Sunday, April 21, 2013

T.Y. Thank You

I tried to update the blog for days!  I have had so much on my mind, so many people to thank since Ty's memorial, so much pain in my heart that I wanted to "release" through this whole blogging process - but life has been so chaotic this week!  Good things, but so incredibly time consuming and stressful. 

Immediately following Ty's ceremony, Lou and I jumped face first into a downward spiral.  All week we have been crying ourselves to sleep, on edge with one another, impatient with Gavin.  We feel like Ty's memorial provided closure for friends and family... as if it's okay to move on now... but for Lou and I it only made our wounds more raw.  Don't get me wrong, it was perfect in every way.  But we will never move on or put our loss behind us, so closure just isn't in the cards.  Healing is, though - we realize that and that is good.  We are getting better, slowly, we are.  But losing Ty and all he went through just isn't something we can ever accept.  Which is why we try so incredibly hard to raise awareness and funds in Ty's honor. 

The great news is that I interviewed on national television yesterday.  The Doctors :)  It won't air until June 12, so I'll keep you posted!  We talked about The Muddy Puddles Project, and of course, Ty.  Why he is the inspiration behind the project.  I am so grateful to Melissa for making this happen, and so grateful for the producers at the show for making it such a memorable experience.  In addition, I interviewed with WPLJ-FM and WHUD-FM recently.  I will post the audio to those segments soon.  They came out really good, and I'm just so happy to be getting the word out about childhood cancer.  Even if it's just one listener at a time, it will be one more person who changes their perspective on life because of what Ty Campbell showed them in his five short years, and that makes me happy to imagine.  If I didn't have such wonderful validation that Ty made a difference in this world, and that he inspired goodness, I would never ever be able to survive the haunting memories of his pain and suffering over the past 2+ years that I revisit every single day. 

I have the most incredible friends.  I thank God for them all the time.  Even though I am typically slow to respond to emails and texts, and I rarely answer the phone, they get it.  They help me by simply being there for me.  They take care of me. 

Two friends in particular, are the reason why Lou and I are feeling better today.  Thanks to their generosity and their willingness to open their doors to us, I am watching the waves roll in while I type this.  We are recovering in one of the most beautiful, tranquil places we have ever stayed.  It worked out perfectly because we were able to coordinate our travel to the West Coast with our appearance on the show, and we will stay a few extra days to shake it off and enjoy the view :) 

I think Ty is here, too.   Ty knew that we needed to connect with this family and I am so grateful for that.  He brought us together and we are certain to be great friends for life.  Thank you, Kass and Rocky, we love you :)  I feel we have been lifelong friends and we met only two years ago.  I swear Kass always seems to save me when I need it most.  I open a funny card from her or I get a heartwarming email about Ty and I instantly feel less alone.  We are so grateful for this chance to unwind, think about Ty, and enjoy some time with Gavin minus the usual chaos. Gavin's fourth birthday is on Monday.  We already took him to the zoo, and on Monday we will show him LEGOLAND.  He is so excited!

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that every detail at Ty's memorial came to fruition thanks to another one of our amazing friends, Beth.  She works like crazy, travels all the time, and still made time to solicit candy donations, purchase supplies and decorations, work with designers and printers to have signs made, research and find the perfect bottle for Ty's messages, attend site checks at the hotel and liaise with the church on our behalf even though she is Jewish and unfamiliar with some of the church routine.  We shared several giggles about that :)  On the day of the event, she arrived hours early with her family in tow to help set-up, she dragged around the projector and made sure everything was packed up and returned to our hotel room at the end of the day.  She was tireless and she did it all with a smile. She recruited the beach team, she recruited the candy table team, she made sure every detail was just as we wanted, and it was.  It was perfect in every way.

