Happy 6th Birthday Tanner, in Heaven…

November 12, 2007 was without a doubt, the greatest day of my life.

Andrew and I were married 4 years and had trouble conceiving.  My whole life I believed that things happened because you made them happen.  If you go to college and get good grades, you get a good job.  If you work hard you get a nice house and live comfortably, fall in love with someone, and have a family when you’re ready.

Right.  Not exactly.

Life wasn’t the white picket fence I had imagined it to be.  After 4 years of marriage and rounds of IUI and IVF later, we conceived our first son…  thinking that infertility was the worst thing we would ever have to deal with.  On November 12, 2007, a few days before my planned c-section (I was pre-eclamptic), Tanner Jayden was born, 4 lbs 14 oz,  and 21 inches long.  Andrew and I were over the moon.

Image

Tanner Jayden, just born

I can remember Andrew in the hospital room, holding Tanner and saying “I just want to protect him forever.  I want everyone to see how tiny and perfect he is”.  He was such a little baby… a tiny, perfect, sweet little baby.  The greatest gift we could ever receive.  Andrew’s birthday is only a few days later on November 15th, and there is no gift I could ever give that will top what I gave him in 2007, his first child.

We couldn’t wait to get home and start.  Start being parents, start enjoying the life we dreamed of…  We did all the things that new parents do – documenting all his firsts, taking him to gymboree classes, celebrating holidays with a new focus!  Everything for Tanner.  His first birthday was so wonderful, clowns, Mickey Mouse, cotton candy, food and birthday cake, and 50 of our closest friends and family there to celebrate.  When we sang “happy birthday”, I actually cried.  You can see it in the picture, I was so happy, I cried.  My beautiful baby boy was one, my life was perfect.

tanner's 1st bday

Tanner’s 1st Birthday

Little did I know this was the only birthday we would have with Tanner that wasn’t affected by cancer.  It was the last time I sang happy birthday with tears in my eyes because of sheer joy.  It was the last time I cried with sheer joy over anything.  Sheer joy doesn’t exist anymore.  Although I am capable of joy and happiness, it is forever clouded with loss.

Tanner’s 2nd birthday came a couple of months after his diagnosis.  We still were full of hope and optimism that he would be fine.  He had to be fine.

tanner's 2nd bday

Tanner’s 2nd birthday

We were doing great and would finish his protocol of chemo and radiation in June 2010.  Chase was due to be born in April (although he came in January to our surprise!) and life would go back to normal.  Tanner relapsed 2 weeks after his last treatment.

Tanner’s 3rd birthday was the only one we spent together as a whole family.  Momma, Daddy, Tanner & Chase.  I had one of every holiday as a whole family.  Just one.   One Christmas, one birthday, one Mother’s Day… one.  How would you spend your birthday if you knew you only had one to have with your family whole?  I’m sure most people don’t think about that.  “There’s always next year” is something that you won’t hear coming out of the mouth of a mom-cologist.  No more picket fences, no more rose-colored glasses.

tanner's 3rd bday

Tanner’s 3rd birthday, with his “whole” family

This was the last time I would sing happy birthday to the greatest gift I ever received.  Only 3 birthdays.  Today, November 12, 2013, would be Tanner’s 6th birthday.  That’s the same number of birthdays he had here with me, that he’s had in heaven.  Why is my baby celebrating his birthdays in heaven??  Pediatric cancer.

How is it that the happiest day of my life can also be the most painful, horrible, excruciating day at the same time?  Pediatric cancer.

Instead of going to the party store and happily picking out a theme (what would he want this year?  surely he would have outgrown his beloved Thomas the Train by now?), I pick out flowers to bring to the cemetery.

I miss the days where I lived carefree and unaware.  I miss going to the party store and picking out candy and balloons.  I miss living a life where I didn’t even give a thought to pediatric cancer.  But more than any of that – I miss watching my son, for 3 years now, blow out the candles on his birthday cake.  I miss crying out of joy instead of sadness.  I miss Tanner.  More and more with every passing second.

