Death of A Princess

This year at work I am experiencing the process of accelerated death in a young child, a sibling of one of the children in my program.

She is seven.

It is heartbreaking.

I didn’t know this child before her battle with an inoperable brain cancer, only pictures shared and stories told by her family.

Pictures with her younger sibling who will now grow up without his big sister.

She looked like any other beautiful child, filled with the future and surrounded by love.

I have watched her mobility these past months become more awkward and her gutteral language all but disappear.

Her smiles remained. Her hugs. Her love of the color pink.

There had been periods of stability and hope during that time.

But this week has brought a sudden, sharp decline and she can not lie down without suffocating and has little use of her body save involuntary shaking that her mom now has to get a prescription for to help relieve the pain.

The little girl still dances in there somewhere.

I have been reduced to tears at least once a day as waves of sorrow hit me, thinking about how hard this must be for her family.  For her. I know how I feel and I am just a bystander on the side of their road.

A bystander wondering if it is harder to have your child go the way of a sudden death you are not expecting or if witnessing their inevitable death in slow motion brings more anguish?

What parent doesn’t have those occasional “what if” thoughts about losing their own child?  How they would react.  Wondering would life go on?

Would I go on?

We know we do.  Some part of me knows I would. We see it all around us.  The dulling over time as pain becomes a part of the family history. A part of one’s thoughts and perceptions. Hidden from plain view but visible if you know what to look for.

All I can do is shake my head as I write this, refusing to let the tears well yet again.

And yet they will.

Things like this make us hug our own babies closer.  Be thankful for what we have. Possibly help us deal with our own grief at some point. Because it will come.  It comes for everyone.

She came in to visit us one last time this week. To say hello.  And goodbye.

As I held her hand and talked with her, she struggled to put her head up and a small smile broke out on her face. A slight flicker of the eyes that told me she was excited to see me.

The little princess was still inside, longing to give a hug.

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