Read personal stories from our founder and Jennifer's mommy, Libby, along with other Warrior Moms and news from our Unravel team.

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my son

September 15, 2014

Swollen and puffy.. red rimmed eyes. I have adjusted to this new face in the mirror. .

Jonathans 5th birthday was Saturday. five. The same age Jennifer was for the last good times of our lives. 5. In a year from now he turns 6 and 3 months after  that .. please please please.. He will be older than his big sister.

That doesn’t even seem possible.

He woke up missing her. So very much. We all did.

I remember worrying about my kids growing apart from friends.. worried about what it might be like for them to not have the friend they most wanted at their parties.. Never ever did I imagine this..

His first without his best friend. ..


His 4th birthday.. the last celebration we shared before we knew she had cancer. I can’t help but look at this and wonder was it already hurting her and I didn’t know it?

At one point during the day Nicholas started talking about his birthday next year. I looked at Tony and with all honesty realized “we have to do this again next year.” Somehow I thought I just had to make it through their birthdays and party.. then I would be done with it.. I forgot.. this would be year after year..

Always without his best friend.. the person he most wants to be there to celebrate with him. She will always be a no RSVP.

sorry buddy.

jrbday7We tried to make it a great day for him. He wanted to go bowling. Specifically the place we went for Jennifer’s post radiation party. Tony and I had a out loud internal debate.. How much should we talk about Jennifer. .. But he seemed to really want it. Seemed to eat up me telling stories about her. I talked to Tony about our need to start watching videos of her. For me and the kids. Its a huge trigger for Tony.. but I think the kids and I need it. So he showed me how to find them to watch them.

I love how much Nicholas cracked her up. He did this same dance this time.. hope she was laughing all over again.

I love how much Nicholas cracked her up. He did this same dance this time.. hope she was laughing all over again.

I will try it tomorrow.

Before she died we sat down together and bought a bunch of gifts for the other kids. Looking back now.. did she know? She only asked for a few things that day for her. But was so happy to look online for gift after gift for her 3 younger siblings.  For his birthday Jonathan got to open the first of those gifts. I figure I have enough for 2-3 birthdays and 3 Christmas mornings. He just hugged it. The box of stars that she picked out for him. He wanted to immediately go put them up in his room.

They had a good time bowling. Even though a big part of me wanted to do something else.. we went.  And I had a good time too. .. with her tucked safely in my purse.. and so many memories of her swirling around..

He had said earlier in the week he wanted Red Robin for dinner. I cried when he said it. I tried not too.. but I couldn’t help it. It was her place. The only place she could eat out. It was the only place we ever went to.. I used to feel sorry for us because of that.. Sorry that my boys never knew any other restaurants .. now I am stuck feeling guilty that I can’t stomach taking them there. .


Luckily after bowling he asked for Gilroy Gardens. That we had done.. that was feasible for me. So we went after naps. Still missing her.. still talking about her.. but this time he tried a ride. And we did the petting zoo. She used to love petting zoos.

We had talked before about how they used to play in the baby water area.. how I used to take him and Jennifer there just to play in that area.. Its why he wanted to go there. To run in the “frog water” . So thats how we ended the trip. Smiles and fun.. and another attempt from our newly 5 yr old boy to include his sister.

I can’t help but wonder if Jennifer and Charlotte touched the same goat years apart












We dropped off the other 3 and just Jonathan and I fluttered.  We ate a quick dinner and put the candles on his cake. Then we got to watch his big sister sing him happy birthday. . over and over again. All 3 kids seemed to absorb her. I wish I had known to do that more. To have her sing and talk and say our names on camera. I miss that.


This morning I woke up to his pain. He was so full this morning. Of rage and sorrow.. of a deep deep anguish. And when it was done. I looked at him.

At the same face I have become accustomed to in the mirror and I cried.

This time not for the loss of my daughter..

but for the loss of my son.


…until there is a cure…

  1. Linda says:

    Happy birthday Jonathan! Sending hugs, love and prayers to all of you.

