I’ve always loved the holidays, I’m a geek for happy stuff like this. While I don’t hate the thought of the holidays or the anticipation of watching my boys enjoy their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins tomorrow or decorating the tree or ripping through their presents on Christmas morning; the last few days have been tough.
They’ve been tough because instead of figuring out which gay little outfit I’ll put my boys in for the annual Carmical Christmas card…I’ve been trying to figure out what is the appropriate thing to put on Declan’s grave for Thanksgiving and the Christmas season. Nothing seems right but I guess that shouldn’t be a shocking revelation to me. I’m also trying to figure out how to keep him part of our celebrations over the next month without it being a sad cloud hanging over what I know will have joy for us…being together. I guess we can’t avoid the sad part in whole but I do hope it’s not a cloud that takes the sparkle out of the boys eyes….or ours for that matter.
Gosh that sounds terrible…it is sad. I should be sad, Declan died. What’s more sad than that? But frankly, it’s a part of who we are. I guess that’s kind of my point, it’s part of who we are now and I’d like to think we can miss Declan (like we do everyday) but still find the joy in the holidays. In each day since he died, we’ve been able to do so. Oh sure…some days are much harder than others (like the last few days) but there is joy in each day, if we’re open to seeing it. Even if the window opening to the joy is being pried open with a crowbar, you can still see through. ;)
I’d also like to offer up a suggestion for folks who will be finding themselves across the table from someone like us who has lost a loved one or special friend. Let them know you understand it will be tough for them and you want them to know you are there for them, in whatever way they need. It truly is as simple as that. In the moment, those words are very powerful and supportive in ways I hope you never have to learn…by simply letting the person know you didn’t forget. BTW, this advice transcends the holidays…hint, hint. ;)
Beyond that, can I ask you a favor? If you haven’t already, will you tell your family Declan’s story?
Will you tell them about the little baby you know from Virginia who died of cancer in August?
Will you tell him about our resolve to Journey 4 A Cure?
Will you ask them to tell his story when they go home and then ask that person to do the same?
Will you do it for all the brothers and sisters who, instead of fighting over the wishbone tomorrow, are heading to the hospital to visit their sibling…or worse, visiting the grave of or remembering their brother or sister during this holiday season?
Will you tell them, even though it might not be a comfortable conversation, remembering it will be 1000x more comfortable than hearing, “Your son/daughter has cancer.”?
Will you tell them because we want to make a difference and we want to start now?
Will you tell them because we learned today of another 6 month old boy from our area was recently diagnosed with AT/RT?
Will you tell them because we want this to be viral, we want it to be strong and hard and fast…not unlike the cancer that consumed Declan.
Will you tell his story and tell them about Journey4aCure.org?
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family…we’ll be praying and giving thanks for all of you tomorrow (like we do every day).