Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Back to School Blues

I have had so much on my mind, it’s been several weeks that I’ve wanted to get some of it out on virtual paper and I am happy tonight to find the time.  I have had a hard few weeks, for so many reasons, not the least of which was Back to School.  Ty’s time of the year is upon us… the memories of the day he was born, the hazy September days where we were ripe with fear post-diagnosis, the day we drove home from the hospital knowing we would never return, and the day he died in our arms.  The perfect weather that September and October brings is forever filled with these memories. 

I look at Gavin, a first grader who already rolls his eyes at me and knows just how to get under my skin when he wants to, and I see a boy.  Like I always say… where did my baby go?  I never had a big boy before.  Ty was the older brother, but still he was a baby.  He needed me so. 


I’m not suggesting that Gavin doesn’t need me, but it’s not the same anymore.  It’s just so different. I love our “grown up” conversations and that he can put his shoes on by himself, but I still bend down to help him every time.   I’m in no rush for him to tie his own shoes, or lose his first tooth – but I know it will be any day now.  My purpose, the Mommy in me, is slipping through my fingers.  I look to see if he needs more water and I see that he already helped himself to a glass when I find him glued to his tablet.  When did he even learn to play Minecraft?

It all happened so fast.  And I missed so much of it.  Most of my memories of Gavin from the time he was 18 months through 4 years old, especially the first year after losing Ty, are a complete blur.  I have loads of pictures and videos to remind me, but I was so helplessly consumed with caring for Ty before becoming a walking zombie as I navigated my grief that first year; I didn’t get to experience much of being Gavin’s “Mommy” until now – and he already calls me “Mom” instead. 

When I put Gavin on the bus for his first day of first grade, I was bursting with love and pride.  When Tony (the bus driver) opened the door I was so relieved to see his familiar face and I knew Gavin would be in good hands.  I was happy.  As the bus pulled out of sight I began walking down the block to my house and suddenly I felt Ty with me.  I imagined his spirit over my shoulder, as I often do, and it broke my heart into a million tiny pieces.  I wanted him to get on the bus with his brother.  I wished he could have a first day of school so badly.  My entire body suddenly weighed a thousand pounds and I dragged myself home, crying loudly down my quiet, empty street.  Who cares if the neighbors look out the window?  I was hurting.  I sat on our date bench forever.  I looked up into the sky as I always do – and I tried to replicate the exact vision Ty had when I last held him there.  

On a beautiful October afternoon, three years ago, I sat Ty up on my lap and held his head in my hands as I pointed to the sky.  I can see every detail of his face in that moment.  His green eyes were so bright in the sun, and the tiny brown speck visible in his right eye.  His skin was utterly flawless and his hair felt like fine strands of silk between my fingers.  His stare that day was so distant.  He was leaving me.  Even at that very moment I felt he was preparing to go.  His eyes were gazing into the distant skies, with just a few leaves from the hovering birch trees blocking his view.  Whenever I sit on our date bench, I tip my head back and try to imagine what he saw.  What could he have been thinking about?  Was this vision pretty enough for his last time outside?  It hurts so much to go back to that day. Just writing about it makes it harder for me to breathe. 

When I find myself it this desperate place, where the only thing I long for is a “do-over,” I try to think of all the incredible signs I’ve been blessed with over the years to assure me that there is so much more to this life, and that whatever it is, it is beautiful.  It is pure love, and there is nothing more perfect.  He taught me the true meaning of love at first sight and if I could have a million "do-overs" in this life, I would choose him over and over and over again.  


Recently, a great friend of ours told Lou and I a great story about Ty’s ladybugs.   

First a little background… When we lived in Long Beach while the boys were young, we owned a great little beach house on the corner where the back was our home and the front was Lou’s chiropractic and PT office.  Since we moved, the therapist who occupies the space has expanded the office and now uses what used to be Ty’s room for treatments. 

Our friend has been going for physical therapy and ended up in “Ty’s Room” for treatment.  She noticed a ladybug in the room and mentioned it to the PT.  He responded by telling her that there are always ladybugs in that room.  Always.  Of course there are, right?  I never saw one when we lived there, but then again, that was before Ty became magic.  Before he started sending them. 

XOXO.  Thank you for caring enough to check in on me and my family.  Thank you for loving Ty and remembering him with me.  


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Endless Summer!  Today may be the first day of Fall, but we aren’t ready to say goodbye to the beach just yet!  Come to the Luau on Saturday – it’s going to be an absolutely beautiful day in Long Beach – brought to you by Ty Campbell!    The forecast says 71 degrees with full sun.  Skudin’ Surf will be there with the mechanical surf board, the raffles are outrageous (check Facebook to find out about absentee bidding), the authentic hula dancers and music/entertainment will keep the kids busy, and the food from Brother Jimmy’s is downright delicious.  Please say goodbye to summer with one last day at the beach – Ty’s favorite place in the world.   CLICK HERE.






22 comments:

  1. So good to read your post. I love that you put it all out there! Thanks for sharing your journey

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  2. So happy to hear from you. Not a day goes by that I don't think of Ty...

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  3. beautiful....thank you for sharing. your words create a beautiful picture...

