Another year older, another year missing you…

Birthdays just aren’t what they used to be.  We used to have a cake, cards, presents… we used to celebrate.  Today is my birthday, and I have no desire to celebrate anything.  Actually, I wish it would just fade away and be just an average crappy Tuesday.  I am overwhelmed by the happy birthday wishes I have received today.  I am surrounded by so many people who love and support me, and I am so grateful for that.  It’s just that the thought of celebrating the day I was born 35 times when my Tanner only got to celebrate 3 times just doesn’t seem fair.  Tanner was denied the right to grow up because pediatric cancer robbed him of his life…. and happy birthday to me?  Not really. 

On my 29th birthday, my family and friends came over and we had a big cake and I blew out my candles but my wish had already come true.  I was holding my 1 month old baby Tanner in my arms.  I probably didn’t even make a wish that year.  I couldn’t think of anything else I needed or wanted.  On my 32nd birthday I celebrated with both of my boys, the greatest gifts I could ever receive.  I wished that Tanner would stay in remission forever, that he would be cured and that our lives could carry on like “normal” people. 

My wish didn’t come true.  My wish, and my desire to celebrate my birthday both died that following year.

I don’t celebrate that I am another year older.  I survived another year without Tanner.  With a broken heart, and with the sweetest little gift, my Chase, to keep me going, I survived.  There were plenty of moments when I didn’t want to survive.  A bereaved parent thinks about being with their deceased child multiple times every day.  I fantasize about what it will be like when I am reunited with my Tanner.  How I will run to him, scoop him up and hold him for eternity, never letting him go.  I have to believe that I will see him again or I would go completely insane…

For now, though, I celebrate the fact that so many people, old friends, and new, have supported me.  So many people have shared Tanner’s story, and have kept his name alive.  I celebrate that we are continuing to give meaning to his short life by doing good for other children with cancer every year through the Lexiebean Foundation. 

Today as the snow falls from heaven, I feel Tanner all around me.  It has been unusually warm for New York these past couple of weeks and I was ready for winter.  I love the snow, as did Tanner.  I love that it is snowing on my birthday and only 2 days ago I wasn’t even wearing a jacket.  But I wish that I didn’t always have to rely on signs… I wish that I had my Tanner here with me right now.

The greatest gift you can give me today is the gift of sharing Tanner’s story.  Hearing his name spoken gives me joy.  Hearing how much people love him, how much people are touched by his sweet life, brings a smile to my face.  Speaking the name of a child who has died does not depress a bereaved parent.  You are not reminding me that he has died, trust me, I am aware of that every second of every day.  What you are reminding me of, is that you remember that he lived

This year, for my 35th birthday, what could I possibly wish for?  I don’t have anything else to wish for.   I wish for my soul to be happy again.  I wish for peace for all the bereaved parents who have to survive another year without their babies.  I wish for a cure for pediatric cancer.  I wish that people would give it the recognition it deserves and advocate for our kids so we can get them the help they need.

Tonight I will blow out a candle, more for Chase than for any other reason.  Think of my Tanner tonight, on my birthday.  And hope my wish comes true…

 

Love Always,

Tanner’s Momma

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Momma’s 32 birthday, 2010
my last true “happy” birthday…

 

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