Thursday, October 17, 2013

Remembering Ty - One year later

This link will take you to the video that Lou shared with me on my birthday.  The best birthday gift of my life.  It is long, and so very painful for me to watch - but every time I watch it I smile more and cry less.  My beautiful, beautiful baby boy.  I feel like he is right next to me again.

One year has passed.  How did we survive 365 days without Ty?  I don't even know.  I honestly don't know!  Lou and I spent the day together, reflecting on our last day with Ty.  Reflecting on his last breaths and the time we spent with him afterward.  We are numb.  Even after a year, we are still in shock and disbelief that this happened to us.  More importantly, that this happened to him

Our tattoos are bandaged up for now.  I will share them over the next few days.  I am so NOT a tattoo girl, this is my one and only, and I am surprised to say that I love it so very much.  The entire time it was getting done I focused on Ty and all the needles he endured.  It hurt so bad at times, but the pain was brief and fleeting - unlike the profound pain in my heart that I live with every day.  I was actually disappointed when he was all done because I wanted to have more time in that chair, thinking about Ty, wincing at the gratification of the real, physical pain I was subjecting myself to in his honor.   I am so happy to have this forever tribute to him on my arm. 

While Lou and I were in the city, my friend texted to tell me that there were ladybugs all over Pawling today.  Surely we all know why.  I haven't seen any yet, but then again they didn't start appearing in my life until I came home after Ty's cremation on October 18, so I do expect to see some in my backyard tomorrow :)  

Lou and I are now in Long Beach.  We are going to visit Ty's statue at the park, and tomorrow morning we are putting the final touches on it by securing the plaque.  It feels a little strange that we aren't home where we were last year, but at the same time we are certain Ty followed us here. 

Pasted below is my blog entry from October 17, 2012.  Ty will be forever missed.  I said it then, and I still agree one year later.  Just because he wasn't healed, doesn't mean we didn't all witness a miracle.  Over the past few years, I've seen several.  Ty Louis Campbell's existence alone was a miracle.  I still believe.  I hope you do, too. 

Our baby is finally free.
Rest in Peace, Ty Louis Campbell

Ty Louis Campbell is gone, but his story continues.  This is our promise to him.  His impact on the world around him gives his short but inspirational life such meaning.  His soaring spirit will continue to fuel a fire in our hearts, and strangers around the world will continue to fall in love with the little boy who fought so valiantly.  The little boy who hurt so much, but maintained a bigger, brighter smile than the healthiest of children. 

 Ty never did break his fever.  He never really woke up.  Not until he decided to leave this earth and fly freely among the clouds.  At that very moment, he was awake.  He had returned to Lou and I to say goodbye.  To say our hearts are broken would be like saying it tickles to have your stomach ripped open with a spoon. 

 I went to bed last night with so much worry on my mind, but I was able to fall asleep because I was calmed by the fact that in his semi-conscious state, Ty seemed so incredibly peaceful and comfortable.  I laid down next to him, I put his arms around my neck, and I fell asleep to the sound of his soft, garbled breathing.  In my head I thought, "If he doesn't wake up around 3 in the morning and ask to go downstairs, he isn't going to wake up from this."  In the morning while he continued to sleep, I sat with my mother and I finally heard the words come out of my mouth, "I think Ty is going to die today."  I didn't want to know this, to feel this, but I knew. 

All morning I was in and out of the bedroom because I didn't want Ty to hear me crying.  I didn't want to scare him or to think he was worrying about me.  I would wander around the house, aimlessly trying to catch my breath before returning to the room once I felt better.  We called the church and asked for the pastor to visit.  We made sure my Dad was on his way, and we had all of our parents here to visit with Ty. 

Around noon, I was finally compelled to just stay in the room.  No more walking around the house.  I am so glad my subconscious helped me settle down so I could stay there with Lou and Ty, holding his hand.  The pastor arrived and he was so kind and gentle.  He helped us say a beautiful prayer for Ty and then he left.  I walked him to the door, came back to the room and the second I turned to look at Ty his eyes shot wide open.  It was as if his eyes were flickering open in a way that I can only describe as magic.  Lou and I couldn't believe what was happening.  We tried to ask him what he was seeing, but he didn't answer.  Lou told me it was time and it took every ounce of my being not to scream and wail and fall to the floor.  I couldn't do that to Ty.  I needed to tell him everything was going to be okay. 

