When a child dies

It is not supposed to be. No mother is supposed to outlive her child. It seems that the planet is off its axis when this happens. How can it be? And yet it is. Last fall the CURE staff learned that Delaney LaForest had entered hospice at her home in Indiana. Delaney is a remarkable child. Diagnosed at 6 with Ewings sarcoma in the eye orbit and sinuses, she had received massive radiation to keep her alive. We met Delaney, then 13, at the Extraordinary Healers Award at the Oncology Nursing Society Meeting in May, 2009. Delaney's mom Renée wrote the winning essay about Delaney's oncology nurse, Chrissy Wilson. The San Antonio event was a break for Renée, sister Emilie and brother Josh, and we were thrilled to provide it. This family had been through a lot.Then cancer came calling again. Delaney complained in April, 2010 of a sinus infection and, when it wouldn't go away, Renée took her for scans. But she told me that Delaney already knew the cancer was back. This time it was a sarcoma in the nerves, one that is recognized as induced by radiation. The family was devastated, but Renée says that she wouldn't have done anything differently because the radiation and chemotherapy drugs saved Delaney's life and gave her eight years she would not have had otherwise. Delaney entered hospice in fall of 2010.As she has moved toward the end, Renée says Delaney remained the very special child we had all come to know with a personality much older and bigger than her years. Right now the goal is for her to live to March 13 and Delaney's 15th birthday. But it will be close. The reason I wanted to write about this is to share with you one child's view of death that I hope will touch you as it did me. In her Caring Bridge note this week, Renée told us that Emilie, who will be a senior, was having a hard time one night last week and was upset with her mother when she went upstairs to bed. I'll let Renée tell you the rest.When I finally went to bed around midnight, I was shocked to hear whispering in my room... Delaney in her spot, with Emilie next to her. The sweetest voice I've ever heard saying ... "Emi, it's ok... don't be sad... I'm going to a better place where I won't be sick and hurt anymore. I'll go and prepare a place for you that is beautiful so you can be with me and grandpa one day."Renée said the two girls spent some more time together saying goodbye. It doesn't seem fair that children have to die, but maybe it's to teach us about life. I know that's what Delaney has done for me.