The Gaping Hole… 2 Years in Heaven

How is it even possible.  How have I continued to wake up for 2 years… 24 months… 730 days…17,520 hours without my son… It has been too long since I touched his face, kissed his beautiful mouth, felt his sweet breath on my face, felt his sweet hand in mine.  And, every minute that I haven’t felt those things have been one minute too long.  Oh how I miss my Tanner Jayden.  It doesn’t get easier, it gets harder as the time goes on.  That burning sensation in the core of my chest has turned to a hollowness… a feeling of pure emptiness, as though something has been ripped out of my very being and left me with a gaping hole.  Some people just walk right by, and sometimes I want to scream, “don’t you see this gaping hole in my chest?!”.  I am fortunate in that there are some people who do see the gaping hole, and there are some people who understand what that feels like, and although I wish no one ever lost their child to pediatric cancer, there is some solace in knowing there are other parents who know how very much this hurts, I am not alone in this excruciating pain.

My Tanner was too beautiful for this world.  I believe that is true of all the children who have lost their battles to pediatric cancer.  When I hear their stories, many of who I knew personally, there is one really common thread… they are all amazing children, with a deeper love, a deeper understanding of life, they were able to battle cancer and do it with a smile on their face, without a complaint.  These children were too beautiful for this world… old souls if you will… who have in a way been set free from the suffering.  But all these deeper thoughts and great beliefs do not ease the suffering or the loss of the bereaved parent.  There is no rationale for losing your perfect 3 1/2 year old son to brain cancer.  None.

I stare at Tanner’s pictures.  I stare into his beautiful eyes and wish he could talk to me.  I know he is with me, I get his signs all the time, but to hear his voice, to imagine what he would be doing now, a 5 year old, going to kindergarten… oh how I wish for that normal life through rose-colored glasses…

The other night I mentioned to Andrew how Chase is so different from Tanner.  It’s not bad, I guess I just really notice the differences now because Chase is 3 and Tanner was 3 when he passed.  Chase is a vibrant, energetic, super-hero obsessed little boy.  He loves to dig in the dirt with his tractors and climb and ride and scoot and pull out every single toy in the house and wear his Captain America costume over his fireman costume because yes he can be both at once.  haha.  Tanner was so snuggly.  He liked to cuddle and watch Thomas, and play with his trains and play golf.  He was my laid back little man.  I don’t mind the differences, I love them, they are their own person… I guess if Tanner was here, I wouldn’t mind them as much but because he is gone, I miss the snuggly momma time.  Anyway, just as I was pointing that out to Andrew the other night, Chase came running down the hall into my bedroom, jumped into bed with me, snuggled right up to me and started to “do nice” to my arm (rubbing it softly).  Chase has never “done nice” to momma.  (I think he just has too much energy!).  It was as if someone whispered in his ear to do it, and it was exactly what I needed.  Thank God for my Chase, he certainly does keep me going.  He is a perfect reminder that Tanner is always with us.

On Tanner’s angelversary, we tend to try to “escape”.  Get away just the 3 of us to a place Tanner would’ve liked so we can spend time together as a family and think of him.  We will be doing that this year.  Next year we will be remembering him with all of our closest friends and family, as the Lexiebean Foundation’s 4th Annual Wish Upon A Star Gala will be on his 3rd Angelversary, April 25th, 2014.  I can’t think of a better way to memorialize Tanner, and look forward to being surrounded by the friends and family who help to hold me together and help to close that gaping hole in my chest.  The Lexiebean Foundation has provided me a second family… a family who understands, and while our children play together in heaven, we hold on to each other here. 

I am so thankful for those who hold on to me.

Thank you for remembering Tanner on his 2nd Angelversary, April 25th, 2013, and thankyou for your prayers, kind words, positive energy and healing vibes throughout the year.  When people who care about us do things in Tanner’s name, it means the world to us. 


Tanner’s Momma


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  1. Beautiful my heart stopped reading this

    Comment by Lisa on April 23, 2013 at 3:00 pm

  2. Thank you so much Lisa.

    Comment by Tanner's Momma on April 23, 2013 at 4:33 pm

  3. Melissa,
    You are such a special family and my heart aches for your heartbreak. Through my daughter, Kirsten, she let me know what a sweet child Tanner was. Your strength of continuing to help other children and their families is admirable! I continue to pray for you and your family & just wanted to let you know that you are thought of often…take care.

