Tuesday, October 27, 2015

From Hockey Mom to Cancer Mom

This morning we joined the local radio station for an interview. They have asked me several times to come in and share our story and Noah's diagnosis with them. But this time was different. They asked Noah to speak as well. A week prior, I was approached by a friend and she asked me if Noah would like to drop the puck at the Piston's game. They were going "Pink in the rink" and were auctioning off jerseys and donating the money to The Canadian Cancer Society, and I believe Cancer Care Manitoba.  I asked Noah and he said he would really like to do that.

The radio station then called and surprised us with a couple of the Piston's players at the station, and then also had breakfast with us. What an honor! But during the interview, one of the players mentioned how inspirational it was to have Noah there. To have him drop the puck and be able to visit them in the locker room. His words really struck me. I knew that Noah's story was an inspiration to many, but I think it was that moment when a lot of emotions that I was feeling over the last few years became clear. I looked at these young men, these hockey players, and realized what my son was doing for them. For their team. He was providing them fuel, inspiration for a big home game. But more than that, I believe he was providing them with inspiration that will last a life time.

I remember when we decided to put Noah into hockey. He was 6. He had never skated, and I sat and watched with tears in my eyes as I seen how many times he fell during that first practice. I lost count. I seen him get up every time and try again. I thought to myself as I sat there, he's going to come in and say he was done, that he hated it. That he never wanted to do that again. When he got off the ice and made his way to me, I asked him how it was. He looked at me with the biggest smile on his face and said he loved it! I was shocked. That whole year he tried so hard. He was never big into chasing the puck, but he worked really hard on his skating. The hockey season came to a close, and we excitedly planned when Noah would start again in Fall. Little did we know, cancer was growing inside his body and only a few months later would show itself. But, being the fighter that he is, he started school on time, and he joined the hockey team as well. The support that we felt from that hockey family, was unbelievable. But Noah's body was just too weak from the chemo, and it wasn't long into the season and he was done. He never returned to the ice again.

This morning, as I looked at these big, strong hockey players, I mourned a little for my son. Because we do that, us cancer parents. And those mom's and dad's of angel children, I mean no disrespect. Because the mourning that you do for your lost children does not compare with what I'm saying. I mourned for my child that I knew before cancer. The child that I carried in my womb. Whose hopes and dreams I envisioned every time I felt a kick in my ribs. Whose future I imagined. What will he be? What clique will he fall into? What will he excel at? I mourned for the child I knew, before cancer took away some of those things. And it's ok. It's all a part of this process. No, he's not a Piston's player. Not even a rec player. And I'm ok with that. But that has taken me a good 3 years to see. To be ok with lost dreams, but seeing things in a different light. I'm ok with my son being the kid with cancer who inspires others. Not because this is what I would have chosen, but because God has given us grace, and wisdom, and perseverance. And directed our path, every single step of the way.

How honored I felt this morning to be the mother of that boy. And how honored I will feel tomorrow night as he stands before hundreds of people and drops a puck. No, he's not the guy going after that puck, not anymore, maybe never was. But I'm so proud of who he is, and of what he's gone through. I'm no longer a hockey mom. I am a cancer mom, and I couldn't be both. And I'm totally ok with that.

So I will proudly share my Noah's story. I will share it as many times as I need to, to bring awareness. Inspiration. Love. And many other beautiful things, that came from this horrible disease. This is his path, his life.



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