When you become pregnant with triplets, you become part of a select club. There are Facebook groups that “meet” to discuss advice and offer support to the scared new mother of 3 at once. It is so incredibly helpful and I truly found so much great advice from these Mother’s that had walked the path and made it through what I was fearfully facing. They were a huge resource for me.
And then Hayes was diagnosed with cancer. As much as I wanted to still participate in the group that offered advice on sleep training multiples and weaning off bottles, those things were no longer at the forefront of my mind and I found myself visiting those groups less and less. A lot of it was because it was honestly painful seeing others live the life I had envisioned for myself. I certainly had not envisioned 175 Days in the hospital with my Hayes and separated from my 5 other kids. So I began feeling more a part of the cancer groups, which there are a lot of.
There are state childhood cancer support Facebook groups, worldwide childhood cancer Facebook groups, brain tumor Facebook groups, specific cancer diagnosis groups and even alternative treatment Facebook groups. All of those became my comforting place. Seeing success stories was what drove me. I remember always feeling happy for people that were done with their child’s treatment, but on the other hand feeling extreme painful envy that I wasn’t there yet. So I continued to search out the success stories. I knew we would be one of those stories that people were driven by.
I remember when Hayes rang the no more chemo bell and I was so beyond happy. I had heard that bell ring so many times before while Hayes was fighting for his life and he finally was the one that got to ring it. I remember leaving the hospital feeling guilty that we were getting our success story when I knew it would be hard for some other mom to see and hear from her child’s hospital room. I convinced myself that cancer was behind us and I left the hospital with a new determination to forever make childhood cancer my fight.
But, it wasn’t in the past. Three short months later I was seeking out another group. A group much more permanent than any of the other groups I had ever been a part of. The child loss group. And once again, I was the mom that couldn’t look at the group I had been so deeply a part of, just as I had been with the triplet group. I could no longer look at the cancer mom page without feeling devastated and filled with slight jealousy. Isn’t that so weird? I despised cancer yet here I was, begging for my child to still be here fighting it. So incredibly ironic.
I have slowly gained the courage to check back in on these virtual groups of friends every now and then. I try not to feel the envy that their stories cause me and that is the strange part about it all. I have found that I am able to feel genuinely happy for these friends at the same time that I feel excruciating pain. That is grief. Happiness and pain all melded together in a messy nutshell. I have also learned through it all though that I am not alone. No matter where I am in this journey, I have an army behind me….#HayesArmy is my consistent companion. That is a gift.