Saturday, November 30, 2013

Happy Birthday

In French, to say I miss you, you would say "tu me manque". It translates back literally as "you are missing from me". You are missing from all of us baby girl. We are holding on to the wonderful memories of 11 birthdays. Happy 14th Sissypooh! Sing with the Angels today.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

CJM Article

For those that have asked, here is the article that is going in the Camp John Marc newsletter about the Live Oak Program at Camp.

When we arrived at Camp the first time, one of the first things I noticed was the walkways with the bricks and the names.  Going back well into the early 1990’s¸they had the names of various camps, and names of campers.   We were attending Camp NOW (Neuro-Oncology Weekend) 2010, a family weekend camp.  Our daughter, Allison, had been diagnosed in March of that year with a terminal brain tumor.  She had initially not wanted to go to camp – she had first been invited to a week long camp that she would attend by herself.  She determinedly declined that invitation, but when the chance for a family camp came around, we were able to convince her to give camp a try.  Allison fell in love with camp, despite the lack of televisions and electronics.  And I think in a way, camp fell in love with her as well.  That September, we discovered the magic of Camp John Marc, and just as Allison would become a permanent part of Camp when her brick was placed in the Live Oak Path, Camp would carve out a special place in our hearts as well.

Allison could not wait to return to camp the next summer, and was marking the days off the calendar as the days got warmer.  Finally July arrived we packed both her and her brother and drove them to Camp Sanguinity.  Allison was in hospice care, and more sick than any of us wanted to admit.  But she would not have missed camp for anything.  Thanks to the amazing staff and volunteers, Allison “lived” more in that week at Camp than she had in months.  Somehow, all of the day to day needs that Allison had became transparent at camp – despite being in a wheelchair, needing oxygen at times, and more medications that I could count on my fingers and toes – the Camp staff and volunteers somehow made all of that seem to disappear so that Allison could be a camper.  The story of Allison and the Zip Line from that year has now become a “camp story” --  after her first time to ride the zip line ( and an incredible effort by everyone to make it happen for her ) her response when asked how it she liked it was “ It was all right”.  She was the kind of kid that didn’t want to be the center of attention, and was pretty low key  when in a large group.  When we picked her up thatFriday, however, she was radiating with happiness, and was bubbling with excitement.   For five days she had been able to just be a kid, and do kid things at camp.  It is one of those moments in time that I cherish, just because my beautiful girl was happy.

Allison passed away on September 11, 2011.  While her passing has created an indescribable sadness, some of our happiest memories of her we created at Camp John Marc.  We got to share another precious moment in 2012 while at Camp Morningstar, a camp for bereaved families.  That weekend also happened to be the annual Camp Work Day, so there were many staff and volunteers there doing various tasks around camp.  One of the activities that day was placing all of the bricks on the Live Oak Path for the previous year.  We were offered the incredible gift of being able to place Allison and Travis’ Camp Sanguinity bricks.  When it was time, we had Travis place his sister’s and his bricks in the path.  

Whenever we visit camp now, the first thing I do is go and find our bricks, Allison and Travis’ first, then our family bricks.  I love to wonder along the path and see all of the names of the campers that came before us, and now to see the names that follow ours.  Allison’s brick is not a memorial, but a testimony to part of her that she left at camp, just as all the amazing kids at camp do.  I think it is so appropriate that the path is called the Live Oak Path, because that is exactly what our children do at camp – they live.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Wednesday, September 11, 2013 will mark Allison's 2nd Angelversary.  For those who wish to do something to remember her, I ask that you only do something kind for someone -- just one random act of kindness.  Share it with me if you want ( it will make me smile ) or not, but this is my wish for the day.

*special thanks to Vicki N for our logo for today :)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

For Allison...


Why were you born when the snow was falling?
You should have come to the cuckoo’s calling,
Or when grapes are green in the cluster,
Or, at least, when lithe swallows muster
  For their far off flying
  From summer dying.

Why did you die when the lambs were cropping?
You should have died at the apples’ dropping,
When the grasshopper comes to trouble,
And the wheat-fields are sodden stubble,
  And all winds go sighing
  For sweet things dying.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Friday, July 5, 2013

Some days the new "normal" just sucks...

Yesterday was my birthday.  Birthdays have always been a big deal around here.  Combine that with having your birthday on a national, no, make that the national holiday, and it's hard to fly under the radar when you don't really feel like celebrating.  It was my 3rd birthday without my baby girl with me.  The first she was at camp, and now 2 since she has been gone.  She loved celebrating birthdays just as much as I did, and always made me something special on my day.  My present to myself this year is a new tattoo that includes the word "saudade". It is a Portuguese word to describe the feeling of something or someone lost to you, more importantly not just the sadness, but the happiness that you have the memories.  So when I think of you, my beautiful girl, I think of saudade,  and the happiness that is mixed with the sad, especially on days like yesterday .