In most of my blogs I write about the things that I’ve learned from my experience in the business world. Some of my blogs however are more personal and talk about things that I’ve learned about myself, and those close to me. This is one of those very personal blogs.
There is nothing more devastating than the diagnosis of cancer, or some other life-threatening disease in a child. However, I’ve also learned from my daughter Lesley, that there is nothing more powerful than the love and determination of a Mother trying to save her child from such an illness. Lesley and our son-in-law Steve went through this experience with their 15-month-old daughter…our granddaughter, Mikayla in 2010. As they dealt with the challenges of that year from the many blood tests and scans, through the multiple rounds of chemotherapy, tumor removal surgery, and more blood tests and scans, the word “Never” kept coming in to my head. “Never” expecting the diagnosis… ”Never” being so afraid… ”Never” feeling so helpless and angry… “Never” working so hard… but also ”Never” feeling so much love, …and “Never”, “Never”, “Never” giving up.
So, 2010 became our family’s “Never Year” and I was inspired to write this poem to capture my daughters experience and to honor her for the power of her love and fierceness of her spirit. And now, 3 years later, with Mikayla cancer-free, and enjoying life as a typical 4-year old, I thought perhaps it was time to share the story and the poem.
My hope is that it provides comfort and inspiration to the many other families experiencing their “Never Years.”
The Never Year
Never hurt so much or felt such fear.
Never slept so little or cried such tears.
Never been so angry or felt so wronged.
Never had to be the one that’s strong.
Never worked so hard, or been so tough.
Never felt such joy in the simple stuff.
Never learned so much I didn’t really want to know.
Never been so many places I didn’t really want to go.
Never knew such love of family and friends.
Never doubted the power of prayer in the end.
Never been so blessed, and as you might expect,
Never want to remember, but never will forget.
Dedicated to Mikayla, Lesley & Steve
By Don McAlister, proud and thankful Dad and Papa
28 November 2010