There is a huge misconception about me that I need to fix. Although I take action to correct it every time I am faced with it and have even written about it here, it is clear to me that I have not done a good enough job. So here goes…
Journey 4 A Cure is not in any way a success because of me. Journey 4 A Cure has become a success squarely on the shoulders of my sister-in-law, Beth Collingwood. It is her long hours and tireless effort that has made Journey 4 A Cure a success. Almost 100% of what you see online with Journey 4 A Cure and through Facebook is not me, it is Beth. They are her words, not mine, you read each day.
Beth is a tireless supporter of Childhood Cancer and has created an amazing testament to the love of her nephew through Journey 4 A Cure. She has created a foundation in less than one year that is making a difference in the lives of children and their families battling this horrific disease. Truly inspirational and she deserves that recognition. Please give it to her when you see her next.
As far as me, well, I don’t understand my inability to focus my energy on making this difference. I mean of all people, right? I started with the best of intentions but in the end my contribution is negligible. People approach me and tell me what great things I have done and I correct you each and every time. Maybe you think I’m being gracious…I’m not, I’m being truthful.
There is another misconception that I show up at Childhood Cancer events to stand in the spotlight and bask in a glow of success that doesn’t belong on me. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I show up to honor Declan. Period. I show up as a show of respect to all of you for your support of Declan. To in some way relay how grateful we are to all of you who came to know and love my son through Declan’s Journey. To thank our family and friends who have supported us in ways we will never be able to repay. I/we tell Declan and my family’s story in the hopes that it will impact one more person to act.
I wrote a daily digest of my son’s experience with cancer. Initially it was done to update our family and friends on Declan’s status. Through the retelling of his day, I wrote my thoughts about what I thought he might be feeling or what we witnessed that day or what he went through or about things I couldn’t fathom happening to babies and children prior to March 9th, 2010 or about my/our fears. I never meant it to become what it did but then, selfishly, I kept writing because it meant more people were praying for Declan. He needed every last one of those prayers…so I wrote.
Your words to me about my strength and what a great mother I am is the thing that makes me least comfortable. I am not strong; I am just dealing with something you pray you will never have to. I didn’t have a choice but to be strong…for my son. I’m not a great mother because I did that…anyone would do that. Mother’s are supposed to be there for their children and protect them at all costs. The one thing I couldn’t do was protect Declan from the cancer that ultimately took him from my arms. I will live the rest of my life grappling with that fact.
Please don’t post to me your disagreements about my assumptions about myself, they are what I believe. I don’t want you to fix them; it is my job to work on them. I don’t want to be told how strong I am, or was, or what a great Mom I am. I have never been comfortable with that. I don’t want to sound ungracious, I’m not. It is just hard to marry my thoughts with your words.
I have met some amazing people on this journey with Declan so I welcome you to come talk to me. Truly I do, because each time it brings Declan back to me for those moments; but let’s talk about Declan and how amazing he was. How he enjoyed his little life (or about Will or Brady or Cole or the Redskins…whatever).
Lastly, please give Beth the credit she so richly deserves. It is an amazing thing she has done.