Letters to God – Part 15: Stuff

(This post was supposed to go out last Thursday, but as usual – you can plan and plan, but you never know how things will turn out)

Today is a good day. Well, every day we are alive is a good day, isn’t it? But today is even better.

Today we were thrown out of the rehabilitation hospital. OK, we didn’t get thrown out, but my son is in a very stable state and doesn’t need the extra night-care that is given at the hospital. Since we live relatively close to the hospital (that is, one hour drive), and there are other kids that have more need for his bed, the head doctor asked us if we minded moving to daily hospitalization. After some thoughts, weighting the pros and cons, the fears and more fears, we decided to jump to the opportunity.

So my wife started packing all of the stuff we had accumulated during our 4 months of hospitalization: toys, books, soap, shampoo, body lotions, more toys, food just in case we got hungry in the middle of the night or if our son didn’t like the food in the cafeteria, detergent, more toys, coffee and tea, more toys. It ended like this:


(and this was in a hospital room with another kid in the same room)

This made me think how much we cling to all of the “stuff” that we have. It wasn’t like we didn’t go home each weekend, or had the opportunity to jump home almost each day. And the supermarket was just a block around…

We just need all of this stuff to feel secure, like we are in a comfortable place because we are surrounded by things that are ours. Stuff gives us a sense of security.

But on the other hand, it weights us down. If we want to move, we need to take all of the stuff with us. We have gotten used to it. Packing it all takes time, effort, and LOTS of space. And then it makes us slower, weighting us down. And it’s not only a physical burden, it also weights on our brains. Do we have this and that? Do we need more? What are we missing?

It takes great courage to live with less stuff. Stuff does not create certainty in life, as I know firsthand. It creates a false sense of security that can break in one second, and all you are left with is… just stuff.

So live experiences and have a good time. These are memories that last forever. Stuff just comes and goes.

P.S. my wife will surely say that I need to start practicing what I teach 🙂

Letters to God – Part 14: Four Months and a Lifetime Ago

An early morning four months ago our life was turned upside down and then shaken very hard. From having a relatively normal life, even if we went once a week to the hospital for chemo treatment, even if we had different exams every other week, even if we were always afraid… We still had some kind of routine.

But on that Saturday morning we had to run to the hospital, and after 6 hours in the operating room, the life of our son was on a thin line. We lived in the hospital day and night, sitting down beside his bed, praying, thinking, crying, praying some more. Asking you why, trying to understand.

And then came the first movement, opening his eyes. The moment he started communicating with us and we knew that there was someone really alive on the other side of those small eyes, behind all the tubes and machines that went beep, beep, BEEP BEEP BEEP, taking more and more of our already drained energies.

Slowly but with incredible strength, more and more tubes we taken out as his body took back control of its functions. One more operation. And then another one. And each time the worries rise again, of what will happen, of all of the things that can happen. The eternal wait outside of the operating room. Seeing him wake up again, alive, breathing, feeling, thinking, understanding.

The first steps were made and he started to regain more of his strength, and his willpower. Every day something new happened: a new movement, some blood test that was outside the “expected” range, some reaction that was “not what we expected”. And we moved on, because there is nothing else to do. When you are down in a hole, up is the the only direction you must look at. We kept on clinging to the rope that you had thrown from above, and pulled every day as hard as we could, feeling all of those who love us as an invisible platform that kept us from falling down again, and gave us strength to go up more and more.

Changes became more gradual each day. Small steps turned into full range walks, hand signs became sounds in his mouth, eye signals became words in conversations. Passive sleeping was replaces with active distraction and never-ending confusion. He was once again reading his favorite comic books, watching his favorite TV shows, building Lego… Everything is more hard than before, sometimes almost impossible. Concentrating takes a lot of energy and it lasts for a short time. Walking also makes him tired very fast. But every day is a new day, and every day is a new improvement.

And now we are back home. Not one of us, not divided. All of us together sleeping at home each day. Starting a new routine of going to rehabilitation each day and going back home at the end of the day. What a great way to celebrate the passing of these four months.

We have lived through so much that it seems like an eternity, and at the same time like it was only yesterday that we were at home, sitting at our dinner table, singing together, that Friday night before everything happened.

God… please make the next couple of months less interesting. We really need the rest.