Wednesday, December 12, 2012

magic and miracles


I've said it before, Kristina Braverman, from the show Parenthood is living my life.  Last night's episode about split me wide open.  Kristina, who is battling breast cancer,  is about 10 days past her last infusion and she starts to have a cough.  But she so desperately wants the kids to have the "best Christmas ever," she valiantly pushes on- dismissing her husband's inquiry if she is okay.

What's not said, what can only be inferred, is that she wonders if this could be her last Christmas?

It's the middle of the night, Christmas Eve day, when she awakens with a raging fever.  Her immune system has no ability to fight off the infection and she has gone septic in a matter of hours.  I was literally squirming the entire time I watched.

And then Adam her husband, while watching her try to fight in the ICU, decides to watch "the video" she has left for her kids... you know, the one she has made, "in case something happens to her." My heart shatters as she voices the words that have played out in my head.  I could have written those words myself.  My own version, written a short time ago, here.

In case you missed it... but please know its pretty emotionally charged.



How do you gain perspective when cancer and Christmas intersect?  I've been wondering myself, as I prepare for infusion, on Christmas Eve.  It seems, nothing is sacred when it comes to cancer and treatment.

But its Kristina's father-in-law, Zeke, played by Craig Nelson who hammers home the message of hope.  He is trying to explain to his skeptical grand kids why he still believes in Santa Claus.  He tells a story of "running into him, and seeing with his own eyes."  "I still believe," he says, "Santa is real and Christmas is magic.  Christmas brings miracles. If you keep looking, keep watching, you will see."

With the strength of conviction in his voice and his abiding faith in the seen and unseen, I breathed a little easier.  Kristina would recover.  Christmas would be joy filled.

And me?

I will keep looking, keep watching and I know that I will see, too.


34 comments:

  1. More hugs from Pittsburgh, Vicky. You are always on my heart and in my mind.

    ~Stephanie

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    1. Thank you Stephanie- so touched by your thoughtful and sweet words :)

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  2. I find Parenthood increasingly hard to watch. I have to be in the right frame of mind and always alone. I can relate to Kristina so much more than I want to. It's such a hard thing to balance this demon in my mind whispering "is this the last time for (fill in the blank)" and forgetting all of that and just enjoying the moments.

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    1. Melissa- it has been gut wrenching- but I do love that they are getting it mostly right I think. Do you think they fare as well with their adoption stories? It has to feel doubly significant to you with two big story lines resembling your own. Yes- that emotional cliff we can fall off at any second- balancing the what if's with the enjoyment of now...

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    2. I do think they're pretty realistic with the adoption story lines. They seem to get it right on Parenthood a lot more often than they get it wrong! My friend always says that their writers must have personal experience with adoption as well as cancer, not to mention navigating a large family because their depictions are always so accurate and true to life.

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  3. Vicky, I've been a silent admirer of your blog for a long time now. I read, in awe, how beautifully eloquent your words are in the face of such personal turmoil. I came completely undone reading this post and watching the clip. My husband, 46, was diagnosed with stage 3 renal cancer this year, and now his dad, 67 is battling stage 4 colon cancer. He too will be at the chemo center on Christmas Eve. Our 4 boys and I pray, for my husband, their grandfather, for you...... for all those whose lives shatter into a million tiny pieces when cancer enters their lives. May your faith and those who surround you with love and support sustain you during this holiday season and beyond. Blessings to you and your family.

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  4. Elizabeth- oh my heart is aching for you right now. I'm so sorry to hear about your husband and your Dad- truly- just profoundly sorry. If you would care to share with me in an email perhaps- their names- I would be honored to pray for them, for you- for all of you. Thank you for taking the time to comment- love and blessings to you and yours- I'll be thinking of you- xxoo

    Feel free to email me at vwestra14@gmail.com

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  5. and I will watch and believe with you!!

    Hope is everything - ask big Vicky - ask big!!

    love you to you!!
    xoTiffany

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  6. Vicky...thank you for your honesty. I know your desire is to reach out to others and honesty, even if it's painful, seems to resonate with hurting hearts.
    You are always in my prayers sweet one-love you so.

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    1. Robin- thank you for the wisdom today- I sometimes just "unload" all of it- it allows me to move "through" things I think. I feel so blessed if it resonates with others and helps in any way. To the moon sweet friend- all the way to the moon :)

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  7. Any time is a great time for a miracle. Praying you will receive yours.

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    1. So true Susan, that is the honest truth. I believe I have received many already and I only hope to keep living His will for me, whatever that may be :)

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  8. What a beautiful and brave post, Vicky. Sometimes a visit to your world through your blog is exactly what I need. For instance, today I was feeling all "woe is me" because my husband found out he needs some extensive dental work and our dental insurance sucks. Honestly, that is nothing compared to what you deal with daily and realizing that just reduced me to tears of shame for the pity party I was throwing for myself.

    God is using you and your situation in a mighty way to reach and touch people. I am so grateful that you have the strength and courage to share! Keeping you in my prayers.

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    1. Jane, its because of kind and compassionate readers like yourself, that I am able to be vulnerable and honest about some really hard things. I never feel like my burdens diminish yours in any way- we all have hard things to shoulder. My hope is that we can always lift each other up and help lighten the load for each other. Thank you for your heartfelt words!