I scooped Ty into my arms while Lou wrapped us both in his.  For a moment, Ty's eyes remained open and I stared into them so intently because I needed to be sure that he was witnessing something beautiful.  I promise you he was.  Through our tears we assured Ty that it was okay for him to go because he was taking us with him in his heart.  Over and over we told him I love you.  We told him how proud we are of him.  We thanked him for letting us be his parents.  We encouraged him to play, to eat candy in heaven and to slide down the rainbows into huge puddles of mud.  His last breath was a tremendous gasp - not because he was gasping for air - it was a gasp like when you witness something beautiful and exciting.  Like fireworks.  I have to believe with all my heart that he was excited. 

When our beautiful nurse came to pronounce him, she was so warm.  She shared with me her experiences and they gave me so much comfort knowing that she witnessed others passing who proved to be similarly happy and at peace.  She also told me that when she came to see him yesterday, she felt very strongly that Ty was already gone.  When she told me that I realized that maybe she was right.  I like to think that he was exploring, being greeted by his friends in heaven and deciding what to do.  When he opened his eyes he was showing us that he was seeing pure beauty and he just was coming back to us to say goodbye. 

Ty's beautiful little body stayed warm for a long time.  I didn't expect that.  The top of his head.  His back.  His belly.  So soft and so warm, we rested our hands there for I don't know how long.  We took turns holding Ty.  Walking around with him and kissing him.  It felt so good to hold him on my shoulder and kiss the crook of his neck without hurting him.  Lou was squeezing him and loving him all up, too.  Finally, to hold him without hurting him felt so beautiful.  We stayed together, just the three of us, for the next five hours or so before inviting our family back upstairs.  I will always cherish that private time we had together. 

After a while, Lou and I gave Ty a warm bath.  Lou washed his head, I washed his feet.  We kissed his skin ten thousand times.  There were as many tears in that tub as there was bathwater, but it was beautiful.  He was so beautiful.  Every inch of his body.  We dressed him in his white suit with a blue pocket square (his favorite color).  We put on all of his jewelry and he is holding his rosary beads from his christening.  We cut his hair for us and we cut ours for him.  We filled his pockets with a blue lollipop from his favorite girls at the bank, a chocolate gold coin, a 2 dollar bill from his great grandfather and some extra money for candy.  My dad put something special in his hand and we have a lot of other things that we will include in his casket tomorrow.  Ty is taking lots of his "loot" with him. 

Right now Ty is still in our bed.  He is all dressed up for heaven.  He has a smile on his face.  I know you all think that sounds crazy, but every single person who has come to say goodbye to him has validated it.  As I am watching his presence leave his body more and more, the hint of a smile on his face becomes even more prominent.  My sweet, sweet, good boy.  He was always quick with a smile, right?  He is telling us he is happy.  It may seem strange that he is still here, but our plan is to have him placed in a casket and then cremated.  If a person passes away after 12noon, he or she can't be cremated until the following day.  Ty died at 1PM and there's no way we would leave him with anyone but us right up until the very end.  We will ride with him in the car tomorrow morning.  We will be with him until the very, very end.  Just as he is with us.  I have felt his presence in this room all day long, and I feel him with me right now.  I hope I can always feel him... at least when I need to the most.  I am so scared for Lou and myself in the days that come. 

There was an amazing prayer chain planned for Ty at 7PM tonight.  All morning I told myself that the prayer chain was my last hope.  I wasn't giving up until then.  Maybe all of those voices asking for Ty's healing miracle at the same time would wake him from his sleep and heal him.  So when Ty started slipping away earlier, I almost yelled "No!  Not yet!  I changed my mind, don't leave us!"  As much as I wanted to scream those words at the top of my lungs, I remained as calm as possible and instead allowed Ty to give us the greatest gift of peace, serenity and ever-lasting presence.  I imagine he saw what an incredibly beautiful day it was today - by far my most favorite kind of day - and maybe he just didn't want to wait any longer.  He wanted to take off into the crisp fall air and fly over the golden trees into the sunlight.

