Friday, August 8, 2014

A Letter To My Middle Daughter, In A Time Of Suffering

I knew you'd go through times like this the moment they first said that Ed might have cancer. We talked about it back then. It's easy to say, "I'll make it through", at the beginning.  It gets harder and harder as the burden grows greater, as the time drags on, as your body begins to break down under the stress. You are in a situation that in many ways is like a soldier at war. 

You don't want to do this. It's really more than any reasonable person would ask another human being to endure. But there it is. You must keep soldiering on.

You know that what Ed is suffering is causing him to experience severe confusion. In many ways this body is literally being poisoned by the treatments.  But we must continue on with it because the poison is harder on the cancer than it is on him.

I wish we were closer and could provide you with more support. But we all out here, so far away.  We  know what you're going through. No, we've never been to the cancer thing at this close a level but we've been through enough medical problems that we understand. I wish there was more we could do.

But all we can be are your support troops. You are the frontline soldier. You're the one who has to face the daily suffering, fight the daily battle.

Because you are the primary caregiver, it all falls on you. Every hurt, every bit of pain, every suffering that happens to those around you, it all falls on you.

You're suffering is second only to Ed's. I wish I had a way to just make it better for you, but all I can do is let you know that the family here is with you and behind you. What we can do is not good enough, but what we can do, we will do. You must simply find the strength to carry on, as hard as that is.

I know you will do this. Your love for Ed will carry you through. I hope that with the cancer shrinking, things will begin to get better and better. I hope this is as low as things get and you have finally hit the bottom. But we can't know that for certain. All you can do struggle on, day by day and hour by hour.

As I said to you once before, I can't help but quote Thomas Payne, these are the times that try men's souls. Your soul is being tried and you are passing the test. This kind of suffering is wrong and terrible, but sadly, we don't know how to prevent it.

However hard it seems, however much you wish you could just give up, I know that you will endure and carry-on. I say again, you know who really cares about you now. They are the ones still there behind you, doing the best they can to help you.

You are loved and Ed is loved. Hold on to that. Don't try to struggle to find a way to solve everything. That you won't be able to do. But you can keep going from hour to hour and day to day. And with the cancers shrinking there's good reason to hope that this will have a good ending and that it may not be too far away.

We love you.

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