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  9. i watched parenthood last night and cried so hard during her computer message to the kids.....i wish for you miracles above and beyond all miracles this christmas season.....xo

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    1. Thank you Beth- I do really believe I've been given many miracles already :) xxoo

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  10. To read all the comments above mine is to see just how many lives you touch, how much light you shine on others, how compassionate and caring you are for others, giving little pieces of yourself as you go...

    You are the gift this holiday season, Vicky. To all who are lucky enough to cross your path.

    Can you change that appointment till after christmas? Just sayin.

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    1. Karen, um, that is seriously the nicest compliment- wow, thank you. I don't even know what to say except that anything you see in me is truly a reflection of YOU!

      I was given the choice of the 24th or the 25th... the scheduler could not find another appointment in the books till the following week and then that was all out of sync because of New Years... so I just stuck to the 24th so I could get in :)

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  11. I was telling my mom on the phone today (never having read this post) that I watched last nights episode of Parenthood and became quite emotional. I have a picture framed of the boys and I bowling in my living room and my eyes were glued to it for minutes. Miracles, magic, it's surrounding us and is always present, we just need to slow down and realize it. XOXO!

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    1. Your sweet mom just literally saved me and my aching hands today! She was here just minutes ago with the hockey jerseys perfectly sewn... I'm so grateful. Yes- the show is all too real, but is also a great example of where faith can lead... miracles and magic if we have eyes to see... and clearly you do have just the right eyes :) Hugs sweet girl!

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  12. That was difficult to watch, yet a reality for us all. What would I want my children to know if I left this earth tomorrow? None of us are guaranteed tomorrow, and I think that was a clear reminder. I don't know if I could handle watching that. I have no don't that you have many Christmases in your future Vicky! :)

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    1. That's very true Bonnie- none of us know. I think that is part of the beauty of our blogs- our kids will know so much about us and see their lives through our eyes. And I was a mess watching it! But I felt compelled- I just had to know they ( the writers) were going to get it right. And I think they did.

      I certainly have hope for many more Christmases :) But I will just be sure to savor every moment along the way!

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  13. I don't know what to say, Vicky...and sometimes, less is more.
    On the way home from church tonight, I listened to "Where I Belong" and cried as I drove. Cried like a baby. But those tears were happy tears.
    I cried as I read your own version of this. I followed the link in this blogpost... (my first read was tonight. I left a comment over there.)
    I cried as I watched the video above.
    I have such a strong feeling of hope and peace regarding you, Vicky.
    As you receive your Christmas Eve infusion, know that I will be praying for you...the strong and wonderfully talented wife and mother that you are...and my dear Sister in Christ.
    I love you, my friend.
    Jackie

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  14. Oh Vicky, I'm bawling, just bawling. That's us, all of us that are trying so hard to be or have been brave for our families. Deep in the reassurance to our kids is that overwhelming need to make everything ok for them, cuz that's what we do.

    I'm so sorry you are having to be treated on Christmas eve. My prayers are with you - that all WILL be good on Christmas and it will be a joyous Christmas for you and your family.

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  15. I don't know. I talk a lot in my living days lol
    I don't think I'd have much more to say if I died tomorrow.
    I love my kids. I want the best for them.
    I'd die for them.I'd tell them to study hard and to be good people.
    My Mom went backward with her alzheimers and I got to know her a lot during this time.
    But she was never a talker in her life like I am.
    So this gave her a chance to be free to speak her mind and when she died
    she had nothing more to say and I thought that was good.She was at peace.
    She fixed her problems before she died and I was a witness to it.
    The only advice I can give people is to talk to your kids while you have life and breath and spirit. Fight with them. Love them. Show them who you are.Good or bad, you are a person first and then all the other things just like they are.

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  16. I love that show, and watching it I thought of you.
    Praying for a beautiful, magical, peaceful Christmas for you, and your family.

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  17. Just watched the video. Wow. I don't know how I've missed hearing about this show.

    I'm praying, Vicky. And will be on Christmas Eve. So much love to you and yours. xoxoxoxoxo

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  18. Thank you Vicky for posting that video clip. It really puts life into prospective. I'm always thinking about you and will continue to pray for you and your family.

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  19. I believe miracles do happen.
    I am sending many warm hugs, and lots of love to you and your beautiful family. ♥
    You are such an inspiration.

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  20. Vicky, where did the week go and how did I miss this post earlier? I'm so sorry for the lag. My heavens. I don't like missing your words. This line caught me: "It seems, nothing is sacred when it comes to cancer and treatment." Oh Vicky...I wish it weren't so. And yet, there is sacredness every day and so I know that even on the days that are filled with infusion and fatigue and wondering...there is sacred. That's what you must keep looking for, just as Santa Claus is sacred, real, powerful in a good way. Don't stop...believing! (Now I'm singing Journey...)

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  21. I keep looking for you and just realized I did not even read this post. My prayers and love are with you and I know for a fact that Santa exists and that miracles take place all the times.
    I hug you for so far and hope you are OK. Sending you strength xo

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  22. You live your life with such grace and beauty, Vicky, that we can sometimes miss how frightening things like coughs and Christmas and motherhood can be to someone who is fighting this battle.

    Hope. It's all we have. But if we hold onto it tight, it will be all we need.

    “Hope is the thing with feathers
    That perches in the soul
    And sings the tune without the words
    And never stops at all.”
    ― Emily Dickinson

    Wishing you hope and hope and hope and hope.

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  23. I just watched that episode today. So moving.
    You are loved.

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