My cancer story had begun. It had only been a few hours since my Mom heard the words from my doctor “we found something on Ryan’s CT Scan.” After a quick family prayer at my sister’s house, we were on the road. Destination: Grand Forks’ Altru Hospital.
Fast forward to present day, 2013. It’s Mother’s Day weekend. It’s always a challenge to find cards for these parental holidays (both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day). I can never find the appropriate sentiment, in my opinion, that describes how my parents truly earned a holiday of their own, nor expresses my appreciation for the punches they took while earning it.
Mom or Dad didn’t earn a Sunday through “carrying me for 9 months (I’m adopted anyway) or dealing with the nasty teen years (although they may have something else to say about that).
No. In my mind, the second Sunday of May and the Third Sunday of June were earned during the two hour car ride to Grand Forks on that July day 15 years ago, along with the many other very tough battles yet to come. But the road began in Roseau.
So many questions, and so much open road ahead
We had made the journey to Grand Forks many times before. This time seemed to be the longest. I’m sure it was even longer for my parents. Somewhere between Roseau and Goodridge the reality of what was about to happen set in. Brain surgery. I had been an A-honor roll student. I was amitious. I was old enough to understand the risk. I could feel it rising in me. There was no stopping it. Oh! My poor parents.
Mom, am I going to be stupid after this?!
Dad, they’re not going to remove part of my brain are they?!?!
You know, I have things I want to do with my life?
Can’t we just leave it there and see what happens?
Let’s go back home, this is too risky.
. . . and on and on and on the flood of questions and anxiety and fear poured out of me. I was feeling the full weight of the situation. Now my parents felt the full yolk of it all too. On top of dealing with their own emotions, they had to try to provide answers where they could and comfort and confidence where they couldn’t.
Somewhere between Thief River Falls and St. Hilaire I was out of breath from crying and questioning and started to quiet down.
Google Maps says it’s 123 miles from Roseau to Grand Forks. It was a 123 miles that I’m very thankful that my folks are as strong as they are and were on that day 15 years ago. Happy Mother’s Day to my own Iron Lady (and Father’s Day too ).
There was still a lot more road yet to travel for the three of us and my sisters.