Last night my cousin and her husband lost their dear little daughter to cancer. Darling Vivi was almost 10 months old and had Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumors in her brain and spine. The outlook for Vivi’s survival with this diagnosis as an infant was grim. But due to her parent’s ardent love, diligent research, faith in God and committment to do everything in their power to fight for their girl, Vivi underwent surgery and experimental treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Vivi’s life over the next eight months was not only full of treatments and procedures, but smiles, pony rides and thousands upon thousands of snuggles with Mommy and Daddy. From reading my cousin’s blog, I learned that Vivi was one of the most beautiful children that ever lived, had this endearing habit of clasping her little hands, a vast array of spunky smiles, an appreciation for both classic literature and pop culture and was fiercely, supremely, eternally loved. Please pray for these two parents with everything you’ve got.

My friend Susan fights every day for her life. Sometimes she physically fights cancer through agressive treatments and surgeries, other times she privately, quietly fights chronic pain or the darkness of a probable recurrence. Though in remission from Inflammatory Breast Cancer, she lives with pain as a result of her treatments and the knowledge that the cancer will probably come back. But through the pain and that knowledge, she values each and every moment of parenting her boys and family life and her career and outreach to other Mothers With Cancer. Though Susan buys her time on this earth through the willingness to undergo surgeries, treatments, countless tests, her words and actions and gorgeous, bubbling laugh proclaim that she will brave each hardship for the time she obtains with her sons and husband.

When one decides to become a parent, I believe that she is performing the supreme act of bravery. She is acknowledging that she will feel the most excruciating pain in world when either her or her child’s life ends. But she does it, we all do it, because the joy of the time we will have together is worth everything.

But we all need more time. Susan and her sons needs more time. Children like Vivi with ATRT and the parents of these babies need more time. Adult children with parents that are not elderly and love to wear high heels and dance the night away need more time.

Today, the activities for parents and kids that I recommend will not be found on the calendar. They are Prayer. Donation. Action. Compassion. Hug your kids as tightly as possible. Call your parents. Value, enjoy and treasure each and every second that we have together.

Viva la Vivi’s eternal soul and may God bless and comfort her mother and father.

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