What I’d Give for a Moment of Presence…

You know what’s the hardest part?  Being present. 

We are all busy people.  I work full time, I have a beautiful 3 1/2 year old son Chase, who tries to consume my every single free second, and I volunteer as a board member for The Lexiebean Foundation to help other children with cancer.  I like to go shopping, I like to go running, I like to spend time with friends, I like the idea of being normal.  The hardest part of being normal is being totally present… and that’s because it’s completely impossible. 

Last night, after work, after commuting home, running (on the treadmill, it’s like a million degrees outside!) and making dinner, I sat outside with Chase while he played in his kiddie pool in the backyard.  He had 2 monster trucks, and as he showed them to me, he said “which one you wanna be?”.  I chose Captain America, and he chose the orange construction wrecking monster truck.  He showed me that we had to race them down the slide into the pool.  As we were playing I thought, as I always do, there should be 3 monster trucks.  Or, Tanner should be using the Captain America one while I grill dinner for my boys.  They should be both swinging on the swing set, they should both be playing fireman and spraying each other with the hose.  In every thought, Tanner.  When I’m working I think about what Chase is doing with our babysitter or with his grandparents, and I don’t have to think “what is Tanner doing?”.  When I’m on the train I think about how much Tanner loved Thomas.  When I get home and I’m running I think about how Tanner never really could run.  When I am cooking dinner I think about how Tanner only ever wanted to eat spaghetti-o’s and hotdogs, and now my cabinets are completely void of those.  When I’m setting the table, which has 4 chairs, I look at that empty chair every single night.  That table should be full.  There should be a fourth place setting.  When I give Chase a bath I remember bathing Tanner, in his last month sitting in a infant bath seat because he couldn’t hold himself up.  When I watch the Disney channel with Chase I think about Tanner’s Make-A-Wish Trip to Disney and how nice it was, but how horrible it was that Make-A-Wish wouldn’t grant him the trip to Disney only 6 months earlier, because he wasn’t yet 3.  I get mad and think how much that sucks because he wasn’t paralyzed only 6 months earlier and he really would’ve enjoyed it more.  When I snuggle Chase in my bed I think how I should have two beautiful boys snuggling me.  When I tuck Chase in I wonder what it would be like if I had two boys to tuck in.  Who would I tuck in first?  Would they want to share a room? 

I’ll never know the answers to these questions because our normal is not normal.  I have wonderful, fun and happy days.  I do so many things and I really enjoy watching Chase grow.  I just wish I was watching Tanner grow as well.  What would he be like now, at 5 1/2, getting ready for kindergarten?  I don’t know.  It’s not fair that I don’t know.  No one should ever lose a child. 

Everything I do, everything I say, everywhere I go, every breath I take – Tanner.  It is completely impossible to be completely present.  Imagine walking around torn in two. 

That is the “normal” day of a bereaved mom-cologist.  That is my life. 

Just for the record, I’m not looking for sympathy.  This blog is written simply to let other mom-cologists and bereaved parents know they are not alone.  I have heard from so many who tell me “what you wrote it exactly how I feel!”.  I’m glad that people can relate to me, and validate they are not alone in their feelings.  However, at the same time I am so so sad that so many people can relate.  7 children will die today in the U.S. from cancer.  7!  That’s 49 children this week.  If more than a classroom of children are dying of the same disease, cancer, every week, why isn’t more attention being paid to this??  Why aren’t celebrities talking about it?  Why is it something no one talks about until it happens to someone you know?  I was just thinking of a sweet girl who lost her battle with neuroblastoma this week, Talia, many of you now of her from the Ellen DeGeneres show… I walked by her picture this morning on the train platform, an ad for Sunrise Day camp… and thought “here’s a girl who lived in Florida, spent summers in NY with her dad and went to Sunrise.  She went on Ellen, and won over so many hearts… but you know what?  If Tanner was on Ellen, if Lexie was on Ellen, if any of the kids that we know, kids that the Lexiebean Foundation has helped, went on Ellen, they’d have 2.6 million followers on instagram too!”  Imagine if the world knew how many children actually are affected by cancer, like Talia!  Wouldn’t there be some kind of rallying?? Wouldn’t everyone want to do something to help all of these children???

Please help me spread awareness, please help The Lexiebean Foundation help more children while their families are praying the treatment their children are getting will allow them to survive this all too-often deadly disease.  Spread the word.  Pediatric cancer is real, and it really sucks. 

And then, when your child loses his battle because there is little research done to help our kids, it sucks even more when you can’t have one second in the rest of your life where you are totally present for just one moment.

Love,

Tanner’s Momma

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Tanner’s Make-A-Wish, how I wish they granted this wish 6 months earlier, when he was walking and could’ve enjoyed it so much more…. but what I’d give to go back to this day…

 

 

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Responses:

  1. I can’t read through my tears. Keep writing. It is helping so many people in so many ways. Love you!

    Comment by Karen on July 18, 2013 at 1:39 pm

  2. thank you Karen! xo

    Comment by Tanner's Momma on July 19, 2013 at 2:09 pm

  3. Thank you for writing this great piece. As a business we are also trying to help raise awareness for kids with cancer and related diseases. Please visit our section “Plants for Hope”. or go to http://www.wearitminiplants.com/pages/plants-for-hope. This is a new program to raise awareness about Kids Cancer and we really would like to have these brave stories of these kids from great people like you or from the kids directly to let others know about their struggles and courage.

    Jenna

    Comment by wearitminiplants on July 30, 2013 at 3:15 am

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