cancer Encouragement grief Hope life lessons

…when you can’t make it better

July 4, 2014

You hear it all your life. “You want mama to kiss it and make it feel better?” When you’re little, that sentiment is completely true. There are few, if any boo-boos that can’t be healed by a kiss and hug from mom’s loving arms. When you get older, you hope it’s true. Your hurts move from scratched knees to broken hearts and you want to believe Mama when she says it will feel better.

And then you become a mom.

You are acutely aware that no miraculous exchange was made during delivery. While you expected to wake up with all the knowledge in the world because moms know everything, you don’t. While your kisses were supposed to suddenly be imputed with magic powers, they aren’t. You fumble and fall but you keep trying and soon you realize that loving your little person means you’ll figure it out, clean it up or keeping going far past what you thought was your breaking point. You do things you never thought you could because while not magic, your love is healing just because you’re Mama.

And then the day comes. For some of us it’s immediately; for others it takes a years. You wake up one day and there’s a hurt you can’t make better. There’s an illness you can’t make go away, a pain that you can’t comfort. No amount of love cures cancer, heals broken pieces or gives breath to lungs that won’t fill with air. You have to hand over that little person to doctors or nurses and trust them to heal what you can’t.

I was on the “immediately” track. I had to let go of Brynna before I ever held her. My sister had her moment a few years in, but when they found a tumor on my niece’s spine, she had to let go. While our stories come in different shapes, sizes and varying degrees, every mom learns the pain of realization that you can’t fix everything that hurts. Several months ago, I wrote how sad it made me to sit oceans away while my niece went in to surgery to repair the damage the cancer did to her back. Yesterday she had surgery again. Monday morning I felt strangely certain I was supposed to be with her and my sister, so this time, I’m not oceans away. I’m right here. I sat on the bed with Zoe before surgery. I took a walk with my sister while we waited for her to return. And as we waited and reminisced about all the times we’ve been in hospitals, waiting areas and recovery rooms, we both know the same thing. Either of us would gladly take her place. But not even mama’s kiss can fix the boo-boo in Zoe. Chemo and radiation were the only way to make the cancer stop. Surgery is the only way to fix the pain in her back.

Sometimes Mama’s kiss can’t heal the wound or heal the disease. Sometimes the boo-boo is too big. Sometimes Mama can’t make it better. There is a gut-wrenching pain that comes with the realization that you are powerless to help your child. As I type this, I’m sitting between two beds. I’m listening to Zoe breathe and Vikki snore (don’t tell her I told you that detail). Vikki’s heart hurts as much as Zoe’s back because no amount of mama’s kisses can make it better. I’m surrounded by a hospital full of moms who wonder why God would let them and their little ones hurt so profoundly. The answer isn’t simple. It isn’t one-size-fits-all. In fact, I don’t have an answer. What I have is hope. What I know is that God loves us with a love we will never be able to comprehend.

When you can’t make it better, what I know is there is only One who can. Does that mean they will never hurt again? No. We live in a broken, imperfect, messed up world. But does it mean He will change your heart along the way? Give you peace to guard your mind? Calm your fears in the midst of darkness? Yes. Yes. Yes. He wants to save you from hurts bigger than you even know exist. He knows your pain. He’s felt your sorrow. He, too, watched His Son hurt and couldn’t take it away. He did that for you. And your little person. And all of us.

Vikki can’t make Zoe better. I can’t make either of them not hurt. Maybe the little person you are staring at can’t be healed by your kisses and your heart hurts like never before. Know this, Mama. God is right beside you. He feels your pain. He doesn’t want you to hurt and He will hold you through it all. Just let Him.

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Vikki July 5, 2014 at 12:44 am

    I was going to tell you how beautiful this post was and how much it touched me…and then I read a MAJOR typo and decided to tell you about that instead. I do NOT snore! There may have been some unexplainable noises but that was merely the sounds of the building settling. It happens in older buildings.

    • Reply Regina July 15, 2014 at 9:55 am

      I’m sorry…sounds of the building settling? What building have you ever HEARD settling outside of an earthquake? (of which there was not) I say if snoring is the worst of the worries we remember from that day, we are doing AWESOME!!! :o)

    Leave a Reply