Gonna Get There Someday…

 “Glad I told you all I meant to, while I had the chance. 

Cause every moment I had with you made me who I am.”

~Dierks Bentley, Gonna Get There Someday.

Something I say very very often is “I’d rather have had 3 ½ years with Tanner, than none at all”.  Not every mom-cologist feels that way, but I certainly do.  I feel like the time I had with him was my gift, my miracle, “the best 4 years of my life” like the song about Ronan by Taylor Swift.  The time I spent with Tanner was sacred, time spent snuggling and talking and kissing and singing and laughing… I can still picture where his little freckles were on his legs and how his second toes were always so squished they kind of sat on top of the other toes.  I can still remember his ‘stork bite’ birthmark on the nape of his neck and the little red birthmark on the tip of his nose that faded as he got older, but was always there.  I can still hear him say “love you momma … so much”.  I would give anything in the world to hear it out loud again, in person.  Tanner was the sweetest, most loving little boy. 

Like the quote from “Gonna Get There Someday” says, I’m so glad I spent those moments with him, because they did make me who I am.  I was home with him from the day he was diagnosed (leaving my job as an ICU nurse to be a nurse to my baby).  I slept with him in his hospital bed, and I slept with him, nose to nose, at home in our bed.  I was there to feed him the spaghetti-o’s he always asked for (against my own better judgement, lol) and I was there to watch every single episode of Thomas and Friends with him.  I was there to read him his favorite book every night  (Thomas and the Big Race) and I was there to watch Cars for the hundredth time.  I am so glad that I was able to be with him all the time, to spend time with him, to tell him a million times how much I love him (LOVE, not LOVED, I will always LOVE Tanner, present tense…).

 The day before Tanner passed was Easter Sunday.  He was mostly out of it that day, having difficulty breathing, needing oxygen.  But at the end of the day, I cleaned him up and put him in his pajamas, and put him in his chair (he was paralyzed the last 4 weeks of his life, due to tumors that had spread and grown all over his spine.   He had only slight function of his arms and head control).  He sat in his chair, surrounded by his family, and the last coherent words he said were “love you momma, love you daddy”.  With his 3 ½ year old last breaths, he managed to say goodbye with love.  That is amazing strength.  There are so many lessons a person can learn from a 3 ½ year old… the most important thing to let people know is you love them, you may never get that chance again…

Tanner is a part of me.  He is mine, and will always be mine, and will always be a driving force in the decisions I make in almost everything I do.  He is the reason I work with the Lexiebean Foundation and the reason I am so compelled to help other children in his situation and advocate for Pediatric Cancer Awareness.  I will be a grieving mother for as long as I am breathing, but I will never stop talking about Tanner, I will never stop telling his story, and I will never stop advocating for these children.  I am not the same person I was before Tanner was diagnosed… how could I be?  Sometimes I hear parents complaining about how their kids didn’t let them get any sleep last night because they are teething or how it’s so frustrating to drive their kids from soccer to dance to music… I would give anything for that chance to drive around, completely exhausted, like a lunatic giving my child the world of extra-curricular opportunity!  That would be fun…  that would be normal… that would be living.  Don’t complain about those moments, savor them, for they make you who you are.

Love,

Tanner’s Momma

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Responses:

  1. I do so know exactly what you mean! I too never left the hospital for the whole 7 weeks my daughter was hospitalized. I even slept in bed with her in the ICU. I was the only parent permitted to do that as apparently I was the only one who had ever been bold enough to not budge from her side! My daughter survived her battle with a brain tumor, but she did not escape becoming multiply disabled. Oh how I wish I was frazzled and exhausted from running her around to soccer practice and dance class instead of being frazzled and exhausted from staying up all night trying to keep her alive through yet another seizure cluster!

    Comment by Sylvia on October 23, 2012 at 8:28 pm

  2. thankyou Sylvia! No one understands better than a fellow mom-cologist! xo sending prayers and hugs to you and your daughter!

    Comment by Tanner's Momma on October 24, 2012 at 12:54 am

  3. Tanner’s Mom,
    You are an amazing woman. And thank you for sharing Tanner with us! I still can hear his laughter! ((((hugs))))

    Patty

    Comment by Patty Cox on October 24, 2012 at 1:13 am

  4. thankyou, fellow mom-cologist, and dear friend <3 May Danny always be watched over by angels. xo

    Comment by Tanner's Momma on October 24, 2012 at 1:25 am

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