Of course, we are thinking of Ty every second. When we arrived here I was thinking about how hard it would have been for Ty this year because he was so disabled compared to our trip to the mountain in Vermont last year. I was flooded with memories of our family trip to Okemo less than a year ago. Some of you might remember that he was sitting upright and we even brought him snowtubing. The photo of him, his famous one on top of this website, was taken during that trip. He was sitting in the snow and throwing a snowball all by himself.
When we first arrived in Whistler we took a walk through the village and I thought, "I wish Ty could see this. He would have loved it. But, the poor baby, we would never have been able to take him here anyway because it would be impossible to get around in the snow with a wheelchair or stroller or anything." Then I watched a woman put her toddler on a round plastic sled and pull him around with a rope. I realized that we totally would have taken Ty here. We could have done the same with a long tobaggan and propped it up with pillows and blankies. He would have loved it. One thing I’m really proud of is that we tried to take Ty everywhere. We never wanted to deprive him of experiencing life and beauty despite his handicap. In his five years he did so much. He smiled so easily and enjoyed life despite all he endured.
I know he is here with us in our hearts, riding on the mountains with us and taking it all in, but I would be lying if I didn't admit that I feel his absence way more than his presence this entire time. Every step I take I am thinking of him, wishing he was here and feeling the void in my heart. It is so brutally painful.
I opened my toiletry bag when we got here and found my toothbrush, Gavin's and Ty's. I took mine out and put it on the sink area so I wouldn't have to open the bag and see Ty's toothbrush again for the rest of the trip. Today, as we were packing up, I was reminded it was there. I felt strong, so I took it out and looked at the bristles. I saw some scrapes in the plastic and relished in knowing that his teeth made those marks. That it was in his mouth. How sad is it that all I have left of him is a used toothbrush, and that I found painful joy in staring at it for who knows how long.
I ask Ty to come to me in my dreams all the time but I haven’t had a good dream about him, yet. Instead I am tortured with dreams about losing him, about his cremation, about him in a hospital bed. The other night, while on this trip, it was even worse. You might want to skip this paragraph if you don’t want to know because it is morbid. I woke up and told Lou about it and we just cried and cried. In my dream Nana, Gavin and I were in the playroom at Nana’s house (Ty loved that room) and we were all sitting on the floor playing with Ty -- but it was his dead body. I was laughing and making jokes and waving his arms and pretending to open his eyes. We seemed to be completely oblivious to the fact that he was dead. I never woke up feeling so sick. I can’t wait until I see him healthy and happy enjoying his new life instead of all these crazy, hurtful dreams I’ve been having. My mind is playing some pretty mean tricks on me.
Here in the mountains, I can’t look out my window and ever deny that there is a wonderful, loving God that created all of this magic. It is so beautiful it takes your breath away. I included that picture above of the snowboarder in the clouds because that really is what it was like up there (except for the fact that I am not nearly as talented or graceful on a snowboard). I kept imagining that I was playing in the same clouds the Ty plays in.
Lou and I went out for dinner each night and I think we are starting to get more used to talking about Ty with strangers. It feels really good to tell people about him and how amazing he is. When we are asked whether or not we have any children, we don’t hesitate as much. When people are awkward because they don’t know what to say, we have learned to help them feel comfortable and not to worry about saying the wrong thing. People are so afraid of hurting us by saying the wrong thing, and I just say that we hurt so much already, nothing they say with good intentions could hurt us anymore than that. Don’t be afraid to talk about him, we prefer to talk about him.
I want to carry around business cards for the Foundation and bracelets so I can start leaving them everywhere we go. So when we meet strangers and tell them about Ty they can go home and fall in love with him through his website. All of these kids like Ty who fought so hard, they are finally giving a face to Childhood Cancer and making an impact. I believe we are near a tipping point and big things are going to continue happening to raise awareness. I don’t want to be part of the movement -- I would prefer to live in the bubble where I existed before Ty had cancer -- but I can’t ever go back there. We are leaving for the airport soon and I am consumed with anxiety because (1) I can’t WAIT to see Gavin, and (2) I am dying to get back to the office and get back to work on the foundation. I will be there first thing tomorrow morning, burning up my keyboard and organizing our databases. Starting January, I will be calling on all volunteers to start hashing through the immense “to-do” list. I am excited about all we can do in honor of Ty. Thank you all so much.
|true love forever - december 2011|