I have been putting off writing for a long time now.  I thought about writing at back to school time, with all the joys of watching Chase go off to school, and all the pain of looking at first day pictures knowing that I should have had two beautiful boys in my pictures too… thinking of how I should have been getting Tanner off to 2nd Grade.  2nd Grade, can you imagine?

I thought about writing at Halloween time, when I was enjoying watching Chase going door to door in his Luke Skywalker costume, really into trick-or-treating this year and dressing up… while simultaneously being pained by the thoughts of what Tanner might have chosen to be, how 3 Halloweens just wasn’t enough, how climbing the steps of one or two houses was exhausting for him on his final Halloween, a tiny 2 1/2 year old Batman.

I thought about writing when Chase got his yellow belt in Kempo Martial Arts, as I was conflicted with pride and pain knowing that Tanner would surely be excelling at some sport by now, likely golf since he loved it so much.

I thought about writing for Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month in September.  I wanted to write about how infuriating it was to watch as the Empire State Building refused to go gold to show support for our kids, how the pediatric cancer community was in an uproar, how it felt to have our petitions turned down for no real reason.  Awareness leads to funding which leads to cures, and aren’t our children worth a few gold lightbulbs ESB??

I thought about writing but I never did… and then, time got away from me.

As I have mentioned before running is my outlet.  Running is my “me-time” to decompress and think about everything, pounding it all out on the pavement.  I run for as long as I need to feel emotionally and physically drained, which is ironic since my emotions often seem to hurt in such a physical way anyway.  A broken heart really does hurt.  Every single day I am reminded that Tanner is no longer with us, his absence seems to scream right out of my chest every day.  3 1/2 years later, it still hurts like it did on the first day.  What makes it even more difficult is that the joys I experience are often so overshadowed by the pain of his absence, they too become painful.  The happiest moments are always reminders of who is missing.  As I run, I think of all of these things until I can’t run and can’t think anymore.

It is true that you learn to cope with the pain better as time goes on.  It doesn’t lessen, but you figure out ways to deal with it better.  You can stifle it down when you see other kids on Halloween – big brothers taking their little brothers by the hand, showing them the ropes.  You learn how to calm yourself and keep from crying when you see other 6-year-olds and wonder if your son would share their interests.  You stay calm and respond with the best answer you can come up with at the moment when your 4 year old asks yet again if we can go visit Tanner in heaven for a play date because he misses his big brother…

This past September marked an important amount of time.  The exact amount of time that Tanner was physically here with us, is the same as the amount of time we have lived without him.  My heart has physically hurt for 3 1/2 years and the pain feels as fresh as it did the day he died.  This was something I thought about often during my runs over the last few months.  Time is something I have always been good at managing.  I am a very organized, type-A person.  Anyone who knows me well knows that I am very rarely late (and usually early).  I keep several calendars with all the events and important dates we have.  But somehow, although I knew it was coming, these past 3 1/2 years have crept up on me and gone, and taken my breath away in the process.  I wanted to write about it, but I didn’t even know what to say.

This quote pretty much says it for me:

Time is free, but it’s priceless.  You can’t own it, but you can use it.  You can’t keep it, but you can spend it.  Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.

Where has the time gone Tanner?  I still miss you.

My advice? Enjoy the time you spend with the people who are most important to you.  Time spent with those we love is never wasted, because you never know how much time you have left.

Love Always,

Tanner’s Momma

tanner graphic 2

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