Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Scarlet "C"

Now that the initial madness of our disaster has subsided, we are returning to routines. We are taking Teddy to school, grocery shopping, getting gas, renting movies, running errands, etc. The first time I went to Vons after going to Cedars was Wednesday night, August 25th. I hadn't cried for a while. Then, as I meandered through familiar aisles, I was overwhelmed with memories of Nina. I remembered the first time I had taken her to Vons, when she was no more than 2 days old. I remembered how she and I would go grocery shopping after I picked her up from preschool and before we picked up brother. I felt so sad.

Then I noticed that everyone was looking at me....but looking at me differently. At first I cleaned my nose, thinking that I must have some huge stream of snot falling out of my crooked schnauzer. But I didn't! Then I realized what it was. I felt like I had a giant red "C" pasted onto my chest! I literally felt all of my blood flood to my face. I felt hot. When people looked at me, perfect strangers, they weren't seeing me, they were seeing the mom of the little girl with cancer...neuroblastoma.

This feeling hasn't gone away! I thought it was just a delusional experience brought about by an overflow of memories. Obviously perfect strangers didn't know who I was and that my child was literally fighting for her life as they contemplated which damn box of sugary cereal to buy. My functional brain understood this but my emotions took over any rational thought I had.

What is worse is that this experience wasn't isolated to VONS. It's generalized everywhere. I'm not Hester Prynne with the shameful scarlet "A". I'm Rosy Fredeen with the awful scarlet "C". I would do anything to trade places with Hester! I would wear that "A" with pride!!! But I'm not Hester. I am Rosy.

Every where I go, whether it be the Cancer Center in the mornings, Kellogg Elementary to pick up Teddy in the afternoons, or even Costco to buy toilet paper, that invisible "C" is always with me. I know that the sad looks familiar people give me are out of compassion and love. I do not resent them. This is my own demon, my own internal battle! It's just that I didn't expect this! As a young child, our extended family went through some really rough times. As such, I grew to abhor adultery more than usual. As a young adult, these emotions were even further cemented. But I am actually willing to trade my "C" for Hester's adulterous "A". What is wrong with me?????

I know that there is nothing wrong with me. The professional in me understands that. The child of God understands that. But I am struggling!! I find myself each night sitting in the dark, praying for healing, as my daughter's brain is being destroyed by a monster. I am sooo weak!!! She is the one suffering and here I am consumed by some invisible "C"!

1 comment:

  1. God will continue to pick you up out of the darkness and bring you into His light and strength. Keep leaning on Him. Your faith and strength in Him has inspired many, me included. xoxo

    P.S. We love your "crooked schnauzer." :)