Sometimes I wonder…

Sometimes I wonder why I have two handicapped children AND breast cancer.  It feels like a big burden today. 

First, there’s George.  He’s 14 months, with Down Syndrome, and he’s the nicest baby ever.  He’s calm, sweet, happy and REALLY delayed in his gross motor skills.  Last week he could sit up himself for a bit, but he seems to have forgotten how this week.  We do our very best to help him grow and develop.  Our physical therapist gives us excellent homework, which we do faithfully.  Often I think, though, that I’d be a better mom to George and he wouldn’t be so far behind if I had more energy to do more with him than snuggle and read.  But surgeries and chemotherapy make me really tired.  I’ve heard that radiation makes you tired, too….

And then there’s Danny.  Danny is five, and he has CP from a metabolic disorder.  He’s on oxygen, and he’s tube fed all night through a Mic-Key button.  He’s been sick since Friday, and so he’s even more high maintenance than usual.  Since he’s really too wiped out to eat enough to keep his carbohydrate levels up, he’s needed round the clock tube feeding lately, and he’s needed even more help with everything.

Taking care of Danny is very physically demanding.  Getting his shoes on over his braces is hard.  Getting him and his oxygen cord and his tube feeding pumper pole back and forth to the bathroom is hard.  Getting his violetmobile folded and up into the back of the van is hard.   When I’m hurting and tired, it’s hard to find the strength to do all these things. 

So why, on top of these two boys with their challenges, did I end up with breast cancer?  Big, bad breast cancer?  I’ve tried to read a few books that friends have suggested, but it still doesn’t seem right or fair somehow.  Danny and George need a mom with MORE strength and energy, not less.  Everybody tells me to get more help with things around here, but that wouldn’t take care of the minute-by-minute (or middle of the night 🙂 ) tasks that really are continuous mommy jobs.  And if somebody were here to help me continuously (besides on chemo days or surgery weeks) I think it would drive me crazy anyway.  No, I KNOW it would drive me crazy.  Not that I’m not already, but still….

I know there’s no magic answer, I just wonder sometimes.

19 thoughts on “Sometimes I wonder…

  1. Hiya Elizabeth

    You are right life is not fair infact it can be shitty at times, I am a great believer in that things happen for a reason and even though we can’t always see or agree with the reason I do think they serve a purpose. You are a warm caring person that thinks of others when things aren’t how you want them for yourself and in reality to some you are an angel in this turmoil and upset , you are an inspiration to all of us that feel sorry for ourselves when in fact we have it good.
    Love from Sue & Steph

  2. Debated whether to write this in email, or post it as a comment.

    1 – The fact that you can do it at all is a miracle, a testament to His power through you. His work, your hands. Other mere mortals would not be able to do it at all.

    2 – It calls all of us who know you, love you, and/or read your blog to return to prayer. It’s all too easy to forget to pray as we go about our
    mundane tasks. When I see someone with O2, it reminds me to pray.
    When I meet someone with CP, or similar, I’m reminded to pray. When I
    encounter someone with Downs, I’m reminded to pray. When I meet someone in a wheelchair, I’m reminded to pray. When I meet someone with cancer, I’m reminded to pray. When I see blond kids, I’m reminded to pray. 🙂

    3 – I’m sure there are other reasons why, but these are the two that
    spring to mind at the moment.

    4 – When I get to the Pearly Gates, God has a whole stack of questions to answer, starting with “Why didn’t Noah squish the ticks?” If I should beat you to the Pearly Gates, I’ll be sure to ask this WHY for you.

    Love and hugs, Esther

  3. Dear Elizabeth,

    I wonder why.too. Why you and why not me? I know that we will have the answers someday, but for this moment in time, you are exhausted and have two children who need you at full strength. Your other three are more able to adapt, but they need you, too.

    George is progressing as he should. You ARE doing the right things, of that I am confident. George and Danny will both struggle, but they havehe support of two wonderfully loving parents and siblings.

    Please do not waste any of your precious energy worrying that you are not doing enough. You are doing all the right things. Nancy

  4. We don’t know why. And you don’t have the energy to waste wondering why. “Why” doesn’t matter in this present moment. The best I can do is to tell you that God knew. God knew what Danny’s needs are. God knew what George’s needs are. And still, God allowed you (and them) to suffer with this new cross. Sometimes, it helps to remember that it’s not always about us, either. Sometimes, He allows us to suffer for the sake of someone else’s soul. Never, never is suffering wasted. It might not look or seem or feel like all things are working for the good, but they are. God has a plan. All He asks of you is your faithful obedience. Do what you can, as well as you can, with genuine joy in what you are doing. Trust that His grace is sufficient where you think you are lacking.
    Praying for grace and strength for you!

