Friday, December 7, 2012

Christmas is far from merry, but we're trying

"Sometimes seeing is believing. But sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can't see." - Polar Express

Christmas sucks. I'm sorry. It's just so unbelievably hard. I love my tree, though. It's so breathtaking. Every time I look at it I am reminded that Ty wouldn't allow us to forget about Christmas. He picked this tree for us when we reluctantly visited the tree farm and half-heartedly cut down any old tree. It is simply magical how perfect it is. It's the biggest and best tree I have ever had in my entire life and as much as I wish Ty was here to see it, I also know with every ounce of my being that it is him who saw it first and chose it for us.  "Chrimpy" (that's how he said "Christmas") was Ty's favorite thing of all. Here is a really, really short video from last Christmas eve when Papa dressed up like Santa. Please look at Ty's initial reaction when he saw Santa. It is amazing. Priceless. Beautiful. I want it back.  This tiny video clip leaves me wanting so much more.  I want to jump right into it and be holding Ty again.  I could rewind that 1.5 seconds and watch it over and over and over again.


The hardest ornament to hang on the tree this year was the one of Goofy that we bought at Disney during Ty's Make A Wish trip in 2010. We were told he had six weeks to live, it was December and I asked him to pick out a special ornament for the tree so I could remember that moment always. Then we hung it together again in 2011! It was a real miracle that he was with us again last Christmas.  When I packed it up last year I put it in the box with the utmost certainty that he would be with us to hang that ornament every year after, too. I never had any doubt. When I pulled that ornament out this year I practically fell to the floor with grief. I cry and I wish with all my heart and soul that his miracle could have been 100%. Why couldn't he continue to teach everything all of the beautiful things he is teaching us and still be alive! Still bring us all a "smile of the day" every day? I'll never understand but I do try to remind myself of the bigger "life" that waits for me beyond this one, and it helps me to cope.

I also know this. Losing Ty is the greatest test of faith imaginable. It would certainly be easy to believe in God and believe in miracles if Ty did jump off that couch and land on two feet. If he survived cancer and debilitating brainstem trauma and went on to play college football. It would have been downright impossible to doubt God's existence after witnessing something that big. So maybe Ty's story is instead intended to help us find faith in the darkest of times and rely on that invisible truth to show us that there is so much more than the skin we live in. Our Christmas card last year read "Believe in Miracles" and I still do. Even more now. Because I believe that Ty is with still with me and that the time I had with him will always be my greatest gift, my miracle.  PS - I won't be sending Christmas cards this year, but I hope you all know that I wish you happiness. 

Gavin's reindeer in the background is funny

Slowly but surely, Childhood Cancer Awareness is getting bigger and bigger.  Thanks to all of YOU!  The town of Pawling has allowed for a Gold Christmas tree to be put on display in the heart of town to honor two of our children who battled cancer.  Ty and Ryan McElroy.  Ryan was just days shy of his fifth birthday when he journeyed on from this life in 1998.  There is a statue of Ryan in town that we walked by just the other day and for the first time Gavin stopped to ask me who that boy was.  I told him "that's a little boy named Ryan and he is just like Ty.  He had cancer, too, and now he plays with Ty in heaven.  I bet they have a lot of fun together, don't you?"  "Yes," answered Gavin, "but Ty is my best friend because he is my brother."  Breaks my heart.

Here is a picture of the beautiful tree!  Thank you, Melissa Divitto, for making this happen.  It is such an honor.  We were in town tonight for the lighting of the big tree and our beautiful gold tree for childhood cancer awareness was SHINING BRIGHT!!

Tomorrow, the kind and beautiful Anthony Family will be opening the doors to their restaurant in Mahopac (151 Grill) for a TLC Foundation fundraiser.  If you are local, information about the event is posted here on Facebook.  We hope to see you there!  Then, next Saturday there will be a Zumba fundraiser event at the VFW in Carmel.  Information about the Zumba event is also posted to Facebook

Today I had another radio interview - this time with Bloomberg radio.  It will air in a couple of weeks and I will be sure to share a link. 

We had a tremendous response to the Muddy Puddles Project. THANK YOU!  For all those who emailed with interest in volunteering - you WILL be hearing from me soon :)  Thank you for sending me all of your muddy puddle stories!  Please keep them coming and tell your friends to do so, too.  Anything you can share about your children celebrating their childhood in honor of Ty would be wonderful.  And don't forget pictures!  Thank you all so much.  Your love and support is just incredible.  This is going to be BIG!!  All of these amazing things happening, this is what keeps me going.  Thank you all so much. 

Before signing off for the weekend - a fun photo of Gavin.  He goes everywhere like this - as some of you witnessed in town tonight!   Goodnight.  XOXO.


