Hail. Hell. And a good-night song.

Paxton,

Momma is so very tired. I haven’t been sleeping well again…for many reasons. One of which being that I long to be near you so badly that the pain in my bones and the ache in my soul keep me awake. In one million years, it could never rival the pain you endured, little warrior; but it hurts all the same.

The weather has also been obstructing me from sleep. Sunday night we had a hail storm. (Are you processing this, Paxton? A HAIL storm, in Wisconsin, at the tail end of January. I rest my case. The world is a hot ass mess.) The hail came down, so heavy and so fast, that I was sure the west side of our house was going to give way to the beating and collapse. Daddy & Lucas had relocated to the other bedroom earlier in the night, so it was just Giraffey, me, and the hail. As if on cue, my tears began to pour down too; not because I was scared the house would collapse – in that moment, I would have welcomed it. My reaction was most certainly primal in nature. I was crying because I wanted to be stirred awake by the hail…but, remained in the ‘mom-stealing-sleep’ state of awake, as I waited for your cry. I wanted to have to will myself, against exhaustion, out of bed. I wanted to amble down to your room – without even needing to fully open my eyes. I wanted to reach into your crib, wrap you into my arms, and hold you until your sobs subsided. I wanted to comfort you from the storm. I wanted to tell you it was going to be okay, and know for sure, that it was true. Times like these are when the silence of your absence is most deafening. I will never quite be able to explain the sheer torture which accompanies being your Momma from so far away. To make matters worse the chap your ass cold, which has followed the hail storm, hasn’t aided in the sleep department either. Cold has a way of heightening my (chronic) fear that you are not warm enough. I realize this fear is somewhat (heavily) rooted in my own issues with never being quite warm enough. Regardless – I worry you, too, are cold.

As the days draw closer to your birthday, I am drawn closer to Hell. The memories of last year at this time have been flooding my consciousness. I have been recounting snap-shots of the final weeks of my pregnancy with vivid precision, which has been bittersweet. On one hand, I have caught myself smiling – yes, smiling. I have smiled on the outside (like using my facial muscles and all), as moments come back into my mind. On the other hand, I feel like the walls are getting a little bit closer, and the air a little bit heavier with each passing day. The bottom line, I am so completely dreading February 12th, that when I forget to concentrate, I almost throw up. In fact, I had a very close call in Follo’s office today. I didn’t even realize it happened until the look on his face registered in my very, slow processing brain. When he asked ‘what the hell was wrong with me’ – I couldn’t come up with a lie quickly enough. So, without really intending to, I flatly admitted, “I almost puked. I’m sorry. Don’t worry, I’m okay now.” He sat frazzled for a few counts, before suggesting I go get some pretzels. So I did. (Poor guy. I am sure by now he has asked for a stipend to deal with me on a day to day basis.)

Last year at this time, I was almost 38 weeks pregnant. During the final two weeks, one of the things you and I spent a lot of time doing was picking out the songs for Baby’s Birthday Playlist. It was the compilation of songs we played at the hospital while you and I were in labor. I spent hours and hours searching the internet, iTunes, Daddy’s iPod. You spent hours and hours giving me thumbs up or thumbs down on each song….via kicks and jabs – serious ones – not ‘flutter’ ones. In the end, our hard work payed off. We came up with the most perfect list.

Speaking of music, and of you, here is your lullaby for tonight. It is by One EskimO. As you know, they are the group who sings “Amazing”, which was the song playing when you arrived, and were placed safely in my arms. That being said, I am hopeful you will like this song too. The animation is so stinking adorable. But, listen to the words, sweet boy; they do a beautiful job conveying all I am feeling tonight.

You’re in every little thing I touch.

I miss you more…today…than ever before. And, I love you even more than I miss you.

Stay with me, sweet boy.

xoox

Momma

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“Together we can be Superheroes”.

