This is a re-post from an old blog from Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Word was out in Muskegon, MI about my daughter and a woman approached my mother about a Cancer Awareness Benefit concert that a local church does every year. This year they choose two families to recognize and mine was one of them. The concert was on Friday and I have been a ball of emotion since then. Here is the letter that I sent to the church as a thank you —-
The Cancer Benefit Concert on Friday, October 14, 2011 at Queen Esther Baptist church was an amazing and spirit lifting event.
The choirs were great, the musicians were wonderful and the praise dancing was the best I had ever seen.
But the words and spirit in which they came moved me and stayed with me. So much so that I was on the verge of tears all weekend.
When Naiima was diagnosed with a tumor and then panhypopituitarism (which is loss of pituitary/endocrine function) and then later cancer, all of my family, friends and friends of friends began praying. People spoke about and prayed for a miracle. I was comforted by that and it gave me some peace. I mostly prayed to get through and accept what God placed in our path.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” Isaiah 41:10
I knew that I had to be present. By that I mean, that I had to focus on what was going on right now.
So at the doctor’s appointments and hospital stays, I had to know what all the words meant. I didn’t want doctors speaking to me and I not understand what they were saying or not understand the implications of what they were saying or not saying. Sometimes I would whip out my laptop while the doctor was speaking or bring out my pen and paper and look up or write down what they were saying. I knew that I had to be able to explain to people what was going on and answer question after question.
I also had to know and understand for myself and my child what was going on. I knew that my daughter had given a lot of her concern over to me. She sometimes seemed unaffected by it all. When the doctors asked her questions, she would turn and look at me. I know that she was affected underneath it all, but she wore a brave face. So in turn, I wore a brave face. I wore that brave face for her but also for my mother and my grandmother and my friends.
Because while everyone outwardly dealt with the shock of it all and the fear it entailed, I knew that as my daughter’s caregiver, I could not. I knew that I had to absolutely present and I also knew that God was present with me.
“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD” Psalm 27:13-14
I never questioned – why my daughter? I never asked why. Years ago, I read the book of Job and it took me years to come to terms with the book. But it was solidified during this experience. I saw all of those children on that same floor, a lot who were worse off than my daughter. I remember telling her that and saying to her don’t ever ask or think “why me?” because why not you? She had brain cancer but she had the best brain cancer to have. So I knew that why’s and woe-is-me’s are not helpful..especially when you are trying to be present..be focused on the moment..the here and now with God. That is what I also knew. I knew that God was with me through it all and we would be ok.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
I didn’t realize until Friday though that I had not released all of those emotions that I was holding in and so slowly I have begun to release them. I know that that will be good for me and my family.
“He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake” Psalms 23:3
I am not a public speaker at all, so I could not verbalize these things at the concert. I would like to thank the Women Helping Women of the Queen Esther Church for being the vehicle for release those emotions and to realize how blessed we are and more importantly, that we are not alone.
We appreciate the generous gifts and are so thankful to have been a part of something so meaningful!
Mother of Naiima Dixon, cancer survivor