A short while later, we slowly, very silently, entered Erin's bedroom. Upon opening the door I could feel a special calming spirit in her room. I am sure there were angels round about. I have often wondered what Erin was dreaming about at that time. Was she somehow being prepared for what was to come? My father and my husband gave Erin a Priesthood blessing. I stood there and stared at my perfect sleeping little girl. She was 20 days away from turning 2 years old. She slept so quietly, so beautifully. I looked at her and wondered about the cancer swimming in her blood - taking away her precious life right before my eyes.
I speak of these sacred first moments in our trial only to compare with something even more dreadful than cancer. Cancer is subtle, it can overtake anyone's body. It affects the rich, the poor, the famous, the weak, the beautiful, the ordinary, the short, the tall, the strong, the young, the old. While someone is battling cancer, even if they are a stranger, we are drawn to help them, we cry with them, and we endlessly serve them. The community bands together to help them overcome the cancer that is manically trying to overtake their body and kill it.
Sin is like cancer. Its beginnings are subtle. It starts with one small wrong doing. Eventually, if it is not remedied, it can overcome someones senses, erase their judgement, the consequences of their choices can lead to their loss of freedom, and even their will to survive. Nephi, a prophet from the Book of Mormon, wrote, "I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me. And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins." (2 Nephi 4:18-19) Nephi's father, Lehi, once counseled his family to "shake off the awful chains by which ye are bound, which are the chains which bind the children of men, that they are carried away captive down to the eternal gulf of misery and woe."
Erin's cancer felt like chains. We were chained to a hospital room. Erin was literally chained to several IV pumps. Our family was split, unable to be together. Our hearts ached and groaned; we were often heavy with sadness. When Erin was home between stays, we were bound to endless medications and a new lifestyle. We were bound to hospital bills and worry about Erin's heath and future. Our once free schedule became so erratic that we had little time for normal everyday pleasures. We were completely weighed down and worn out by the effects of cancer. There are over 30 children right now stuck in the cancer ward at Primary Children's Medical Center - they are bound to their treatments unable to run in the grass hunting for Easter eggs.
To eradicate the cancer from Erin's body she received harsh strong hazardous chemicals that entered her body through a tube placed directly into her heart. It wasn't easy for her. She was extremely ill, the chemotherapy killed her bad cells and it killed some of her good cells too. She lost her hair, she lost weight, she had serious infections, she threw up. Her bone marrow, a staple for life that creates blood, was brought to the brink of death multiple times. She had to suffer serious pain and sickness to be healthy again. We knew that the chemotherapy would help her body be healed It was a tough way to be released from the chains of cancer .
We too must be released from the chains of sin. We need to have a change, from within the deepest parts of our hearts. The change can hurt, it can be extremely difficult and sometimes lonely. How I wish we could reach out to those struggling with sin in the same way an entire community reaches out to a person fighting cancer.
One of the most relieving and comforting words we heard after all of this was over was that Erin was in remission from her leukemia. My friend Lizzie, whose infant son Andrew also has AML, spoke of how hearing that her son was in remission brought her "a release from anxiety and pain".
It is the word remission that is most important, especially at this Easter time when my thoughts are drawn close to my Savior. "And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins." (2 Nephi 25:26)
Upon finding out Erin had cancer we immediately sought out the source to heal her. We would never have sat around thinking, "I'm too busy today, I have far greater things to do". We should daily be actively seeking the one true source to receive a remission of our sins, our Savior. Jesus Christ, a separate being from His Heavenly Father, who came to earth to fulfill the beautiful plan of salvation and offer Himself as a sacrifice on our behalf.
"The Lord hath redeemed my soul from hell;
I have beheld his glory,
and I am encircled about eternally
in the arms of his love."
(2 Nephi 1:15)