Dearest Diddy,

Today is your super, best, cousin-friend’s fourth birthday. I am sure this is old news to you…given, I have a feeling you spend a good amount of time watching over Finny.  Do you know that every time I think of Finn, every time I am in his presence, every time I wrap him in my arms and kiss his sweet little cheeks – I swear my heart inadvertently stops beating?  My heart is already broken into a million pieces making it somewhat of a delicate engine, but that is not the cause.  There is something about Finn that gives me the feeling that I am as close to you as I can possibly get.  It is not because he is the youngest child in our family’s brood, who happens to be a boy. It is not because there is something magical about Finn.  It is not because he, like you, has “been here before”. All those things are, in fact, true.  However, it is not what makes me feel almost as if you are near.  Rather it is the kindred spirit which was quite clearly shared between you and Finn.  The connection between you boys never went unnoted by any one lucky enough to watch you two interact.

Finn, by nature, doesn’t always show his soft side. He most definitely has one; he just keeps it on reserve for special times – and special people. Yet, when in your presence, Foo instantaneously transformed into the most gentle, caring, protective version of himself. Outfitted with a perma-grin, and an adult hand containing his innate, and uncontrollable desire to be exactly-on-top-of-you, Finn was in his happiest place when you were near. Make no mistake, Paxton, Finn Avery was your biggest fan. (Not counting Momma.)  The adoration was mutual. He got a smile, accompanied by unbroken eye contact – and even a giggle out of you on many occasions. I am certain, as you got a little older, the two of you would have been named President & CEO of each other’s Fan Club.

I am not oblivious to the fact that the dynamic duo of “Diddy & Foo” would not have always been been a love song and a puppy dog. Momma is no fool. (And either is Lala.)  Each of your personalities are too colorful, your spirits too unique, your wits far, far too quick to have ever been left unsupervised for long.  Oh, the trouble which would have found you boys would have given our family material to share (and strategize over) for many years.  Although I may not have been able to let you know as much – I would have loved every.single.minute. One of my theories about little boys: the spicier – the better.

There is another reason my heart stops beating when it come to matters of Finn. It is because I am unable to deny the fact that I am looking into the eyes of another little boy who was cheated by asshole cancer.  I fear he will live his life with an unshakeable sense that something, someone is missing. I worry that he will feel a phantom ache as he reaches for your absent hand.  I agonize that his wit will dampen as the questions compile – and the answers remain obsolete.

I apologize if sharing my fears about your four year old, best friend ever, is making you feel badly, as that is most certainly not my intent sweet boy. I guess once you are an adult, you can’t help but to worry and fret…even if it is over things you ‘can’t control’.  You especially worry and fret after everything that used to seem completely irrational – like your perfect, beautiful, miracle child being diagnosed with cancer at the age of 12 weeks and 3 days – becomes your unescapable reality.  I think being an adult automatically puts us at a disadvantage in seeing the beauty and hope that surrounds us.  Either way, I am merely venting.  I know you wish you didn’t get cancer. I know you wish you were here to share more time with us.  It all makes me so sick.

Momma is probably over-thinking things. Sleep deprivation, grief, and the inability to track down cancer and rip its mother fucking throat out will do that to the best of us.  Maybe I should focus on the magic in Finn seeing the things he sees, and the “imaginary” people and events which he insists are around him. Maybe, I should focus on the joy which surrounds my beloved nephew as he walks in the wonder of Childhood while it lasts.

Perhaps, however, I should simply accept the fact that Finn is…just special.  And that alone should allow me to “believe” a little again. Perhaps, I should trust that he will be able to navigate the rest of his long, healthy, & happy life with a perma-grin because you remain in his heart.  Perhaps, I should take solace in the fact that he will not need to search for you because he will have your hand in his pocket, and your wit in his shoes.  Perhaps, I should piece two broken pieces of my heart back together because he will not be plaqued by questions  – which have no answers – for you will whisper in his ear all he ever needs to know.  Perhaps, I should take a lesson from a child today, and believe your confidant when he proclaims, “…together, you and he, can be Superheroes”.

