As I sit here and try to comprehend the year that we have had, I am struck with the rolling emotions we have felt and endured. I will try as best I can to encapsulate it as I, myself, am still trying to wrap my brain around it.
2010 was to be the beginning of a new era for the Carmicals…we were coming out of the “parent fog” which seemed to surround us after the first few months after baby…much less two!…as well as caring for our older two. The economy, while still tough, was turning around; the world was ours and we were ready for it!
We were stir crazy after the “snowmaggedeon” in the early months of 2010 and with the H1N1 looming, we had kept pretty much to ourselves to protect our little men, especially the preemies in the crew! Early March the weather seemed to “break” and we headed outdoors for a nice stroll and some fresh air. The all American family…just like you, living our lives and ready to take on the world.
As I reflect upon this pic… I’m not sure if they were freezing or roasting :0)
Two days after this picture was taken, Declan was diagnosed with his cancer and our lives took a turn we could never have predicted. In the days and months that followed, we watched in horror as our baby was put through major surgeries, poked, prodded, struggled with chemo… it’s just too much to even try to recall. All the while, we existed as a fractured family… half at home, half at the hospital. Wow, this is not at all what we thought 2010 would bring.
But we made a decision to live for today and to enjoy every piece of what life was being given to us in the moment. Honestly, some of those moments were beyond the worst but some of them were beyond the best. We made decisions which we will forever be grateful we made…
…to give Declan a fighting chance and try the Dana Farber protocol which gave us 5 more months with our darling Declan.
…to go to Houston and be together as a family while Declan went through his 6 week radiation regime. Time that ultimately allowed our boys to bond more and us to know some semblance of a family life in the midst of a terribly fracturing time.
As you all know, Declan’s cancer returned and we were unable to battle the beast any more. We lost our sweet Declan on August 18th. The months that have proceeded from that moment have been some of the most dark of our lives. There truly are no words. It is unthinkable and indescribable to those who have not lost a child but through it all we have been rallied and supported by such amazing people. It seemed the joy mirrored in Declan’s eyes, came shining back at us in the eyes of those who love and followed his little life. You will all never truly understand how all your efforts…both small and large…have helped us survive. We are so very grateful. Again, there are no appropriate words to express our depth of gratitude.
We ended our year pouring our hearts, filled up to the rims with grief and an unwavering love of our boys (you see we do this for Declan but we do this for Will, Brady and Cole…so they know life may not ever be what you thought it might be but you can still make something better out of what you have); we pressed forward with the formation of Journey 4 A Cure. The outgrowth of Declan’s Journey. His journey is now in our hands and encompasses his story, all the others currently battling and sadly those who will learn their fate in the coming days, weeks and years. We know this will be our lives work. We know we will always push forward and fight hard…just like Declan.
As today closes, I ask you for your help (the asking part has never been easy for us). Would you join us? Will you walk with us to help all the families and kids? And if you are still contemplating a last minute donation, would you consider Journey 4 A Cure? To help us make the difference we know we will make.
I wish you all a wonderful New Year…our first year without Declan in our arms but knowing he will always be in our hearts… and yours. May God continue to bless you all.
Happy New Year!
Journey 4 A Cure is in the process of assessing where the funds raised will provide the greatest impact towards finding a cure for pediatric cancer; details are forthcoming. Our goal for the 1st quarter is to award a significant grant to research programs and to provide assistance to families affected by pediatric cancer. Thank you for your continued support as we get up and running.