As we prepared to leave church, our pastor asked us to wait a moment while he told a story about one of our members. It was about Blake, a brave 11-year boy who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. His family was obviously distraught by the diagnosis and was I need of comfort. The pastor asked the congregation to pray for Blake and his family as they endured this trying period of their lives.
As we bowed to pray, I looked to my right and saw a woman break down crying while others tried to console her. Next to her stood a young boy that I realized was Blake. As his mother wept, Blake stood tall and took in all of the prayers that were being said on his behalf. I had to look away or else I would have started bawling on the spot. My heart ached for Blake and his family.
Although Blake refused to succumb to fear, I know that his chances for survival are slim. So do his parents. They have to live with the fact that their son may never know what it’s like to get a driver’s license, kiss a girl, vote, marry and have children of his own. When Blake’s mother and father held him in their arms for the first time, they were filled with hopes and dreams for their precious child. None of them included being a preteen cancer patient.
Of course, Blake’s illness made me think about my own children. How would I react if Nee, N, or X contracted a debilitating or fatal disease? The truth is, I don’t know. I’d like to think that I’d be the strong father who holds everything together for the child’s sake. But the truth is that I’d probably be a terrible mess. I couldn’t imagine life without one of my precious darlings. Losing a child is perhaps the greatest parental fear.
My cousin, Chad, was killed when he was eleven. He was riding his bike beside the street when a car ran him down. My aunt has not been the same since her son died. Whereas she was once deeply religious, she no longer attends church and probably doesn’t believe in God anymore. She was once joyful and spry, now she is sullen and avoids contact with family. Her son died over twenty years ago, but I can still see the hurt and anger in her eyes.
I hope that Blake survives his cancer – for his sake and for his parents’. I will pray for Blake and his family and I hope you will too.
Question: What would you do if your child contracted a deadly disease?