7 years

I want to avoid writing. I want to avoid feeling.

Last night we got together again with family to .. well just be together a year since Jennifer was diagnosed with a incurable form of cancer. .. DIPG. A cancer that is vicious and cruel and leaves no survivors. Waking up today I was .. well I was a bit hung over . . but also felt so strange and off. Because I have lived this before. I have lived Oct 29th before. I have sat down at my computer and written via caring bridges about our journey on these days… Unreal..  yet so real. One year since I became a full fledged cancer mom. In a lot of ways today was harder than yesterday.

her first night in the hospital. I took a picture so I wouldn't forget. I had no idea this would become our normal.. the way I remember her now..
her first night in the hospital. I took a picture so I wouldn’t forget. I had no idea this would become our normal.. the way I remember her now..

That day.. the 28th.. which also happened to be.. or rather should have been her 7th birthday. One person reading my blog said she thought it was just 7 years I have loved her..

what truth.

She will never be 7.. or 10.. but for each of those years.. and many more I will have loved her.

7 years of my life.. spent loving and thinking about my Jennifer. 7 years I have been a mom.. but my oldest child is only 5.

7. I can’t even imagine her at 7. I try. I want to.. but I can’t. The number 7 just seems so foreign to me.

Pictures of Jennifer with her extended family were hung up in the entry way at my sisters house of the party. At one point I was looking at them and almost called out to Jennifer.. to come see a picture and what a goof she was in it.. to see if she remembered what I had told her that day..

 

But then I remembered.. the birthday party for the girl that wasn’t here.

shaving her cousins pink painted head on her last birthday
shaving her cousins pink painted head on her last birthday

Those moments. Those blissful seconds I have forgotten are amazing. Although the crash afterwards is quite dramatic I am thankful for them.. I will grieve those brief respites the day that ends.. Today it was the halloween buckets from last year and the plan to use them this year.. but as we got them out I looked and thought.. oh wait this won’t work only 3..

.. then I remembered .. we are back to only 3 trick or treaters again. .. internal peace followed by internal war.. The parts of me that just don’t want to know.. don’t want to remember the horror we are living everyday.

 

Today in counseling I realized how numb I am .. To so much.  I miss me. I miss my old depths. But I just cannot feel the joy.. the happy, the love way I used. Its not a total void of the emotions. No like the one time I struggled with some postpartum issues. because then it was just like I was a empty cavern.. and I am not that.

Its really just that my sad.. my pain .. it is so big nothing else can be felt in its shadow. It fills up and consumes me. I carry my grief with me.. it is in everything I do. We talked today about how that is so different than how it is for Tony. And even so different than the way I seem. Even my husband didn’t know how shallow my well of joy is.

this describes my emotions in a picture
this describes my emotions in a picture

I can smile. I can laugh and I most certainly love. But its not vivid. Its duller.. and distant and feels very much like I am experiencing  it from the distance of a cold dark tunnel.

We did candles for her birthday. All of us. I was worried about how long it might take to light all those 35 or so candles but people passed the flame from cupcake to cupcake. .. we wished her happy birthday.. made a wish and blew out our own candles.

7yrs

Candles shone in a darkened room

to show you..

to remind us

about the 7 years

7 years you have been loved

I love you more and more every day.

and I still will

every single day..

’til I see you again

7yrs3…until there is a cure..

20 Responses to “7 years”

  1. Mother’s never stop loving their children. Nothing changes that. Especially not death.
    I pray that you all continue to find some way to make October 28th as joyful as possible. So many of us learn from you and follow your example. I shared about Jennifer again to all of my classes and encouraged them to so something nice for someone in her honor. She was spreading her glitter all around….I hope you all felt at least a little of it. I know it is never enough, but I still hope you felt it.

  2. The picture with the cupcakes gave me chills, it is so special. Based on what you write and the pictures, you have an amazing support system around you.

