Three Years

It’s been three years since Payson was diagnosed with leukemia. May 3, 2017.

I’m sort of at a loss for words about all of it right now. I don’t if that’s because of how the world is changing in the present, the situation that so many are dealing with in real time, and how relatable but foreign the suffering and struggle is. I mean, in some ways, I think suffering is universal, and everybody gets it to some level. But in other ways, it’s all so personal, so unique, so unfathomable to anyone else.

But the point is this, Payson ain’t suffering now. He’s thriving. He’s strong, he’s sparkly, he’s so full of energy and excitement. He’s smart, he’s compassionate, he loves making people laugh. He craves time with friends, he’s connected in special ways with each of his siblings. He’s curious and creative. He’s one of the most content humans to ever exist on planet earth. Payson is such hopeful, tangible evidence that light follows darkness.

I think it’s odd, and almost unnerving what I’ve forgotten. So many soul-excavating times, so many days I wanted to fast forward six months, so many bartering sessions with God – these things that come back in flashes when there’s an anniversary or when an unexpected photo pops up or when I’m having a conversation that triggers something.

But also, I try to remember. I really do. Because, dammit, that was some experience we earned, and I want to always be worthy of the lessons that I learned watching Payson do his thing.

So, a couple thoughts on this third anniversary of when the whole world ended for us and a new one began.

The first is, Payson doesn’t look like this anymore…

He looks like this…

Light follows darkness.

The second is that this moment…

…and literally thousands of others like it, the countless times Payson and our family have been provided for and thought of and served – these moments, this charity, has been and continues to be inexhaustible. And they wouldn’t have happened, not like this, without leukemia. So many people are better because of the selfless and undeservedly kind ways they’ve served this kid. They’ve humbled us. Our tribe has expanded and deepened in ways we couldn’t have fathomed three years ago.

Light follows darkness.

And last, as Payson said this week in a conversation with Wendy and Dr Fluchel during a tele-checkup, “If I could choose to go back and not have cancer, I wouldn’t. I mean, I got to go on that cruise!”

It’s all perspective. All the pain and worry and missed playtime and bald head and barfy nights and beautiful days spent sleeping indoors and battles with sticky stuff and scary hospital times, all of that is fine, because of that sweet four days on the Disney Dream. Just awesome.

Here he is, on that Make-A-Wish cruise, dancing in the rain, watching the fireworks:

Dancing in the rain, watching the fireworks.

So, I guess the point is this – May 3, 2017 was the worst day of my life. And also, the light that has followed that darkness is indescribable.

Let’s kick this pig.