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  4. Your sweet Ty, I just hate that he's gone. That he's not here with you, Lou and Gavin. It's so incomprehensible. I wish I could change what's happened. Thinking of you all always. Sending love and strength. Thinking of Ty always. XOXOXOXO

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  5. So glad to read your beautiful words. Ty stole my heart years ago when I first stumbled upon your blog. Sending you love and prayers from SoCal.

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  6. My little boy turns 6 tomorrow. As I've sat here crying on and off all night, as I always do before any birthday, I have felt some of the same exact things you've mentioned with Gavin. And I think of the way it hurts to see each precious year passing. But then, I know that I am so incredibly beyond blessed for it to happen. Ty's story, your story, your entire family's story, has always touched me the deepest. Of all the kids with cancer, many of which I follow and support, somehow, it was Ty who stole my heart, years ago now. I never met him, have never spoken to you...but something about that little boy. I have no doubt he is sending those signs, and on rough days, where my kids are driving me nearly insane, often, out of no where.... I'll see a ladybug. And I always know it's Ty, reminding me to grab them up, and go get messy and simply play with and enjoy them. Thank you, Ty. <3

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  7. I've said this a million times before but Ty and your family and journey has changed my life. I cry with almost every post just because I don't think it's fair. I almost feel a loss for words but just want you to know I'm still reading and think of Ty daily.

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  8. God Bkess you Cindy. Sending endless love and prayers always. Thank you for sharing Super Ty with us- we are all better for having known this angel and his mommy! xo

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  9. I too have reached the 'Mom' phase. Everytime I hear it my heart cracks with longing for the cute little voice saying 'mommy'. But I know this is part of life and my baby is growing up.

    We are always thinking of you Cindy, Lou and Gavin. ALWAYS thinking of Ty and wishing things could have been different. We love hearing from you and are thankful that you've shared Ty with us. Sending hugs and ladybugs ����

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  10. Not a day goes by that I don't think of you, your family, and Ty. I followed Ty's story and would pray with every ounce of my being that he'd beat the hell out of cancer. I remember checking your blog daily ... and I remember walking with a heavy feeling in my heart whenever a new post took longer than usual to go public. I always felt such joy and relief every time I saw Ty's smile ... he was amazing in every way. To say I was crushed the day you posted that Ty had passed is an understatement. I felt as though a member of my own family had passed away. Being a mother to a little boy who was 2 years old at the time made my heart shatter for you. I believe that you are one of the strongest women in the world. You are an inspiration to so many people. My life has forever been changed because of you and Ty ... ♡♡♡

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    1. I feel the exact same way as you! I dont have a child of my own tho.

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  11. I finally had the time to read Ty´s complete story. Im so pleased, because I got to know him much better ( Unfortunately I found out about the blog in the hufft. post the day of his death). It is incredible how it happened, it is hard to believe when he was in his way to recovery...how things can change. What I would like to say..is how amazingly you did it. Just that. You couldn´t have done it better. He was so loved, and at the same time...I guess he was just so tired, that it was time to run free. I cannot begin to imagine how hard it is. Im so deeply sorry.I think this blog makes me appreciate life much more, and whenever I loose patience with my 3 year old, I remember of Ty and you.

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  12. I've been checking every single day waiting for you to post. I am so happy you did. I know this is such a difficult time for you and Lou. . . I still think of you guys every single day. Alex is going to be 8 and I feel like the mommy in me is slipping too. It's hard. I have been having these thoughts and feelings for about 6 months now. They're getting so big and become more and more independent every single day.

    (((Hugs)))

    Joy

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  13. Always thinking about you and your family. Even though I've never met you, your story, Ty's story is forever etched in my heart. The other day, I took my 8 year old daughter to her hip hop class taught by young men who are phenomenal dancers. Anyway, when I stopped to look in on her class, one of the teachers was wearing a black shirt with a red "T" on the front of his shirt - looked EXACTLY like the Ty Louis Foundation shirts and I caught my breath for a second. I know it wasn't the same shirt but it immediately made me think of your son. I said hi to him and asked that he watch over us and guide us and to help me be a better, more loving mom.

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  14. Hi Cindy, Lou, Ty, Gavin! It was so much fun to hang out with you guys last last weekend. As everyone says on this blog I too think about Ty a lot. Cindy, Love your beautiful words as always. :) Emily

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  15. OH Cindy, I had to come out of the post a few times whilst in work, I just can not help cry for you and the loss of Ty, that beautiful boy, he reminds me so much of my own son Reece, he is 4 and they are very alike in appearance. I come here all the time hoping for an update on how you are doing, Gavin & Lou too. I cant find any words right now and I don't know if i ever will, but I want you to know that Ty's story is across the world. Many Hugs and kisses for you Cindyxxxx Gavin is so so so like you:) xxxx

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  16. So happy to read from you again. Thank you for continuing to share and remind everyone to stop and smell the ladybugs along the way.

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  17. Your description of Ty's last time outside with you are achingly beautiful ~ I feel so badly for you, as September becomes October, a month that has brought you both joy and incredible pain. Please know many thoughts continue to be with you ~

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  18. Ty is magic and yes there is more here than we can see. No doubt.

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  19. Thinking about your family and the most precious boy, Ty.

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