Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Bedtime Prayers

Tonight I put Gavin to bed.  99% of the time, that is my husband’s job.  He gets home later from work so it his alone time with Gavin, but tonight he just didn’t get home in time.  Gavin always thinks it’s an open invitation to party if I’m putting him to bed and he just can’t control himself from tossing and turning and TALKING the whole time…

You see, we lay with Gavin every night until he falls asleep.  I know, he is almost six years old, but the habit started when Ty was on hospice care and Gavin just upgraded out of a crib and into a big boy bed.  He was constantly getting up and coming into our room where Ty was sleeping and in pain, so we started lying with Gavin until he fell asleep soundly for the night.  After losing Ty, Gavin took his place in our bed and we don’t mind one bit (except for when his elbow is in my face while Lou and I cling to each side of the bed to accommodate his sprawling position). 

We found ourselves in a routine that works well enough each night, and neither of us want to go through the torture of breaking Gavin of this security.  He falls asleep in his own bed with one of us, we sneak out, then at some point in the middle of the night he climbs in between us to snuggle 'til morning.

For our bedtime routine we read a book, turn on the nightlight and the fan, lay in bed, say our prayers and go to sleep.  When I am with him, he just doesn’t stop asking questions and hugging and kissing me once prayers are over.  I love it so much, but it can make me crazy, too.  The last thing we do is tell Ty something about our day.  

Tonight we prayed for all of our loved ones, and we prayed for a cure for cancer – especially for the children.

“Does that mean Ty will be able to come back to life?”

“No honey, but it means other children like him won’t have to die from cancer.”

“What happens to your body when you die? What does it look like?”

I explained that people die in so many different ways, but no matter what happens their spirit leaves their body and the soul goes to heaven.

“How will I know to go to heaven when I die?  How do dead people know where to find God?”

Duh… I have no idea…

“I’m not sure but I think the other angels and spirits will help you find your way?” (cringing)

“Can you try not to die before me? I want to die at the exact same time as you.  Can we die together?  I would be so scared without you.”

That, Gavin, is exactly what I feared for Ty all those years he was fighting cancer.  It was the first thought I had when the reality of his cancer diagnosis was first explained to me in 2010.  I pictured my curly haired little baby alone in death and scared to let go of my hand.  The idea still haunts me sometimes, even though I am certain he is at peace.  

The only response I could muster was, "Okay."

Ty feeding Gavin ice cream.  This was 7 days before his diagnosis.

Baby "GaGa"

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Goonies and a Hockey Game

I started writing this post last Wednesday...

It’s been quiet here at the Campbell house.  We just keep on keeping on.  Life has fallen into a very busy routine and of course part of that routine will always include missing Ty.  Thankfully, "our new normal" (or so they call it) has been pretty normal lately.  After some serious rough spots around the holidays, things have fallen into place and we are doing well. 

On Wednesdays, I work at the TLC Foundation all day until I have to leave to get Gavin off the bus.  It is the only day we don’t have anything to do after school so I like to cook a nice dinner and plan for a movie.   Tonight I went with some of my all-time favorites – fried chicken cutlets with sautéed bacon brussel sprouts, followed by The Goonies

We picked up the movie at the library, which is something I love to do with Gavin.  Of course we have Netflix and it’s easier to point the remote, but I still enjoy the act of going to the library with him.  I love the familiar musty smell upon opening the door.  It feels almost like walking into a vacuum - the silence that hangs in the air almost sucks you in from the cold outside air.  We often pick out a book or two and read together in the children’s section before heading over to the DVDs.  The selection is sparse and dated, but there is something about the tangible DVD case that makes Gavin’s eyes wide.  He loves to look at the pictures, to hold a stack of DVDs and to debate his options out loud as I try to shush him the entire time (“quiet, we are in the library!”).    

I recently decided that I want to introduce Gavin to Star Wars.  It is something I’ve been avoiding for over a year because I know that means a whole new world of toys and lego sets and bedroom decorations that he will be begging for.  But after 3 years of super heroes, I’m ready for a change and so is he.  After consulting with my neighbor, it was decided that we will start on 4, 5 and 6 (the originals) before watching prequels 1, 2 and 3.   I was ready to spend the night on the couch with ice cream and Han Solo, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be.  The collection at the library only included the Ewok Adventure and The Clone Wars.  Sigh. That’s the one downside to the library…

Never fear!  While searching for an alternative, I noticed Goonies on the shelf and gasped with excitement.  Gavin looked at the pictures on the back, saw the pirate ship, and he was hooked.  If I were to pick one movie from my childhood that stands out as a favorite – there is no doubt it would be The Goonies.  It stands alone!  Watching it again for the first time in probably 20 years, I could still recite my favorite parts, and Gavin thought they were as funny as I did.  He especially loved how many times the kids say “oh shit!” with the references to "Boobie" traps coming in a close second.  I swear, I still want to be a Goonie.  Don't you?  

Then on Friday night...

We attended a Trinity Pawling Hockey Night in memory of Ty.  Gavin wore his awesome "SuperTy" hockey shirt, and he threw out the puck.  It couldn't have been more fitting that the students and attendees chose to honor Ty by wearing SuperHero costumes of all sorts, and as a result Mellissa had a great idea that we should push to have "Super Hero" fundraisers in schools across the state!  We often have Pajama Day fundraisers but after seeing all of the great kids in costume - all for Ty - we realized we could do better than that.  Super Heroes for SuperTy and all the super kids fighting cancer today.  It's just such a perfect fit.  What an incredible honor it was.  If you are interested in presenting this concept to your school, club or daycare, please email

What a great night, and an even greater group of guys.  When I looked around the hockey rink that night, I saw posters hanging that read "We Love SuperTy" and "All for Ty" and I cried a happy tear.  He is remembered, and I can't tell you how much that means to me.  It's all that matters sometimes.  The only thing that keeps me going.  Because I made a promise to myself that his all-too-short life will have greater purpose.  Thank you all, so much, for helping me make good on that promise.  And to Spencer Strauber, who wrote an article on SuperTy in the school paper, The Phoenix... I hope you continue to write.  You have a powerful written voice, and you will continue to inspire others with your words.  Thank you for taking the time to pay tribute to Ty on a day you didn't have to (headmaster called an impromptu holiday) and thank you for choosing to by-pass Tom Brady and "Deflate Gate" and instead write about my son.  

"Ty not only naturally adopted his admiration for super heroes as a young boy, but little did he know he would become one for the whole community. SuperTy was as super as they come."  

I couldn't agree with you more, Spencer.  Thank you.