The other day I was in the middle of a good cry on my way to work.  My childhood friend Caryn called and I thought twice about it before deciding to pick up the phone.  I'm so glad I did.  We were able to cry together, and then she even managed to make me laugh.  She loves Ty so much, and she has done so much for my family.  She lives in DC, has two small children, and still managed/manages to make the trip upstate for every important event.  Even just for a quick surprise visit where we barely exchange more than a hug.  We talked about Ty this morning.  How I was reeling over flashbacks from this summer when he proudly ventured into the pool with me.  How scared he was to go anywhere because he was always afraid of his head hurting, and how much he truly suffered for half his life.  He was a perfectly healthy, happy 2 1/2 year old boy, then he got cancer and experienced constant pain, agitation and discomfort for the next 2 1/2 years of his life.  I cried and yelled about how it would have been easier to accept (obviously) if he survived and grew up to be the witty, inspiring young man I imagined he would be.  Even if he was disabled, I knew he would do amazing things and he would always make people laugh.  Caryn said, "you're right!  You should cry!  It's sad as shit!  And, you know what?  That kid really was funny from day one.  I mean, he pooped in your shoe... on purpose... and that's hysterical!"  I can only thank her for that, because it made me smile and laugh the rest of the way to the office.

When Ty was potty training, I used to let him roam the house without a diaper on so it was easier to run to the potty quick, avoiding accidents (or so I hoped).  One night I saw a very suspicious looking two-year old giving a sly smirk from around the corner.   When he saw that I spotted him, he ran away giggling and whispered "I made a poop."  "Oh my God, WHERE?"  His hand was dirty, but I didn't see a poop anywhere.  I washed him up, I kept grilling him about what happened, until his hysterical laughter turned my attention to one of my adorable pink shoes.  And so, there it was.  He put his terd right inside my shoe.  As gross as that is, I know, it's also friggin' funny - and he knew it :)

I  have been friends with the same group of girls since elementary/middle school.  They are always there for me, and they always make me smile. They traveled from Florida, Virginia, LA and San Diego to be with us at Ty's memorial.  We have been jokingly calling ourselves the GLOW girls since 8th grade (there used to be a Saturday morning program called GLOW and it stood for the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, so we used the acronym to represent the Gorgeous Ladies of Wantagh - so silly, i know, but it was 8th grade and it stuck.  They were all there in full force last weekend, and I will be seeing some of them again this weekend!  When they walked into the church, we shared big hugs and I told them how incredibly surreal it all felt.  How I still doesn't feel like he's gone.  Then I said, "I mean, He's in my purse!!"  They looked at me totally confused.  "Ty.  He's in my PURSE - how ridiculous is that!"  We all paused for a second, having no idea how to respond to that, and then we just laughed.  "Why are we laughing?" we giggled and cried at the same time.  You know why? Because they understood that we could either laugh at the absurdity of it all, or breakdown and fall apart right there.  I'm so glad they helped me to laugh instead because THAT is what Ty wants.  Laughter.  To laugh in the face of the pain, death, unfairness and absurdity.

Then there are the people who Ty brought into my life.  Like Kass and Rocky.  Kristi who writes a letter to Ellen Degeneres every single day. She has become such a huge supporter of the cause.  Marilyn coordinated our meal train for almost a year and always checks in on me.  Melissa and all of the volunteers at the foundation spend so much time building up this incredible foundation of ours. The entire community at Christ Church.  Christina who calls me, emails me and texts me to check in constantly, even though she knows I am terrible at responding.  (I was with her when she lost her brother on 9/11 and now she is taking care of me).  Elaine drove up four hours to meet me at WingBowl just so we could finally hug.  Catherine and her mother had her whole church praying for us, and she came out for Ty's service even in the middle of her brother's full-blown wedding weekend.  Ty's nurse emails me weekly just to see how we're holding up, as do many other friends and neighbors.

There are countless friends to thank.  So many I could write a book.   I just wanted to take some time tonight to express my gratitude to all the beautiful people in my life.  During my worst days, when I feel like the most unlucky person on the planet, they help me to remember that I am still blessed.  I don't love life anymore - that's just the truth - but I do appreciate the goodness and beauty in this world of ours and I believe Ty made the world a better place in the short time he graced us with his presence.

T.Y. Thank You.


  1. So sorry you're hurting; I can't imagine what you've gone through. I know that Gavin is probably hurting as well. I do hope he has a great birthday on Monday.

