The Voice of Thousands

When our oldest, Bo was 2 years old, I remember him getting a whole bunch of hand me down clothes from his older cousins. We were poor college students so getting “new” clothes was really exciting. In the bag of clothes was a pair of toddler, khaki cargo shorts. Perfect fit for my buddy. I vividly remember him reaching his chubby little fingers into the pocket of those pants and discovering a little boy treasure. He pulled out the teeniest, little 1/4 inch monkey figurine from his pocket and beamed with pride as he studied it. I laughed that something so tiny had survived the trip….like a baton pass that Bo was accepting.

I knew that little guy was going to be lost in no time. How could something so small survive? Especially when we lose large toys on the hour. Well, throughout the years, through many moves, from different states, houses and children, that little monkey mascot continues to pop up. Just yesterday as I was cleaning out the toy box I found that little guy for the thousandth time. I took a picture of him, sent it to Steve and threw him right back into the pit of toys to get lost for another few years. That monkey continues to surprise me. When I saw that little figurine, it got me thinking.

As I head into a new year, I obviously do a lot of reflecting as I am sure most people do. I try to set goals, but, the new year to a grieving mother means another year of missing her child. And I do miss Hayes so so much! It doesn’t get easier and it hasn’t gotten less painful. The hard moments have become less frequent, but when they hit, they are more intense than ever before. Did I mention that I miss him?! So how do I push for any goals when I am consumed by missing my boy?

I was reading an article written by another cancer mom. She is in the heart of her child’s battle and she angrily expressed that she was not going to advocate for the government to fund “More than 4” because it doesn’t work. She was extremely bitter, and part of me totally relates to that. But another part of me realizes that I can’t let bitterness win. I have a lot to be angry about, but I have so much to be grateful for. I also am not in the heat of the battle of childhood cancer so I can view the fight with renewed strength and determination. From a new perspective of someone that has been there.

I have lost a child. I can choose to collapse and never stand up again or I can declare war on the enemy that took my child…CANCER. Because of my new perspective, I can be their voice. The voice of thousands of mothers and fathers that can’t leave their child’s hospital room for fear of something happening if they leave the room to go and get a bite to eat. The voice of the thousands of parents that have the secret, never uttered fear of “what if’s” that could happen to their child running through their head. The voice of parents that don’t want their spouses or children to see them cry so they save their silent tears for the hospital shower. And the voice of thousands of parents that are told they are so strong but they feel shattered and broken inside. I will be their voice!

So, with all of that being said, what is my New Years resolution and what does that random, tiny little monkey have to do with anything? I am an advocate. I am a soldier. I have no other choice now because this is what helps me feel that Hayes did not pass in vain. Will signing that petition for “More than 4” make a difference? Will flying to DC and talking to members of congress change anything? Honestly, I don’t know, but I have to try, because I am the voice of those thousands! And more than anything, I am the voice of my angel warrior Hayes. I refuse to allow him to be silenced! For all of them, this year is for you and probably next year and the year after that until all of this changes. I will not be stopped. I hope I continue to surprise people. Like that little guy, I may be one small person, but I am not going anywhere.

16 thoughts on “The Voice of Thousands

  1. rachelnorcal

    It’s my belief that the strongest warriors are the ones with β€œbroken open” hearts… that your strength and determination are fueled by your extreme love and compassion.
    Though I (obviously!) wish no parent ever had to lose a child, I am so proud of you and your actions & activism .. in spite of/inspired by Hayes. You don’t have to choose between grief and β€œin-action.” You are showing countless others how you are able to feel and honor your grief and also keep Hayes alive and fighting strong, doing so much good for others, in so many ways.. Your raising awareness, your fundraising.. but I think most importantly, sharing your journey and your heart so honestly and openly. Sending love always.. and wishes for a really awesome 2018!!

  2. Jess C

    This is amazing. What amazes me the most about you is how you are happy for parents whose children are surviving. You are happy and sending them love!! I would feel bitter and angry that they have their babies here to hold. This REALLY amazes me about you. You can do it and be the monkey πŸ’!!

  3. Amanda visser

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! Thank you for being my voice right now. I do feel shattered when everyone keeps telling me how strong and brace I am. Most days I don’t want to be but I have no other choice and right now the “what ifs” are eating me alive. Thanks for being the voice of thousands. I look up to you and your family more than you know!

  4. Wendy

    Going on three years in May without my angel baby is the most heart wrenching position I’ve ever been in. I want to thank you and your beautiful family for reminding me I’m not alone in my dark thoughts or hours of missing her. Thank you for speaking up for those of us who have the wrong words to say.. thank you for showing me the good in our circumstance. Love and strength to you..

  5. Jennie Gamlen

    Oh wow! That was so passionate. You’re lighting the spark in this battle. And I know, you’re gonna win! πŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’šπŸŽ—οΈπŸŽ—οΈπŸŽ—οΈ

  6. Christine

    Your determination is beautiful. Just like your love for Hayes. Praying more than 4 % will be a victory we’re celebrating soon.

  7. Katarina Novacek

    You are unbelievable. you have experienced the worst thing
    that can
    happen to a parent,most if us can’t even imagine, and despite of it you keep possitive attitude, and help others and make this world better…I admire you and Steve for this do much.You are great people.Like parents-like son! one
    day you will meet him again😘He is proud of you for sure!

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