Watching Friends Battle Childhood Cancer: When All You Can Do Is PrayJohn Flynn
In the daily routine of being a parent, there are troubles that can arise: arguments, battles, punishments, and headaches. They feel huge when you’re in the middle of them, but at the end of the day, these things are small. As I heard adults of my parents’ generation say many times when I was young, “The kids are healthy; therefore, all is well.”
I’m sure nearly every parent in the world would agree with me that our greatest fear, and perhaps our only real fear, is that our children will get seriously hurt or sick. I’m grateful my children are healthy, but the fear is still there — in the back of my mind, in that dark and sinister place where our deepest fears hang out — like the fear of someone taking one of my children. Though tragedies of that magnitude are unlikely, they still haunt me.
But every now and again, the terrible knowledge that close friends are experiencing a child’s illness first-hand forces us to consider what they must be going through. One colleague’s 11-year-old daughter, Arbor, is battling leukemia (now thankfully in remission, but she’ll remain in treatment for 2 years). Another friend’s son, Dylan, is fighting a brain tumor. To watch all that their families have been going through over the last year or so has been heart-wrenching. I want to do something to help in some small way, but in times like these, words abandon me. All I can do is stand in awe of what I see: my two colleagues, and several other families I know, doing everything in their power to make their children well. They pour themselves into their children in ways that are impossible to describe.
We are a people of many faiths; some of us claim no particular belief in God. Even so, as parents, we all share a mystical bond that joins us together in a common sense of purpose. We can’t explain it; it’s just there. When a friend’s child, or even the child of complete stranger, falls ill, we take it personally. We muster our strength as if to will that child into being well again. We join our voices together, along with friends and family, in a resounding chorus of hope.
I have to believe they can feel us singing.
To read more about Disney Dads’ friend and colleague Eric David and his son Dylan’s courageous fight against brain cancer since age 5 in 2007, visit his blog.
You can also follow and support other families battling childhood cancer at The Truth 365.