November 12, 2015
“Mom, I’m scared.” Jessica said into the phone; her voice trembling. Biting back tears I said, “It will be okay sweetie. You have two of the best reasons to fight and they call you ‘mom’.” I replied in as much of a forced calm as my resolve could muster. Inside my heart was screaming, “NO! NO! NO! Not my daughter!” It wasn’t fair. She’s my only child. How does this happen? It wasn’t making sense. Nothing was making sense. My emotions were in turmoil; I wasn’t sure what I was feeling. Anger. Fear. Disbelief.
Talking for a few more minutes, we said our “I love you’s” and hung up. Dazed, I took the dogs outside and gazed at my back yard completely overcome by emotion I remember saying softly, “None of it matters.” Not the flowers beds I gave extra attention this year, planting bulbs my daughter gave me for Mother’s Day. Not the angel trumpet trees I painstakingly propagate each year. Not the herb garden I enjoy, watching as bumble bees dance across the blossoms. Standing. Staring. Tears silently falling. I realized with astute cognizance that nothing in my life was more important than my daughter and the journey she was about to embark on…
Excited when I found out I was expecting, I started considering names. Always wanting a girl and a boy, Jessica and Joshua, I looked up those names before she was born and discovered one meant “God Exists” and the other “God Lives” respectfully. Wonderful! Later that year on August 2nd Jessica Lynne arrived and she was beyond perfect, as are all children.
Her first Christmas, adorable in a red velvet dress trimmed in white lace, she sat propped up with pillows as I nudged her gently with an empty wrapping paper tube. She laughed and laughed. Her first steps at nine months proved to be non-stop once her feet hit the ground…running.
Jessica & her children
She could be stubborn, but that independent streak would provide much needed skills to negotiate life’s little speedbumps as she grew up.
In pre-school she was all giggles one day when I picked her up. Asking what had happened she replied, “JP kissed me today.”
“He did!” I replied sounding stunned.
“Yes, but I kissed him first!” she said giggling coyly. Amazing how a peck on the cheek between children can be so silly.
An only child, she was always extremely clever and creative; happy just to entertain herself with toys and books. I recall the time she played on a small hill. Rolling down the incline I heard her remark as she sat up after reaching the bottom, “I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore Toto.” (Still makes me smile.)
In elementary school she was drawn to helping others. By sixth grade she entered a program to assist handicapped children with their homework; ironic, since Jessica was not fond of doing her own homework. Still, that led to a degree in early childhood education and from there a lead teacher position in daycare. All the parents loved her because she has the uncanny ability to take a withdrawn child and help them blossom. Full of love, caring and compassion she could coax a shy child out of their shell to the gratefulness of the parents. Currently a private nanny, I always tell her how proud I am of her for discovering her gift at such a young age and developing it into a career.
…It goes without saying no parent wants to hear their child has been diagnosed with cancer. Cancer is something no one talks about, because if you don’t talk about it it won’t happen to you. Right? Obviously, ‘right’ is the wrong answer.
One of the most amazingly selfless people I know; beautiful inside and out with two small children of her own, I admire Jessica for being a better mother than I could have ever dreamt of being and I am proud of that fact. It remains to be seen what positive effect this adversity will have on my daughter, as time goes on. Shaken and afraid she has a strong faith and positive attitude about overcoming this new challenge. Loved and adored by her family and friends those life events which brought Jessica to where she is today were only the beginning…where life takes her from here is the rest of her journey.
Friends, so many of you have been, or know someone whose life has been touched by this dreaded disease. Sadly, some journeys end too soon. Others prevail and continue to be a godsend to their families. Let’s pray for each other, our families and our friends that each life’s journey will truly be blessed.