It's just not right that Wilson's family is counting the days....
They should be counting the days until that little guy wakes up on Christmas morning, runs to the tree and begins to tear open gifts like any other little person who anticipates the joy of Christmas morning.
Far too many children are in pediatric cancer centers fighting a fight that they just aren't prepared to face.
'The Washington Post' ran a story this morning about a five year old who is celebrating his last swallow of cancer meds today after a long hard climb back from a children's leukemia. His numbers are good and strong and the doctors carry the hope that he may have been cured of his disease. The hope is that he will move on from here and be just another happy healthy little boy who will grow-up and have a good life.
His time of counting the days are now over. His family is looking toward adapting from a cancer household to a normal home.
Wilson, if you can get someone to read these last couple of days of blogs, know that we are in this with you. We are counting the days and we are lifting with everything we've got. Feel the strength of positive thoughts coming your way.
We are counting the days....
This one's for you Wilson.
Wow...you must be the strongest, bravest little guy on the planet. All that treatment into such a little body and yet you've be able to not only fight off your cancer, but you've managed to figure out how to put those little legs into gear to start walking. WAY TO GO!!!
All of us big people who have been through this cancer stuff know what a pain it is. It upsets your tummy, sometimes makes your hair fall out and just puts a cloud over a sunny day. But some how it sounds like you've figured out how to get by all that nasty stuff and live for today. In your short time with us, you've learned the secret to being Wilson and not Wilson with cancer.
So march on, my friend. We're all hoping you get stronger every day and go from walking to running and jumping too.
We're lifting you, big guy!
It has officially begun...the Holiday season is on. Black Friday began on Thursday night this year, a new tradition that troubles me because I liked thinking that at least two days of the year, (Thanksgiving and Christmas) were set aside to celebrate family and friends and now that seems to be compromised.
The folks who shared laughter and stories at my table had no thoughts of shopping Thursday night. We raised our glasses and toasted to the fact that we were happy to be together. We were grateful to be able to share the joys of the holiday and we were missing those who had celebrated at our table for so many years and now they were gone. Cancer made sure of that.
We remembered them in the telling of Thanksgiving stories from past years, and then we made new memories.
After all the guests had gone and the house was quiet, maybe just a log crackling in the fireplace, I rewound through the night. I thought about how this Thanksgiving was different. They are all different now, because I don't have my partner to share the "rewind" with, so I just imagine what his reaction would have been to the evening.
The holiday season brings with it some hard days. This was just the beginning and I'm better prepared to handle it this year. I get stronger every year and I'm hoping all of us who are living with loss, feel stronger too.
We need to "lift" with a capital L for the next few weeks.
Remember years ago, I asked you all to count, 1...2...3...LIFT?
I'm asking again.
Another Thanksgiving has rolled around and here we are, still sharing, still lifting each other and still giving thanks that we have found each other.
You're an amazing group of gifted givers....
Open the pages of your memories and smile because you have them and make some new ones tomorrow.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
It started early this morning. Preparation for Thanksgiving has begun and my list is long.
Thanksgiving at this house has always been a happening place.
Leroy and I had pumpkin pie and champagne on the cold cement slab that would become our home, when it was just under construction. It was just wooden bones that would be walls and windows when we drove out to celebrate this holiday so many years ago. We'd put our dreams into this house.
We ate pie by flash light and sipped the bubbly and listened to the sound of Thanksgiving night and shivered in the cold. It was great.
Since that night, our table has been filled with so many friends and family. So many stories have been told and toasts have been made. Memories, sweet memories made and now cherished even more because cancer has taken loved ones from this special table.
Some familiar faces will be here on Thursday and some new faces who will start new traditions. And there will be toasts....to remember.
You have to remember on Thanksgiving.
It's an anniversary of a date that brings back memories of huge proportions.
If you were alive 50 years ago and old enough to remember where you were on this date, you remember why today is so important to you and to this country.
On that unforgettable Friday afternoon at 1:36 Eastern time the world learned that President John F. Kennedy was dead and this country would mourn the loss like nothing else mattered in the world for the four days that followed. The assassination of our U.S. President would rock the world from that time forward, politics aside.
