I’ll never forget the first time I heard this song on the radio. It was a summer day as we drove to radiation and one of the many songs playing on the radio during our nearly 2 hour drive to North Seattle where the proton center was located. I remember stomping my feet every morning as we drove in, because the drive was not fun... not fun at all. But I tried to find gratitude in the fact that our state had a proton center and we didn’t have to relocate. We got to go home every day. It was like a 9-5 job for Hunter, Chase, and I all summer. We’d get there at 8:30 am, Hunter would go under for anesthesia (every day) and he’d get his treatment. He then had to wake fully from anesthesia and by the time all was done we were on the road home about 4 or 4:30. There was often delays and other types of issues. It was always a long day. And he hated it.
This new song that came on struck my attention. We were nearing the end of treatment and I was believing in full healing of Hunters brain and spine. I was feeling better about all the treatment and a cancer free scan at the end. I wavered in my faith a lot during radiation and relied heavily on the idea of modern medicine and the doctor’s opinions which led me to believe that everything was going as it should be. I was feeling like we had it in the bag and we’d make it out of this. Every so often though, something would be said to me or a song would play, and my faith would not so subtly knock on my heart. I’d stand back for a moment unaware how I let my hope in God become so distant.
See, no person of faith is perfect. We fall and stumble and lose focus in the blink of an eye. And this was definitely a trying time for me. Atom and I were struggling to hold on to one another, fearing that end of treatment scan would reveal the worst and the nightmare would start all over again. I took a lot of my daily anger out on him, I just wanted him to “fix” it all, I was so used to him fixing everything. And as we drove in that morning, I was feeling even more bitter than usual. Probably not MY perfect timing for the reminder that I got, but I remember needing it.
“Thy will be done.” The words hit my heart like a dagger. Surely Gods only will in this whole crap hole of a situation would be to heal Hunter earth side. For him to be a testimony of faith, courage, hope, and healing. He would live a long life with a story unlike anyone else. His existence would change the entire world. Only THAT could be a good and loving Gods will. Right?
Her lyrics say “Just trying to make sense of all your promises. Sometimes I gotta stop. Remember that you’re God. And I am not”
I had forgotten for a long while I wasn’t God. All those statistics and treatments and medicine I was so heavily relying on were not where our story was. Those things did not hold the promises God had for us during this difficult time. And I was harshly reminded, his will here on earth, is not always ours. This HURT. This realization shook me. I almost shut off the song with more rage than I had started with that morning. But the singer gently ends the song with,
“I know you see me.
I know you hear me, Lord”
This was when I knew that no matter what, God would heal Hunter. I didn’t have to worry about Hunters soul, but I did need to worry about mine. Because flip flopping in my faith, the constant battle with God, the anger, that wasn’t a part of our story that God wanted. The end of treatment scan wasn’t really “the end.” We see that so clearly now. Every scan after and then relapse and then more treatment and then ultimately watching Hunter pass, was part of this journey only God knew was coming. And there could be no more back and forth in our faith. There could be no more relying on hope outside of faith. There could be no more trying to write our own story. It was already written. And his will would be done, in every circumstance.
When I could see this, I could see all the beauty. Giving it all to God and saying “here, you take this all, because I can’t. I just can’t” was the best thing I did for myself. It is how I experience any sort of joy through grief and it’s honestly how I wake up every morning and do this whole life thing. Sometimes it’s just going through the motions, and sometimes it’s so much more. But because I always know his will, will be done, there’s just no room for fear to stay too long.
And because of my faith, I don’t just see all that we lost. Losing a child, in my opinion, is the greatest loss one can experience. It carries pain that cannot be explained. But as I began to make sense of all Gods promises, I was able to see more in our loss that I ever thought imaginable. My heart longs for Hunter every day, no matter the day I’m having. That will never change. But I have gotten to witness firsthand the story I had always dreamed for Hunter to have. For him to change the world, to show a story of faith, hope, courage, and healing. And he has.
As long as I am here on this earth, I’ll long for my little boy. But I know God’s promises have been and will continue to be fulfilled.
Hunters celebration for his completion of 30 days of full brain and spine proton radiation