my heart’s full of sorrow…

As parents, we do crazy things to protect our kids.  Think about it…putting big cushiony foam around anything  that might have a sharp corner…putting locks on everything from the toilet to the oven (those darn things can be tricky!!)…gating them in (or maybe out!!). That’s just the tip of the iceberg, but we all do it because we love our children so much and we just want them to be safe from harm.  And we see it as our job to keep them safe.  So, how do we survive when something threatens our ability to keep our babies safe and we have absolutely no control over the situation?

A few years ago, unfortunately, hubby and I had a front row seat to see how a family lives through and survives a parent’s worst nightmare: childhood cancer. Our dear friends were ‘lucky’ in that the leukemia that their 2-year-old was diagnosed with was well-known and therefore the treatment was straightforward. But, that didn’t mean it was easy. It was 2 years of chemo, 2 years of worrying that a cold or other illness could cause serious complications, 2 years of limited exposure to other kids, 2 years of an unbalanced life, 2 years of fear.  Again, they were ‘lucky’ and their daughter is now a happy, normal kid who has a smile that lights up a room!

My heart broke this morning when a member of my favorite group announced that his 22 month old daughter had cancer.  And, unfortunately, they aren’t ‘lucky’ because only 100 children in the US are diagnosed with this type of cancer each year, meaning that they probably don’t know much about it.  The group is The Avett Brothers and the member is Bob Crawford.  There had been some chatter on their fan boards recently because Bob had missed a few shows, but the official announcement came from Bob in the form of a letter to the fans on http://www.avettbrothers.com :

One month ago today my wife found our 22 month old daughter, Hallie, in her crib having a seizure. Paramedics rushed her to the hospital where an MRI revealed a brain tumor approximately one quarter of the size of her brain.

Surgeons were able to remove 90% of the tumor and decided to stop there as her vital signs were unsteady. Following surgery she suffered a stroke. Her condition was critical for the next several days as her brain continued to swell. In an attempt to save her remaining good brain she was placed in a coma for five days.

Since being removed from the coma, Hallie has undergone a second brain surgery, has been waking up, and is doing her best to recover quickly so she get ready for the next phase of her fight against cancer.

The tumor is a Grade 3 Ependymoma. This is a very rare, but deadly brain tumor that effects roughly 100 children a year in the United States. We do not know what Hallie’s next step is in her treatment. Her situation is very fluid and there are a number of complicating factors, but we do know that she is fighting hard every day.

My wife Melanie and I would like to thank everyone for their love, care, and support during the most difficult time in our lives. I would like to thank everyone for their understanding of the gravity of this situation and ask for respect to our privacy. When people ask us what they can do to help, we ask them to pray for Hallie’s recovery. We feel that God has already worked
miracles through Hallie and we pray they keep coming.
Someday I will return to the stage with my brothers. When that will be I can not say. We are truly living one day at a time.

Thank you again for your love and support for my family during this time.

I look forward to seeing you all again soon.
Bob Crawford

It is hard to find the words to describe how it feels to read that.  It makes me realize that we are pretty lucky with the health of our kids. And where previously, I had been a little worked up about a scheduled in-patient clean-out and colonoscopy for my 3-year-old (because of blood in his stools), I now understand how truly minor that is compared with what Bob and his little Hallie are going through.  My thoughts and prayers will be the entire Crawford & Avett families along with their friends.  It must be such a trying time for all of them.

Another great group of brothers, The Barr Brothers, sing it better than I could say it:

Lord, I just can’t keep from crying sometime

When my heart’s full of sorrow & my eye’s filled with tear,

I just can’t keep from crying sometime

And if you like what you hear from the brothers from Rhode Island, check out another song, Beggar In The Morning,  from their newly-released, self titled album.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: The new Avett Brothers album….the good, the bad, and the ugly! « last bit of sanity

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