At 7PM this house became flooded with tears.  Lou and I remained alone in the room with Ty to say our prayers before allowing anyone to come up and see him in his suit.  From here we could hear all of our closest family members breaking down.  The cries and sobs could no longer be disguised.  Outside our house were hundreds of people with candles, united in prayer.  In town there was another circle of friends gathered - lighting candles for Ty.  There was a vigil held for Ty in Long Beach on our boardwalk.  All over the place, people were praying for Ty.  What an incredible way to honor our incredible little fighter.  Thank you so much, everyone, for loving Ty and for praying for his miracle.  Just because he wasn't healed, doesn't mean we didn't all witness a miracle.  Over the past two years, I've seen several.  Ty Louis Campbell's existence alone was a miracle. 

I still believe.  I hope you do, too. 

God Bless you, Ty.  Please visit me in my dreams.  I don't know what I'm going to do. 


  1. Been thinking of you all of today. I prayed and asked him to send you ladybugs, and I said I hoped he was eating a bunch of blue candy. So so sorry! ~hugs~ <3 xoxo

  2. Been thinking about your family all day, and how Ty has changed my life. Thoughts and prayers with you all daily but especially today <3

  3. I have been thinking of Ty all day. I think about him so are in my thought and prayers.

  4. So hard to read this again but you are living through it each day. I will never forget Ty. He was and is a beautiful soul. Thinking of you all so much every single day. Can't wait to see your tattoos. Much love to you all. Miss you Ty, beautiful baby.

  5. I still believe in the miracle of Ty Louis Campbell - the best good boy in the world. I will never forget him. Xoxo Donna

  6. The video is just beautiful. Amazing. Your family is beautiful inside and out. Love you all! Miss u Ty.

  7. Good Evening,

    My continued thoughts and prayers have been with " SuperTy " and all of his family daily - most especially on this day. " SuperTy " has been on my mind for a very long time.

    " SuperTy " is my hero.

    God Bless.

    Rob Swan

  8. Cindy...there most def were ladybugs all over...I left work in Patterson and as I drove down Rt 22 smack in the middle of my windshield was one and he hung out there til I stopped at a light and then just flew away. I said Hi Ty...Thanks for visiting! Incredible!

  9. Wore my Ty shirt in honor of your sweet boy today. I thought about him quite a lot today. My sister handed me a package of charms today for loom bracelets to give to my daughter. As I looked through the package, there was a ladybug charm. I said, "A ladybug.......I saw my ladybug today." He will always be a miracle to all of us.


  10. Cannot believe a year has gone by. I can only imagine what it must feel like for your family. I can still remember seeing this post a year ago - it was late at night and I was so distraught for all of you that I could not sleep at all that night. Your sweet little boy did not deserve to suffer like that. No child should. Ty will never be forgotten and the wonderful charitable endeavors you have undertaken will ensure this. My thoughts and prayers are with you always.

  11. Cindy... I was thinking of you all day today... My son is sleeping in his Superty shirt we got at the messfest. I have two boys and they def got held on to today. Xoxo please know you have a lot of prayers today. I want you to know I read the book made for the boys today and it made me smile and cry like always.

  12. I will never forget you Ty! I do think of you everyday!

  13. Cindy, my heart goes out to you today...and everyday. You and your family are such inspiration. I think of you and your story a lot and happened to run into you and introduced myself at the cheesecake factory(I hope that wasn't weird...) but today I hadn't been online I have a lot of personal things happening and in the process of moving as well...while at the new house I said woah, a lady bug I found myself going to fling in outside, I thought of Ty and his anniversary.

  14. Ty was on my mind all day today. As I woke up to a dreary rain that lasted all day, I took my 2 1/2-year-old to school. She in her class, I in mine. And as soon as we finished and were headed home the sun was bursting through the clouds and breaking them up into huge puffs of gray and white and gold.

    As we neared home, the beauty continued, and when I scooped her up out of her carseat and held her in the sunlight, I thought of Ty. As the wind whipped playfully, twirling the leaves off the trees and sending them joyfully to the ground, we just giggled.

    Later, after a few rounds of Mickey Mouse, I told her we were going outside. It was time to go splash in puddles because, after all, there just happened to be puddles to jump in! She wanted to blow bubbles, so we blew bubbles. She likes the big ones. So I would blow big bubbles and she would run after them, chasing them in the wind and squealing with glee.

    It's because of Ty that we do this... as often as we can.