  2. Such a beautiful boy. Beautiful Mom. God bless

  3. I can tell you, without a doubt, Ty has made me a better person. There is something about Ty...just by looking at that amazingly beautiful face you can tell he was meant to touch so many people.

  4. Julie and Casey from MNApril 21, 2013 at 5:03 AM

    Always amazed by your ability to still think of others in the midst of what you go through! You and Ty are my heroes!

    Julie and Casey

  5. You are amazing! I am so glad that Ty's story went national on the doctor's and can't wait to watch! I hope you were able to gather some other contacts through them? i believe Dr. Phil's son is a Producer? If you could get on that show the awareness would skyrocket!! God Bless You all!!

    1. So sorry ,I had meant to reply anonymously but was signed in under Business. I tried to delete it but assume only you can. Please delete it for me but know that I am thinking of you always!

  6. Cindy, I found your site recently and read it beginning to end in 24 hrs. What an incredibly sad, heartbreaking while at the same time beautiful journey you've been on. Ty's short life has touched me immensely and my eyes are fully opened to the unfairness and horror of childhood cancer. I have to say I truly had no idea. I'll remember Ty's sweet face and disposition and your and Lou's incredible love and devotion for the rest of my life. No longer will I turn a blind eye to campaigns at our children's hospital and any news around childhood cancer. Ty's passing has reminded me how precious life is and also to hug my two boys a little tighter and a little longer. Thank you Ty. And Cindy, Lou and Gavin.
    From an avid fan and admirer in Toronto

  7. P.S. I also have wanted to tell you that the day I finished reading your blog I thought about the reminders all around you that Ty is there. As I walked through my front gate a song sparrow, high on the tallest tree, began to sing and sing. I sat down and must have listened for an hours thinking of you all, amazed that out of the most terrible of circumstances come the most beautiful, important lessons. xo from Toronto

  8. Cindy,
    Great friends always know what to say and you are blessed to have some. I enjoyed the quote you gave about your friend that said "You should cry because this is sad as shit". Yes. She is right. And, I am pretty sure if there was a magic phrase or magic pill to erase some of the pay, you would have found it by now.

    This will always be sad. I feel bad it happened to you, and I am watching my two boys wrestle around, wondering why I have the good fortune and you do not. But, because of you, I recognize their wrestling could change in an instant, and I do not take a single moment with them for granted.

    You always amaze me with your courage and strength, thank you

  9. My heart aches for all of you. Please always know and believe, that Ty is still with you. I can't even begin to imagine what your going thru. Happy b'day to Gavin! Its also my son Brandon's 7th b'day. Enjoy him and take in every minute of every day...cause time does fly. Prayers sent.......Betty Warren, Beacon, NY

  10. Watching NBC news, there is a boy on who was serious bone cancer, they explained that his patents paid out of pocket to inject mice with the boys tumor, and see what meds worked for the the mouse and it worked!! I know it's such a long shot and a struggle but I feel like everything you are doing to find a cure and spread awareness is working!! God bless the Campbell's especially TY❤❤

  11. Cindy, Lou-what can we say? What can we possibly say to show you any level of true comfort? We all know how extraordinary Ty is, how he has changed so many of us for the better, in so many profound ways that honestly defy explanation. How could we be so impacted by a child who has no direct relation to us? Yet, we know him. We love him. We grieve. We get pissed off at the injustice. We mobilize. We believe.

    And we do all this because you and Lou have shared with us a glimpse of your pain, your triumphs, your joy, your dedication, and your faith.

    A Celebration of Life event has a start point and an end point. People come together, they pay tribute, they pray, they hug, they laugh, they cry, then they leave. It is a vital part of who we are as human beings to need to do this. It is so precious, and so important. But in reality, we all know that the true celebration of Ty's life is in choosing a way of being. Anyone who knows him personally or knows him through this blog has made Ty's life the standard by which we hope to aspire to be. There is Ty as he was, and there is Ty as he is now. And somehow, some way, he is there for all of us, sending us so much meaning when nothing at all seems right.

