We were at the 8th annual UnWined event to benefit Children’s Hospital Hematology/Oncology division. I jokingly call it our annual opportunity to buy fancy clothes and be reminded that we lost a child to cancer. Truth be told it is our annual honor to represent parents who have survived losing a child. It is also our reminder at how supportive all of the staff, volunteers and community are there.
I happened to be taking Rachel’s sunglasses back to the van as my phone rang. I was shocked to see that it was Dr. Hines (we don’t talk often). It was then that I found out about Mr. Babbit. I then listened to the most courageous woman speak of losing her sister to cancer after her 2nd relapse. After the program was over I wandered over to introduce myself to her father and mother as members of the club no one wants to belong to.
The event was over and Rachel and I made our way home. We talked about how we would tell the kids. We were frustrated that we couldn’t gloss over the details (few that they are) as the kids would hear every detail and much more. We were glad our kids have very limited social media (Joe – Instagram, Bella – none) and would not have found out yet. We revisited the tragedy of Mr. Stone’s passing and tried to remember how much they knew of that. Then, we got home called the kids into the living room.
Joe began, “So, Mr. Babbit huh?” (he knew from Instagram). Bella asked, “Did someone else die?” It’s incredible and surreal to have these conversations with our kids. We went over a talk we had just had this summer on vacation…about death, about loss.
We went over the fact that they (Joe and Bella) have already had to come to the horrific reality of three things regarding loss.
- Things happen out of order. We’re “supposed” to live long lives, get sick for a short time, and then pass quickly at the end. Trey was out of order. Mr. Stone was out of order. Mr. Babbit was out of order. Things happen out of order.
- Things don’t make sense. Why would a pure and innocent child be born with cancer? Why wouldn’t the chemo work? Why didn’t the surgery save him? Why did a man as unbelievably positive as Mr. Stone be so depressed that he took his own life? How could this happen to anyone…let alone Mr. Babbit? Things don’t make sense.
- Every day that something tragic doesn’t happen is a gift, a blessing, and the exception. Rather than expecting all things to go our way, we can be grateful for when things do.
We didn’t talk long. We will talk again…if needed. We may not. It is really sad that we are so well versed in loss. I praise God that we have made the very best out of it.
We grieve with our community, our school, our alumni, the family, and all those affected by this loss.