According to Webster’s dictionary, the “Ripple Effect” is defined as: “a situation in which one event causes a series of other events to happen.” When one of your children is diagnosed with a serious illness, or two, it doesn’t only effect that child or you as the parent; the effect is felt throughout your entire support system.
Grayson has two older siblings; Landon (7yrs) & Lillian (3.5 yrs going on 13 yrs). Landon is our introvert. He’s careful, considerate, observes everything about a new place or situation and he keeps his feelings close to his heart (like his dad). Lillian is the complete opposite; she is our extrovert. She is outgoing, talkative, makes new friends easily and freely shares her feelings.
From the very beginning, we have been open with both of them on how sick Grayson is. I told Landon that Grayson has cancer and Landon’s response was, “why?” I didn’t have an answer for him. I just replied, “I don’t know buddy.” How do you explain to a 7 year old that kids get cancer? He knows what cancer is, and in his mind only “old people,” get it. We encourage Landon to talk to us about his feelings, regarding Grayson being sick, and us being away for hospital stays or doctor appointments. He just chooses to keep it all inside, for now, and that’s ok. He knows that Mike & I are there for him when he’s ready to talk about things.
How do you explain to a 3.5 year old that her mommy & daddy can’t be home to tuck her in at night, because they’re at the hospital with her, “baby Grayson.” She doesn’t understand, fully, the severity of what Grayson is going thru, she just knows that there’s been a disruption in our family life. The first time Lillian saw Grayson in the hospital, he was hooked up to IV’s and monitors; she freaked out. She didn’t like all the tubes and wires attached to her “baby Grayson,” and she just started bawling. I often hear her playing “hospital,” with her baby’s. She’ll, also, ask me or Mike to play with her; we are the “hospital guys,” and she puts band-aids on us, gives us “shots,” and listens to our hearts. I know she’s fearful of us leaving and going to the hospital as inpatient, because she asks often if we’re leaving to stay at the hospital.
The effect of Grayson’s diagnosis doesn’t just end with Landon & Lillian; it extends out to our parents, our siblings, friends and co-workers. I’d like to recognize some of our amazing support system. To my parents and Mike’s mom, Sue; without you I don’t know what we would’ve done. You were willing to rearrange your schedules to ensure Landon & Lillian we taken care of and where they needed to be. We can’t thank you enough for all that you have done and continue to do.
To Michaela, you’ve walked a similar path and I can’t thank you and Ben enough for the the love & support you’ve given to Mike and me. To Lori, you’re my U of I angel; you’re always right there with hugs, treats and yummy coffee. To Brooke, thank you for coordinating meals for us. You have no idea what a blessing this has been. I haven’t felt much like cooking, lately, and being able to give the kiddos something other than chicken nuggets is amazing. To my sister, Jenna, thank you for starting and managing the GoFundMe page; we are forever grateful to everyone who has donated. To Lexi, thank you for holding down the fort while I’ve been away; you’re doing an amazing job. To Michele, thank you for organizing Grayson’s birthday card shower. We were amazed at how many cards he received. To everyone who has prayed with us and for us, delivered meals, called, texted, emailed and messaged us; your support is appreciated and we love you all!