    As always, we are all sending you love, support, friendship and hopefully, just the tiniest moments of comfort.

  12. Thanks, Cindy, for sharing your "poop in the shoe" story - too funny! My son likes to pee in the yard when he is outside with Daddy. Good thing we live in the country!

    Sweet picture of Ty, always love seeing his beautiful face and smile.

    Happy Birthday to Gavin :), I know he is loving LEGOLAND!

  13. I wish I had known sooner when the memorial was going to be held. I wanted to be there if only as a shadow in the back of someone you never met but feel I know you and just wanted to be there to support you. Guess in a stupid way I hope that if enough people are there to wrap love around your family that it minimizes the pain. Stupid I know but none the less that is how my hear hopes.

  14. his famous blue tainted lips are showing:)

  15. Thanks, as always, for sharing. I truly believe Ty was a very old and wise soul. You as his parents, Gavin and all the readers of this lovely blog realize they have witnessed an amazing being. I love him, I really do, from the bottom of my heart.

  16. loved the story about ty potty training. you're a great mom to both your boys cindy.

  17. I so hope one day something will give you reason to once again love life. I thank you for sharing. I think of your family all the time. I pray for comfort for you and your husband.

  18. Cindy I thought of you when we took our granddaughter to NYU cancer center for a bone tumor. I thought of you when the Dr. came into the exam room with his team of surgeons to tell us the tumor was benign. I thought of you later that night and how you prayed for the same diagnosis for your little boy and didn't get it. I thought of how our lives can suddenly turn upside down, and inside out in an instant. I thought of all the parents who are faced with this paralyzing fear. I thought of how I so readily and earnestly begged God to spare my grandchild and take me. No one can possibly understand the level of fright unless they are faced with it. Our story has travelled a different road than yours sadly did. I know how you get through it. You do because you have to. You do because you love that kid like nothing else in your life. You do because you don't have a choice. You do because your baby needs you now more than ever. If one child can live easier because of all your efforts with your organization, then God bless you. And my sincere wish is that someday soon, a diagnosis of pediatric cancer will NOT have the mind numbing effect on another family, because they will know there is a cure!

  19. Happy Birthday Gavin, hope you are loving Legoland! Always sending peace and love to you all. Missing sweet, beautiful Ty everyday. Xoxo

  20. what a powerful statement about not loving life anymore. i coldnt agree more with you on that. how could you love it, it doesnt have Ty. what a cruel world we live in, where we need dying beautiful babies to teach us love and kindness. i will say it that even when the cure is found it will just not be the same, because Ty isnt here to get cured. he came to this world to cure us but not to get a cure, and thats messed up. i hope it wouldnt have had to happen. Dear Ty, i want to thank your pure soul for choosing to come here and fight a brave battle, for choosing to suffer like that so that we can learn kindness, innocence and love from you. I miss you so very much like you were my own.

  21. I can only send <3. I too hope that you find love in life again. I hope that someday, even though far away, you will love the sound of the birds, the flowers and beginning of spring and life renewed again. I always think of you guys. I always think about how you are. I always wonder what is Cindy thinking right now. I don't know why. I know I only share a smidgen of your sadness. If my grief hurts so much over the loss of your precious, sweet Ty, I hate the thought of yours. Always, always, ALWAYS thinking of you all... xoxoxo

  22. So glad you have great friends & family to help you through the tough times : )
    It makes a big difference.
    Ty was and always will be one special little guy - He has moved me to tears (which I must say used to be hard for other people to do), made me laugh & most importantly, made me view life through a different perspective. I will always spead the word for childrens cancer research & funding because of Ty.
    Dad from Australia : )
    PS - love the poop story, man did that make me laugh! Just goes to show how cheeky Ty was - Thanks for sharing Cindy xoxo

  23. As someone who lives far away, and doesn't take the time to comment, or sometimes even know what to say, I would also like to thank all of the people who do these wonderful things for you and your family. I wish I could do all, or at least some, of the things you are bragging about. Thank God for them! And thank you from me here in Arizona, who just reads your blog and loves Ty!

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