A Happy Ending

18 Feb

RANDOM 122Days go by when I don’t stop to remember that my daughter is a cancer survivor. I even forget to be grateful that Isa is still here with us. Sometimes it feels like the whole cancer experience was a just a tragic movie that our family acted in a very long time ago—a movie filled with fear, angst and sadness but ultimately concluded with a triumphant and happy ending.

I’m to the point now where life is so normal that I actually hear myself complaining about the weather—and this is when it’s eighty degrees outside in February. Isa is nine now, completely cured of her leukemia, growing tall and lithe; busy with singing classes, piano lessons and Girl Scouts. She’s a joyful and funny child—at that lovely pre-adolescent age when everything about life is still fun and exciting—where she wakes up overcome with exuberance as she meets each new day. The beauty of her smile is intoxicating.

This is in stark contrast to me at age fifty-one, when I don’t recognize the old woman with wiry hair and bags under her eyes who stares back at me in the mirror each morning. My body aches as I tightly grip the handrails of the menopausal roller coaster as it throws me into loop after loop of hormone diminishing mood swings, memory loss and weight gain. It would be easy to complain about it all, but I won’t. Because compared to that movie I acted in a few years back, a few aches and pains, forgetfulness, and some grumpiness are really nothing at all.

I’m one of the lucky ones. I’ve been granted the luxury of complaining about insignificant things like menopause because I’m no longer stuck in a hospital room with my daughter tethered to an I.V. line as I watch the chemotherapy wreak havoc on her little body.

There are so many families out there right now who don’t have that luxury—families who are going through what ours went through—some who have little or no hope that their child will survive. I read about them on Facebook and my heart breaks with every story because I know their fear. I know their sadness. I want to promise them it will all get better, and for some it will, but for others there will be no happy ending to their movie.

I’ve realized that when I start to complain about the unimportant things and forget that I had my happy ending, it’s time to bring out that movie and watch it over again—to be reminded that there is still so much to be done to raise money and awareness for cancer research so that eventually, every family with a child diagnosed with cancer will have a happy ending.

My husband, Rene is running his eleventh Marathon in a few weeks, and my daughter, Leah has taken it upon herself to help him raise money for the Pablove Foundation for pediatric cancer research. Here’s the link: http://www.stayclassy.org/fundraise?fcid=257002  Check it out. Maybe your small gesture is just what’s needed to help a child have a happy ending like Isa’s. A little goes a long way.

From this…

Aug 30 07 022

100_0069

isa on horse

IMG_0758 Isa Mireles 4-26-13 - Copy

To this.

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6 Responses to “A Happy Ending”

  1. Kelly Garriott Waite (@kgwaite) February 18, 2014 at 2:03 pm #

    Such a lovely post – You have a beautiful gentle way of reminding me of what’s important. Thank you.

  2. Noemi February 18, 2014 at 5:24 pm #

    My light at the end of the tunnel ❤ Thank you! Love you guys! XO

  3. Charla Bregante February 19, 2014 at 9:14 am #

    Beautiful, Jesse. I need of these reminders right now. THANK YOU!

    Charla

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  4. debatterman February 20, 2014 at 6:13 am #

    My own sense of going through a difficult time is that it feels as if there’s a low cloud hanging over. Or I’m in a tunnel of sorts. Then one day the cloud does lift and/or I’m out of the tunnel and the world looks like a very different place — one in which complaining about little things may be a ‘luxury,’ yes, but, as you so eloquently remind us, we never lose sight of the bigger picture.

  5. zippy February 24, 2014 at 1:04 pm #

    lovely little luxuries, as it should be!

  6. daisy February 25, 2014 at 10:42 pm #

    Jessica, your story and your daughter are a dream come true. And an inspiration to so many. Not just for what you have been through, but for the grace you feel to this day. May your future hold many more days “where life is so normal that I actually hear myself complaining about the weather.”

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