Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The bestie and I had some fun last night, our kind of fun anyway.  It was a good night, don't get me wrong.  I just never know when something is going to hit me.  The funny thing is that it didn't hit me until today at 11:30am -- 16 hours later.  After running around, we went to the National Night Out event that the bestie's daughter ( Allison's BF) and her BF had gone to.  We were picking them up and had some time to kill.  We had been talking to one of the police officers and giving him a hard time about his two seater motorcycle -- Bestie just wasn't letting it go -- and finally found the girls after Officer Two-seater gave us wrong directions.  When we left, we walked back past him and the girls stopped to look at the motorcycle.  Bestie and I continued to give the officer a hard time, and he asked the girls if we were their Mom's.  An innocent question, a natural assumption.  I was having a good time and didn't even think about it at the time. Thankfully the moment was over as quickly as it happened and we continued on.  I guess that time has that effect, it wasn't until today that it hit me, that she should have been there.  She would have been the one I was picking up, the one running up to hug me as soon as she saw me.  Some say grief is like the ocean, as it is always coming at you in waves.  That may be true to a point, but for me it is more like my heart breaks all over again with moments like this.  Sometimes its a small crack, and sometimes the whole wall comes crashing down.  Today was just a crack, another day to get through.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

So it's here.  3 years.  Some days I can't believe you have been gone for so long, and some days it seems like just yesterday I was laying in bed beside you.  I woke this morning to messages of love and support and my heart filled and broke all at the same time.  I've spent the morning looking at photos of you, and reading emails that I've saved.  Remembering stories that people have shared of you.  And I am in awe.  All I ever wanted was to be the mother to you that I did not have.  To make sure that you knew that you were loved and cherished.  With that love, you blossomed.  I'm always amazed and humbled when someone tells me how they were impacted by you, by us.  I always tried to tell you how proud you always made me, but even now, you still make me so proud.  When I meet your camp counselor. and two years later she still has your ring on her key chain.  When I meet a Child Life Specialist who was an intern at camp and "earned her stripes" because of you.  When your friends share their sweet memories of you.  When Travis looks up into the sky and says "Sissypooh".  There is an ache in my chest that I'm not sure will ever go away.  Not a day goes by that I do not think of you and wish that you were here.  I love you my sweet girl
 Allison Kay Long  11/30/1999 - 09/11/2011

Monday, August 25, 2014

First Day of School

Some days are ok.  Some days are dark.  Some days the what ifs swirl around in my head until I am lost and it all seems like a dream and I feel like I'm looking in from the outside.  How is it possible that my daughter is gone.  She should be starting high school today.  I should have spent the weekend doing last minute shopping with her and her brother.  I should have been making sure she got a good breakfast, although she probably would have wanted something from Starbucks.  I should have been getting to take pictures and make memories like everyone else.  Dropping her off and making sure I didn't embarrass her on her first day.  Anxiously waiting all day to see her and ask her, as I did every day "How was your day!" -- she always complained when I did this.  I would always tell her "Trust me, there will be a time that you will be glad that someone loves you enough to ask about your day".  I'd usually get a smarmy pre-teen reply from the girl who was way older than her years, but after a few minutes, she would start spilling the details of her day, this was our routine.  
This is one of the things you don't think about when you loose a child.  After the shock wears off and you are left with the dull ache that you carry with you.  That you're going to see your child's friends grow up and do all the things that your's was supposed to do.  And it's one of the worst kind of hurts, because you are happy and sad at the same time, and sometimes you just don't understand how that can be.  You don't want your friends to have to walk on eggshells around you, and not celebrate their lives to spare your feelings.  But you don't want her to be forgotten either.  So today I dream about the beautiful young lady I can only imagine she would be, and celebrate along with my friends.

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.