May you both live happily ever after.

Foo & Diddy

Foo & Diddy

Stay with me, sweet boy.

xoox,

Momma

Go for Gold.

We are so close! Let’s not stop now. Let’s not stop at 25,000. Let’s blow this out of the water. Do it for my sweet boy. Do it for the 7 warriors who ended their fight with cancer today. Do it for the 46 children who will be diagnosed tomorrow. Do it … because it’s the right thing to do.

It is time for The White House to join this fight. It is time The White House lead the way in bringing awareness to Childhood Cancer. It is time The White House light up GOLD in the month of September.

This should have happened a long time ago. I’m still astonished how simple awareness has continued to slip through the cracks. Did you know George Bush Senior, had a daughter who died from Leukemia? I believe she was almost 4 when she ended her fight. Heartbreaking, right? You would think the personal devastation of the most powerful man in the world would have been the impetus in putting childhood cancer on the map. We had not one, but two President Bushes who could have done something brilliant…something huge. But as far as I can gather, not much was done. So here we sit now, begging for a petition to get the signatures it needs in hopes that The White House will say YES to lighting the White House GOLD for the month of September. This is not something we should have to beg for. I begged for the life of my beloved Paxton. Begging for signatures just seems silly, but, I am not above it.

I hope President Obama, takes a stand on this cause. I hope the First Lady gets involved too.  (I love you Michelle – but kids are not dying left and right due to childhood obesity.) Do kids with childhood obesity have to go through harsh chemo treatments meant for adults? No, they do not.

Yes; I am begging for signatures on a petition I don’t even know if The White House will approve. Here I sit, at 3:30 in the morning, unable to sleep – tears streaming down my face not ONLY for the loss of Paxton, but for so many other beautiful warriors as well. All I am asking is for Childhood Cancer to be as recognized just like the other cancers out there. All I am asking for is for the color GOLD to be recognized just like the color PINK. Just make it equal. Why isn’t it already?

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/light-white-house-gold-month-september-honor-pediatric-cancer-fighters-and-bring-light-cause/syV6M6wX?utm_source=wh.gov&utm_medium=shorturl&utm_campaign=shorturl

Thank you all who have signed and shared. Please continue to share with anyone and everyone.

Tears of Gold

(I love you Paxton.)

Warrior Momma

Holding Me Down

Sweetest Diddy,

Tonight, I cannot bear my pain. Tonight, I want to give up.

Nights like tonight, I find myself playing, this song over and over again. It rocks me to my very core. The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that Gabriel Kelley was a bereaved mother in his past life. (There is no other explanation for him taking the words out of my mouth and creating one of the most beautiful songs ever written.) Despite the darkness expressed within the lyrics, the song itself brings Momma a sense of peace. As it plays, I don’t even have to close my eyes to envision you tucked in my arms on that warm, afternoon in late June. It was one of the most painstaking, yet endearing, days we endured together. I am not brave enough to recount the extent of your discomfort ; nor is it necessary. Alas, after 24 – 36 grueling hours of unrelenting agony, you and I found temporary refuge in your bedroom. I am not sure why, and fear you may have simply grown weary from sobbing and/or from the unwavering aches and pains, but you found comfort enough to let your cries temporarily subside. So there we stayed, rocking as one, for five beautiful, unabridged, unforgettable hours.

We covered a lot of topics that day. We shared secrets, dreams, fears and wishes. We listened to music on my iPhone, and sang other songs I made up on the cuff. I vividly recall the view outside your bedroom window of the summer sun disappearing behind the horizon. I remember pleading with the sun, through tear-filled eyes, to find a cure for you before coming back in morning. As the bittersweet afternoon morphed into evening, I mindlessly scrolled through my phone, while simultaneously rocking you. I came across a link your Uncle Stephen posted on his Facebook page. Accompanying the link, a brief statement explaining that while at Gabriel Kelley’s live show, (the song) “…brought me to my knees”. Your uncle is one of the most brilliant, introspective, kind, and gentle souls I know. When he speaks, there is bound to be meaning in his message.

