Iron Hunter

I was shopping today. I had just left seeing my dad in assisted living. He was recently discharged from the hospital, and he is not doing well. He is a shadow of his former self. I was a little down and waiting for a mediocre lavash sandwich at a deli counter. As I waited I logged on to Facebook. I saw something that pushed my dad’s decline aside. My friend Lenore had posted, “Our little love is dying.” I have told you before about Hunter.

A boot was kicked in my gut. No. No. I walked to the nearest chair and bawled. I called my husband. I sent her a message. I didn’t know how I would get home.

I’m a friend who lives far away. Yet, I can think of nothing else and everything else has been pushed and twisted in my mind, and I have not been in the trenches. I’m not his family. If I feel like this, what are his parents going through? The level of heartache boggles the mind.

There are NO words to comfort Hunter’s parents. This is the worst thing imaginable.

I know, children die all over the world. They died in Haiti. They die in Africa. They die in America. And the suffering they and their families go through is awful. To focus on a dear child that I know doesn’t take anything away from what others have suffered. But for me this is not an abstract number. This is a beautiful boy that I saw lying in a hospital bed before he could talk. This is a boy whose name I knew when he was still being carried inside his mother before his birth. Who calmly submitted to the upside-down life he lived in. These are parents who showed great humility and courage as they have fought for their son’s life.

Hunter has been so brave. He has gone through so much. Staying in hospitals for months. Living in a tiny hospital room. Countless needles, marrow surgery, chemo, you name it.  And with the best parents there for him every step of the way. I just saw a video of him a few days ago. He was laughing in his father’s arms. There is NO GREATER sound then a child’s laugh. Nothing that connects us to life and joy more.

I thought, this laugh cannot be silenced.  There must be some mistake about his diagnosis. A miracle will present itself. Right?

I’m not that eloquent. But even in the face of her worst nightmare Hunter’s mom is. If you read her blog you will see that. I’m just profoundly sad, and I didn’t know what else to do but write about it.

My dad use to say, “The sign of a really dull person is when you ask them how they are doing, they tell you.”

I’m pretty dull. I made it to the check out and the cashier said, “Are you okay?”

“No, I just got some really bad news.”

I can’t be light. Hunter is supposed to live.

13 thoughts on “Iron Hunter

  1. I know, I know. I cried when I read the latest post, too.

    All 3 of them: Zen, Lenore, Hunter, what little happiness they’ve had to grab onto during the last 3 years.

    It’s too much to even be able to understand. Such deep sadness….slaps me in the face when I start to pity myself for all the finances we’ve had to replace. My selfishness, my lack of perspective when I feel so tired from working 2 jobs, cleaning, raising 3 boys…all this. SO what? Lenore and Zen would give anything for “the gift of an ordinary day” as the saying goes.

    My prayers go out to them, for their heartache, but most of all for beautiful Hunter: when all he’s known is hospitals, treatments, needles, illness, pain, fatigue, and the basics of all things: playdates, little friends, trips to the zoo. It’s just too unfair.

  2. I know, like why ever complain about anything. It’s a blessing to have small, or even medium problems.
    They are very brave, good people. Right now they are trying to get miles or donations to bring relatives out to say goodbye to Hunter.
    I just sent something. So puny next to what they are going through.

  3. May his soul rest in perfect peace. He is at peace now.
    I ask God to give his parents the fortitude to bear the loss.

    My cousin just lost her only son 2 weeks ago – aged 4yrs.
    It is so unimaginable and painful to loose a “pure” innocent child.
    A pain beyond reason. But God know best. The only consolation is that he is at peace.

    I say a prayer for Hunter!

  4. I’m so sorry about your little cousin. Awful.
    Lenore’s most recent post on her blog is not for the faint of heart. Really tough. Brutal honesty about when Hunter died.
    Amazing she could write at all.

  5. Your post was eloquent and beautiful.. something most people can relate to.. I think “candor” is easily recognizable as substantive, and your entry was both of those things.

    Thank you.

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