It started with the minute we all got out of bed. Yay, the Easter Bunny came! But there was nothing exciting about it for me and Lou. We put on a good show for Gavin, but all we could do was think about last year, and look at Gavin's one lonely Easter Basket with nothing but void. The obvious absence weighed on us so heavily, we barely even spoke for hours other than to respond to Gavin in a fake, high-pitched, excitable voice.
Last year, we escaped from the hospital for Easter. We came home late the night before, but we were still H-O-M-E and that was all that mattered. We weren't prepared for our new life with Ty being so disabled, it was the first time he was home after suffering full-body paralysis as a result of radiation necrosis, but we knew we would be checking into a rehab facility in a few days and we just had to take him home. It was the only thing that would make him happy, and it really worked. After over a month of suffering, and weeks in the hospital where he fell paralysed for reasons his little mind could never comprehend, here he is on Easter morning, rocking his awesome hair with smiles from ear to ear. He was simply amazing.
At the end of the day today, Lou and I watched all of our videos from last Easter, and Ty was genuinely excited about the egg hunt, the basket, everything. He always had such an incredible spirit, and such a will to enjoy life no matter what. Last year I set out four beautiful baskets for Lou, Mely, Ty and Gavin. This year we had only one. Our family felt so beat up and broken today.
Last night we talked about how different Ty and Gavin are. How Gavin is just so into his legos and imaginary play, we actually have to work at getting him excited for things like the Easter bunny, whereas this is the stuff Ty lived for. He LOVED holidays. We debated on whether we should leave a note or a treat for the Easter Bunny and joked about how Ty would have definitely left him a note, and some carrots, and some candy, and whatever else he could think of. He would have been looking for bunny footprints and other signs the bunny paid us a visit before the sun was even up. Gavin woke up today and didn't even remember it was Easter morning until we reminded him. After he saw some miniature super heroes in his basket, he lost all interest in the egg hunt and just wanted to play with his toys. He sat and played in his own little super hero world for HOURS while Lou and I moped in sadness.
Lou and I both spent a lot of quiet time with Ty today. Lou sat on the couch and looked at pictures for hours. I went outside for a very long time and walked around the yard talking out loud to Ty in between my sobs. I was saying the words to the book "We're going on a bear hunt" like I used to do as I carried him through the yard. I spent time at his tree, talking to him about how it will soon be covered with beautiful red leaves. I sat on his playset where we used to eat snacks every day when living in Long Beach and I imagined him there at two and a half years old, eating goldfish and climbing on everything. I looked to see that the tulips we planted together were coming up (they are) and I sat on the bench where we last sat outside together. When he whispered to me that he likes the red leaves. Then I sat on the steps in our backyard and listened to all the birds as I cried with my head in my lap. After what felt like hours, I heard a woodpecker and it made me smile. I turned my attention to God and had a heart-to-heart for a long time. Today is obviously a day to reflect on how his son suffered, so I had a lot to say about that. Despite all I have seen Ty suffer through, I am eternally grateful. I can't express this enough. As I say all the time, Ty Campbell was my greatest gift. I have only God to thank for him, and my gratitude is higher than the mountains, taller than the trees, swifter than the wind. And Easter is a most special day because I know that I will be with Ty again in eternity.
I started cleaning up and setting the table after I came inside, still lost in a foggy cloud of longing, when Gavin came running into the kitchen.
"Mommy! I saw a little ladybug!"
"A real one?"
If I didn't have the pictures to prove it, I think some of you might start to think I make this stuff up, right? Well, pictures don't lie, we really had yet another ladybug visit at just the right time. Gavin - aka BatGavin - pulled me into the room and showed her to me. There she was, our beautiful ladybug sent by Ty to tell us that he is okay. I never, ever used to see ladybugs before we lost Ty, I swear.
|She is on the windowsill behind him|
I also want to tell you all that I don't think YOU are crazy, either, when you tell me that you see a ladybug from Ty. Even if you've never met him (or any of us for that matter). I promise you, when you carry him in your heart you will see him everywhere. It helps me so much to know that he is all around you, because it is a pretty awesome feeling knowing we are all so closely connected through love if we allow it.