I have sobbed over this blog, not just cried, or tears to my eyes, but an UGLY, sobs that shake your stomach and make you gasp for air sobbing and it’s not even my child, in fact, I don’t even “know” these people. A link had been sent from a friend of a friend. A beautiful little girl named Stella Joy Bruner-Methven had been diagnosed with a rare, fatal, life shattering form of brain cancer Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG). As you may or may not know, lots of mommy blogs are filled with fundamentalist type Christians… the subject of many of their days is chick-fil-a (Christian owned and based), church, Sunday School, homeschooling using Christian curriculum etc. One of these bloggers (Who I’m not going to give away just yet because that is the subject of another post) posted a urgent request to pray for Stella’s moms.. Moms?? I was immediately intrigued, frankly I’ve always found LBGT an interesting study, and am not homophobic in the least, but usually these sorts of blogs although not outright in their condemnation aren’t exactly “gay-friendly” if you will. However, I was surprised to see that one of the top Mom bloggers, smack dab in Arkansas was beseeching prayers for the prettiest little girl you’ll ever see and her moms. So, of course, I went to read the blog see what was there, go over it. I read the entire thing in one sitting, 3+ hours. I daily had to check on Stella’s progress, I posted lyrics to songs, quotes, inspirational things in the comments, but mostly I cried, fat, hot, ugly, red-faced tears. How can it be that parents that rape, molest, beat, or harm their children get to keep their babies, but two of the best moms had to give their planned-for, saved-for beloved child. They decided to live fully, they took off work, family took leave, friends (a nurse) moved in to help care for Stella as she deteriorated. They had birthday parties (countless), a make-a-wish trip to Sesame Street Land in Pennsylvania, Stella’s grandfather brought her chocolate timbits (doughnut holes for us not in Canada ) from Tim Hortons restaurant, she ate ice-cream for breakfast. Stella’s moms Aimee & Mishi, got their “make-a-wish” too, they got to meet Ellen DeGeneres I am sure their real make-a-wish was for Stella to live, to be well. Then something curious happened…………Stella lived. (for those of us that read about Stella we weren’t surprised), Stella did everything on her OWN terms, she always had. Readers logged in every day, forums were created so that when Mishi was exhausted she could type a quick note to let everyone know that yes Stella was still living and provide us with an update. Usually when you hear the term childhood cancer, little bald heads come to mind. However, chemo has been determined as completely ineffective in DIPG, the ONLY treatment available is radiation. Stella’s mom made a painful, selfless decision (Which they were criticized for). No Treatment. The radiation would only add a short amount of time (if any) but the trade-off would be hospital visits, sedation, time wasted in a hospital that they could be spending with their precious baby girl.
I think of the sacrifices Stella’s moms, her whole family made, as Stella clung, and we don’t realize the heart of a mother, how far she will go to protect a Beloved child. So in the literary sense I think of the work done by Toni Morrison, when a young slave mother, sexually assaulted, beaten, tortured, is faced with her slave-masters coming back, not just for her, but her children. The decision she makes is unfathomable, In Beloved, Morrison describes how this mother protects her baby, out of desperation:
L-R Mishi, Stella, & Aimee