    I was so thankful for those leaves and bubbles and puddles.

    But then, do you know what? Tonight, after supper, when I was picking up, right there on the bucket with the bubbles on it that we had left on the table, there was our very own ladybug! I could NOT believe my eyes. It was the first one my girl had ever seen... and again! Those giggles and squeals of delight and her crying out "yadybuh!!! Daddy, yook at da yadybuh!!"

    After enjoying it running like mad all over my hand for a bit, we let it go outside. And I whispered Thank you, Ty. And I squeezed my girl tight.

    But that wasn't the end of Ty's visit to our house today. :) No, then of course my girl had to get out her ladybug ride-on toy and ride around the kitchen. And at one point my husband was rubbing my feet and said, "babe, you have a sticker on your sock."

    And of course... do you know what it was?

    Ty Louis Campbell was a special boy. And God is using him to open eyes and hearts of people and children all over the world.

    Thank you, Ty. Thank you, Campbells, for your faith. Thank you, God, for ladybugs.

  15. Thank you for sharing your video tribute. It was beautiful. My heart aches for you and your family. I look at my boys and I think of Ty often. Thank you for sharing him with us. I hope you and Lou found some peace today.

  16. Just watched the video. I could see why it is the best gift ever. I smiled and cried. I love his little voice and laugh. Wonderful memories of a little boy who loved his family big much!

  17. I love your video. Love it. When I watch it, all I can think is how much strength Ty had. It makes me weep. Stronger than any adult I know....a testimony to it. I send you all the love I have. I know there are ladybugs everywhere tonight....

  18. The most beautiful, poignant, lovely video I have ever had the privilege to watch. Thank you for sharing that sweet child and your memories with me. I am honored. Thinking of you all and your sweet angel tonight. Fly high, sweet Ty.

  19. ♥</3 ♡ SuperTy Always and Forever

  20. I remember laying next to you
    Feeling your sweet breath on my tear filled face.
    I remember your last air grasp and your final phase, how your eyes looked into mine.
    I remember I let you go where the rainbows are and the puddles full of mud.
    I remember the bath of tears that we washed you in,
    I remember your golden curls.
    Smile stayed long on your cold blue lips that I kissed goodbye,
    Sorry that I let you go.

    I remember my broken heart when we hugged you tight just before you slipped away.
    I will never forget you Ty, and when the time is righti will hold you tight again.

    I could be your legs when you couldn't walk,
    I could be your hands when you couldn't play
    I could be your everything
    But I couldn't be your cure!
    I would be your eyes if you couldn't see
    I would read your lips when you couldn't talk
    But I couldn't be your cure!

    Oh my baby boy I would give up anything just to you next to me.
    Just to hug you tight again and to hear you say " I wave you" one more time.
    Please forgive me for everything that I couldn't be
    Please forgive me for letting you go.
    Please come visit me in my dreams
    Just because I need you so.

    Daddy taught you to be a man,
    How to shake a hand, and prepared you for your last breath.
    Daddy is sorry he couldn't be your strength, couldn't be your cure , and for what you have endured!

    Laying now next to you,
    Oh my baby boy,
    I no longer feel your breath.
    Your cold body just can't warm up when I wrap my hands tightly around you.
    Please come back to me in my dreams
    Show me your smile that can light a thousand lights
    Everyone so I love with you
    Oh my precious Ty,
    Sorry I couldn't be your cure!

    Everyone calls you superTy
    People write to you
    People cry for you,
    You inspire love everywhere
    Oh my precious boy please come visit me
    I will wait for you when I close my eyes
    You are forever my shinning light!
    All my life I will wait for you
    Know I love you so
    Sorry I couldn't be your cure!


  21. The video was so beautiful I cried watching it. TY had so much love and happiness to give. Truly a gift from god for all to know.

  22. OMG Tatiana when Cindy reads this she will be so ecstatic!!! It encompasses EVERYTHING!! What a gift you have!!

    Cindy, Lou, Gavin and Family I have kept you in my prayers and will continue to do so..such a breathtakingly beautiful boy-loved by many..still can't fathom a year?! WOW.. Be well-you have outdone yourselves with all the TLC Foundation has and continues to accomplish!
    Love Gabrielle

  23. Thank you for sharing that most amazing and special video of your beautiful baby boy. I just am so sorry and sad... Oh the heart break and also the amazing gift you had to be his parents. What a special gift from god- thank you for sharing Ty with us.

