Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Blue Lollipops for Your Birthday

To Ty, on your ninth birthday...

All day I’ve wondered what you would look like at 9 years old.  How your voice would sound.  All day I have had a weight on my chest greater than most.  I went through the motions like a zombie.    

I slept poorly last night.  Every time I woke up throughout the night, I knew it was your birthday and begged to dream of you.  Instead I’m not sure if I really slept or dreamt at all.  I heard Gavin’s giant footsteps early in the morning, and my first thought was how big he is, and how you would be even bigger if you were still here.  What size shoe would you wear, I wonder?

The day before, I received a package via priority mail.  It was a wrapped gift just for you – so I placed it next to your picture.  Gavin has been dying to open it, so it was the first thing he asked to do this morning.  It was one of the most special gifts we have ever received – a 3-year sobriety coin that Nadine says you helped her achieve after 30 years of addiction.  Thank you for giving her the strength to face those demons, you are a true guardian angel and you saved her life.  I couldn’t be more proud, and I will cherish your gift forever.

I often imagine two lives other than the one I’m living.  In the first life, you never got sick.  You are strong and athletic, tall and handsome.  You and Gavin are inseparable, and your little baby brother wouldn’t be nine years younger than you – because cancer wouldn’t have interrupted our lives.  In the second life, you survived your cancer, but not without the horrific side effects you suffered.  You’re in a wheelchair, I would still puree your meals for your belly tube, and I wonder if I could still carry you in my arms.  There would be no baby brother at all, because I would be too consumed with your care (and I wouldn’t trade that for the world.  There is nothing on earth I would rather do than take care of you). 

Did you see me crying this morning?  I hope it didn’t make you sad.  I need to feel sad like that sometimes – it helps me feel closer to you.  After your brother got on the bus, I rushed home and collapsed into the couch with loud, ugly tears.  I cried for an eternity until I felt like a balloon – every last bit of me swollen and stretched – somehow I fell asleep on the couch.  Grief is exhausting. 

I woke up soon after with a jolt, and knew I had to get out of our sad house right away.  Ironically, the weight of the day made it impossible to move any faster than a snail’s pace.  I showered forever, I made the bed, I moped and moaned as I picked up around the house.  On my way to the office Daddy called.  We decided to meet up for lunch, and that probably saved me for some of the day.  We love each other so much, and he is the only one I need when I’m missing you. 

I felt you with me every minute of this day yet I couldn't find an ounce of happiness no matter how hard I tried.  I bought blue rock candy after lunch, and later I decided to go to Hannafords (Heiny-Farts) to get your favorite things for dinner.  I heard your voice directing me the entire time, so I bought a pear (even though I haven’t eaten one in years), filet mignon, ditalini noodles, Locatelli cheese, bacon, and beer for daddy.  Daddy called Ria (the Bakeria in Pawling) and asked her to make a blue velvet cake for you, and the girls at the bank made sure it was properly decorated with blue lollipops.  How incredibly special it was. I couldn't even sing "Happy Birthday" through my tears, but Gavin and Daddy did a good job.  Gavin made a wish, and he told me he felt like you heard his wish and you helped him to blow out the candle.  

It was a foggy, heavy day, with countless teary-eyed outbursts of sadness throughout.  To tell you the truth, I need days like this, to just focus on you and all we’ve been through.  Every single day used to be like this… so I’m proud of how far I’ve come and how much I’ve learned to live with gratitude, despite it all.  I am so grateful for you, Ty.  For the chance I had to be your mommy.  For everything you taught me and continue to teach me. 

Baby boy, I hope your birthday today was filled with heavenly fun - running, jumping, flying and laughing.  I miss you so.  I will see you again. 

October 2008


  1. Happy Birthday, Ty! Wow, 9, seems an eternity the day I had to leave work cause I read your mom's blog....she's doing great things! The only thing that helps the hurt is to know you don't!!
    Cindy, you are amazing and you have affected many lives, I don't think you realize. Because of you I love and hug and just appreciate all the little ones in my life a whole lot more, so thanks! Love and Prayers, Terri Campbell Napierski

  2. Your heartwrenching posts always remind me of the incredible, unyielding power of a mother's love. Love to you and Happy Heavenly Birthday to Ty.

  3. Happy Birthday sweet Ty. I hope heaven is full of blue lollipops and chocolate gold coins for you today and all days. Sending you and your boys my love Cindy.

  4. Happy Birthday Beautiful boy.

  5. Dear Cindy, what s beautiful blog posting. I'm so proud of you for being able to find appreciation. On your birthday you actually used the word "good" to describe your day. It made me happy. October is a tough month and your birthday hasn't been happy. I'm so glad it was "good." Love u big much xo

    1. Ps, love Colleen. Guess I'm not signed in.

  6. Happy birthday, angel!

  7. Heavy hearts....

  8. Happy birthday sweet boy! Sending my love to you all.

  9. Francesca BertoldiOctober 5, 2016 at 9:03 AM

    Happy birthday sweet Ty!
    Gorgeous boy brave soul <3

  10. Heartbreaking, unable to grasp words that even come close to offering comfort. Love to all of you <3 xx

  11. Happy birthday to Ty the most special little boy in the world who we have all learned so much from and will continue to love forever. I'm so sorry for your sadness. You are both in my thoughts and prayers Cindy. You are so strong and you and Ty were so lucky to have each other.

    Take Care.
    Ann from Buffalo

  12. Happy birthday Ty....making a wish on your star tonight knowing that you're listening and keeping watch on your loving family. God bless you and your family Cindy!
    Sia and Nick Galli

  13. I just spent some time reading your past post. Wow how they are moving. Ty is the most loved boy in the entire world. You Cindy should be so. Proud of him and your devotion to your beautiful son. This is a love story Beyoncé words. Amazing mother father child and family. Happy birthday Ty. I can't wait to meet up with you when I get to Heaven.

  14. Every now and then I pass by to see how you're doing. Every time I feel your ovewhelming love and strength.

    Father of four, Finland

  15. So much love...he's a lucky boy. All of your boys are so lucky to have you as their Mom.

  16. Happy Birthday to the best good boy in the whole world! See you in heaven someday. :)

  17. I was dreading reading this post and putting it aside because I was so afraid of feeling your pain. I imagine Ty being a Healthy beautiful boy 9 yo. Probably a little trouble maker and so handsome. What a dream breaker is this cancer. What a life to take?! How we all wish for this to have a different ending. He made it so far and he did so incredibly well. Thank you Ty for inspiring me in so many ways. Happy heavenly birthday.
    Miss you always baby boy.

  18. I think about you guys every single day. (((Hugs)))

  19. I've been following your blog since early 2012, and it brings me to tears every time. My little boy will be five in December, and I have imagined myself in your shoes from the moment he turned two and ten months. A month ago he asked to jump in a parking lot puddle on our way into Target and I immediately said yes - immediately! He got soaked and I had to buy him pants and flip flops haha. No regrets - you've truly taught me how to appreciate him. I can't say I'm sorry enough to express how much I wish you could have been spared the loss of your beautiful son. Thank you for continuing to share your story.

  20. I am very late celebrating your birthday this year. It has been a sad year for my family. We have lost 2 family members and 1 good friend. You and I share a birthday dear Ty. Mine was very quiet without much celebrating. I am sure yours was full of fun. Happy belated birthday.

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