This incidence afforded no exception. Without uttering a single word, Uncle Stephen (and Mr. Kelley’s genius talent), unknowingly relayed the most life-altering news. The anger, the fire, the smoke, the heartache – – the reason it was hard for me to breathe – – could no longer be denied.

I hope you remember that day with even the smallest bit of fondness. It would be selfish for me to ask for it back; as you were in far too much pain. Yet, I would give anything to hold you in my arms, feel your skin against mine, and listen to you breathe.

I wish you didn’t get sick. I don’t know why this all happened. I will never, ever forgive myself. I am sorry. I am sorry. I am so, so sorry.

I miss you. I love you. I hope you are warm enough.

Stay with me, sweet boy.

xoox

Momma

Sorrow: masqueraded with a smile.

Little Diddy,

Momma is bursting at the seams with pride, thus needing to talk far too fast for Daddy to keep up. So I need to bend your ear to tell you about all the wonderful things that have been happening. (If you are busy, just smile and nod while you pretend to listen. I understand.) The past few days I have received so many unexpected messages which have made me smile. Each one of them were about you. It takes a whole lot of super-packed power to make Momma smile…especially on the outside, these days. You have managed to do the trick, at least three times in three days.

On Monday Ms. Sara told me about an extremely kind donation, accompanied by an even more endearing message, Team Paxton received from a man named Nick. Nick has a heart of gold. Momma went to high school with him, but he graduated with Lala. (My guess is it won’t be long before you notice the trend in people reigning from Cudahy and this heart-of-gold quality…just saying.) To remind you, Nick sent a bucket of goodies to CHW in June when we were inpatient. I was stunned to learn he knew of your diagnosis, but more so that he took the time to find, purchase, and send a goodie bucket filled with nuks, squeaky duckies, and crochet hats all the way to Wisconsin just to let you know he was thinking of you. Over the weekend, Nick made a generous donation in honor of your upcoming 1st birthday. He has a beautiful daughters of his own, lives out of state, hasn’t seen me in 20 years, and never had the good fortune of meeting you. Yet, your indomitable spirit has impacted Nick in ways I am certain he could not even explain. When you have a chance, can you please watch over Nick’s beloved little girl and see to it that good things come her way?

Yesterday I received an email from Lisa, the Patient Care Manager at CHW. She wrote to let me know that the hangers Team Paxton purchased for the floor have served as a tangible, and cherished, example of how ‘…little things make such a big difference’. She too is moved by the way in which your impact on this world continues to persist, despite your far too abbreviated time here with us. She and I have a plan in place to help purchase a (much needed, highly coveted) blanket warmer for the HOT unit floor. Do you remember how much you loved those warm, toasty blankies…especially after imaging, transfusions and surgeries? As you already know, there are no blanket warmers on the HOT unit. The warmers are only downstairs by the CT scans, ultrasounds, MRIs, and at the MACC Clinic. Momma always did her best to sweet talk the nurses into getting you one when proximity allowed. Or when Nurse Renee was on hand to hold you tight, and keep you safe, I would go on a commando mission and find a warmer unit (tucked in some secret cubby, in a dark hallway, behind a “Staff Only” door) and ‘borrow’ one for you. I didn’t mean to be defiant; I just needed things to happen faster when it came to making you comfortable. Nonetheless, once we were trapped on the HOT unit – no warm blankets were available. I know you agree – that was some serious bullshit.

