Father’s Day sucks. Walgreen’s sucks more. Cancer sucks most of all.


How is it possible that two whole weeks have elapsed since I last wrote you? I guess so many things have been unfolding in my life, that the days continued to pass by without me really knowing which end was up. Despite the buzz of activity, the ache of your absence has not dulled – not even a little bit. You are the first person I think of before my eyes open each morning, and the last person I think of before I fade into a semi-slumber each night. I think of you at least one hundred times in between sunrise and sunset as well.

The end of the school year has arrived; in turn, summer has officially commenced. It makes my throat tighten when I spend too much time thinking about how we should be spending summer. Can you imagine how super-duper excited we’d have been to be together every moment of every day? No work for Momma. No day care for Diddy. The Dynamic Duo would have spent our days ruling the world. Even though you are not here physically, you are with me wherever I go.  I have always heard that having children makes you see the world in a whole new way.  Nothing could be more true. My entire universe was altered when you came into my life, and made me a Momma. I view the world in a far different way than I knew possible. I have slowed down to better absorb my environment; I pay attention to the wonder around me; I notice little things, and ignore big things.  Most of the time, I think about how you would interpret what I see, hear, and smell. I picture you smiling at passer-bys, waving at puppies, pointing at airplanes. I see you running through grassy fields, and tiptoeing through warm sand. I imagine your raw excitement and genuine curiosity in new surroundings. I revel at the notion of your innocence in everything you touch and everything you do. Wherever I go, I carry you with me Paxton.

Yesterday was Father’s Day. Like most ‘holidays’, or notable days, in my head I remove the word “Happy”. It was not a “Happy Father’s Day”. Let’s be real and call it what it is: “Father’s Day sucks ass when your only child is gone.” Maybe I should embark on creating a new line of greeting cards for bereaved parents? Every time I see a card for the “Happy” holidays, I want to tear them in half and stick a piece of chewed gum inside. Our little family should have been together celebrating the absolute honor and sheer joy of Daddyhood.  Alas, we were not.

I spent a big part of the non-happy day replaying and rehashing Father’s Day last year. We were discharged that morning. As with all “discharge days”, equal parts excitement and anxiety filled my bones.  You were wearing your Ado(red), red, onesie from the Gap, and you were extra smiley. It was as if you knew that it would be your first and last Father’s Day with your Daddy, and you made sure to turn on all your charm.  In hindsight, it makes perfect sense: that is quintessential you – the ‘Peace Bringer’.  Father’s Day marked the last time we would leave the hospital with you in our arms. Father’s Day also began the stretch of time that Walgreen’s pharmacy began to further torture you. Because they are the biggest asshole fuckwads of all time, they filled a prescription which they had no business, and no knowledge, in filling. They did so merely to do what they do best: make money through preying on consumers who are in dire need of their of over-priced, inaccurate, ill-preppared prescriptions. (Don’t believe me? Do some research.) Going into detail will only further incite me, and make my stomach turn inside out and come up my throat. Just know this, I still haven’t stepped a pinkie toe into one of their establishments.  Despite their Monopoly build-a-store-on-every-major-street-corner-in-America business approach, I swear to you, I never will again. I still do my fake spit…twice….every God damn time I see a Walgreen’s – which is a lot because as I said, they’re on every blasted corner in America. I get the most satisfaction, however, when I run down Oklahoma and do an actual spit onto the driveway of the very Walgreen’s that royally screwed up your prescription. In fact, I start to save up all my spit once I pass under 794…as soon as I hit the property line of that wretched place, I hock the biggest, gooey, wad of runner’s spit right onto their punk ass driveway. I hate them.