  5. Yes, we wonder “why?”
    Why me? Why this? Why now?
    We ask the question because what is happening doesn’t seem to make any sense, and we didn’t bring it on ourselves. You are carrying a great deal on a daily basis, and it makes the most basic tasks of living and mothering and housekeeping often feel like an insurmountable pile of things that will never get done. When all you want to do is live and mother and keep your house well. Are those the wrong things to want? Of course not. They are exactly the right things to want, but you’re not being allowed them.

    So. Why?

    As Elizabeth said, we don’t know why. We can’t know why. Because it’s all part of God’s Plan, which usually looks very different from our plan, and usually stretches us beyond our normal limits. The thing we CAN KNOW is why He does that.

    He does that to make us what He created us to be, to help us do what He created us to do.

    Only we don’t fully understand what that is so we can’t possibly understand why we have to go through whatever it is we’re going through. None of us can understand that because we can’t see the end of the story. So we all ask, at least under our breath, “why?”

    Welcome to the human race. None of us are “in the know.”

    You are burdened beyond your normal capacities, no doubt. I hope you are able to reach out for help with your day-to-day needs and accept it as generously as it is given, because you need that.

    But beyond that, I pray that you are able to recognize the great gift God is giving you – He is asking you to bear a great burden, but to bear it with Him. None of these crosses are of your own making. They are all clearly His will for you, and each one is weighed precisely in His loving Hand before being given to you.

    He knows that you are absolutely the best mother for George and Danny, which is why He gave those two special children to you and your husband. He knows that you are absolutely the best wife for your husband. He knows that this medical issue will fatigue you and strain your energies and make it difficult to keep smiling.

    He gives it all to you and promises only that His grace is sufficient.

    His love is demanding, and it is difficult for us to give generously and embrace Him regardless of the thorns and splinters we will encounter. But when we surrender to the crosses – as fatiguing and draining as they are – we will find that He is already there, bearing them with us.

    I pray you find some peace in all of this, and that He allows you the great grace of knowing His gentle love as you walk your daily Way of the Cross. I am more sure of this than I am of anything else in the world: He loves you very, very much to ask so much of you.

  6. My Mom always reminded me that faith comes through questioning. I don’t know why, but I do know that God entrusted all of your children to you and your husband. He knows what he is doing. He fills in the cracks of our efforts and emotions with His Grace. Sometimes it feels like our cracks are gaping chasms, but He fills them up anyway.

    Since I joined NMSL in 2001, I have been blessed and enriched by your joyful living the ideal of being “open to life,” despite great sacrifice and loss. You didn’t hide the pain, but you embraced the joy. Your family life and personal example embody the reality of building a civilization of love and a culture of life. You give courage to others. You give joy to others.

    Lots of love and prayers.

  7. (((Elizabeth)))
    I wish I had something wise or witty or profound to say here. But alas, I don’t have any good responses. Only to tell you that I am praying for you. And that I care, even though I haven’t been around much lately. You’ve always held a special place in my heart ever since we “met” on NMSL. I feel such a kinship with you b/c of all the things we share in common. And knowing you has been such a blessing to me. You are a very special and wonderful person whom I deeply admire. You have many friends and supporters all around you. We will continue to lift you up in prayer. May you have the courage and strength to keep going.

  8. Elizabeth,
    This side of Glory there are no answers sometimes. I pray for you, I pray for your family and I sometimes pray “why” for you too.

    The fact that you worry about your boys shows you are the most precious kind of mother.

    YOU are the mom G-d wanted Danny and George to have. Lucky, lucky boys!!!! You are wonderful! Hug those children extra tonight.

    BIG hugs and extra prayers for you.

  9. I have asked myself this question a thousand times for you…but for as long as I’ve known you, you have been such an inspiration and blessing to me and all our scrapbooking friends…and hopefully you can use our words, prayers, and HELP to get you through, believe me you’re in our thoughts constantly!

    Anyone would be overwhelmed with all you do…I have always been amazed at all you do and have been through…I would worry if you didn’t get overwhelmed at times… I’m just glad you can “talk” to us…I check in on you every chance I get! One thing you must know through all of this…you are loved!

    You’re doing a wonderful job with those beautiful children and hopefully those two little boys will be feeling better soon…we’ve laughed about this before when doctors remind mother’s they need their rest…just exactly when does that time come?
    (This is a time you can let your friends take over, okay?)

    Lots of hugs and prayers are coming your way!

  10. I have never found an answer to the why. I believe that God doesn’t will us to have any of these things. They are part of the human condition. When they happen, I feel God is with us through his Holy Spirit and grace to handle what comes our way in the best way possible. The only question becomes how will this transform us – help us to grow and deepen our relationship with him?

