Friday, January 11, 2013

More about presents (or should I say, presence)

We all know Ty loved presents.  Who doesn't?  Even in my saddest state, when I open the mailbox to find a package I immediately feel at least some excitement.  Like the other day, I opened a gift of awesome new nail polish.  When do I ever treat myself to something like that?  Or the Stella and Dot earrings that were sent as a random act of kindness.  Absolutely made my day!!  And, made me so happy to think that people really do dedicate themselves to fulfilling random acts of kindness like that.

Gavin and I were both touched by kindness yesterday, and what a bad day I was having.  I came home to tulips in my mailbox (thank you, Marilyn!!).  Later that night when I was taking out the garbage I found a completely anonymous and unmarked package.  Can you imagine Gavin's reaction when he saw this guy?  I can best describe it as a loud gasp of surprise mixed with pure joy.  We always told Ty he was just like Iron Man because of his built-in hardware :)  I'm so happy that Gavin loves Super heroes just as much - if not more.  I believe it is his way of honoring his brother. 

Last November, before the first frost, we had a particularly warm day and I went out with Ty and Gavin to plant some tulips.  They were so sweet about it, and so helpful in their own way. Ty was still getting stronger at the time.  He was sitting up well so he helped me dig while Gavin, who was such a baby then compared to now, enjoyed bringing me various garden tools and grunting words that I could barely understand. He has changed so much!  Looks like Mely tried her best to capture the moment, but we all look a little crazy in this one :)  Makes me smile.  Cheese!

When the flowers bloomed in the Spring, poor Ty was inpatient for several months post-radiation necrosis, he was paralyzed again, and I was afraid he would never get to see the reward of his labor.  Finally we got  to come home just as they were beginning to die off so I'm pretty sure he did see his flowers in bloom (but I don't remember for sure - sucks).  I hope he did.  Of course, I was too involved in caring for Ty to properly care for my garden after that, but I do hope they will come back in the Spring again this year.  It will mean a lot to see those tulips in bloom.

I have two really great pictures/stories to share with you all.  Tonight I opened a drawer in my kitchen that I don't use often and noticed the can of "Magic Beans" that Ty bought for Gavin over the summer.  We had gone on a road trip to a small zoo in Connecticut but we didn't know it was closed on Mondays.  The best kind of mistakes sometimes.  It turned out to be serendipitous because we enjoyed a short afternoon in Kent Connecticut on a beautiful day.  We got the boys ice cream and went shopping for a while after a nice lunch.  That was when Ty wanted to buy a present for Ga-Ga who had fallen asleep in the car.  I suggested the beans because of how much Ty loved the "Max and the Beanstalk" episode of Max and Ruby.  When he saw that his eyes lit up in agreement.  The beans need to be planted in the Spring, so I told Ty and Gavin we would have to wait until this year to plant them.  Of course, I never imagined Gavin and I would be planting them solo.

Anyway, I have spotted the tin in the drawer so many times and never took it out.  Tonight, I did.  I don't really know why.  Maybe I wanted to read up on the best time to plant them, and when I opened the lid it read: "And without hesitation, he began to climb the beanstalk.  He climbed and climbed and climbed until he couldn't see the ground below."

I just thought that was so appropriate. I imagined Ty climbing that beanstalk up into the clouds and it warmed my heart so much.  Keep climbing Ty, and don't look back.

Yesterday I dropped Gavin off at school and came home instead of going to the office because I had a lunch meeting for the foundation.  After being home alone like that for the first time in ages, I soon found myself lying on the hard floor in my den, drowning in a pool of tears.  I begged Ty, I said, "Please send me a ladybug today.  I need to see you.  I need to know you are okay.  That I'm not crazy.  Please send me a ladybug today."  After who knows how long, I remember that I switched gears and started yelling for my grandmother who passed away a few months before Ty at 94 years old.  I was upset and said something along these lines: "And where are you, Grandma?  Don't you see me?  Where are you?  You should be taking care of me, not Ty.  He's only five.  I don't want him to see me like this.  He should have the responsibility of worrying about me.  You need to help me." 

