Tuesday, February 8, 2011

By Far the Hardest Thing....

The past nine months have been filled with lots of "falling off the cliff" moments.  Sometimes the fall is shorter and the landing not as "impactful".  Certainly the 10:15pm call from the oncologist on a Tuesday night in late August to tell us that Meagan did not have breast cancer but that it was in fact Stage 4 melanoma ranked up there pretty high. Without even getting on the internet, we knew this was much worse news.  When you get news like that it just sucks all the oxygen out of your brain and lungs and you feel stunned.

Our first thought after getting on our feet again (barely), was, "how do we tell the kids?".  They were away at college, and we wanted them to come home.  We talked it over with our oncologist, after getting some good advice from an emergency visit to a former colleague, who is a practicing psychologist. His advice was, "ask the oncologist what he'd tell his own kids". So we did.  His response was, "tell your boys that Mom has a very scary disease with an uncertain outcome".  Uhhhhhhhh, that is not exactly what we were looking for (even if it is correct). We knew we couldn't just call them up or Skype them and tell them to come home because we had information to tell them.  They had both just recently arrived at college and are young adults, so we knew there would be too many questions and angst if we didn't tell them before asking them to come home. So we arranged a Skype video call with each for that evening.

Suffice to say, it was the most gut-wrenching act we've ever had to do.  Emotionally it was so challenging because we could see them and their reaction, but couldn't physically touch them. Thankfully they were in our arms by the next evening. But those calls will be forever seared in my memory.


  1. Hey, Nick,
    This post has hit me the most of all your posts thus far. As a way less experienced parent than you are, I can only imagine the conversations you had with Casey & Riley. In my short time parenting I have had some hard things to do and I know there will be plenty of more opportunities. I just wanted to connect with you here on your blog and let you know that I could FEEL this post, I did not just read it. Love to you & the entire MacPhee clan!

  2. thanks Sprout - that makes me feel good - being a parent is hard and being a single parent is even harder - I admire you so much!