I digress, last year on Father’s Day, Erin and Dan helped you and I set up a surprise for your Daddy. They stashed a cooler full of Bloody Mary mix, vodka, hella fixings, a 12-pack of beer, and snacks to boot. In hindsight, my behavior was glaringly unacceptable. We were enjoying a Bloody Mary – and cancer was raging throughout your tiny body. When I think of how oblivious I was, I want to throw my head against a wall until I’m unconscious. I will never forgive myself, Sweet Boy. Never in one million years. I can’t imagine the pain you endured every single hour of every single day. I cannot fathom the agony that filled your little bones and tiny limbs. You couldn’t say, “Momma, my head is pounding. My tummy is sick.” or, “Don’t hold me that way, it makes my arm hurt. This way makes makes me dizzy.” All you could do was whimper and cry…and let Momma fumble all around trying to guess what you were so desperately trying to tell me. I’m sorry I guessed wrong sometimes. I’m sorry I made you eat when you were nauseous. I’m sorry I covered your eye with that patch. I’m sorry I put Biotine in your mouth, and made it hurt worse when it didn’t help at all. I’m sorry for all of this Paxton.

I will never stop asking, “How?” “Why?” “When?” “What if?” I just will not. I don’t care what anyone says. I won’t “get over” losing you.  How could I? I am your Momma.  Protecting you was my job. I failed miserably.  Nonetheless, I am intent on hunting down your killer – and taking it to task. The good news is, I recently acquired a partner in crime. I met her through cancer and this blog. She is a bad ass, and she says the F word even more than I do. (Promise.) Two Mommas are more powerful than one; especially us two. Together, she and I are going to change the world of childhood cancer. You wait and see little boy.

Thank you for being my son. Thank you for coming to me. Thank you for letting me know you are, in fact, still with me wherever I go. You are the best little boy in all the world.

I miss you. I love you.

shot through the heart.

Stay with me, Sweet Boy.



4 thoughts on “Father’s Day sucks. Walgreen’s sucks more. Cancer sucks most of all.

  1. Danna, You never failed him not for one minute or one second of any day. You absolutely need to move away from that notion and let yourself be the wonderful, loving and imperfect mom that all of us are. I hate the notion that good parents have good kids and bad parents have bad ones or especially the notion that because someone’s child/children do something, like sleep through the night, it means they did something right as a parent. Bullshit….95% of the time it just means your kid is a good sleeper. People love to be right and righteous, but that is not the truth. You saw it so clearly in your little Paxton, personality and demeanor is there in the beginning, from that first cry.

    You fought through an insurmountable battle using every weapon in your aresenal that was available to you and to everyone around you. You gave him everything he needed, when he needed it as well as giving all your reserves to those around you. You were amazing and as perfect as anyone could be. My mom loved to say that hind sight is 20/20. Who doesn’t want to go back and change the way we did something or a decision we made or failed to make. But we can’t and even if we could there is no guarantee that it would change a thing.

    Being a parent means learning that so much is out of your control. We drive ourselves crazy trying to fix things or make them just so for our kids and we fear their first letdowns and we ache in their disappointments. But here is the thing, as much as we feel like they are an extension of us or a reflection of who we are, they are not. Learning that separation and letting them go out and learn for themselves has been and still is one of my hardest lessons. Learning that I can influence, if I’m lucky, but cannot and should not control them has been my parenting journey. Knowing that I will be judged by their success and failures by some, but also knowing that I can only set the scene and open as many doors as I can to help guide them through, but that I cannot control which door they choose. I get to raise the kids I have and not the ones I may have dreamt they would be. You learn to love and adore them for who they are and to let go of who they are not. Then you start to learn to do the same for yourself and for those around you.

    Seek out the strengths, the thousands of things you did right, then take the rest and tuck them in a drawer or let them go only to be looked at if you find yourself or someone else in the same place someday. You are a mom, an imperfect, messy, out of control at times, crazy at times, swearing most of the time, throw in the towel mom. We all fail, we were not given magic powers with motherhood, but it’s in those dark moments that we find our greatest strengthes. You are Paxton Andrews mom, a warrior momma, and the one person in this whole world he chose to be his mom forever. God bless you and those thousands of things you did and continue to do perfectly right!

    Love you, Nelle

  2. You and Maya are going to kick some serious ass…I have already fallen in love with sweet Paxton as I did with Ro..sending just love and CANCER you suck!!!!!!!!!

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