So, log off, put your phones down, and enjoy the moments you have.  You may have only one.  You may have a million.  You need to relish them, you need to be present in them, you need to be so full with joy that you can’t keep the tears in your eyes.  The greatest gift I ever had gave me that, on his birthday.

My love, my baby, my sheerest joy – happy 6th birthday in heaven.  I love you to the moon and back, to infinity and beyond, forever and ever and thereafter.

Love,

Tanner’s Momma

PS – anyone that would like to give a gift in honor of Tanner’s 6th birthday, we ask that a donation be made to The Lexiebean Foundation, so that we can continue to help children like Tanner who are currently battling cancer.  Helping a family pay some bills allows them to have more moments with their child instead of worrying about paying the bills.  That is something The Lexiebean Foundation did for us, and that is what we will continue to work to do in his honor.

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Responses:

  1. Happy 6th birthday, Tanner. Hugs to you, too, on this, Tanner’s birthday.

    Comment by Rebecca Carney - One Woman's Perspective on November 12, 2013 at 12:32 pm

  2. Thank you so much Rebecca, from my broken heart to yours. <3

    Comment by Tanner's Momma on November 12, 2013 at 12:39 pm

  3. Happy a birthday Tanner….you just made me think of birthdays for my kids a bit differently. Thank you.

    Comment by Andrea on November 12, 2013 at 12:44 pm

  4. Thankyou, andrea <3

    Comment by Tanner's Momma on November 12, 2013 at 2:38 pm

  5. Happy 6th Birthday sweet angel Tanner, I bet you are having the biggest party in heaven today! Give your momma comfort as she faces another birthday with you. Hugs Melissa ?

    Comment by Monica Poveda on November 12, 2013 at 1:03 pm

  6. *without. Sorry typo!

    Comment by Monica Poveda on November 12, 2013 at 1:06 pm

  7. thankyou, Monica <3

    Comment by Tanner's Momma on November 12, 2013 at 2:38 pm

  8. […] http://thelexiebeanfoundation.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/happy-6th-birthday-tanner-in-heaven/ […]

    Pingback by Shower the People You Love with Love | Grief: One Woman's Perspective on November 13, 2013 at 3:36 am

  9. Thank you for your inspiration. I lost a husband. I can’t even fathom losing a child. Your courage is astounding….

    Comment by helpforhealing on November 13, 2013 at 12:54 pm

  10. Thankyou. Loss is devastating, husband or child… I feel like I lost my heart.

    Comment by Tanner's Momma on November 13, 2013 at 1:40 pm

  11. I think a piece of our hearts is lost…. I wrote a book about our experience; its pretty raw and honest; you can check it out on babycooppublishing.com if you’re interested; people who have gone through similar things usually can identify with it…

    Comment by helpforhealing on November 13, 2013 at 2:33 pm

  12. Would you be interested in being a guest blogger on my blog? I’m not sure if you’ve done that before but it can help you create a greater audience…. I loved your entry and it fits well with the themes in my blog…. let me know! i couldn’t find your email; mine is darcy.helpforhealing@verizon.net
    Thanks!

    Comment by helpforhealing on November 14, 2013 at 12:24 pm

  13. You know the sentence that really speaks to me, eleven years after losing my five-year-old daughter to leukaemia? “Sheer joy doesn’t exist anymore. Although I am capable of joy and happiness, it is forever clouded with loss.” This is devastatingly true, in my experience.

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your little boy.

    Comment by Geves Lafosse - (contact at geveslafosse@yahoo.co.uk) on November 15, 2013 at 7:16 pm

  14. It’s just so true. There are happy moments but always overshadowed by what’s missing. I’m sorry for the loss of your daughter as well. Xo

    Comment by Tanner's Momma on November 15, 2013 at 7:49 pm

  15. Thank you so much, Tanner’s Momma. XX

    Comment by Geves Lafosse - (contact at geveslafosse@yahoo.co.uk) on November 16, 2013 at 7:23 pm

  16. […] http://thelexiebeanfoundation.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/happy-6th-birthday-tanner-in-heaven/   That is the link to her latest blog where she shows pictures of Tanner’s three birthays. […]

    Pingback by NEW GUEST! | Help for Healing on November 21, 2013 at 8:27 pm

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