  24. I've been thinking of you, Lou, & Gavin for the past couple of days. I watched this video with tears streaming down my face, & I also had to smile watching your BEAUTIFUL boy. I know we've never met, but I want to thank you for sharing Ty with ALL of the world! I loved this tribute of him, may God bless each of you. Keep posting your thoughts on this blog, I love reading them. R. I. P. Ty, your precious memory will live on!

  25. I have been checking your blog periodically yesterday and thinking what you and your family are going through. Thank you for sharing this most beautiful video, filled with smiles and laughs. In the last week, I have seen a few ladybugs in my yard in MI and I say to myself- 'Hi Ty'.....your blog has impacted me in many ways and has opened my eyes to a disease that I never knew. Keep posting and bringing awareness. Love and peace to your family.

  26. I still believe . . . and always will.

  27. I, too, still believe and always will that Ty is/was a miracle on this earth and beyond. Will watch video tonight at home, where I can freely weep for a boy gone way too soon....
    Thank you, Cindy, for sharing your heart and soul with us.

  28. Cindy, Lou, many thanks for sharing this beautiful and touching video. Every time I see Ty I smile, and also I cry. I am sure Ty has another very important mission to do that there is not in this world, it's the only reason to understand why he's gone. Beautiful Ty.

  29. What an absolutely beautiful video! My thoughts were with you yesterday as much as they were last year. On the day you were mourning the loss of Ty, I was celebrating my daughter's birthday. It really breaks my heart for you. I can't even imagine. :( Thanks for sharing with us all.

  30. So much happiness & love in that video. What a life he had and what wonderful parents you are. xo

  31. What a simply beautiful video <3

  32. It's impossible not to cry watching the video of your sweet Ty. That beautiful boy sure packed more happiness and smiles in his too short life than I suspect most adults do. You are amazing parents.

  33. Cindy - What a wonderful video Lou had made for you. Thank you for always sharing such personal elements of your life and Ty's. It is so evident how much love your family has for one another, even before cancer took over. You and Lou should be so proud of the beautiful children you produced and the love and joy of life you have instilled in them. You are role models to all. Thinking of you and your family. Ty is always thought of in our family.

  34. Thank you for the video it was beautiful just like Ty. My heart was breaking for you guys watching that video. I want you to know you guys are still in my prayers. I had a baby boy on October 6 and I also have a 9 &5 year old daughters I can only imagine what you guys are going thru. Please know you will see your little angel again and what a joy that will be, God has him in his arms.

  35. Campbell Family - I am no good with words so I don't know if this message will fully convey my feelings, but thank you so much for sharing your little boy with us. He and you have been more of an inspiration in my life than you will ever know. I just watched the video (thank you for sharing such a personal video!) and both of your constant smiles are awe inspiring. I watched it through tears with a smile on my face...what a beautiful boy and the amount of love in your family...amazing. You and Lou have an wonderful son (and Gavin has an amazing brother) and Ty has the best parents. You are all an inspiration and Ty is still continuing to do so many things. Again, thank you for sharing your son with all of us and thank you for teaching me how to be a better mom to my children.

  36. I've re-read your passage more than once in the last year...and it's so like Ty. I believe he is a miracle...and someday we will all understand. Love the video so very much.

  37. God Bless you and your family. Sending love & hugs your way

  38. I will forever be amazed at how much you, Ty and your family have touched my heart and how much I feel for you all...and we have never met! But...then I see the rest of the world...feeling and experiencing the same thing. Look to the moon and know that we are all looking up to the same one, thinking of you...thinking of Ty...believing in the magic that you both have taught us.

  39. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful, intimate tribute. The love that this little boy experienced is so telling...your family's love and strength is a life lesson in and of itself. Thank you for the opportunity to get to know Ty. What an amazing child.

  40. Your video is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your precious memories. You have been in my thoughts and prayers all week. You brought this amazing little boy into the world, and sadly watched him leave. His life, though way to short will continue to have a profound effect on so many. I believe he is in a beautiful place playing with other kids, knowing he will see you later.

  41. Love the video! Prayers forever........... Betty Warren, Beacon, NY

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