In a few short days my family and I will board a plane for ten days on a south pacific island called Fiji. This was the wish granted by the “Make a Wish “foundation of N.C. to my son Corson.
Two ladies came to our home about eight months into a year of intense chemotherapy he was going through. He weighed 128 lbs of what was 170 lbs when it started. He was bald, had no eyebrows, dark all around his eyes and an angry, maroon scar a foot long or more down the front of his now pole thin leg.
They asked him what his wish was. He had told us it would be Fiji but I figured the idea would wan. It had not. They were the type of folks that kindness shown in their eyes and voices. I was uncomfortable. I suffer from pride. I knew that this was not about me though. It was about Corson.
My wife knew that I would try to dissuade him. It was too expensive to wish for. Before I had the chance she admonished me, "They said don’t try to change his mind.” I understood that his fragile state was not to trifle with so left it alone. It rested heavily on my heart.
He had to write an essay. His usually sharp brain was muddled by the chemo. When I asked him, “Why Fiji?” he would shrug his shoulders, as he was prone to do. Time moved on and he never did really say.
I think he has at times felt that I was disappointed that he was sick … somehow disappointed in him. He has always been our warrior, the stalwart self sufficient one. It hurts to consider yet as a father I can sense it. So we quietly marched through the year of suffering … together.
It was a foggy world of chemo pumps and IV bags. We watched him waste away until finally, one day, it was over. It has been a year now. He has gained back most of the weight but there is much that he can no longer do.
One of the ladies is coming to the office today to give me the itinerary and all the necessary documents. We leave next Saturday. They gave us the news a couple of months ago. I was shocked. I had thought they would not be able to do such a thing. After I had to ask just one more time … “Why Fiji, Corson?”
“Well Dad, I’m still not really sure. When they asked at the hospital that day what I would wish all I could think of was that I wanted to get as far away from this hospital as I possibly can.”
When your child suffers there is an ever-present sense of heartbreak that you don’t think you’re going to be able to withstand … and then it breaks some more.
So we will go to Fiji and I’ll watch the waves of that vast ocean ebb and flow as I remember all the faces.
The knee-high girl with the remaining wisps of blonde hair and cowboy boots looking up at me as if to ask “Will you be my friend?”
I will pray to the scudding clouds for Justin who died after his year of chemo for the same disease my son has.
I will remember the mother sobbing on the elevator and all I could do was to hold her and mutter, “It gets a little easier, somehow. Just hold on. It gets a little easier …”
And I will watch my tall, lanky son stride loosely through the surf with his twin brother and I will thank God for each breath that remains. You see it doesn’t matter to me whether it’s Fiji or Charlotte or Bangladesh as long as he still walks with me, free from that hospital … as far away as he can possibly get.
Thank you; “Make a Wish” because, you see, I know that it does matter to a youth who is becoming a man. One thing is for sure no matter what happens,
he has this. For the rest of his life … however long that is … you have given him this. We will be forever grateful.
scott hicksCorson Hick’s father.