  1. Cindy...I was driving home late from work tonight thinking about you...thinking about Ty. I just cant imagine the feelings you must deal with everyday and I too dig deep to keep faith as there has got to be soooo much more out there than this physical world! You will one day be reunited with Ty!! And you both will soar above the clouds together! In the meantime cherish all those beautiful pics and videos of the most beautiful boy and know he was a true angel and blessing! Every day he is there, your strength to get out if bed, your passion to fight Cancer and most of all giving you the love and fire in your heart!!!

  2. So sorry for your pain Cindy. I cant begin to imagine what you and Lou are going through. But I truely believe that because of your wonderful sweet Ty, you two wonderful people will change the face of childhood cancer everywhere.
    God Bless you....P.S. Gavin is adorable in that picture

  3. Aww....Why? Why can Ty no longer bring us the smile of the day? I keep asking myself everyday... I read your beautiful entry and smiled a little through tears watching the video... It is a priceless memory...
    My heart aches for you Cindy - I have nothing but sheer admiration for you and how you take all this unfathomable pain and grief and turn it into a fight for awareness in the name of your amazing SuperTy..
    In our hearts always and forever...
    Sending virtual hugs..... Hanna

  4. Christmas is a beautiful, magical time of year and I believe Ty will be beside you every step of the way giving you signs through out the day to help you get by. Not a day goes by that I don't think of Ty and how huge of an impact he's had on so many. My heart goes out to you Cindy and know I will be saying prayers for you to get you through the holiday. I bet Gavin with all his energy and enthusiasm for being a crazy little kid, are going to help you get through the day. He's just the perfect example of what a child should be, happy, silly, funny, loving, energetic, beautiful little boy! Just remember there is no wrong or right way to feel, take it step by step, minute by minute and just breathe! You're amazing! Love to The Campbell's ❤❤

  5. Cindy, I can't tell you enough how incredible you are. Everything you say + do is incredible. Ty is incredible because he is part of you.
    The video clip is awesome, I am in awe of ty - all the time. It's truly magical, his reaction, his face, his aura is just magical. He is so special, unique, + most of all lovable. There is no one else in the world other than ty who could touch, move, and get this many people to want fight.

  6. The Trees are both amazing! I had a great laugh from the picture of Gavin. what a cutie!! Im sure that awesome lil boy puts a smile on your face all the time. I hope your upcoming fundraisers rake in the dough for SuperTy. God Bless you Campbell Family.

  7. Awww, I loved both of their reactions when Santa aka Papa walked into the room, Gavin all smiles but in awe and Ty all smiles and giddy...LOVED THAT!

    Always & Forever in my thoughts & prayers,
    Michelle Hughes, North Ga.

  8. Hello Cindy - I have been reading your blog since TY went Home. I have been praying for you and your extended family. Please go to this web page, you will find comfort in the Scriptures and to know that your little TY is alive and happy. Jesus allows no sorrow in Heaven.

  9. Hi Cindy - I have wanted to tell you this for awhile now but didn't think it was the right time until now.

    Just days after Ty passed away, my spirit guide or angel or whatever you want to call it told me that Ty is in the state of heaven that only the purest souls experience. I don't often get a message this directly and clearly so am assuming I was meant to pass that along to you.

    I wish you peace.


  10. It breaks my heart reading your blogs each day when I think of the loss if your beautiful baby boy Ty!! Your strength and depth of character are AMAZING! I have no doubt that your FAITH has and will continue to get you through..As always keeping you and the family in my prayers...

    Love. Gabrielle

  11. Cindy & Lou,

    Some tears added to my morning coffee. . .The video of Ty witnessing Santa is priceless. God, what an angel.

    I love the gold tree, just wonderful! I did add gold ribbon to my tree this year too. My heart breaks for you Cindy, I do not know how you and Lou do all you do. Amazing!

    I hope you feel Ty with you everyday.


    Joy Marielle
    Baltimore, MD

  12. Cindy, Ty, Gavin and Lou
    I read this blog every day. I check for updates in the morning, throughout the day ..and night. I am not alone in this as many others have stated the same. So many people think of your family every single day. I don't have children. Maybe someday. Ty has taught me so much. He has inspired several conversations regarding love, and all of that. (You know) Thank you for sharing what this time on Earth is all about.

    Love, Emily

  13. I love the video! Just know that Ty is still enjoying all of those things with you...he's always with to him, (like u said u do)...he hears you. My heart breaks all the time for you and your family. I was watching a Christmas movie this afternoon, and "Some where over the rainbow" came on near the end of the movie. It made me think of Ty since its 1 of the videos u have on here with pics. I know that everytime I now hear that song, I will think of him....more so then I already do. He is now an angel in heaven bringing smiles to everyone.
    Betty Warren, Beacon.NY.

  14. That video makes me believe that he's still here. That the miracle came true. And I know that he is in spirit I just wish for more - for you and Lou and Gavin, for your friends and family, for myself. You are always in my thoughts. Tears and hugs from NC.

