“some girls are just born with glitter in their veins”
Yesterday’s gift was by far and a way the most difficult yet. Libby was nominated by a mother from her mom’s group to receive one of our Holiday Cheer gifts. Libby is the mother of four beautiful children. Her oldest daughter was recently diagnosed with DIPGs. DIPG is “Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) … a type of brain tumor found in the pons, part of the brainstem on the lower back of the brain, near the top of the spinal cord. DIPG primarily affects children, with most diagnoses occurring between 5 and 7 years of age. DIPG makes up 10-15% of all brain tumors in children, with about 100-150 new diagnoses per year in the United States and about 300 per year in all of North America and Europe. Unlike many other pediatric cancers, there has been little progress in improving treatments and cure rates for DIPG over the last few decades. Unfortunately, fewer than 10% of children with DIPG survive two years from diagnosis.” (http://www.dipgregistry.org/patients-families/basic-facts/)
Libby has been keeping a blog of her thoughts and feelings through their journey and I highly recommend that you read her blog (Love4JLK.org) because her words are the only words that can tell Jennifer’s story accurately; her words are the only words that really let you in so that you can see what this family is going through. I just can’t even attempt to put words to their story.
So yesterday I have to be honest I was filled with dread at delivering this gift, but was feeling a bit better knowing that most likely the family would not be home. So after dance practice with my little one, we traveled to Libby’s house. As we drove up there were people leaving and again I was just hoping that maybe there were people taking shifts watching her other children and I would not have to actually meet with Libby face to face. It just felt awkward to meet this stranger, dealing with the unimaginable and hand her a gift.
But we rang the bell and to my surprise, Libby herself answered the door with 3 of her four beautiful children in tow. It felt like the wind got knocked out of me. Looking at her with her kids made me feel as if I had just knocked on my own door. There house seemed much like ours, loud and busy and filled with love. Her children clinging to her and hiding behind the door made me feel so much like I was looking at a mirror. Jennifer met my baby girl and we said hi to the kids. I explained who I was and why I was there; and the emptiness that filled me when I mentioned that she had been nominated was overwhelming. I literally got sick to my stomach. Her face was not one of thankfulness, but one of dread; one that said I wish I would never have been nominated – I wish I could undo this. We quickly left and the whole way home I held back my tears. After walking into our home; I hid away from my kids and sobbed. I sobbed so hard I couldn’t even speak.
Delivering that gift felt so small and insignificant. Libby is fighting to save her daughter, looking at a future that is my absolute worst nightmare.
What would I have thought?
How would I have felt?
I am still not sure if delivering that gift was a good or helpful idea. It definitely made me question this whole 25 Days of Holiday Cheer Idea. My love and prayers go out to the Kranz family – I have helped collect money, bought pins and will buy T-shirts tomorrow. I want to help them as much as I can, but still it just doesn’t see like enough. Handing her that gift yesterday was like tossing a grain of sand into the ocean and hoping it would make a difference.