Tonight may well be the most touching message I’ve received yet. It came from a complete stranger. She learned of you, your brave fight, and your beautiful soul through an interview Ms. Sara and Ms. Kate did on Morning Blend earlier this fall. Unable to shake the impact you made on through a t.v. screen, and a few still-shot pictures – which encapsulated your contagious smile – she contacted Team Paxton. She is a mother of a precious little girl, Clare, who was born on February 12th, 2012. Just like you should be, Clare is turning 1 next month. Her request: permission to ask the guests coming to Clare’s 1st birthday party to make a donation to Team Paxton, in honor of YOUR 1st birthday, in lieu of buying her daughter a gift. I cannot yet articulate the array of emotions this gesture bought to my soul. Among them – honor, endearment, jealously, sadness, joy, love, spite, curiosity, anger, resentment, happiness. For tonight, I will focus on the most positive of all – which only your life spark can continue to bring me – unexpected and uncanny pride…accompanied by a smile.

Sad Smile

I am so humbled and honored to be your Momma, Paxton Bowe Andrews. I do not suspect I will ever understand how I got to be lucky enough to have you as my son. I wish there were some way I could have protected you from cancer – not to mention all the inhumane, unacceptable, torturous procedures I allowed to happen to you in your brave fight. None of it is right. Not one single thing. Thank you for loving me despite all of my many flaws. I promise to love you until the end of time…and forever and ever after.

Thank you for making me smile, My-My. Though it is merely a temporary mask for my pain ~ it is still a smile. And it is for you.

I will look for you in my dreams.

Stay with me, sweet boy.

xoox

Momma

Burt’s Bees & “Little-tiny-bear” Kind of Day

Lil Diddy,

There’s one good thing about it being a weekend…besides not having to get up far too early for someone who falls asleep about 20 minutes before her alarm goes off. On weekends, I allow myself to use your Burt’s Bees Lotion on my chest (right over my heart). Having a scent of you with me all day, makes me feel a tiny bit closer to you. I would use it every day, except that Burt’s Bees made the only bad decision ever – and discontinued the particular lotion. Right after you were born, your genius Nana went gangbusters and bought every bottle she could find – on eBay – even though they were five times their original price. Today, however, is one of those days where I let myself bend the rule a little. I used your lotion on my entire body. I am extra sad today; therefore, I need extra more of you with me. I also stole Little-tiny-bear from your room and put him in my purse. Little-tiny-bear was a late comer to the scene. He arrived in mid-June, but you sure loved him. Not only is super soft and snuggly, he was just the right size for you to grab onto and hold in your hands. Little-tiny-bear stayed with you when I left your body at the hospital on July 2nd. He stayed tucked under your perfect, beautiful hands until Daddy and I picked you up from the funeral home…in a box. Little-tiny-bear was placed in the box right next to you, just as the funeral director promised.

I am still so mad at myself for leaving you at the hospital. I don’t remember leaving – I only remember I didn’t want to. I do remember making Daddy go back into the NICU room to get Giraffey and your potato blankie from Britta. I insisted he get your stuffed animal & a blankie – but, I didn’t insist he go back into the room and grab you. What kind of Momma thinks like that? I guess one who is having an out of body experience because her beloved son just died. But I still will not forgive myself for it. Another thing that tortures me about my behavior on July 2nd is that I didn’t bath your precious body – – one last time.  Even though your spirit had gone, your body was still there with me.  I should have bucked up, pulled myself together, and been a Momma. Instead, I asked your favorite girlfriend, Nurse Renee, if she could do one more favor for me and give you a bath. Of course she agreed. But, Nurse Renee is not your Momma. Nonetheless, she was the last one to give your body a bath. In turn, she put the last diaper, and the last outfit, on your precious body too. I am so sorry, sweet boy.

Daddy and I are going to run errands today. We are going to go in and out of the house, the car, and the stores without juggling 18 things that came along with transporting you with us. I hate the ease in which I can come and go from place to place. I long for the days when it was necessary to invoke super-Sheerah powers in order to remember, carry, and balance the bottles, diapers, blankets, bags, change of clothing, nuks, Giraffey, car seat…and my most precious cargo of all – you…everywhere I went.

I wonder what you would have done today to make me throw my head back, laugh out loud, and thank every angel in the world for sending you to me.