Maybe venting just feels good but I swear to you, I got up off the floor within one minute of yelling to my grandma, I brushed off my hands, and I started doing the dishes.  I instantly felt better.  I was done crying and almost normal again.  I like to think she picked me up right then and there and helped me, just as I asked her to do.

It was so warm outside, I decided to take a walk in the yard to find my ladybug (I should have known that they always find me instead...).  I retraced the paths around the yard I would take with Ty in my arms.  I recited his favorite book "we're going on a bear hunt" like I always used to do.  I went to his little playset and sat at the picnic table where we shared countless lunches and goldfish snacks together in Long Beach (before he got sick).  I looked for him everywhere but I didn't see a single falling leaf, I didn't feel any warm breeze, I didn't see his hawk in the sky and I certainly didn't find any ladybugs.  I tried so hard not to be disappointed.

The fact is, Ty did send me a ladybug yesterday.  I just didn't get it until today when I opened a present from our cousin in the mail.  She sent this most thoughtful gift to hang on my rearview mirror.  As soon as I opened it, I messaged Renee to ask her when she put it in the mail.  Her answer... yesterday.  Thank you, Ty.  For sending me a ladybug on a day that I most certainly needed it.  BELIEVE :)  Always Believe. 


  1. SuperTy once again to the rescue! I a new customer of mine showed me a picture of her son. I instantly thought of Ty, the boy had awesome hair! ;) love you Ty! God Bless you Cindy, your an inspration.

  2. Your honesty and ability to express yourself so clearly is a special gift.

    You're amazing and beautiful. You're doing a great job hanging in there.

    Keep inspiring!!
    P.S. I love Stella and Dot. That made me smile.

  3. Beautiful Cindy, Just beautiful. I believe that everything happens for a reason, though its so hard to understand. I am compelled to check your blog daily, sometimes I go through the old ones and just look at the beautiful pictures of Ty and your family. You have drawn in otherwise perfect strangers to an awareness we might not have had, if not for you and Ty and your family. I feel a personal obligation to share Tys story, to help with whatever I can to help spread awareness about Pediatric Cancer. I dont think I would feel so devoted to doing so, had Ty not stolen my heart and your words not engraved in my soul as they are. Please know that you are the perfect messenger for Cancer awareness. I pray for your family and Ty often and will continue too. God Bless.

    1. You captured my words perfectly, Londa, thank you. Cindy, I miss your little boy so much, although we have never met, I look up to the sky and every night when I see a star shining exceptionally bright, I always say "I'm so glad you're here Ty, shining all the way here to California) and I think, wow, it's 3 hours since you shone on your mom, dad and Gavin and then I remember, you're SuperTy, a little like Santa, everywhere you need to be when someone needs to know you're around. God Bless you beautiful boy, continue to spread your magic, and continue to look after your mama, dada, and baby brother
      Gavin xxx

    2. Well said, Londa - it's as if you spoke from my heart (but much more eloquently than I could have). I also share Ty's story at every chance I get. God bless the Campbell family. Always in my thoughts and prayers. With love from Florida. xoxo

  4. Such amazing comfort stories. I look forward to reading your daily trials struggles tears smiles triumphs. I have read for quiet some time, I have laughed smiled and cried more times than I count. The day SuperTy made his journey I had to excuse myself from work I could not control my emotions. I have prayed many nights for Ty and cried many tears. I could not believe what I w as reading. I had fallen in love with your family with many similairities of mine. I have 5yr daughter and 3yr son who share a close bond. I have wanted to post many times. But found it difficult. Just wanted to let you know as many people have you have made me a better parent. Made me aware of the precious time we have with our little ones. And that mud puddles are ok!!! We have played in the rain. Even pre hurricane iasac. I think about your family every day. Say a prayer every day. My 5year knows all about SuperTy!!!!! Prayer for your continued strength for you and your family. And finding a cure. Sincerely, Melissa White Long Beach,Ms

  5. Cindy,
    I wrote Roger Goodell today and asked him to have all the players in the Superbowl this year wear gold to bring awareness and in honor of Tye. I had written Tim Tebow's foundation and Tim a couple of months ago but had not heard anything back from him yet. I am going to write him every day until he responds. I so want to do something but don't know where to start or how to help. I'm hoping I can get him to do this.
    Thank you for being so open and honest about your feelings. I so want you to get as many signs as you can from Tye. I read an article on Huffington Post about a mom who lost her son. It was a great article and she talked about how she kept her sons memory alive by alway talking about him and telling everyone she met about him.
    I have been telling Tye's story and I know he is going to help so many little kids who need it.
    I wish you sweet dreams of your beautiful Tye.
    Love and prayers for you, gavin, and Lou.