  15. The smiles are what it is all about.I am sure his smiles are imprinted on all our hearts. Your sweet angel boy is smiling down upon you now. He just has to be. God bless all of you!

  16. I am so glad you are still able to see the miracle that is TY! He has and is still doing so much good in this world. I thank you again for sharing all of this with us.I have to tell yu the picture of Gavin , I thought he was one of the toys,lol.He is so funny and I'm glad he is there to help you get thru. The video was priceless,again thanks for sharing.God be with you all this holiday season....Jean <3

  17. The smiles on the boys faces are 'priceless' Cindy, especially Ty's! I loved the video, even though it was short it still showed the joy Ty experienced. And I did rewind that 1.5 seconds several times just to see his smile over and over again... :) He will still be enjoying Christmas with you all I am sure. Like you said he will not let you forget Christmas and he will be with you all the way. <3

    I also loved the quote from Polar Express you wrote. So true... I love that movie so much... "Believe" with all your heart... There just has to be something way bigger and better than this life that we experience here on earth! My soul knows it but it does not stop my heart from aching as you know... It just really helps to have faith that our babies are enjoying a better life than what they experience here in their last couple of years... Even though they showed the strength of a hundred men...

    And yes you are absolutely right to say "Christmas Sucks". It is stressful enough when you don't have a child in heaven let alone when you do. It is a million times harder... Especially when you have beautiful memories like the video above. What we would do to have them back... So yes it does 'Suck' big time, but we will make the most of it for the sack of the other children who also deserve so much as they have been through a lot for their short lives as well.

    I love all the work you are doing for childhood cancer. You are amazing! The town of Pawling is amazing as well to honour Ty and Ryan with that beautiful christmas tree. What a loving community you live in... It is so touching...

    Love Gavin's photo... Ty will be having the biggest smile on his face watching his brother get around like this all the time... He is adorable!

    Sending you all lots of love.xx

  18. oh what a great video. Your loss is just more then any of us can ever truly understand. I am so sorry. It is just not fair. You are so strong because you have to be for Gavin-I think of you all the time. I don't take anything my children do for granted-running, laughing, making a mess-it is all a blessing.
    BIG HUGS!!

  19. No doubt in my mind TY is enjoying Eternal Bliss as we speak - walk in FAITH not with sight.

  20. God bless you, Cindy. I don't know how you have the strength that you do. I watched the video of Santa coming up the stairs a couple of times to see the looks on the boys' faces. So magical.. I cried each time. My boys are the same age as your guys, so your stories really touch me on such a deep level. I'm not in a great financial place to help your foundation, and I'm not that close to Pawling, but I would love to help the Ty foundation any way I can. I'm in Staten Island. Please reach out if there's anything I can do for you and your family.

  21. Thank you for sharing some personal memories of your family. Sad to miss the fundraiser near my home as I am on vacation with my family. Wishing you the best with the foundation. Keep up the good work. Looking forward to hearing the Bloomberg interview.

  22. Love you guys! Bless your broken hearts. I can't help to be heartbroken right along with you. Ty was & still is such a sweet blessing. I am praying for you. We are all still here for you. The Muddy Puddles Project is going to be great. Of course I "Believe" everything you and Ty touch in person or in spirit is going to do amazing things. Hang in there! Love & prayers Christine, OH

  23. Jennifer Russo, Lake Grove, NYDecember 9, 2012 at 12:16 AM

    Wish I lived closer to volunteer for the foundation. I will definitely attend the Muddy Puddles Day with my children!! What an amazing day it will be for all the kids and Ty will be there in spirit playing along with them.
    Praying that you will find peace this holiday season and that you will get through it the best way you can.
    Always thinking of sweet little Ty.

  24. Today my 2 year old daughter stomped right in the biggest puddle in the parking lot before her birthday party. I immediately thought of Ty and of you...and I smiled. Thank you. I may never meet you or your family...but your impact is profound.

  25. The 1.5 second video of Ty watching Santa sent an instant smile across my face, and I who have never had the honor of meeting Ty or you, instantly had tears in my eyes. How can an entire family who I have never met make such an impact on me? I am spending this early Sunday morning, mentally planning some fun/messy projects for my son today. I'll get the camera out. xoxoxxo in Fishkill.

  26. Please read this!!!!!!!!
    This is where the awareness MUST start.

  27. It takes me so long to read your posts b/c I'm constantly having to wipe my blurry eyes from tears.
    I continue to be in awe of your perseverance. There's not a mother alive who would blame you if you wanted to crawl into bed and stay there for the next 5 years. Yet you keep on keeping on. You probably think the word "amazing" is overused in all of your replies here. It's not. It's just simply the most true word in the world for you.
    God Bless You all.

