This weekend I went to see the movie Patriots Day, the story of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. They did a good job telling the story and it brought back a lot of vivid memories of being near the finish line when the bombs went off. I can safely say this falls in the category of the unimaginable.
I guess you could say that imagining the unimaginable is really an oxymoron (like “a little pregnant”, “a fine mess”, “business ethics”, or “more perfect”). How can you imagine something that is unimaginable….if I can imagine it, then by definition it isn’t unimaginable. I often think we say we can’t imagine something when we actually mean we can’t understand or fathom it.
Take for example being a parent. I thought for sure I was ready to be a dad when the time came. I imagined myself teaching a child to crawl, walk, and say his first words (daddy of course). I could picture them laughing with abandon as we danced around the room to some silly children’s song, and giving me hugs and saying “daddy I wuv u”. I even imagined with fondness the more of the mundane tasks like changing diapers, giving baths and doing late night feedings and burping. Despite numerous conversations with friends who had traveled the road of parenthood before me, nothing I imagined prepared me for true parenthood. Some things just have to be experienced to be understood.
Over the last 11 years I’ve tried to impart a bit of what it is like to train for and run the Boston Marathon. As much as I would like my words to take you along with me for the ride, I know that I can’t do justice to what it is like to actually experience it. It was similar situation when I came down with Leukemia. While I attempted to convey what it was like for me doing battle with the disease, nothing I wrote even began to touch the depth of emotional, financial, and physical impact to my family.
Despite what I have been through, I can’t imagine what it is like for a parent to get the word that their child may be dying from cancer. I can’t fathom what it is like to be the brother or sister of that child. I can’t begin to understand what they may have to go through to get their child the help they need or the impact it will have on their career, finances, family dynamics or health.
I have only the smallest taste of what they are facing but I know there must be things I can do to help. Right now Help in the Nick of Time is exploring options with multiple pediatric cancer organizations to put together programs to help the children and their families. We have a number of good ideas but we are always looking for more. I’d welcome any you may have as well as any stories you are comfortable sharing.
For my part, I’m working on getting back into running with a goal of getting back to the Boston Marathon in April (yup…that’s April 2017). It’s a long shot, I don’t have an official number yet, I’m only 5 months from my last chemo treatment and I’m still going into the hospital for bone marrow biopsies every 90 days but I figure compared to where I was 10 months ago, this should be a cake walk.
So, I’d ask you all to join with me on the next phase of my journey. I can’t promise it will be as exciting as the last year but I can promise it will be entertaining and rewarding.