Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Books, boats and tears

It never leaves my mind. Not even for a second. I wish it did. It is unrealistic for me to hope that because she is "just a kid" that she would have any moments where it leaves her mind.

We had a great day today. We went out on an afternoon cruise with the Brad Richards Foundation. It was a great afternoon, with dear friends and a lot of laughs. We went over with our friends the Mayhews. Mandy got to hang out with her very good buddy, Rachael.

Zachary got to hang with his buddy Nathaniel. Zachary, who spends most of his time in a house shared primarily by three girls, always relishes time to just hang with his boys and be a boy.

Alannah made friends with Ariel, Sierra Kesler's big sister. She also got to have Brad put his arm around her and have her picture taken with him! I didn't even get to do that!

She then promptly sat down, texted one of her BFF's and said something similar to "OMG, I just got to have my picture taken with Brad Richards!" Alannah reports the friend texted back "OMG, he is so hot!"

We had a wonderful time. Sherry Tucker was there too. Our kids went to the same elementary school. I got my copy of her new book "Unfinished love:Walking by Faith through Pediatric Cancer." Sherry is an amazing woman, whose son, Zach fought a courageous battle with a very aggressive brain tumor. He waits for her in heaven now. This is a family that have chosen to walk an unthinkable journey with a grace and a strength that I am in awe of. They reach out to families battling cancer through a foundation established in Zach's honor. She is one of the most inherently good people I have ever met. I consider it an honor and a privilege to call her my friend. Please, check out her book. It is heartbreaking. This is a real little boy. It is beautiful and heartwarming and inspirational, but it is also heartbreaking.

We went to the Mayhew house for a while after the cruise and hung out. We came home about dinner time with three tired kids ready for dinner and bed. Mandy had reached her breaking point. She was exhausted. She was just really tired and feeling overwhelmed. She wanted me to lay down with her in my bed until she fell asleep. I did. While I was lying next to her with her snuggled up next to me, she said, "Chemo changes so many things." I said, "In what way, baby?" She replied, "It changes what foods I like. And it changes that now I am scared to sleep by myself."

She wasn't angry, she wasn't crying, in that moment. She was just overwhelmed and sad.It broke my heart. I just said, "I know, baby. I am sorry" and held her until she fell asleep. Really, what else is there to say to that? I watched her sleep and cried quietly.

She had a lot of fun today. So did Alannah and Zachary. So did I. But, it never leaves. We would rather have been home, with no reason to be on that cruise today. Still, at the end of the day, under the stress of fatigue, it comes out from under the bed to haunt her, just like it does me.

I have said numerous times, it is day by day. Sometimes, it isn't. Sometimes, it is minute by minute. We all do the very best we can, every single day. We smile absolutely whenever we can and cry when we have to.

We are so grateful for the very special friends this journey has brought us. We are so grateful for the friends that stand by us and hold us up and hold our hands. I am so thankful for the people like Kasey and Brad who provide fun outings to give our minds something else to occupy them for a while. I am so thankful for people like Sherry, who have been put into a role of being an inspirational support, when she would rather just be an ordinary mom of two kids. I am so thankful for my and Ronnie's families, who call or email with love and strength. I am so thankful for the friends who continue to be there, even when I don't return calls for weeks at a time. The world is full of good and wonderful people and we are so blessed to have so many of them in our lives. Because in all honesty, there are days when we just want to curl up and cry ourselves to sleep. There are days when I do just that. Then the morning comes and we try to stick the monster back under the bed. We get up and find more reasons to be happy, more ways to find joy, more things to be thankful for and continue to be amazed at how easy it is to find those things.

Thanks as always for checking on her. Love to all~

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