Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sad Anniversary

coming up in our house. We try to not dwell on the negative, but sometimes that is easier said than done.

April 30 marks this sad anniversary, being especially difficult for Jake. That was the date his best friend, David, lost his battle with cancer. He was 7 years old.

Jake first met David when they were babies sitting in their car seats. David's mom (who also happens to be named Linda) and I went to Coffee Break, which was a mom's group held at a local church. As the boys grew, they became good friends.

David was a wonderful little guy, always cheerful and always happy. Even though cancer took many things from him (like his sight and his ability to swallow), it never took his sunny disposition or touched his spirit. Never. Even up to the end, David always had a smile on his face.

It was difficult to explain death and cancer to Jake. Even though Jake had experienced a loss through death (his grandfather) we were able to explain that event to him as a natural event that happens when we get older.

But this was different...David was not old. It had a profound effect on Jake that still goes on to this day. Somehow, Jake has convinced himself it was his fault (simply because he was David's friend) that David got cancer. Many times since then, he's been sure he needs to stop being friends with a current buddy or buddies. On more than one occasion, I've had to stop him from ending a friendship. Why? ..... Because, his reasoning goes, if he stops being their friend then they won't get cancer.

We've had many conversations about this over the past four years and although he hasn't mentioned this in a few months now, I am concerned as this date is again approaching. It always brings up those not-so-good feelings. Jake has been looking at the calendar for several days already and I can see it in his eyes.

It seems step forward and two back.

Here are some pictures of Jake and David, taken at Jake's birthday parties. The first few are at Jake's 5th b/d party and just a few months before David's diagnosis of cancer.

Boys....being boys....they all thought it was funny to make faces for the pictures. I was unable to get a picture of them not making faces. Yes...boys will be boys.

David in on the fun of face making...

One year later at Jake's 6th birthday party. Yes....the boys are still making faces.

When David finished treatment, they had a party for him. This was taken at that party.


Molytail said...

Oh wow. Those last two photos, one right after the other... :-(

I can understand it being a hard date for Jake... so sad that he seems to think he 'caused' it though...

Hmm. Does he know/understand about normal cell growth vs cancerous cell growth? Just thinking, if he understood the *physical* changes that occur when a person has cancer, maybe he'd realize that he couldn't *cause* it...?

At Home on the Rock... said...

Thanks, Molytail. As Jake gets older we're able to discuss those things...but he just couldn't seem to get by the must have been because he was David's friend. We've even tried explaining to him, many people who we don't know also get it can possibly be him. He can sort of accept that...but it seemed after he thought about it....he was back to thinking it was his fault.

He hasn't mentioned this for a few months I'm *hoping* he's past this.

Renee said...

Hi Linda
I am praying for Jake and all of you. How very sad. I have some understanding of what Jake has felt ~ I was 7 when my dad died, and even though I never felt it was my fault, I have always needed to be prepared and control what comes into my surprises....and anything medical stresses me. ( I best get over that now, right?!) I am sharing this because I know in my adult head that this is not reasonable...or logical...but in the 7 yr old emotional part of me, it makes alot of sense. I am not sure those emotional blockages are easy to get past. You can certainly see that you all have done all you can to help Jake through the process. He is blessed to have you all there for him. My thoughts and prayers are wtih you.

Becky said...

Bless his heart! That is so sad. Our prayers are with you. Hope you get through this as easy as possible. The worst thing we can ever do is forget the ones that have gone on. Maybe Jake can get past the bad thoughts and remember the good thoughts and celebrate the good times they had. Looks like they had fun. And he will have fun with new friends and make new friends as he grows up. He is to cool of a little guy not to be surrounded by lots of friends. If I wasn't 2553 miles (I think) away I would give him and you a hug!

At Home on the Rock... said...

Thanks Renee. I'm glad to have some insight from an adult who went through something similar as a child. Sorry for your loss, losing your dad at age 7 must have been very difficult.

Jake is a highly sensitive kid and so for him, this has been extreme.

Thanks for your prayers.

At Home on the Rock... said...

Thanks, Becky. I wish you were closer too....we'd take you up on that hug!

David and Jake were 'partners in crime', quite often getting into things together...whether it was at a church group or Sunday school.

Dominique said...

Wow! My heart goes out to him...and you! That has to be one of the most difficult challenges for us humans - the loss of those we love.

The pictures definitely tell the story.

I found with my daughter that one of the best things I could do as her mom was just to let her talk. Some times having someone listen is more therapeutics than anything else.

I know for me, talking is how I process things.

I will be praying for Jake today...and for you!

At Home on the Rock... said...

Thanks, Dominique. I saw him today looking at the picture/info he got from David's funeral. When he saw me, he said he didn't want to talk about it...but later came for a hug.

Twisted Cinderella said...

How sad, I am so sorry you are both in my prayers.

Shannon said...

Oh, how sad! It must be so hard for Jake. Perhaps in time he'll be able to focus on the fact that he had a terrific best friend who he got into mischief with and remember things more with fondness than with sadness. I don't think the sadness will ever completely go away, but hopefully the ratio will shift.

Praying for Jake and for you all!

At Home on the Rock... said...

Thanks, Shannon and Twisted Cinderella