Mrs.. Kennedy received hundreds of thousands of messages of sympathies, leaders from the corners of the world mourned the death, as did regular citizens from countries around the globe.
A small school newspaper called "The Prince" published a two page special edition that included a list of services where students could express their sorrow too. The president of Princeton University wrote a strong statement along with the editors calling for Kennedy's death to "be taken as a rallying cry for the rule of law, of reasoned strength, most important, of unity--for which until Nov.22, 1963, he stood."
Kennedy had spoken many times on the Princeton campus, as a U.S. Senator. And some even remembered "Ken's" short time as a Tiger undergrad in 1935. According to the story, he had been ill then and only stayed for less than two months.
"It got too tough for me here," he once joked, "so I transferred to Harvard."
The man had a sense of humor, among so many other wonderful attributes.
We remember him today.
You're not a care giver anymore. You're not a spouse anymore. You ARE that "W" word that no one likes attached to their name; Widow or widower is such an ugly sounding word.
So, who are you now?
You've been through some life changing times. You found strength you never thought you had and you've kissed your loved one good-bye. It's not exactly back to square one, but it is starting from a square you're not familiar with, right? Friends and family have scooped you up on holidays and special occasions and they've tried to make you feel like you're a part of the celebration, but all you can do is think about how different it would be if you were with your loved one. You'd probably be sitting together, and maybe you'd be dancing and laughing and making another memory together, but not now.
We're in a pickle here aren't we? Look in the mirror, who do you see? Some one who has to make some hard choices. No matter how long it takes, we have to learn to live again. It will be a different life, but different doesn't mean bad.
Different is creating a new you, a new one of us. Get on your mark.....go.
How do you hit the reset button after losing a loved one to cancer?
I met a woman in her early 70's over the weekend. She and her husband were "living life" as she put it, for more than 40 years. He came down with a cough, she persuaded him to go see his doctor where he was diagnosed with lung cancer and six weeks later he was gone.
Now she's living, but hardly the life she knew and she says she just feels lost. Her soul mate, her side kick, her everything is gone, and it happened so fast.
She was trying to describe how her days and nights have changed. She misses the conversations, she misses his presence, the house is so empty and she finds herself in the kitchen, but with no one to cook for anymore.
She's trying to stay busy with friends and family but when those gatherings end, she's right back in that lonely place.
Her parting words to me were "I guess I'll just keep trying, what else can I do?"
Sometimes the reset button is hard to find.
We think we're prepared for most things in life once we hit a certain age, but when cancer slides in under the door jam, we find out very quickly just how unprepared we are for major changes in our lives.
We've heard things like "We're only given as much as we can handle" and "Fall seven times, stand up eight." There are so many strength and courage quotes and living in cancer world, we hear most of them.
They really don't help much.
It takes the reality of the battle we're in to really become prepared. Cancer comes with surprises; good and not so good. We grow up quickly with each surprise. By the time we've come through it, we're ready. Our experiences have taught us so much, so what do we do with all this readiness? We pass it on.
Simple as that, we share our knowledge. There are so many patients and caregivers just walking in the door and believe me, they are not ready.
So it's time to pass it on. Give the gift of learning to live with cancer.
The sky is muted gold tonight. Most of the tallest trees have lost their leaves and stand like skeletons against the back drop of the sunset. A flock of geese, in perfect V-formation fly overhead and if you listen closely, you'd swear you can hear them singing "Margaritaville" as they make their way South.
It's getting cold too.
I spent the better part of the day watching faces reacting to words about cancer. Chemotherapy, radiation, staging tumors and changing lives. Newcomers to cancer world who are beginning their journey. These were faces showing signs of fear and no doubt questioning how all of this would play-out for them.
A multi-disciplinary clinic for lung cancer patients and their caregivers.
I know the day was long for them. I only hope they were able to catch a glimpse of the sunset, or listen for the geese and put cancer on a shelf for a few minutes.
I know it was an overwhelming day.