When he is sleeping and I am up late, I check on him throughout the night to make sure he’s still breathing. It’s like I’m a new mom again, nervous about having a tiny, fragile infant at home. I’m always worried, and I honestly think that there is a possibility I will find Gavin still in his bed – not breathing – at any given moment. I guess I am adjusting to a new normal where terrible things can happen at any time because I have already witnessed my greatest nightmare become a reality.
New Year’s Eve means a whole year of unknowns. On New Year’s 2011, I welcomed 2012 with a heart full of hope. I was excited to say goodbye to 2011. Ty was doing well. He was in nursery school, we were starting to get a normal life back and I was 100% sure that he was going to improve steadily until he could jump in muddy puddles. I never imagined Ty would suffer from paralysis again in 2012 and pass away in the same year. He was almost able to walk again last December (look at this picture), he was getting so strong and healthy again. I was certain he would only improve and beat cancer once and for all but instead, 2012 turned out to be the worst year of my life.
|Almost walking all by himself! Dec 2011|
Over the past few days, it feels ridiculous every time I utter the words “happy new year” or someone says them to me. It is the most absurd phrase because I can’t imagine being “happy” without Ty. There are times that I find myself smiling and laughing and having a fleeting feeling of happiness, and I do hope I can find those moments more frequently in the new year. I know it will get better over time, but I will never heal from this – that is one thing I know for sure. I will never stop thinking about Ty, and I will never stop missing him. He is the love of my life and nothing can change that.
For New Year’s Eve this year, Lou and I joined our great friends at their house in Vermont for a quiet evening surrounded by falling snow. They have four young boys and Gavin is having so much fun playing with them. I can’t watch them without imagining my Ty right there with them. I see him, as a big boy, healthy and running around. In my mind, he is so beautiful, strong, athletic and funny. The boy he was supposed to be before he got sick for no reason. There is an ornament on their tree that shows a picture of Ty at 3 months old, lying on the bed with their twin boys who are close to his age. I had forgotten about that picture and loved seeing it hanging there.
It helps to get out of the house. I love being away from home because our house is so empty and I am overwhelmed every time I walk past Ty’s room, or catch a glimpse of his “bag of stuff” or his medicine in the pantry. I imagine hearing footsteps and night and expect Mely to join me, until I remember that she’s gone, too. Ty loved her as much as I do.
|Ty, Mely and his lollipop - just about one year ago|
I think I will spend much of 2013 traveling with Gavin while he is still young enough to miss some preschool. I want to be anywhere but home. I have some trips on the agenda for the foundation, as well, there is just so much to do with regard to that. At least I know that 2013 will be a great year in honor of Ty, as we continue working for the cause and trying to save the future Ty Campbell from suffering the same fate. I do think we will make a lot of progress this year and I am grateful for that.
I am so afraid that Ty will visit me less and less as time goes by. I already feel like I am seeing less signs. Of course, just when I am really needing him, he pays me a visit – like last night. I was telling our friends a story about his amazing ladybug visits. I mentioned the time a few weeks ago when I was doing the dishes and talking to Ty and when I looked up there was one right above me on the ceiling. Later last night I was doing dishes and lost in thoughts of Ty – I was washing while our friend was drying – and she said, “look, right above you!” Wouldn’t you know there was a beautiful ladybug crawling around on the light directly above me. I can’t make this stuff up. Just when I was thinking that I haven’t “seen” him in a while, and fearing I’ll never see him again, he did something magical for me.
Ty was such an incredibly loving kid, I know he loves me, Lou and Gavin and all of us so much. I hope he doesn’t worry about me. I don’t ever want that. In fact, whenever I’m crying I try to pull it together for him, because I still don’t want him to see me grieving. I want him to be happy and carefree as he soars through the sky with the biggest grin imaginable.
God bless you all. We can't thank you enough for your continued love and support. Wishing you a healthy year filled with nothing but rainbows, falling leaves, shooting stars and ladybugs. Ty is with every one of you. He is everywhere :)