Where I lose it. Stella Part 1

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:

Inside, two boys bled in the sawdust and dirt at the feet of a nigger woman holding a blood-soaked child to her chest with one hand and an infant by the heels in the other. She did not look at them; she simply swung the baby toward the wall planks, missed and tried to connect a second time, when out of nowheremin the ticking time the men spent staring at what there was to stare the old nigger boy, still mewing, ran through the door behind them and snatched
the baby from the arch of its mother’s swing. Right off it was clear, to schoolteacher especially, that there was nothing there to claim. The three (now four–because she’d had the one coming when she cut) pickaninnies they had hoped were alive and well enough to take
 back to Kentucky, take back and raise properly to do the work Sweet Homedesperately needed, were not. Two were lying open-eyed in sawdust; a third pumped blood down the dress of the main one–the woman schoolteacher bragged about, the one he said made
 fine ink, damn good soup, pressed his collars the way he liked besides having at least ten breeding years left. But now she’d gone wild, due to the mishandling of the nephew who’d overbeat her and made her cut and run. Schoolteacher had chastised that nephew, telling him to think–just think–what ould his own horse do if you beat it beyond the point of education. OrChipper, or Samson. Suppose you beat the hounds past that point thataway. Never again could you trust them in the woods or anywhere else. (175).



L-R Mishi, Stella, & Aimee


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