Just about every day of the week I find myself driving past Phoenix Children's Hospital. I always take a moment to silently nod my head. Occasionally quick flashbacks of one of the many times we lived in the hospital will pop into my mind. More often than not I can shake them out of my mind and continue on with life. Except for a week ago when a brother one of our oldest son's hockey teammates was diagnosed with cancer and despite it being a completely different journey, and a completely different world I am brought right back to our old life.
As I drive by the hospital my mind now pauses and thinks about the family that now sits a floor below our old home creating their new home. Thinking back to all the times I walked the halls and shared the elevators with others sporting a bright orange bracelet. A sort of comradery in a world of chaos, but yet it is now a feeling of panic drowned with an extreme weight of grief. My heart is broken for the familiarity in our parallel stories with the knowledge of similar feelings and experiences, yet distanced by the fact that our journeys will forever be different. Fear of where their journey might lead them based on where ours went, hope that theirs will be different, and fighting to constantly remind myself this battle is no longer ours.
Time can forever pass, but the scars from the trauma will never fully heal. They are sometimes hidden from the outside world, but can easily be freshly exposed. It's a deep-rooted knowledge of what really goes on behind the room doors at 1919 E Thomas Road. It is life once lived where everything was done to protect your child, but yet it feels impossible, and the world doesn't understand enough, yet some will try. It is a fear of illness plaguing your house mixed with trying to balance the quality of life for every member of the family. It is trying to wrestle with your darkest fears while keeping hope. Hope that feels like it is taunting as it starts out strong and becomes quickly watered down and forever altered to have various meanings. It is a constant state of fight or flight and an inability to talk yourself off the ledge.
Life will always continue to move forward, but so will the scars.