I was going to post the third installment of my crazy life story, but friends, I just can’t today.

My heart is broken.

Tuesday night before I went to bed, I blog surfed a bit and found myself at the blog of Cheryl from Orange County, California.  She wrote this post that rocked my world (click here to read).  It was about sweet Layla Grace and I just can’t seem to pick myself up off the floor today.

I don’t know this family but I don’t have to.

The mother’s name is Shanna.  I know her heart. She’s in the “mommy sorority” – the place where the playing field is leveled and we all stop worrying so much about the size of our jeans and who’s going with who because we now walk around with our hearts on the outside of our bodies.

Layla Grace was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma last spring.  She was eighteen months old.  Yes.  Eighteen months old.

As Cheryl stated in her post, Layla just suddenly lost her appetite and became severely constipated.

They took her to the doctor. They found cancer everywhere – it had metastasized to her bones, bone marrow, behind her eyes and both ears, and wrapped it’s ugly self around her aorta.  I won’t do Cheryl’s post justice, so please read more about it at SpecialSauce in the House.

To make the story even more horrible, she had an allergy to morphine.  Managing the pain was difficult.

She died Tuesday morning at the tender and unfathomable age of two.

I went to bed last night with a sadness that I had not felt since my divorce. I know.  I’m sure some are thinking that this is a bit dramatic to be so mournful over the loss of someone I didn’t know but this is so very different.

This was a two year old baby.

It could have so easily been any of my babies.

I have lifted this family up to God on a continual basis since last night.  They are a family of believers from what I understand.  This will carry them.

Cheryl stated that this tragedy, this parent’s worst nightmare,  made her feel like hugging her children tighter, delighting in the noise.

My reaction was the same.  It’s that mommy sorority thing.

Today I didn’t worry too much about the laundry, or my list of things to do before I leave to go out of town, or the mud that is continually being tracked in from our spring-thaw-mud-pit-of-a-backyard.

I just didn’t care.

Today I was fully present with my babies.  I did hug them tighter this morning.  With tears in my eyes.

I took Solomon to his “Mommy and Me” class which is held at a local church.  I was particularly thankful to begin my day with my youngest firecracker because, at 20 months, he is just two months older than Layla Grace was a the time of her diagnosis.

We arrived in the lot and after emitting joyful squeals and cracking up uncontrollably over the “Steady Gus the Schoolbus” parked  next to us, he pointed to the cross on top of the steeple and said in his little baby boy voice, “What’s that?”

To which I melted a bit.

I explained that that was the cross, where Jesus gave his life for us.  He repeatedly asked me and I repeatedly gave him the same answer.

I then bent to his ear and sang a few line of “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” with tears rolling down my cheeks.

He patted my cheeks.  He gave me his big dimple smile.  I said a little prayer that he would one day love Jesus as much as I do.

That all three of them would.

We went to our class and I relished his smiles and squeals, even his protests and cries.

Because I can.  And he’s here.

And yet.  Yet.  I still feel a loss.  For them.  And I’m so very sorry.  So very sorry…

Tomorrow I will post on the other things I did today to “hug my children tighter”.  In the meantime, if you are the praying kind, please pray for healing and peace for Layla Grace’s family.

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