I have a new appreciation for the falling leaves today. They seem to be more beautiful than I ever remember. Each leaf that falls symbolizes the change of seasons underway and the fresh start that will occur in a few months. And even though those leaves will never serve another purpose on their trees again, that doesn’t mean that they never did. They brought life and structure and beauty to their trees from the time they blossomed until it was time for their departure. Sure, when you think about it, the lifespan of a leaf does not seem that long. But today–especially today–I am appreciating and acknowledging how beautiful the leaves are. And I think I always will.
I went home last night to spend time with Kendal. She seems to be missing her mama so much, and I feel like I am missing her being a baby. Dan always says, “She’s growing so fast though, Beck, that she isn’t even giving you a chance to miss her be a baby!” He is right. The girl is everywhere. Dan came to be with Tessa because they needed each other as well.
Tessa’s afternoon became real unpleasant when she woke from her nap with a temp over 103, vomiting and discomfort. Her blood counts are finally hitting their lows like they should, but sometimes I guess this comes with it. It certainly was not the way Dan envisioned his time with Tess, but they made it through.
Dan called me a little after 8 p.m., which I thought was odd considering we had just spoke about a half hour prior. There was a somberness in his voice that made me immediately uncomfortable. Through tears he told me that Tessa began losing her hair…by the handful.
Just like that, the only part that kept all of this from becoming a complete reality was over. Despite the ten months leading up to this, despite the sixteen days in the hospital, despite everything that she is going through, her still having her beautiful hair physically kept her who she always was. And just like that, it was time to officially accept that our daughter has cancer. He broke my heart because it was killing him the way it killed me, and probably worse since he was there for the first clump that he found in her hands.
He told me he rocked her longer last night. He ran his fingers through her hair…each time collecting several strands of his girl’s hair. When I arrived today, I did the same thing. What else do you do? Should I not have done that, her hair would not have stayed in any longer. I found myself rocking her during her nap and collecting her intertwined hair between my fingers as well. Trust me, it is not about how she will look. Patchy or bald, my girl will always be stunning. I really am not that vain of a woman or mother. It is more about the circumstances that surround her. It is about the fight she faces without an option.
Just like the golden leaves that are falling from the trees, the strands falling from her head are just as beautiful. They were there for a short time, but now their time on her head is done. Tomorrow is a new day, and some day this season will change as well.
After about thirty minutes I laid her in her crib. I kissed her forehead and covered her up. Out of no where the tide began to turn. The strands of hair laying on the floor and on her pillow begged me to lift my chin up and help her beat this thing! My tears stopped, and even though I know at times they will return, today they were done. I filled up with strength from her courage alone. How can someone so small have so much courage? She is more amazing than she knows.
Today we accepted her reality…our reality. Tomorrow we will conquer it.