  3. One day I will learn not to read this before work. Libby, you will always love, in fact you seem to love harder and harder every day and that is such a beautiful thing. We celebrate Jennifer every single day, in many ways….your Glitter squad…and i thank you for sharing her with us and allowing us to do so!

  4. Hi. I stumbled across your blog because I was in search of a blog with writing similar to mine. I wanted to tell you that I am so moved by your writing and I am so sorry for your loss. Cancer is a disease that just takes and takes. I would love to do something or raise money in honour of Jennifer. She seems like she was full of light. It was so brave of you to share, and I hope you continue to share. Your story is an inspiration to me, and it pushes me to try and do everything I can to help find a cure. Sending you all my well wishes. x

  5. Libby, while I know your pain, your ache, and your numbness will never truly go away, I do hope that one day you can experience some joy again. I know this constant ache in your heart will never go away, and I know you feel like you are drowning in it, I only hope you feel all of our love and light trying to lift you out of the fog, if only to catch your breath.

    She was no longer wrestling with the grief, but could sit down with it as a lasting companion and make it a sharer in her thoughts. ~George Eliot

  6. My heart hurts for you. Your pain is so evident and understandable. Although you feel it will always be like this I am praying that someday your pay will be a little less. I know it will never go away because that will never be. She was your first born that you waited so long for through miscarriages and adoptions failing. You worked hard to have her and because she was taken away from you so young the hurt is too much. I imagine it would be the same for any child that you loose because we never think we are going to outlive our children. But through all the pain you still function with your 3 other children. I hope that with doing unravel and seeing progress will give you some sort of comfort to know that your are fighting towards a cure so this terrible monster will no longer threaten anyone else. We are all at risk. Even though I don’t have a young child I may have grandchildren one day
    and they too can also be victims of this monster disease. That is why I will do all I can to be part of this journey you are on to help find a cure. Jennifer I know is so proud of you and what you are doing. She is smiling down and saying thats my strong and loving mom. She will always be present in your life. Although you will not be able to see her, touch her you will always will feel her presence in your life and I am sure she will give you signs to let you know. My prayers for your family are that God gives you comfort each and every day and that you will feel her presence especially when you are feeling so much hurt and pain. Hugs to you and your precious family.

  7. Thought of you and Jennifer and your family this whole week but especially these last two days. I don’t have any words that will help most likely, but I’m still reading, still praying for you all, still thinking of you, and still talking about Jennifer. We love you!

  8. The fact that love transcends death is a beautiful and hopeful thing. Death cannot destroy love. Tears hugs and prayers for you xx

  9. I just wanted to drop a few lines on your blog today to let you know that I am praying for you, Tony, your children and your extended family every day. I think about Jennifer often, although I never had the pleasure of meeting her. Honestly, until I found your blog (in about January, I believe), I never thought about pediatric cancer. I have a 4 year old daughter, but the thought still didn’t dare cross my mind. Jennifer changed that. Because of her, and through your writing, I have found a new mission in life: spread the glitter. I do not have a lot of resources, money, time or knowledge…but until my dying breath, I will spread the glitter…let people know the cruel truths of pediatric cancer that most people have no idea about. Until there is a cure…JLK was up against an unfair battle. She may have lost the horrid battle, but she will WIN the war. I have total confidence in the fact that her tumor donation will help cure DIPG, if not childhood cancer as a whole. You are right…her birthday just doesn’t feel “right” because she, herself, isn’t older. Sadly, her birthday now has a new meaning. Her birthday from now on here on Earth will not be a day for her, but rather for you and your family…now it is a day to remember how long you have loved her, your precious daughter. That will never, ever end. So celebrate each and every birthday…I know that she was smiling down upon you as you celebrated her special day with her loved ones. God bless you and your family.

  10. Jennifer is the luckiest girl in the world to have this love for 7 years and counting and loving you all right back.
    Thinking about all 6 of you.
    XO

  11. Oh Libby…I don’t have words now to express how I feel seeing the photograph of everyone holding up their cupcake. Your family is so big and so loving…and I wish there was still one more there.

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