Thank you for being my baby. I love you. I miss you. I hope you are safe.

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Stay with me, sweet boy.
xoox,
Momma

It will take an eternity to break us

Diddy,

Ms. Whitney unexpectedly passed away the day before you were born. In a state of disbelief, our nation sought comfort through revisiting some memories of her glory years.  Whitney’s most infamous hits made a resurgence on the music scene.  It was a bittersweet experience.

That being said, it wasn’t really my fault that this song became one of “our” ballads.  Again, I apologize for streaming it through our iPad a little too often, and for singing it a little too loud.  It’s just that I was clinically delirious from falling head over heels in love with you…and, I just so happened to mean every single word.

Because it’s been far too long, and because I’m still head over heels in love with you, this is your song for tonight.

Stay with me, sweet boy.

xoox

Momma

 

Call my understudy – this role sucks.

Paxton,

I think today was the perfect day for me to have stayed in bed and boycotted my participation in the real world. I hated every second of today – starting with saying good bye to you while scanning your room and (yet again) being bombarded by my unbelievable reality …cruelly reinforced by the sight of your freshly-made crib, abandoned ‘size one’ diapers, and deprived, staged stuffed animals.

Because everything about today would only make me say swear words on top of swear words, I need to skip telling you about it. I made a promise to myself that I will keep my swearing to a minimum in each entry. At least, I promised myself I would try.

Over the weekend I solidified a starter-plan for your first birthday. I think it may have been harder than planning your memorial. Aunt Lala and “Magic Meg” did most of the planning for your memorial – i.e. “the most fucked up day that should never have had to happen”. I was in shock, merely watching myself in a (very bad) made for t.v. movie…as I blindly assumed a lead role, which I never tried out for, much less reviewed the script ahead of time. Thank goodness for Lala and the entourage of lovelies in her wake, for I know not how we’d have pulled one minute of that day together. At this point, the shock of your absence has worn off; but the reality of it is just not setting in. Regardless, I simply cannot NOT participate in planning my baby boy’s 1st birthday. Other than the day you were born, this is a day I have looked forward to for as long as I can remember. The “dysfunction” of planning a birthday for my only child, who was stolen from me (after being slowly tortured) by cancer…at the age of 20 weeks and 1 day…is not lost on me. I get it. It’s unnatural. It’s unbelievable. It’s unorthodox. It’s kind of like your 12 week old son being diagnosed with cancer. So, between you and me Paxton, I certainly hope people hold their judgements about my ‘psychological instabilities’ behind having a birthday gathering for my dead child for someone who gives a shit. I’m unwillingly trapped in a D-List version of my old life. If my behavior is so disconcerting that anyone feel it necessary to psychoanalyze my motives in group talk, or generate phone tree conversation to concoct the best way to approach me with their ‘loving concerns’…I urge them to take a less circuitous route – and call my agent. I cannot, will not, simply refuse to allow your birthday to come and go without proper recognition. You are my baby; you also happen to be my hero. Therefore, you deserve the very best. And, the very best you will get.

Daddy and I decided we would like to remember the happiest day of our life (the day you were born) by gathering all your special earth angels for an afternoon of quality fare, sweet melodies, fond memories, pure love…and, of course, some therapeutic libations too. As you watch us come together, I hope you will recognize we do so not because of any one of us has the strength, will, or desire to overcome the fact that you are gone. Rather, we come together – despite your absence – because we are collectively driven to remain united through the strength of your spirit, courageous of your soul, and purity of your love. Diddy, you alone have the ability inflict a change in this world. I have told you this before; yet, I realize that because I am your Momma, you assume I couldn’t possibly know what I am talking about. You just wait and see, little boy. Your birthday gathering will be beautiful – and powerful…much like you. Afterwards, when Momma proves, again, she knows ‘what’s what’, you and I will talk about other plans I have for that uncanny power of yours. Don’t worry baby, I will be with you every step of the way. You and I are in this ‘change the world’ thing together.

