Loneliness is Loud and Clear

I’ve noticed in the past year or so that Chase “pretends” quite often while he is playing.  He will be down in his playroom, playing with legos, or dressing up like Luke Skywalker, or even just coloring and I hear him talking to someone as if he has a playmate.  Now, I’m no stranger to the fact that children pretend, and often pretend out loud.  Although I have 4 sisters, they are all from different marriages and lived in different households, so I too grew up the only child in my house.  I too pretended out loud and talked to toys.  This play is different.  It is truly as if he has a friend playing with him.

Sometimes I ask Chase “who were you playing with? I heard you talking”.  He usually answers “Tanner”.  I truly believe that Tanner is around Chase all the time.  Chase dreams of him all the time.  But when he is “playing with Tanner” it sure is a stabbing reminder of how things should have been.  I always think back to the day of my sonogram with Chase, when we found out he was going to be a boy… I turned to Andrew and said “they are so lucky.  They are going to be best friends!”.  They were supposed to be, except cancer.  Cancer robbed Chase of his best friend, his playmate, his big brother.

Whenever Chase is presented with the opportunity to make a wish (a candle to blow out, a dandelion to blow, the first twinkling star appears in the sky…) he always wishes for Tanner to come back.  Whenever he gets a balloon, he releases it into the sky and tells Tanner to catch it.  When he eats a new food (which is rare lol) he asks if Tanner liked it.  When we went to Disney in February, he asked which rides were Tanner’s favorites and he made sure to ride them all.  Chase is so aware of the fact that his brother isn’t here and it makes my heart hurt even more, and I didn’t even know that was possible.  Not only does my heart break for me, but it shatters into a million pieces when my 6 year old lets me know how much he misses his big brother.  Chase wants only one thing, and as his Momma, I want to give him the world, but I can’t give him what he wants the most.

A few weeks ago, the sounds coming from Chase’s playroom were so different.  My dear friend’s son was over for a play date.  He is almost 8 years old and together he and Chase were laughing, and light saber fighting, and building with legos, and playing tag and making the noise that can only be made by two beautiful, healthy, happy boys playing.  I sat in my kitchen, with my cup of coffee and tears in my eyes and I couldn’t help but think “this is how it was supposed to sound all the time”.  I soaked in those sounds and they are permanently recorded in my head.  I have played them back over and over and wished and cried.  The sounds that should’ve been…

I will always, always think of what should’ve been.  No matter how present I try to be, that feeling of someone being missing will always be a part of me and my every thought.

As a bereaved parent, one of my constant worries is how much my feelings affect Chase.  I worry that he can read my pain and I never want him to feel that he isn’t ‘enough’.  Chase is my world, and I often call him my anchor because he keeps me present and grounded.  That’s a lot of responsibility for a kindergartner.  But when he turns around and tells me that he wants to donate his toys and clothes to kids with cancer like Tanner, or that he wants to run a 5K with me to raise money for kids like Tanner, or when he told me that he informed his teacher that the color for pediatric cancer awareness is GOLD when they were wearing red… I realize that we must be doing something right.  Somehow talking about Tanner everyday has also helped make Chase a caring and compassionate child, and who could ask for more than that?  Although I wish I could change a few things,  I would never change being their Momma.

Love Always,

Tanner & Chase’s Momma

chase comes home

March 2010, Chase comes home from the NICU and brothers are born.

P.S. Next Friday, April 15th is the 6th annual Lexiebean Foundation Wish Upon A Star Gala.  This is the foundation’s biggest fundraiser and we are celebrating what should have been Lexie’s 16th birthday.  Although our hearts are broken and it is so difficult to celebrate what “should’ve been”, helping other children and families dealing with pediatric cancer is what gives us strength and comfort.  Please help us by purchasing a ticket or making a donation lexiebean.wpengine.com



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  1. I truly understand that loss.
    I am not only a mother to a survivor but a big sister to my beautiful and amazing brother who.lost his battle with cancer.
    I lost my brother when he was 5 yrs old.in 1975. .I still feel like I’m missing half of myself.
    He was my beat friend, My little Livi ( Short for Livingston).
    I watched my mother do her best to go on for me. Struggle with the loss of her little superstar and feel sad that I was now alone without my true Best Friend.
    Hugs from Our Family to Yours.

    Comment by Karon King-Blades on April 5, 2016 at 1:10 pm

  2. Thankyou, and I’m sorry for the loss of your brother as well. Xo

    Comment by Tanner's Momma on April 6, 2016 at 4:33 am

  3. as always, you put into words the feelings and thoughts in my heart and mind. The struggle is real but thanks to you and so many other grieving parents willing to share, I don’t feel so alone. Thank you. Your boys have an awesome Mommy. <3

    Comment by betty siegel on April 5, 2016 at 1:11 pm

  4. Thankyou Betty. One thing I have found comfort in is knowing we mom-cologists have each other. Xoxo

    Comment by Tanner's Momma on April 6, 2016 at 4:34 am

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