Tuesday, March 23, 2010


It is after midnight.

My papers due this week are done.

Everyone is asleep. Except me.

And now I can cry.

Along with the other Wilms' mothers, I have been effectively standing vigil. Two of our precious, human, funny, wonderful children are dying.

We know the routine, now.

It begins with "it's not working."

And then goes to, "We're not sure what to do, we have a meeting scheduled with the doctors to discuss our options."

And then, the one that rips a new gash in all our hearts. "They say there's nothing left to do."

And we begin standing vigil. Through the good days and bad days. Sometimes long, sometimes impossibly short. Through calling hospice. And trying to make their child comfortable. Through, "Grandma stayed home with her today so we could go make plans at the funeral home."

Through, "It's getting so hard. We just want him to not be in pain."

And then we check, and the email has come. It is over.

"She has earned her wings," some say. Or "He has won his fight with cancer. Now he's in Heaven."

And some just say that they are gone.

Those who are not in the club often can't understand. "Why do you do this to yourself?" we are asked by our family or friends. They don't understand that we are family. And we are witnesses. And it is a sacred duty.

And at midnight, when everyone else has gone to bed ... we weep.

And get up in the morning to stand vigil again.