    Comment by Kathy Notaro on April 23, 2013 at 4:08 pm

  4. Thank you so much Kathy, Tanner loved your Kirsten. Those were some of our happiest days.

    Comment by Tanner's Momma on April 23, 2013 at 4:34 pm

  5. Crying…so beautifully written. Prayers and lots of love to you and your family.

    Comment by A. Angerome on April 23, 2013 at 7:14 pm

  6. Melissa,
    My sincerest of prayers go out to you and your family for strength and courage to face each day. I love reading them admire and am inspired by your posts. Tanner, it was like he sprinkled golden magical pixie dust all over that Clinic with his smile and those hugs. He changed my life the minute he opened the curtain to give me a Hug. For Me it was a sign of Hope. God knows, I needed that Hug that day. Last summer while driving through Long island we came across a park named” Tanner Park”. My husband and I looked at eachother and Smiled our eyes lit up. Abi says Mom the sign says “Tanner Park”. Nathan says , yes this is my friends park. I want to go. So we parked. We had a great time and I smiled while I stared at Heaven from the boardwalk with the thought of your WONDERFUL son Tanner on my mind. Tanners memory lives in our hearts forever and ever hugs <3 <3

    Comment by Keila Rivera on April 23, 2013 at 11:27 pm

  7. Thank you so much Keila, I know how much tanner loved Nathan and I pray he always watches over his buddy. It means so much to me that Nathan remember tanner. Xoxo

    Comment by Tanner's Momma on April 24, 2013 at 8:14 pm

  8. Melissa,
    That is so beautiful! I think those words every day but do not have the courage to write them or say them out loud. My angel would be turning 13 in a few weeks. Hard to comprehend. I think of all of the children every minute of every day. Stay strong .

    Comment by Debbie Loeb on April 24, 2013 at 12:48 am

  9. Thank you Debbie. And your little wagon filled with candy in memory of your beautiful son Scott will always hold a special place in my heart, tanner’s eyes used to light up when you came to clinic with all those goodies! You always had the greatest sweets! Xoxo love from one gaping heart to another.

    Comment by Tanner's Momma on April 24, 2013 at 8:16 pm

  10. So beautiful- I love how your Chase made nice to you- his big brother let him know to take care of mommy! All my prayers are with you always.

    Comment by Tracie Holmberg on April 24, 2013 at 7:42 pm

  11. Thank you tracie. And thank you for always thinking of us! Xoxo

    Comment by Tanner's Momma on April 24, 2013 at 8:16 pm

  12. My heart aches for you mom! My son Andrik, just turned 2 yesterday, is currently fighting a malignant brain tumor. I try to remain hopeful, but reading stories like these reminds me that my fears are justified. Terrible thoughts creep into my brain and it’s a constant battle to keep them away. Mom captured the exact way I would feel if I were to lose my son. Tanner was like my son Andrik, so sweet and snuggly with the most kissable marshmallow cheeks. His twin sister Laney however, sounds alot like Chase, strong, energetic and fearless, makes you work for her affection. I love them both so much for their differences, but I don’t want to even imagine a world where there is one without the other. They came in together after all, so they need to stay together. Anyway, I just wanted to post because mom’s words touched me. I know there is nothing anyone can say or do to heal your gaping wound, but I hear your screams! Hang in there momma! May time eventually start to fill the emptiness that you are left to endure. My thoughts will be with you and your family. <3

    Comment by Dana Smith on April 25, 2013 at 4:21 pm

  13. Thank you so much Dana, and my heartfelt prayers are being sent out to you and your sweet Andrick. Xoxo

    Comment by Tanner's Momma on April 26, 2013 at 5:01 pm

  14. Beautifully written! You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers today! Xoxo……

    Comment by Carol hofmann-Jenks on April 25, 2013 at 9:56 pm

  15. Thank you carol, and thanks for thinking of us. Xo

    Comment by Tanner's Momma on April 26, 2013 at 5:01 pm

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