I remember, as many parents do, those first days when I held your little body in my arms, and the warmth of your breath against my neck as you slept peacefully on my chest. Along with the feelings of overwhelming love that I never thought possible, I recall my ringing commitment to love, protect and guide you through the complexities of life on this here rock we call Earth.
Well, I am writing to apologize for the “protect” part. While many parents have the luxury of waiting until the first day of elementary school, or some time during the tumultous adolescent years, your mom and I have had to learn much sooner than most that we are powerless to protect you when it comes to some things — cancer being one of them.
So, I’m sorry:
Sorry that you are hurting so, and that I know this hurting will last a long, long time;
Sorry that I cannot stop the onslaught of poisons that are being put into your system, making you so ill;
Sorry that I cannot take away the pain of each needle stick, each mouth sore, each head and muscle ache that will occupy your days;
Sorry that I was unable to stop this nasty disease from getting to you;
Sorry that everything now tastes like shit;
Sorry that your entire day today was spent with brief moments of calm between long bouts of crying;
Sorry that I cannot explain to you why this is happening, yet expecting and hoping that you will put up with it;
Sorry that your mom and I have had to make the decision to have you treated, knowing that you will face a lifetime of difficulties as a result;
Sorry that we have taken you from your friends at school, the people that used to fill your days with fun and laughter, and replaced them with people in white coats and kitten-adorned medical smocks (although, they are great people in their own way);
Lastly, I am sorry that there are going to be many days when I will not be here to hold your hand and wipe your tears, because there is a complicated world that we are a part of and at least one of your parents has to deal with it from time to time.
I hope one day you understand that your mother and your dad love you to the end of the universe and back again, and for that reason made the decision to go through with this process. We are hurting in our own way, but are doing all of this so that one day, you will be around to read this letter and understand a little about what happened to you “way back when” and why we made the decisions that we made. And even though we can’t take away the pain and suffering that we realize is quickly going to become part of your daily life, we will do what we can to see you through.