I’m getting that question a lot lately. “How are you?” I’m…. fine? Doing the best that I can? Coping? Horrible? Hanging in there? I struggle to answer that question.
My son has a brain tumor. A tumor. In his brain. That concept seems so unbelievable to me. How can there possibly be a tumor in his brain. My son. My sweet, sweet son. He’s 10. Is he even old enough for this? He doesn’t deserve this. He’s a good kid, gets good grades, treats everyone fair, respects his elders… A tumor. A tumor. In his head. “How are you?” There’s a tumor in my son’s brain…. that’s how I am.
I know there are teeny tiny babies out there born with tumors, with broken hearts, with life threatening diseases. There are children missing limbs, missing parts of their faces. There are babies that only live hours, minutes after they are born. That’s not fair. There are parents who would give their life to spend just 5 more minutes with their son. There are kids who cannot run and play, who cannot see or hear. “How are you?” There are families worse off, we’re fine, we’re fine.
I hear whispers late at night… “Your time with him is limited.” I see him, not as he is now, but a shell of himself… so damaged that he cannot speak. “Grab onto him and hold him close while you can.” I feel fear lurking around every corner, lies in every shadow, anxiety in every sleepless moment. I don’t allow myself to think ‘what if’. His plans are cancelled and it’s not fair. He’s crushed and sobbing. “How are you?” I’m not dealing with this very well.
I hear him laugh and see him run. He argues with his sisters and eats his asparagus. Homework gets finished. He procrastinates over chores. We go to the park. I read him comments from Facebook and texts from my phone. He tells me jokes and makes me laugh. He sits by my side, leans into me and relaxes. “How are you?” Fine. We’re fine.
We go to the hospital. He sits through test after boring test. He’s hungry. We talk to doctors and see images. Nurses and technicians rock our world. There are phone calls and thankfully no bills stacking up yet. There are needles but not many. I’m keeping notes and doing research. Reading articles and looking at pictures. We are understanding what’s going on and what’s next. “How are you?” Taking it one step at a time.
I read through Scripture. I pray. You pray. and you and you and you and you. We get texts, emails, phone calls, and comments. And we are lifted up. We see God revealing Himself in each step. We see the miracle that this was even found, that it is benign, that he can speak. “How are you?” Blessed. So, so blessed.