Traveling with toddlers can be anxiety ridden, but when Hayes was sick, we promised ourselves that we would never miss an opportunity to make memories. Spending time with one another is all that matters because those are the things we carry with us long after we are apart. So, regardless of the time change, and regardless of napless days, we headed to the Big Island of Hawaii as the Tate Party of 8. Read More
While we were vacationing in Hawaii last week, we received heartbreaking news about our sweet neighbor. She lost her son to suicide. While we were vacationing and playing on the beach, a friend was unexpectedly losing her son. It broke my heart for her and for her son that he had hit the point of extreme darkness and felt like he had no way out.
We have been here in Hawaii for 6 beautiful days. Our family vacation is slowly coming to an end. Last night, Steve and I took the kids down to the beach to let them late night snorkel with manta rays. Steve took them out and I sat on the beach and watched them swim away in the darkness toward the spotlights along the rocky cliffs. I was the only person on the beach. The moon was so bright and I could see so many stars. It was beautiful and so peaceful. My toes scooped into the sand, the waves crashed against the sand and I studied the dark sky. My mind of course drifted straight to my baby boy….my missing piece…my heart. Hayes. Read More
I recently ran into an old friend at a restaurant. She was celebrating her birthday with her friends and I gave her a celebratory hug. She simply replied that she was just relieved that she was still in her 20’s. It got me thinking…how do I feel about being in my 30’s? How do I feel about aging? How do I feel that my friend basically dreads being my age? Legitimately my stress with aging is disappearing by the hour. Read More
Hi everyone…I feel like it has been a while since I introduced myself…like really introduced myself. Do you even know who I am? How did you find me?
You know how they say grief is like the ocean? I have hit that point in the waves where I want to run away with my family. I literally day dream about selling all of our valuables and our home and moving to a remote tropical island and living off the land with Steve and my kids. A place where shoes and brushing your hair is completely optional. To get away from the heaviness of the world. Don’t panic, I won’t, because the logical side of me is still very much intact. But, part of me wishes I were that brave because my family feels closest to Hayes near the ocean. It feels like home. Read More
It was the fall of 2001. We had graduated, gone on our senior trips and were both now living in Logan, Utah. A small town an hour and a half north of our hometowns. We both decided to live in the dorms. Steve was living with two of his buddies from high school and I was living with 5 random girls that I had never met before. We lived a short walk away from each other and needless to say, we were making that short walk multiple times a day! Read More
I remember when my giant of a man child, Bo was a baby. He was the first of my six kids and basically my “trial & error” child. He came out literally 10 pounds, not the figurative, “Yeah, my baby was huge. He was practically 10 pounds”. No, he was literally 10 pounds 0 ounces…to put that into perspective, he was 3X bigger than Reese was when she was born. He was so big that my siblings called him “Uncle Bo”. He was my stay puffed marshmallow man! As a result, Bo was hungry 126% of the time. Read More
I have something to admit. Remember a few weeks ago when I said I had gained the courage to take Hayes’ crib down finally? Well, I have a confession, I just moved his crib to the opposite side of the room. I couldn’t bare to take it down so I just moved it in front of Heath’s closet. I literally had to shove it out of the way every time I needed to get clothes for Heath. So at least twice a day. But, I just couldn’t do it. The thought of taking it down felt like letting go of my baby. The guilt has been overwhelming. Read More
I recently read the beginnings of a memoir by a 46 year old man that was diagnosed with endocrine cancer. As different as my situation is, I related so much to the cancer experience of this man. The journey from symptoms to discovery to diagnosis….I have walked that path. But as a mother as opposed to the patient, our paths diverged. As I read him describe his “painful” chemo cocktail of etoposide and cisplatin for 3-4 months, tears began to burn my eyes. Not only did Hayes have those exact “painful” chemo drugs, but he also had 8 more chemos over the course of his 8 Month protocol. My sweet 10 Month Old Baby was exposed to those same drugs and more. It was our only option, but as parents you do anything. You do anything to keep them safe and comfortable while at the same time, knowingly giving them poisons that nearly kill them, day after day. But that is our only hope. It is the only weapon we have to fight the monster that is just as relentless as we are.
Looking back over the battle we had, I realize that during that fight, I really didn’t recognize the magnitude of what we were facing. I was devastated and scared, but every day I clung to the hope that chemo would fix my baby. Having hope was the only thing I had control over and I unceasingly held onto it.
I remember so vividly what I was doing a year ago today. It was Halloween of 2016 and Hayes was Home. I woke up early, got my kids in their costumes and excitedly dressed my 3 babies in their themed carnival costumes. Life was beginning to “normalize” and I had nearly let go of all the fear of cancer I had accumulated over the past 8 months. Although Cancer was in the rear view mirror, a deep, hidden part of me knew I was forcing it away; running from the monster that would forever stalk us. But, I ignored it and I have no regrets about my denial…it allowed me to feel peace and happiness and joy which my family so desperately deserved. Life was blissfully naive for a few short months.
I feel like my life is mostly in black and white now. I still smile, my kids still smile and there is laughter. But, that rich deep feeling of life that is seen through saturated color is not felt very often anymore. I sat through my kids Halloween parade today and watched as my kids marched through the halls of their elementary school, proudly showing off their costumes and my babies danced to the Halloween music playing over the loud speaker. I smiled as the scenes unfolded before me, but then it hit, it always does, that Hayes should be here and the magic of another holiday vanishes. It is painful. Steve and I always smile for our kids, but deep down, we want to hide. Sleep away the winter that brings with it all the painful reminders of our sweet angel boy.
I don’t like to focus on the pain, I really don’t, but this is also our story. Life isn’t easy, unfortunately. But, in a strange juxtaposition, what gets me through these hard days is hope. Hope for a brighter future, hope for a happy tomorrow & most of all, hope that I will see my Hayesey again. Hope is what got me through that original fight and ironically, it gets me through my days without him now. I will continue to slap that smile on my face with a hope that one day it won’t be so forced. With hope that one day I will be able to have a life where Hayes is simply a warm, happy memory and not a painful reminder of loss in my heart. Until then, I hope.