  6. Our prayers continue for your family. May God continue to bless you with signs from Ty. They are so precious!

    Take Care!
    The Stewart Family

  7. Such love all around you. You get what you give. You are absolutely amazing and the presents (or should I say presence) is all a mark of your amazingness. Most kids don't know how awesome their parents are until much later in life, but Ty new very early. That is one of the most amazing things, to me, about your story. What Ty new.

    The ladybugs will always find you. Of that I have no doubt.

    Much love to you and your family.


  8. Ty has made me a completely different person.... U must have heard this already lots of times but he has touched us in ways that amaze, beautiful sweet Ty, tonight I hope ur doing something really fun... Sometimes me and my 6 year old son talk to u , but ur prolly so busy in heaven doing fun stuff that u don't always hear us, the first time ever I told my son about u it was because he asked me who was the boy in the pic on our computer screen saver... My son was a lil jealous , I sat him down and said " that's Ty....SUPER TY!! " and wow u can only imagine all the questions that came after saying that... That was just the beginning , now he talks of Ty all the time, we blow him kisses, we always buy stratigy candy I case Ty wants some , my husband thought I was going a bit coo coo ...telling me I didn't even kno Ty ..well he's wrong, Ty is in my heart to and bigger than a meetin with Ty I have a soul connection with him, than I turned on the computer and introduced Ty to my husband & now he has ALL of our hearts in this house and now we all do things for Ty... Lol my son does the silly bum dance for him... He sticks his bum out and wiggles it a bit and laughs.. Trust me 5/6 years old boys love that goofy crazy stuff..... Lots of love mommy Jessica & the family

  9. Long beach is listening, praying, and is here for you and your family always.

  10. Hi Cindy,
    I have no idea why I put an E at the end of Ty's name. It was the middle of the night and I was so tired I wasn't thinking. I know it's TY.:)
    Love the ladybug by the's beautiful!
    Just wrote Roger Goodell again, and Anderson Cooper. Thought maybe he could help too.
    I'm going to do my best.:)

  11. Your journey is so exquisitely beautiful and painful.

  12. Just wanted to say thank you Cindy.After reading your blogs about Ty before he was diagnosed how he would cry at night as if he was in pain and how the doctors pretty much told you not to worry so much,I have a little boy who has done the same think since he was born the doctors always telling me he's fine dont worry.Well we finally took him to a neurologist who listened to our concers and did an MRI,my son has something called a chiari,he has pressure on his brain stem and spinal cord and fluid on his spine,which causes him so much pain when he trys to sleep.He will have surgery and we are hoping for a full recovery,But with out you we would have never demanded answers.THANK YOU xoxo

  13. I'm so glad I, like you...believe! I can't imagine what life would be like if we did not believe in signs. They make everything feel better. I feel Ty so many times, I just remember how comforting my dream about him was, and then Lucy was born healthy! Everytime I look into her eyes, I think of Ty,because he told me she would have special eyes and he was not kidding. I think you are the best and you are handling things the right way!
    Love and Prayers, Terri in Illinois

  14. You remain in our thoughts and prayers. God bless you, sweet Campbell family!

  15. Cindy...I am much older than you. You are probably my daughter's age. I do believe in signs. I was very close to my dad, and still miss him so very much. I know I always will. I want to share this with you... Last week while visiting my mom in a nursing home, I was really sad to leave her there, and in general, was having a very bad day. I passed a resident (a very old and incapacitated man) in the hall who I have seen every day for the last four years. And I was overcome by the sadness I was feeling. I thought to myself "Oh Daddy, I wish you were here. I feel terrible leaving Mommy, and I miss you. I need to know you understand why I can't take care of her at home any more." Just at that very second the old gentleman in his wheel chair gently motioned me over to him. He smiled the most beautiful smile , and managed to whisper "Honey, your okay"...Cindy, he never once in four years uttered a word! Have to believe it was my father telling me it was alright! So you continue to look for signs because I do too. They are real. Continue to be strong. You are an amazing woman, and your little boy is so very proud of you.

