries to make this an unsafe place.
Thank you, everyone.
I will be getting my computer in a couple of weeks and at that point I will attempt to learn how to make this look like a blog. I can’t figure out how to do anything with it with this phone.
Love and hugs, Leah
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