My Wish

“but more than anything, more than anything…
My wish for you is that this life becomes all that you want it to.  
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small, you never need to carry more than you can hold…
and while you’re out there going where you’re getting to, I hope you know somebody loves you.
Yes this, is my wish.
~Rascal Flatts

We started decorating early this year for Christmas.  It’s funny, I used to have so much enthusiasm for Christmas… so much excitement and anticipation every year, the love of family surrounding you, watching others open the gifts you carefully picked out for them… it was all so magical. Then, once I had children, the excitement of Christmas was even greater… watching the wonder in their eyes as they saw the tree, the train beneath it, the gifts on Christmas morning.  There are few things that bring more joy than watching your children on Christmas morning.

When Tanner passed, I wondered how I would ever be able to enjoy another holiday.  He passed the day after Easter, which pretty much makes that holiday the most difficult to celebrate.  The first Easter after he passed, I adamantly refused to do anything.  How could I possibly celebrate?  I still did little things for Chase, who was honestly too young to remember if we celebrated or not anyway, but a whole big Easter celebration?  No thanks.  Andrew and I feel this way about our birthdays as well.  Tanner doesn’t get to celebrate his birthday, why should we?  We will always have a big birthday party for Chase, because he deserves as much, and if he asks if Momma and Daddy can have birthday cakes, we will have them, for him.  It’s just that holidays are an even more painful reminder of the missing piece of your family.  So many wonderful memories are made on holidays… and it’s just so hard to grasp the fact that I will never be able to take another picture of Tanner and Chase, together, opening presents on Christmas morning.  Or that Tanner’s picture isn’t on our Christmas cards.  Or that Tanner isn’t there to take all the beads off the bottom row of the Christmas tree and hide them in places so he can play with them later.  Every day is painful without my little boy, but holidays are even more brutal.

This year, Chase has been more aware of “Christmas”.  When people had Halloween lights up, he would squeal: “look Momma!  Christmas!”.  He would find the tiniest advertisement for Christmas in any circular, on the television, at the store, and spot it and yell “Christmas!”.  So this year, we got the tree out earlier, and I had some joy while decorating it so that it was all set up before he woke up from his nap.  He stood at the top of the stairs while Andrew and I quickly fussed with the lights, trying to make it perfect for him, rubbed his eyes and said “A Christmas Tree!!!”.  I asked him “Chase, do you like it?”  He answered, with all his 2 ½ year old excitement “no Momma, I no like it, I LOVE it!”, and later said “it’s what I always wanted”.  He fills my broken heart.

While Tanner will not be here to open presents with us on Christmas morning, I know he is with us.  He gives me the strength to decorate and be present for his baby brother.  He gives me the strength to celebrate this holiday, in the best way I can, because his brother deserves it.  Chase deserves to live this life and celebrate holidays too, and I thank God that I have him, because he brings a little sunshine back into my most difficult days.
Siblings of children with cancer suffer so much.  They are often sent to family and friends houses during treatments, hospital stays, and sometimes don’t get to see their parents for weeks and months on end.  Chase was just a few months old when Tanner relapsed, and we were fortunate he was so well cared for by his grandparents.  He has a special bond with them, and I enjoy watching it.  Siblings of children with cancer often feel left out, as the child going through treatment obviously requires so much attention from his or her parents.  Siblings of children who have passed have it even harder, as parents cannot possibly be the same after losing a child.  The loss is always there, and the sibling not only feels the loss of their brother or sister, but feels the heartbreak through Momma and Daddy.  I have promised myself that I will always give Chase every opportunity to live and enjoy his life, it is “MY WISH” for him.  So, this year we celebrate Christmas, and keep Tanner very much in our hearts, as always.

The Lexiebean Foundation always remembers siblings.  For every child with cancer we help, we also send an age appropriate basket of toys and games for each of their siblings, to let them know “we know you’re there”.  When you donate to the Lexiebean Foundation, you are not only helping children with cancer… you are helping their families as well.
It is our “wish” from the Lexiebean Foundation that all the families affected by pediatric cancer and all of you who support us have a very peaceful, joyous holiday season.

Tanner’s Momma

Tanner, Christmas morning, 2010

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  1. You inspire me to be a better person. God bless your family and your special little boy in heaven.

    Comment by dina jorgensen on November 28, 2012 at 1:49 am

  2. Thank you for your story. my son levi died in a tragic car accident in July 2007. he was only 20. i know the sorrow you feel for this time of year.I attended a Candle Light Memorial celebration at the Funeral home this Month. i was given a dove christmas orniment. I put it atop my tree to remind me to keep looking to the beauty that surrounds the earth. I wish your family a Merry Christmas.

    Comment by healinginthestorms on December 24, 2012 at 6:15 pm

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