  28. Beautiful precious boy, today I attended Hanukkah party with my two boys but I couldn't stop thinking about you. Everyone around is happy laughing celebrating and my heart is breaking for you. I wish you were here. I wish your mom all the strength to go thru this holiday season. I miss you.

  29. Cindy,
    That was a precious video clip. Thanks for sharing that. I love the pics, but the video provides so much more.
    I can't find the eloquent words so many other can to ease your heartache. I think only time can do that. Just let me say that he was my birthday buddy, I love him and I miss him so much. He has a gold ornament on my tree. It will be there every year untill I finally get to meet him. I hope you guys can find some smiles this Christmas.

  30. When I read your words the only feeling I get besides immense pain and sadness is Rage. Rage at the amount of pain that bleeds into every words you type. Rage at the thought of this monster cancer stealing your precious gift, rage at the thought of you living your life without your family complete. Rage at every tear you, Lou, Gavin and the rest of those close shed. Then I sit and think of every story you have so generously shared about your sweet baby boy and the rage turns to Love, Love for for a little warrior and family I have never met, Love that will keep you warm when the whole world is cold, Love that you will start to eventually feel peeling away the layers of this unimaginable pain, Love that will keep your family complete with Ty as your angel, so full of Love watching over HIS angels here on earth. Love that IS in your coffee even if you can't see physically see Ty put it there. The Love you have for your sweet boy will conquer. Then I pray not for Ty because Ty is beautiful, pain free, running, jumping, loving and laughing, But I pray for you Cindy, Lou, Gavin and your whole family. I pray that THE LOVE does it's job quickly.

    1. I couldn't have said this better. I agree with this 100%.

  31. I needed to share this with you. After Thanksgiving I read your post about the worst kind of pain. At night I sat with my 3 year old son and was looking at our Christmas tree while I held him and was just so sad thinking of you and your family and how hard the holidays must be and all of a sudden my son said to me:
    "dont worry mama, he's happy"
    me - "What, who is happy"
    son - "The little boy"
    me - "What little boy"
    son - "He smiles"
    I have never spoken about Ty to my son and he has never seen pictures on your blog or anything but I truly believe he was talking about Ty. Children do see Angels and there is no doubt in my mind Ty is an Angel in Heaven. He is certainly with you and your family - but also letting all those that love him but didnt get to meet him that he is surrounded by love and is happy. God bless your family. I will always keep you in my prayers.

    1. That gave me goosebumps! Ty is amazing!!! What a powerful little boy!! There is something special there!!!! :)

    2. Wow, children can teach us so much more than we realise. They never cease to amaze me! You certainly have a gifted son! Thank you for sharing...

  32. what an incredible video - the look on both Ty and Gavin's faces made me smile - nothing like seeing joy on a child's face to make even the gloomiest day brighter!!

    The golden tree is beautiful - I'm so mad that Pawling has two angels to honor, but glad that they did. I got my gold Ty ornament at the fundraiser and I'll be looking to make my tree gold this year too!

    Wishing you all love and peace this holiday season.

  33. Cindy . First i must say u are a terrific mother and have so much to give. When my daughter was in the hospital for almost on and off for 3 yrs.. there was no help. i had to go on welfare and lived on candy bars and smokes. she did make it with mild retardation and is now 27. I have 3 grandchildren and am always thinking how lucky they are as of now not to have any major illness like her. i see ty in my daughter and so sorry he couldnt win the battle..u fight the fight for him now. i hate this diease ty is like the 3rd child i followed. so very sad.. hope u can make the best of the holidays for gavin.. and u and lou

  34. Cindy, I think that you will like this.

    Kathy, Philadelphia

  35. Thinking of Ty tonight. This is a beautiful song :)

  36. Thinking of Ty tonight. This is a beautiful song :)


    Cindy, I hope this make you smile!
    Maybe you saw this already on aol. Even the dogs know to let a playing child play....This made me think of Ty and cry. xoxoxo
    Title was " Dog Waits While Toddler Splashes In Puddle (VIDEO)"

  38. Hi Cindy, Lou, Gavin and Mely - I think of you all every day. I can't imagine your hurt and grief, and I hope in some small, miniscule way that it comforts you to know that so many people are keeping you in their thoughts, prayers and hearts. You are not alone. Ty lives on in the memories of so many. I saw the same video someone posted above and thought immediately of Ty, and your family. I will never again see a child playing in a puddle without thinking of you and your darling son.

  39. Thank you, Cindy - and thank you, Ty - for reminding me how important it is to continue to find faith, even in the darkest of times.

  40. Thank you, Cindy - and thank you, Ty - for reminding me how important it is to continue to find faith, even in the darkest of times.

  41. I have read the blog up until now in just 4 days. I just wanted to comment to say how beautiful Ty looked when he saw Santa. His face said it all. God bless you.