It is time for me to go up to bed. Daddy went up almost two hours ago now. I am beyond tired, yet dread ending the night – much for the same reasons I dread starting the day. I will walk in your room to kiss you good-night, touch your warm little head, pull the blanket you kicked off back up across your tummy, whisper in your ear how proud I am to be your Momma…and sneak as many kisses onto your cheek before (accidentally) stirring you awake (and getting in trouble with Daddy). Instead, I will be met by the familiar heavy silence and somber absence which greeted me this morning. Intellectually, I (almost always) know it’s coming. It takes my breath away nonetheless.

I miss you. I love you. I hope you are warm enough.

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Stay with me, sweet boy.

xoox

Momma

11 months…and my bad dreams are better than my brutal reality.

Paxton,

It’s hard to believe it was just eleven months ago today that you made my heart, my soul, my world whole. It’s all hard to believe.

I had a dream last night. It was a perfect reenactment of the day you were born.  I was in room #4, with Daddy, Lala, Nana, Grammie…and, even nurse Jenny. Except, this time, when you came out the doctors and nurses wrapped you up in those little, white, baby blankets and carried you away.  They didn’t let me hold you. They didn’t even let me see you.  I tried to get out of the hospital bed to run after you, tried to scream your name, scream for help. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t speak.  Suddenly, everyone else was gone too.  I could hear their voices; but I was alone.  Not surprisingly, the only person I wanted to find…needed to get to, was you.  In a panic, I couldn’t get myself unhooked from the hospital bed.  (I know those beds like the back of my hand. I spent so much time strapped into one when we were there together in late November, early December – hooked up to monitors, belts, and alarms. All eyes were on you, Paxton; everyone was watching and tracking you…no one more closely than me.)  The whole bad dream scene startled me awake. For a brief moment, I was actually relieved to realize it was a dream. The next moment, however, I realized you were still gone.  Hot tears began to stream down my cheeks. I wanted to run down to your room, just to be sure. But, the pain in my heart reassured me I wasn’t dreaming anymore.  Somehow, my real life is far more disturbing than my bad dreams now.  In attempts to anchor myself, I did the only thing that helps me survive those long, dark, frightening nights: I rolled over and held onto Daddy as tight as I could.  Sometimes, when I concentrate on his breathing, I am able to cry myself back to sleep.  Thankfully, last night was one of those times.

I spent most of the day trying to erase the dream from my head. I didn’t tell Daddy about it.  It’s obvious the dream is a parallel with how I amble through each day. Therefore, I didn’t find the need to psychoanalyze it.  You were here. You were real. You were mine. Without permission, right under my watch, cancer stole you out of my arms. I couldn’t run after you; I couldn’t scream for help; and, despite the army of love surrounding me, I am alone in this pain…which is holding me hostage. Most of all, I ache to be with you.

I wish I could have seen your face, sweet boy.  I won’t stop looking.  I know you will come visit when you can.  And, I will be here. I will always, always be here.  Say the word, and I will come running. Not a dream, not 100 straps and alarms, not an army, not even asshole cancer will stop me this time.

I miss kissing you on the very inside of your neck.  I miss everything else too.

Stay with me, sweet boy.

xoox,

Momma

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Stupid people scare me more than zombies…or ganstas, so there.

