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Goodnight Angel, it's time to sleep


This morning I attended the funeral of one of our patients, 13-year-old Ali Mills. Ali had neuroblastoma, a particularly tough form of cancer. It has about a 90% cure rate if it's diagnosed before the age of 1. After that, it's less than a 50%. Cancer was diagnosed in Ali when she was 5.

Before she went into the hospital for the last time, Ali told her mom, "I think that I am going to die soon." Her mother asked her why she thought that. She said, "I've had such a full and blessed life, I think God will take me home soon." This was a child that fought cancer for eight of her 13 years.

She underwent years of chemotherapy - intravenously as well as wicked-tasting oral medicines. She suffered through multiple bone marrow transplants. She traveled to LA, Dallas & New York for experimental treatments. She lost her hair more times than I can count. But she felt her life was full and blessed.

She makes me feel petty, selfish and so of-this-world.

It used to be, when we lost a patient that I'd gotten to know and love, it made me more dedicated to my work. But now, my heart hurts and I don't know if I can keep doing this. My friend Mary tells me I have to remain professionally detached. But sometimes, with some of the children, I just can't.

Goodnight, my angel
Time to close your eyes
And save these questions for another day
I think I know what you've been asking me
I think you know what I've been trying to say
I promised I would never leave you
And you should always know
Wherever you may go
No matter where you are
I never will be far away

Goodnight, my angel
Now it's time to sleep
And still so many things I want to say
Remember all the songs you sang for me
When we went sailing on an emerald bay
And like a boat out on the ocean
I'm rocking you to sleep
The water's dark
And deep inside this ancient heart
You'll always be a part of me

Goodnight, my angel
Now it's time to dream
And dream how wonderful your life will be
Someday your child may cry
And if you sing this lullabye
Then in your heart
There will always be a part of me

Someday we'll all be gone
But lullabyes go on and on...
They never die
That's how you
And I
Will be