  11. I think everyone above has summed it up pefectly!!! As one of your scrapbooking friends … you have DEF been an inspiration to me even before George and breast cancer! You were always headed off to some far away tournament or drs appt … or Disney 🙂 … for the BENEFIT of your wonderful children and family! As a mom of only one child, I could not imagine where you found energy, time, and patience to do all you did!

    You are stronger than you feel today I know without a doubt! Please know that you are very much loved by tons of people and you have people all over praying for you!

  12. no answers ~ just more prayers~
    I agree with the others God knew what he was doing when he blessed you with each of your children. Danny & George included~ as parents we do get tired, & fustrated, but then somehow pick ourselves back up (or pick a little one up to hug) and remember God chose each of our children teach us and others. We are simply here to do His will & then leave the rest up to Him. I’m sure both of your boys with special needs are right on track doing just what God had planned for them! We can get caught up in the worlds’ ways wondering if I did more~ could they do more or better~ I have come to believe that sometimes God makes our children slower to help us slow down and just realize we are to love them as they are, like He loves all of us.
    Each one of the things you mentioned would by the worlds standards seem like “enough to deal with” and yet you are here still inspiring others (in this blog) by your love, words and actions of how you care for your family. God is using you and your family even in this difficult time~ we will continue to pray for you often. May you feel the love and prayers of all those who care about you!
    Kristin & Kaitlin too

  13. elizabeth,
    You don’t know me, I found your blog months ago through ebeth’s, shared items. I check up on you often and find myself thinking of you thoughout my days. Today, I’m compelled to tell you that I pray for you and your family often. As often as the Lord brings you to mind…today will be one of those days. I hope that you will find comfort in the knowledge that there are doubtless many others out here whom you don’t “know” that carry you and your family in their hearts, and pray and pray and pray for you. I don’t know or understand too much it seems as I get older….but I do know my Lord is merciful, and I ask Him in His great mercy to give you the strength you need and when you are weak that He will make you strong once again.
    Kim, from NC

  14. Elizabeth, I am praying for you mightily….offering up my day with my own special needs kiddos for you. I asked a priest one time, the “why” question as our lives resembled a train wreck with more cars piling up every day…..and he gently said, ” Wrong question, Diana”. OHHHHH, but that IS the question, I wanted to scream back……we can keep asking, (and I still do, believe me), but I get a sense of peace when I remember that priest’s gentle voice… was like Christ was wiping my tears and reminding me He is the answer to all unanswerable questions. I know you already know that……
    God love you, Sister.

  15. Elizabeth – ditto girlfriend!! Mother Teresa once said, “I know that God does not give us more then we can handle. I just wish he didn’t trust me so much!” All I know is that God could not have designed a better family for your children and that he has a very special purpose for each of them. Sometimes it just helps to know that nothing comes to us without passing first through God’s hands. I wish surrendering to His plan and coming to the end of myself and my own strength was something I only had to do once and it would be permanent. Not so, surrendering to God’s wisdom when I really feel that I know so much better, is something I have to do continually!!
    Right now your children are learning from you how to deal with life when it just basically sucks!! You knit socks, you hug them close, read them stories, enjoy their incredible talents such as making music, playing chess and just being so incredibly smart. You show them that yes we all have bad days but they don’t ever have to rob us of our joy. You also show them that no one is an island. We all need each other to help us through the crappy parts of life and to share our joy.
    Elizabeth, you have a special kind of strength, wisdom and character that has been and continues to be refined by your life experiences. It makes you trustworthy and truly inspirational not only to your children, but to all of us who are blessed to call you our friend!! Jakob and I continue to hold you in our prayers.

  16. Hi, Elizabeth.
    It’s a long story how I can across your blog, but I did. I just wanted to let you know that I am thinking and hoping and praying for you.

  17. I have asked this question many, many, many times and just don’t understand it either. I do however believe that we serve an AWESOME God who gives us nothing that He won’t give us the strength to endure. He promises that we will get through life’s trials triumphantly if we lean on Him for His help. I know you are doing this. All I do know is that you are one of the best mother’s I have ever met. You really are an inspiration to all. Your love for your family and children is written all over you. Every time you bring everyone to violin lessons each week, I am amazed at the way you are so upbeat and positive. You have been like this since I met you over 5 years ago. It is hard to believe that it has not changed a bit since all of these trials. You have a beautiful family. You are the kind of mother that I strive to be. God gave you each one of your children because He knew you were the PERFECT mother for them, despite the trials He knew you were to edure. Your children are incredibly blessed to have you. Please don’t ever doubt that.

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