Diddy, Cancer is stupid. And people are stupid. I try to ignore the stupid people of the world the best I can, but as it turns out, I am not good at it. I guess because I’m still human. I wish I were a zombie. Then maybe I wouldn’t be bothered by stupid, ignorant people. I would just rip their hearts out and eat them, perhaps making them feel a fraction of the pain I feel on a daily basis. Auntie Kupa would be jealous; she would rather be a zombie too. Sometimes the stupid people of the world say stupid things like, “Oh, I know how you feel, because when my mom died….we ALL have the flu this week – you can’t imagine the chaos…my son had his tonsils out and it was tortuuuure…my boss made me have the worst week of my life”. Please hold on a minute while I rip out your brain; as it turns out you’re not using it. Thankfully, your good, pure, kind Daddy is here to talk me off the ledge “…everyone else’s life has not stopped just because ours has…that IS a crisis to people who still live in our old world.” I am not ignorant. I am aware other people are suffering to make it through each day. In fact, I know there are even many, many other moms and dads who have lost a child. But guess what? They didn’t lose you, Paxton. So there is no comparing or justifying. You are you, and you are mine. Therefore, nobody else knows the depth and breadth of this pain. This pain is my own, this sadness is my own, this loneliness is my own. I would never tell another bereaved parent, “I know how you feel.” Because I don’t. I understand some aspects of their heartache, but simply put, no two losses are comparable. It’s something that goes without saying amongst we “bereaved parents”. A certain understanding exists between the moms and dads pretending to live without our beloved children. Grieving Parent Street Code – I guess. (Admit it Diddy, it makes you smile to learn your Momma has turned out to be a little bit gansta.) The silver lining of today is the rainy gloomy weather. At least I have that going for me. First of all, it’s mid-January and 50 degrees…which is helpful in supporting my case that the world is truly becoming more fucked up by the day. And the rain adds just the right dirty, muddy touch to help express how I feel, without me having to say a word. I was even able to take a break from the tears on my way to work this morning. The rain strummed on my windshield, and the fog muddled my vision just enough to cry for me a bit; so I let it. Then I arrived at work, where I have to put on my fake, half-smile. Today especially sucked because I was trapped in a conference room filled with people who I can’t, and won’t, let into our world. When I’m at work, I have to use all of my strength to push the sobs creeping up my throat down to my tummy. I am better at containing throwing up than I am at containing sobs. But, I don’t want to push down the sobs anymore – just because the stupid people in the conference room wouldn’t get it. I want to drop to the fetal position and kick the shit out of the stained, blue, itchy carpet and tell everyone, in between sobs, that I am the one who needs inpatient treatment – not the kid who is there because despite loving America, proving so by saluting all things red, white & blue, is trapped in shackles and, therefore, can’t run from the bad guys who are chasing him. I wonder how different this world would be if we all acted the way we felt really felt instead of hiding everything behind our lip gloss and faux professionalism? I’ll bet it would be a complete mess; but at least it would be a TRUE complete mess, versus a FAKE and insincere mess. Truth be told, I’m not much different than my student who was ‘committed’ (again) today. Everything I say – or think, but don’t say (not because I’m trying to be polite, but because I’m too damn tired) is far from normal. I realize, and own, that I am filled with extra, spicy anger; but it goes beyond that. I don’t think about normal things anymore. No matter the conversation, no matter who it’s with – all I think about, as I lose track of what I’m supposed to be listening to, is why you got cancer. I play the game that I am so good at playing: it was the eye drops I used, the supplements I took, the physical therapy I made you go to at far too early an age. It was the changes of formula, the (way too much) Karyo syrup I (accidentally) gave you for his (non) constipation. I made you too hot from all the blankies, let you cry too long, laid you on his side instead of your back. When you were misdiagnosed; I didn’t push the doctors hard enough; I let the shock suppress my instincts to question and challenge. Mostly, I fear I simply may have determined your destiny long before you were born by choosing your name – Paxton. Daddy insists there is nothing I did other than love you just exactly the right way. He reassures me ten times a week that we did everything we could have possibly done to save you. He insists, repeatedly, the outcome would have been the same, no matter what. I still don’t believe him. (Somehow, your sweet Daddy keeps loving me all the same.) Everyone tries to pacify my “guilt”. I guess I have little credibility due to being the irrational, traumatized, broken-hearted Momma. I don’t need credibility though. I just need you back. That’s all, really. Goodnight, my love. Should you run across zombies or gangstas, tell them you are my baby; they will protect from the stupid people. I will look for you in my dreams. Stay with me, sweet boy. xoox, Momma Gangsta Love