    1. Thanks for sharing this. Made it through the blog without crying until I read your post. Our loved ones will always be near, so glad for all the signs they send us!

  16. Cindy, your blog is totally amazing and I love logging on to find out how you and the family are going through this difficult time. You are in my thoughts everyday and always always in my heart.
    thing do get better eventually. I understand more then you think I do.

  17. I believe 1000percent in signs. My 2 year old "saw" a vision of an angel or spirit/soul the day before my sick pet died (when he was very ill in the hospital)... it was real to her yet we didnt see anything. She also commented when the thing sge saw, whatever it was , was "gone". She has never before or since said anything like she did on that day before our sweet pet died. Im just telling the story to let u know I truly believe in what you and others have experienced since your losses. Im so sorry about Ty and everything you all went through and have to go through each day. So sorry.

  18. I ran across this today and immediately thought of Ty and his amazing parents Cindy and Lou.

    The sun shone bright that October day

    Although you are not here to share our lives
    Your spirit shines through us day and night
    We see you in our dreams
    We hear you in our music
    We feel you in our hearts
    You have touched so many lives from near and far
    You have brought people together that lean on one another
    In our moments of sadness you reach to us when we need you most
    When a special song come on the radio-we know it is you
    When the sun is bright on the winter snow-we know it is you
    As time passes we hold tighter to our memories and find comfort in knowing you wait to see us again.
    To gather together and rejoice in reunion, will be as bright as the sun on that October day.

  19. Hello Cindy,
    Maybe someday your words from this blog could be published and the proceeds can go to the Ty Cambell foundation. Also you should repost your poem from last year about your shoes...perhaps it will hush the negative thoughts from some because no one should ever judge another until one walks in their shoes. God Bess you and your family

  20. That is a terribly fantastic story Cindy. Peace, love, & ladybugs! Lora

  21. Always believe .... always remember. Sending love your way.

  22. Always believe .... always remember. Sending love your way.

  23. I love this post!!! I love Gavin's super hero, the tulips u received (and I know the tulips u planted will bloom beautifully) and the gift from your cousin is adorable. That's very thoughtful. Keep being strong Cindy. Its ok to be sad and cry and to vent out. I just pray to God to bring you comfort and for Ty to visit his mommy. But you know he is watching over you from heaven all the time. God Bless you always.

  24. I am so deeply touched by your writting and your love. Gavin and Ty have the best momma. Tears tears are streaming down my face. I believe in your signs and I believe in your strength. Sending you thoughts of love and calm.

  25. keep climbing Ty and dont look back is the most selfless thing i ever read especially in your blog thats named after present because the only present that you really need is yout Ty, but yet you let him go guilt free because of his suffering and you worry so often not to cry because you dont want him to worry about you. I dont have words to express how much i admire you. I only wish I could have giving you only one gift the gift of life for Ty. Everything else will pale in comparrison. I miss you Ty everyday.

  26. Cindy,

    Ty and Gavin are so lucky to have such an amazing, strong, beautiful mama like you. It's the days that we fall to our knees that makes us appreciate the days we are holding our head up high, facing any challenge that comes our way. You are not alone in your grief- all of us are with you, every step of the way. Most importantly, Ty will always be with you. He will take care of you, always.

    Lots of love,

  27. I love how real you are when explaining your grief and the things you say and do while grieving. ((hugs))

  28. Oh, Cindy. My heart just aches for you all. As I read I am struggling to wipe the tears and snot from my face so I can see the words. I am just catching up on your last few posts as our family drove from NC to TX to accompany my husband on a work trip. We almost didn't take the trip. Hubby was going to fly and we were going to stay home. We knew a while ago that this trip was coming and had always said we'd go together, but that was 3 kids ago. A few days before Ty passed I had decided that it was just too much, too much packing, too much driving, too much time away from kindergarten, etc. Then, the day that Ty died there was not a doubt in my mind that we would all make the trip. We started making plans that night and I'm so glad we did. We made some beautiful memories. Thank you. Hugs and tears from NC.