Joy Struggle

Christmas is supposed to be a time filled with joy but it was extremely hard to find any. We were joyful to bring Bri home on the 23rd but also very scared. We had a list of symptoms to watch for and instructions to immediately bring her to the Riley emergency room if any of the symptoms popped up. This list would prove to be a great catalyst of anxiety for us over the next few months.

Prior to the diagnosis Angie and I were excited about Christmas because there were some gifts under the tree that we knew the kids really wanted. Bri has always been a reader. Many times in her life we would not hear her for an hour or two and we would go searching for her. We would find her sitting in front of the book shelf with two or three books lying out around her and she would be reading. Santa had done his homework and there was a Kindle under the tree for her and all I could think about was that the tumor was affecting her sight and would she even be able to read it. I was both mad and hurt over this.

But Christmas went on and we did our traditional Christmas Eve visits. Angie’s Mom Debbie always has dinner and then the kids open their presents and when we finish there we go to her Dad’s for more presents. I watched all the kids rip into gifts with a sparkle in their eyes. There was plenty of joy there but I still could not find any. I think Ang felt the same way. It was like going through the motions. We got home and put the kids down for the night and we finished wrapping the last of the gifts. Yes, we always wait until the last minute. And, we have to thank Kim and Dennis Tyger, truly great friends who are family, for helping us out. They stopped by the hospital on the 21st when we first went to provide us emotional support. While talking they asked if we had finished shopping and we told them no, we had not gotten one very special gift that one of the girls had asked for. Prior to leaving the hospital they visited again and had the special gift and a comparable gift for the other girl. They made our daughters Christmas with their gifts and would not let us pay them. We love you guys.

Christmas morning came and we opened our gifts. The kids were excited about their gifts and when they got to their special gifts they really beamed. They were loving what they had received and were happy that Santa had eaten his cookies and drank his milk. I never told anyone until this very moment because I feel guilty for thinking it but with each gift opened I played the part of feeling joy for them but inside I was wondering if Bri would ever get to enjoy another Christmas. I remember turning away on may occasions to hide my crying. This definitely would not be the end of the tears shed in this family.

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