  2. Emily says:

    This morning I sob with you. I am so sorry. ♡♡♡♡♡♡

  3. Krista Lund says:

    This sucks and my heart hurts while I am also so angry! I wish I could do more. I am trying, Libby for all 6 of you. Libby, Tony, Jennifer, Jonathan, Nicholas, Charlotte.

  4. Esther McKee says:

    Libby, My heart breaks so much for Jonathan. So much I wish I could do for him. Jonathan is such a sweet little boy and it just hurts that he has to experience this. I’m so pissed off right now for Jonathan. I just dont understand and even if I was given the answer it would not be good enough. I think about Jonathan so much. I always say a little prayer for him. Maybe its because of the picture you sent me of him and the dragonfly pin that created a little spot in my heart for Jonathan. I just wish I could take his pain away. xoxoxo

  5. Nancy says:

    My heart hurts so much for all of you. I am so amazed how you all face each day without Jennifer. It brings me to tears each day. Some days I have to slowly read your blogs b/c I just can’t fathom your hurt. I hurt for my mom as an adult child. How your children deal with this ache is just amazing. Whatever you’re doing keep going…

    God Bless..

    Happy 5th Birthday Jonathan! I am pretty sure Sissy was smiling down.

  6. Amy says:

    Once again your words remind me to enjoy my children and remind me to put into perspective what is really important.. As well as finding a cure for these nasty horrible cancers. I am sharing your blog with everyone I know in order to use media to get the word out. I will also be doing my own form of fluttering for your organization. You are awesome and are doing great things.

    On another note. Happy birthday to Jonathan. May you a have a blessed year.”

  7. Amanda Santos says:

    Happy birthday to your boy! I’m so sorry these days are filled with so much pain. I think you are doing an amazing job for all of your children. As usual, you are all in my prayers.

  8. Crystal Navarro says:

    It’s surreal….I have two children who have now surpassed their oldest brother in living years (13&12), and my youngest son will be turning the same age Jonah was when he got diagnosed (10). And it’s “only” been three years since he passed away. My youngest daughter was only 4 when he died too….She’s 7 now……it just doesn’t feel real sometimes. Time no longer makes sense to me……

  9. Happy Birthday Johnathan. I hope that future birthdays will not be so sad for any of you. Its hard on these sweet babies because they were all so close. It saddens me that that you are going through this. Maybe someday down the line it will be a bit less painful. Jennifer was a beautiful little girl that loved with all her heart and she left a alot of love behind. Treasure the good times with her and just keep talking to her brothers an sister about her. It might help them not miss her so much.

  10. Linda Blundo says:

    Happy Birthday to Jonathan. My heart hurts for all 6 of you. I love you all. I will continue to do. To raise money in Jennifer’s name and her memory. In her honor. Until there is a cure. #LOVE4JLK FOREVER 6 ♡

  11. Jessica says:

    My heart breaks for you all and especially Jonathan today…always thinking of and praying for you all.

  12. Leah says:

    Sending love.

  13. Kerry Fenwick says:

    I hope you had a really fun day Jonathan 🙂 The bowling looks like loads of fun
    I bet your Sissy was looking down.

    Libby & Tony
    You guys do an amazing job as parents and you totally did your absolute best for Jennifer-I am sure she knows that.

    xx Kerry

  14. Kristen Tredrea says:

    Happy birthday Jonathan. Such a brave and beautiful young man.

  15. Lyndee says:

    Happy Birthday to Jonathan. Big hugs to all 6!! Sending lots of love & prayers that we can unravel pediatric cancer. XO



  16. Lisa Jack says:

    I wish I had advice; instead, I offer up my most heartfelt prayers.

  17. EMailman says:

    She picked out future presents for her siblings???? This girl. This girl. JENNIFER.

  18. Tina says:

    Thinking of you, Jennifer and your family always. Sara barrelis came on while I was reading this post. I think Jennifer may be fluttering all over the place.

  19. Kristen says:

    No words, still reading, still praying, still sending all my love! xoxoxooxoxoxoxooxxoxooxox

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