On Happy…

We all deserve to live our lives as joyfully as possible, despite our heartaches.

 

I am not the same person I was before Tanner died.  I am a broken person, with a little less spring in my step, and a little less cheer in my voice.  I will never be who I was before, and that is ok.  It is ok to be broken.  It’s also ok to be happy.  I’m slowly learning this. 

I hear that today is “international happiness day”.  This makes me scoff a bit.  Do something that makes me happy, something that makes others happy.  I will go for a run this afternoon, I will play with Chase, I will make dinner for my family.  Maybe I’ll enjoy a glass of wine, and waste some time on Pinterest before going to sleep.  All of these things make me happy.  But they are all just happy moments, happy things to do.  What really made me a happy person?  What gave me that bubbly infectious personality that I once had?  Finding true love?  Having beautiful, wonderful children?  Living the life I always dreamed of?  No, those are all also things and people that “make” me happy.  Maybe happy is a state of mind that exists when you are living in sheer ignorance of the possibility of devastation.  Oh, to live in that state of blissful ignorance again…  Sometimes I really wish I could get that back.

Then a wave of grief hits again, and I remember that ignorance is impossible.  Ignorance would dishonor Tanner, and all the children who suffered through pediatric cancer treatment.  I will never ever be able to forget what my Tanner went through.  I will never be able to erase from my mind images of him with his eye lid drooping, hooked up to wires and IV’s and watching poison, literal poison, entering his bloodstream in an effort to save his life.  Watching him swell up with fluid and watching the lining of his mouth and throat painfully blister and slough off because chemo was killing his blood cells that protect that lining.  Watching him go through more surgeries in 2 years than most people go though in a lifetime of 100 years.  Watching him take his last sweet, shallow breaths in my bed at the age of three, between my husband and I.  No, ignorance is not a possibility for me anymore.  Pediatric cancer is a disgusting, devastating disease that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.  In his too-short life, I watched my baby suffer, and that is unfair beyond words. 

That being said, during those horrific, painful, debilitating years of suffering, I also watched miracles happen.  I watched Tanner wake up from surgery that could have left him paralyzed and walk.  I watched him play when he had no energy left and I heard him sing when he was stuck in a hospital bed.  Tanner fought with such gusto to live his life to the fullest.  At only 2 – 3 years old, he knew how to do that.  And now, at 35, I am taking lessons from my deceased 3 year old son to do the same.  Overcome obstacles and heartache to live life as joyfully as possible.  Easier said than done.  Like I said, I’m learning.

So, today, on international happiness day, I focus on being happy and bringing happiness to others without going back to a life of ignorance.  I live most joyfully by helping other children in Tanner’s memory through the Lexiebean Foundation.  I cannot change the life I have been given, no matter how much I wish I could.  But I will always try to do the best I can, just like my sweet Tanner did.

Love,

Tanner’s Momma

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Tanner & Momma, on a happier day…
2010

P.S. – Please join us in helping children with cancer, in memory of Tanner, Lexie, and too many other children who have dealt with the harsh devastation of pediatric cancer.  On Tanner’s 3rd angelversary in heaven, April 25th, 2014, join us for a beautiful evening at our 4th annual Wish Upon a Star Gala at Leonard’s of Great Neck from 7:30-12:30, dinner, drinks, dancing, raffles, live auction, 50/50 and so much more… visit lexiebean.wpengine.com to purchase tickets today! RSVP no later than April 11th!

 

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