Pomegranates and Kiwis

27 October 2012

   I went to the grocery store a few days ago to fill the completely bare cupboards in our house.  My family will all tell you that I don’t go until there is barely a morsel of food left in the house to eat.  Grocery shopping is pretty high on my list of  least favorite things to do.  I procrastinate that chore until the very last moment.  When I finally went a few days ago, I noticed that pomegranates are back on the produce shelves and looking red and delicious.  I felt a pang of sadness so real I thought I was going to break down and cry in the produce department.  It brought back the biggest flood of memories and images of Tyler that I felt actual physical pain in my chest. 

   Last Fall, when the doctors told us that chemotherapy was doing nothing to Tyler’s tumors and it was probably best to discontinue treatment and let the cancer run its course, I began my search to ‘cure’ Tyler on my own.  I am sure those reading this have varying opinions on this, but if you have a loved-one with cancer, you know that desperation.  I spent hours and hours on the internet (usually in the middle of the night) searching ‘natural’ cures for cancer.  I met with countless doctors and specialists in alternative medicine, who had some success with alternative cancer treatments.  We even took Tyler out of the country for treatment there.  I bought so many herbs, vitamins, drinks, and ‘you-name-it’ - trying to shrink the tumors.  We tried going vegetarian, raw foods, juicing, and every other diet out there that claimed to help with cancer.  After a while, with Tyler’s nausea and weight loss, we decided that no diet was going to work if he couldn’t eat – we were eventually happy if we could get anything down him, even if it was an ‘Otter Pop’ – something with absolutely no nutritional value at all! 

   One theory was that pomegranates and kiwis were  great food in cancer treatment.  They are so high in antioxidants and other disease fighting ingredients that they have been shown to prevent some diseases and ailments.  Tyler loved both – I think for three or four months we had at least two pomegranates a day.  Imagine how fun they were to peel and extract the seeds from!  I did learn a faster way to do it though – thanks to the internet!  In my mind’s eye, I could almost see his cancer disappearing as he ate all those pomegranates and kiwis.  I would run to the store anytime, day or night, if we were out and he felt like he could eat one and I would be so pleased when he could keep it down and it satisfied his hunger for a bit.  Pomegranates aren’t in season for more than a few months sadly, and about February, they became harder and harder to find.  I would buy the juice for him, but it just wasn’t the same.  

   Looking back, I know that the things that we did couldn’t cure the cancer, but I also feel like they didn’t hurt either.  They may have helped keep him here for the extra time that doctors didn’t believe he had – who knows?  I also wonder what would have happened if we had never done chemotherapy on him either – that was what ravaged his GI track and took away his hearing.  But then, if we hadn’t done it and still lost him, we would have regretted that decision also.  It never helps to have ‘what if’s’. 

   I just know that I can’t look at those two fruits without remembering Tyler savoring those pomegranate seeds and me peeling them every day with satisfaction, sure I was doing something that was helping him to get better.  The pain is still pretty fresh – probably even more so than the month after his death.  I don’t think five minutes ever goes by that he doesn’t come into my mind.   Our family longs for the day when we can be with him again.

   We are slowly learning how to focus on living life here the best we can and moving forward without Tyler here on this earth.  We know he is near us when he can be.  We have had some very special experiences where we know that Tyler is here with us - tender mercies from a loving Heavenly Father who is helping us to know that He is aware of us and our pain and gives us small moments to feel Tyler close.

   One such tender moment was the talk in General Conference by Elder Shane Bowen.  For me, he said so many things I felt but could not put into words.  I was grateful that he was so candid about sacred feelings and helped every parent who has lost a child validate what they feel also.   I was also so grateful for his powerful testimony of the plan of happiness for each of us, and that FAMILIES CAN BE TOGETHER FOREVER.  I am so grateful for all of my children and grandchildren, and that knowledge is what helps me to keep pressing forward with as much faith as I can muster. 

   If you have a few minutes, this talk is well worth the time.  Click here to listen.  And if you have time, go get a few pomegranates while they’re in season!

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