Approaching the Unknown

Tanner was 3 years, 5 months and 13 days old when he passed away.  From the time of his diagnosis (22 months) on, we lived a new “normal”… normal was weekly trips for chemo, radiation, blood draws, physicals, scans… counters full of medications, injections and constant living on edge – watching him, nervously, for any symptoms.  Cleaning the house tirelessly to prevent any germs to keep him from contracting any illness while his little body was immuno-suppressed. 

Once Tanner passed, our “new normal” shifted once again, to living with grief.   Living with grief, but still living, because we had no other choice, because we had Chase, because he deserved the best life we could give him, because we loved him just as much as we loved Tanner and he deserved as much.  You can’t ignore your grief, you have to learn to live in spite of it.  It never goes away, it never stops hurting, you never stop aching, you never stop missing, wishing, being angry, being sad… it’s all there, all while you are living and trying to be happy and normal for everyone else.  That’s the thing about grief, I can smile, and no one knows how very much I am hurting inside.

Now Chase is approaching 3 years and 5 months… He is so amazing.  He is so polar opposite of his big brother – rambunctious, loud, high strung, crazy, rough… everything with Chase goes at top speed, at top volume, and everything crashes.  He lives OUT LOUD.  Since my last post, I was thinking how very much I miss my snuggly little buddy Tanner, who used to sit quietly with me, reading books, singing songs, watching TV… and just as soon as I thought it, Chase has started becoming Momma’s little snuggle partner.  Chase is coming up to me and saying “Mommy!  Mommy!  Momma!!” to which I finally answer “Yes, Chase?” and he says “I love you.”  Wow.  Where did this side of Chase come from? I’m not sure, but I am lapping up every single second of it.  He is sitting with me in my bed at night after his bath and in his jammies and just snuggling in.  Holding hands.. asking me to play with his hair…  delicious…  and so exactly what I’ve been needing.

But now what?!  I don’t know what it’s like to pass 3 years and 5 months.  It’s the unknown for me.  It’s been kind of unknown all this time, because he is healthy, but now we are facing so many new things… preschool, sports, activities… I am excited and nervous about all of it.  Tanner would be 5 1/2 now – what would he be doing?  Sports?  Art?  Kindergarten?? I don’t know what any of that is like and I hate that because I SHOULD.  Dreams that have been completely obliterated into a million shattered pieces, just like my heart.

But, I put on my smile, and continue to put one foot in front of the other, because I have no choice, because Chase keeps me alive, and holds the other half of my heart.  With Andrew, and Chase, and my beautiful little angel Tanner, we will keep living… and face the unknown together. 

Thinking of all my mom-cologists who have younger children who have “outlived” the age of their angel children…. so thankful for their support.  We are always in this together mom-cologists.  XO

Love,
Tanner’s Momma

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Tanner, age 3 years 5 months

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