Since joining this "most exclusive club that no one wants to belong to" 365 days ago, I've become a sort of connoisseur of other angel parent's blogs that are either ahead or behind me in the grieving process. For lack of something to say here myself, I'm going to highlight some of my favorite entries/efforts here. Check them out if you can. Or save them for viewing later. They all hold inspiration, truth and hope in their words and pictures.
The very personal (and moving) story surrounding the death and cremation of their child, Lucas, who passed away from neuroblastoma on 10/16/07.
Coming from Leigh Saxon, who along with her husband Terrill and brothers Jack and Whit, lost their Paul to neuroblastoma on 7/14/07, what it's like to continue to function "normally" while dealing with the loss of a child.
The Dolling family lost their Spencer on 5/21/08. More than any other family I've known (even if only virtually), they epitomize Living Life to the Max. Here is the blog post they wrote a few weeks before Spencer died. And here is their latest adventure.
Erin passed away less than six months ago on 4/9/09. Erin's mom Vickie Buenger, who raised probably one of the female gender's best hopes for President of the United States, introduced a US Congressman and friend of Erin's at a recent town hall meeting on health care. This is what she said.
So many other NB angel parents remain in the fight, but perhaps aren't the most wordy of bloggers like myself. But I want to take a moment on this day, the day before Childhood Cancer Awareness month begins, to acknowledge them and their efforts. It would be easy for them and for Melissa and me, to just walk away from the whole dang thing and simply live. To be honest, some may think that we are simply grieving by continuing to fight for a cure.... that this is therapeutic for us. I wish it were that simple. Believe me, sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn't. There are only 24 hours in a day. Most all angel parents are still parents to other kids that need time, attention, love, and a roof over their head. This work takes away from hobbies, vacations, and families. It is not without reward, but it is not without costs either. To these angel parents, I say simply, "thank you."
- Mayank Gala (son Ishan): IshanGala.org
- Scott Kennedy (son Hazen) and John London (daughter Penelope): KidCancer.org
- Paul Brunskow (daughter Eden): MagicWater.org
- Bob Piniewski (son AJ): People Against Childhood Cancer (PAC2) curechildhoodcancer.ning.com
- Mikey Johnson (son Cody): Codys-crew.org
There are many other foundations run by many exceptional angel parents and I do not mean to imply that their work is less important or otherwise not worthy of mention by their lack of inclusion in my list. Those above are merely the ones where I am personally familiar with the parents involved.
So many of our days feel strange because Max is not with us. No matter what we're doing - whether we're having fun (we do), or feeling melancholy (we do) - the feeling is there. Something's missing. It's that one-armed thing that Leigh writes about. Today, we are just hanging out. Hannah starts 5th grade today at a new school (5-6 only), and we will be dropping her off together as a family. She is somewhat nervous but mostly about homework. Max would have been starting 3rd grade. So many "I wonders" around this missed milestone: I wonder who his teacher would have been; I wonder which kids would have been in his class; I wonder how he'd be doing in math, and what he would be writing about. It will feel strange not to show up at Solana Highlands on this first day of school.
Because our summer update post was thin on pictures, here are some highlights from this summer with a few of Max thrown in just for fun.
Starting out with Max's 7th birthday...
We got him a Wii. We made him open the games first, as he didn't know/expect a Wii. So he got a bunch of games but to him, they were for the "wrong game system."
Finally, when he opened the big box, it all made sense to him and he laughed so hard, and of course was very excited too!
This summer we've made it to the beach a lot in the past few weeks. Before August, it's been quite frankly, not very nice beach weather. The past two weeks have been pretty, pretty good however, with the water temp around 70 and the air at least that warm if not warmer.
Nic and Hannah are slowly learning to play together, well, Hannah is learning to tolerate playing with Nic so that Nic has someone to play with until we can scare him up some friends.
This summer, we also...
Did the 4th of July bike parade thing...
Hung out around cool airplanes...
Went to the park after Pizza Port dinner...
Explored the trails below our house a bit more...
Saw Hannah off to two weeks (non-consecutive) of sleep-away camp...
Stumbled across some dinosaurs at the Wild Animal Park...
Our Max everyday...
Thank you all for your messages today. We feel your love for us and Max. We know he remains strong in your memories, as he is in ours.
Andy & Melis