“I wanna be remembered as a kid that went down fighting. That didn’t really lose.” – Zach Sobiech.
If there is one thing I am certain of, any child who dies of cancer is remembered as a fighter. They don’t lose. Cancer loses. And we lose - the ones that are left behind. The cancer dies with their bodies but these beautiful, innocent, most holy of all souls live on in our hearts for an eternity. Their stories of strength, triumph and tragedy inspire others to live theirs to the fullest. To hug their children tighter and to cherish more the gifts they are given.
I just pray more people can see the love and beauty that surrounds these kids during their fight instead of turning a blind eye to the immeasurable sadness because it’s too hard to imagine. Life is sad. Life is so sad and so hard for so many people. Bad sh*t happens, sometimes really bad sh*t, and none of us are immune.
It is just so important that we raise awareness and more people start acting on behalf of the cause. On so many levels! Everything from the way research and medical institutions are funded (most important!), to the ability for cancer victims to easily gain access to clinical trials and treatment alternatives. We don’t know what causes most childhood cancer, it’s totally different than adult cancers, but we need to consider environmental toxins and be more cognizant of the chemicals we use, the air we breathe and the food we eat! I am not saying this because I think I could have changed Ty’s fate if I used orange peels to clean my countertops instead of bleach, but as a whole I get so upset when I think about how we have manipulated nature on so many levels. Nature has fought back and it’s called cancer! Disgusting, vile, putrid cancer.
I am on this soapbox only because I wasn’t a doer until my life came to a screeching halt. As someone who was happily floating along in life with my two beautiful children and my daily stress consisted of deadlines at work instead of chemotherapy and radiation, I look back and wish I had done more before I landed here. I remember thinking how rewarding it must be to work for a nonprofit, too bad they don’t pay enough and I have no time to volunteer.
Since Ty got sick I have been flooded by kind, benevolent, giving, selfless people that impress me still every single day. There are so many good people in this world and I am happy to call so many of you my friends. This is one of the many good things that came out of Ty’s illness. It goes without saying, obviously I would give back all the goodness I have discovered to have deadlines at work and two healthy children. I guess my point is that you are all those people. You care enough to continue reading this blog. You shop at Sevenly, you wear TOMS and a wrist full of silicone bracelets, you never pass up an opportunity to make a donation at the register and if you can’t afford to make monetary donations, you take the time to raise awareness. You take the time to care and to share Ty’s story among so many others. You are compassionate, loving, empathetic and I PROMISE YOU, you are making a difference. Thank you.
Gavin has been such a good boy. He continues to talk about Ty a lot. Yesterday morning he had this adorable conversation with Lou:
“Daddy? When Ty wasn’t in heaven, was he in the Purple Room?”
Gavin goes to the same pre-school that I used to take Ty to. He is in the “purple” room.
“No, I think Ty was in the blue room, but I’m not sure? We’ll have to ask.”
Yes, Ty was in the blue room, aptly so. I just thought it was so cute how he described it as, when Ty wasn’t in heaven. He is really figuring it out, coming to terms with what happened to his brother, and coping well. Better than me and Lou, that’s for sure. On Friday I received a very kind text message from his physical therapist who used to treat Ty. She wanted to let me know that he was talking quite about about Ty, asking her if she remembered coming to the house, and what Ty’s favorite toys were. Stuff like that. I couldn’t even get it together enough to text her back. Sometimes it’s just so incredibly hard to bear.
Gavin is such a happy, fun little boy, but it rips my heart into tiny little pieces to see him playing by himself all the time. Of course we play with Gavin every chance we get, but he went from having Ty and Mely in addition to Lou and I, and now he has to pull at our clothes when we are trying to get things done around the house and ask us to please play with him. This morning he was up early and for the first time EVER he let us sleep and went off to play on his own. I heard him tinkering around in Ty’s room and I was so happy to see the mess he made! Finally, someone was playing with all of Ty’s awesome toys! Ty’s room is filled with so many incredible super heroes, cars, robots, etc. I used to hesitate whenever Gavin wanted to play with them because he was so young and I feared he would destroy them. This morning I realized that now I embrace it. I want him to enjoy a piece of his brother like that, and he has grown enough to understand. He appreciates the toys and he is careful because he doesn’t want anything to happen to them, either.
Yesterday he was riding in the backseat and reminded me that “I used to sit there, Ty used to sit here, and Mely used to sit there!” He said this with a smile as my face contorted in the rearview mirror. What a sweet, smart, loving little boy he is growing up to be. Lou and I say “I love him so much,” about a million times a day. He is our lifeline and we are so blessed.