I was channel surfing in a rare quiet moment this evening, and I happened upon an infomercial for St. Jude's Childrens Hospitals. I knew what it would be about. I knew I would probably cry. Why I feel the need to watch things like that whenever I happen across them, I don't know. Maybe I find it cathartic, like I have an excuse to cry. Maybe I'm a glutton for punishment. Either way, I'm watching this, getting invested in these kids' stories, some Sarah's age, some younger, some older, and in case after case, these kids don't make it. This one little boy's family is having his fifth birthday party without him, with a cake and everything, and then they release balloons for him. This is where I lose it. I feel this heavy weight pressing on my chest, the tears that have been dancing on the brink of my tear ducts spill over, and I feel a panic attack coming on. Why? This isn't my kid. The only thing I know about this kid is what was squished into a minute and a half on the infomercial. This isn't my kid. But it could be. It very easily could be.
Rest assured, I did not have a panic attack (I was able to stop it before it fully started) but for a split second, I felt myself falling. I literally felt like I was sinking, or falling off a cliff, or riding a roller coaster. I felt like I might scream, or explode, or throw up, all at the same time. I only felt that way for a second or two before I stopped myself, but then I found myself thinking, "I was standing at the edge of the abyss, that black hole that is what it feels like to lose your child." I don't know if I would be able to handle that feeling for real, if I can't handle the thought of it now that I still have her, and her prognosis is good. Lets hope I never have to find out.