So many questions have surrounded us over the past few weeks. Namely, why?
Why Ben? Why our family? Why now?
As I've mentioned before, Ben is very tired. Weak. The same steroids that are keeping him from experiencing pain from the swelling of the tumor is the same thing that is making his leg muscles almost nonexistent. He can barely walk on his own. And the cancerous tumor in his brain is pushing the existing healthy brain, making him fatigued and giving him a hard time coming up with certain words.
Last night was the first time he had to call Andy to carry him from his bed to the bathroom in the middle of the night. And he couldn't stand to urinate either. Just didn't have the strength to do it. I'm glad we moved the video monitor to the boys' room and I had the volume turned up, or I'm not sure we would have been able to hear his little voice calling for his dad.
Today, he talked about his lower back hurting, partly because of the excessive bulge in the middle of his stomach. He didn't want to even try and walk. But ever since Andy told him it would make him stronger to keep using his muscles, Ben has been determined to walk whenever he can. He's still holding onto our arms and he waddles like a 38-week pregnant woman carrying twins... not that I would know what that looked like or anything... but he's determined to do it. Such a fighter.
He insisted on a drive to the store this morning since we only had two cans of Fatter Spatter left. For those of you who don't know, it's pretty much the best (and most expensive) silly string there is! He wanted Daddy to take him, so Andy had to take him in the jogging stroller. There would be no walking on this trip. And when he got home to use his new silly string, he had to sit in a chair and rely on his good aim to defend himself from his brother's attacks. Because there would be no standing either.
Still, it's easy for us to ask why? Just four months ago, he was riding the new scooter he had gotten from Santa through our kitchen and jumping off the couch, pretending the rug was hot lava. He was so healthy! So active!
Why, God? We just don't understand!
But do you want to know something amazing?
Ben has never asked why. Not even once.
He's never asked why he had to spend all that time in the hospital. Why his legs aren't strong anymore. Why he doesn't have the energy to play outside with his siblings. Why fruits and veggies just don't appeal to him anymore. Why his belly is so big. Why he has to take all of this medicine. Why he got a bump in his head and not his brother. He's never even asked why half of his hair is missing.
Jack, my inquisitive firstborn, hasn't either. Immediately after Ben's hair fell out, Jack asked, "Mom, why is Ben missing all of that hair?" I told him it was because of the medicine he got while in Roswell. "Oh," was his response. And that was that. And a few days after that, after we had told them we were pregnant, he patted his hand on Ben's bulging belly and said, "Wow, Ben, your belly is getting big. Are you sure you don't have a baby in there?" We all laughed - including Ben - and that was it.
My kids ask questions about everything. You should hear our car rides! "Mom, can God lift up a house? Is God magic? What did they do with the skin they punched out when they pierced your ears?"
The other day, out of the blue, Jack asked why God didn't answer our prayers and heal Grandma Sauer from cancer. They remember attending her funeral this past October. They watched her fast decline. Her hair loss, her lack of energy. They saw it all unfold, right in front of her eyes. And we prayed. For peace. For strength. For comfort.
What Jack didn't realize is that God had extended her life for more than twelve years. And she had battled cancer since even before he was born. God had done so much to see that they could meet their Grandma Sauer, get to know her. That was a lot of extra time God had granted, when death had knocked on her door years before I even met Andy. What a beautiful conversation to be able to have with my four-year-olds.
My mother-in-law never asked why either. And trust me, she could have had reason to. She lost her husband to heart disease in 2000 and then one year later, was in the car when her son Tommy got in a head-on collision with a semi. He was eighteen and the youngest of Andy's four brothers. Initially, paramedics left the woman who was thrown twenty feet from the vehicle for dead and went to Tommy's aid. He didn't make it. My mother-in-law received more than 1,200 staples in her head and somehow, survived. They grafted skin onto her face to try and piece it back together and make it look normal. I truly have never met a more resilient woman.
Years later, she would receive the devastating diagnosis of cancer, just after Andy and I were married in 2007. A sacrcoma in her leg. This was just another step in the life of this faith-holding, God-loving woman. She carried herself with grace. With dignity. And she continued fighting. She never once questioned God's motives. She leaned on Him for strength while she underwent chemo and radiation. As she lost her hair, asked me to shave it off because it itched so much, and then searched for wigs. She always bragged about God's grace, His mercy, His love. The Lord allowed her to invest in seven of her grandchildren, ride proudly in the St. Patrick's Day Parades every year, and live in close contact with each of her three sons. And God even provided a wonderful man for her to marry - a widower who had also lost his wife to cancer - for her last year of life on earth.
God not only answered our prayers, He went above and beyond in His blessings.
So perhaps I shouldn't be surprised that my kids are fighters. That they don't play the victim, get frustrated with God and ask, "Why ME!?" It must be a Sauer family thing.
Just another reason why I am so very proud to have married into such an amazing family with such a beautiful heritage.