From an article originally posted September 1, 2012…
Kids are so honest. So honest. Yesterday was a big day. My first day in public sporting my new Sinead look, wig shopping, and the first time I was asked by my kids if I was going to die.
When I walked in from wig shopping, my sweet second-born asked me if I was going to die. I looked at her and said, Yes. Then I invited her upstairs with me as I put on my comfy clothes. Big conversations require an elastic waist.
Harper Joy and I jumped on my bed for an honest conversation. First, I asked her why she asked me that question. She said she was swinging on the playground and a friend said to her, “I sure hope your mom doesn’t die.” Up until that point, I don’t think Harper had considered it. She has enjoyed the fruit of cancer—Lots of people and love.
This was a special moment for Harper and me. I spoke honestly that I would be dying, that she would be dying, that it is a reality for us all. I asked if she knew where I would go if I died. She said, “Mommy, you will go be with Jesus in Heaven.” I asked her if I did anything to deserve that. She said, “No.” I told her how I wasn’t good, but how Jesus in His goodness placed His love on me, and that Christ paid it all for me and for her.
We talked about cancer being very scary. I was honest with her that people die of cancer. I told her the doctor has a good plan, but only God knows how long I will live. I told her it was okay to be sad. Then, my sweet baby girl cried. Big tears. So did I.
Afterward, like any normal, almost-eight-year old, she asked about her birthday. I realized early this week that her birthday would come as I was very sick from chemo. I quickly planned her party. It is going to be a great time. I went on to tell Harper that I would be sick, very sick next week, but that was Mommy getting better, not dying. Her special mentor will be doing something special for her on her actual birthday.
I wish I could take away the fears of this sweet, tender-hearted little girl, but I can’t. I told her to talk to the One who cares for her every breath. I know He has plans for her good through this suffering. It hurts to watch your children suffer. There are a lot of hard parts through this, but this is part of the hardest. I can tell that my shaved head is hard for some of the kids. They are trying hard to be positive and brave, but every day I look less and less of what they knew me to be. But we are looking, seeking, hunting for the grace to deal with all that is hard.
I’m exhausted, I start the day tired and end it beyond tired. An absolute team is coming together to help me do the birthday party today. Someone planned a craft, someone is doing the game and cupcakes, someone is bringing tea sandwiches, and someone else is bringing fudge. I can’t believe the support and love we have around us. It is very humbling. I can hardly wait. But I know me. I will spend it all in 2 short hours today at the tea party for eight-year olds.
It has surprised us a little, but Harper is the most attached to our Pippi Gunshot. It’s very sweet.