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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June 15, 2015

Another little boy died from DIPG.. well so many have.. but one in particular. He looks eerily like my boys. And his mom and I have gotten very close. His name is Wyatt Norell. He was just a baby really.

I have been awash in so many emotions in the tail end of his struggle and since he joined my Jennifer. So surreal to be on the complete other side of equation. .. With my phone in my hand.. volume turned up and heart constantly in my throat waiting for the phone to ring.

The first time I talked to her on the 12th.. they both now will eternally share that number.. I hung up and collapsed in my kitchen. A sobbing mess. My boys came into me. And just hugged me. Looking at me with such love and concern. “What is it mommy?”

So I told them. A little boy is preparing to move to heaven like sissy. And I am just so sad for his mommy. And for his sister. .. He has a sister Jonathan’s age.

“oh. I understand mommy thats a good reason to cry”

“I know. But remember we are doing something about it. One day son.. we can make it so this doesn’t have to keep happening. That’s why we do things for Unravel right?”

I think I asked so that he could reassure both of us.

“yes mommy yes. Im going to go play now.. c’mon bubbas.”

“yea lets play family. ”


I had a Unravel meeting to go to. For the first time ever though I didn’t go.. Because I just couldn’t do it.

I wanted to do right by Leanna, his mommy. I wanted to help her. I wanted to say and do the right thing. But I am lost as to what that is. Because this is so different than other parents. Because I already care so deeply for her, for her husband and both of her children. I suffer for them. Obviusly it kicks up Jennifer stuff.. but this is different because I also just cry tears for them.

So I did my best to honor him. .. by enjoying my living children. By finding a way to make them laugh.. and squeal in delight. I watered the grass by hand and let them get soaked. Their giggles reverberated into me.. shook me a little. And allowed me time to be with them and cry silent tears.. talk to my daughter. Ask her to welcome him home. Ask her to take care of him like she always did her little brothers.

I shouldn’t have to ask a 6 year old to take care of a 3 year old in heaven.

I made them put on a little bit of clothing and we watered the front lawn too. Then came in for bath and bedtime.

I love that you can see Jennifer's roses in the background of this picture.

I love that you can see Jennifer’s roses in the background of this picture.

I tucked them in and sat and waiting.. When my phone rang again… it was different than I imagined. I have never heard that sound .. I have made it but not heard it. .. not what you think.. it was..

Euphoria. Contentment.  Ease.

In the most *un* all those things situation imaginable. It shook me. It tore me down harder than I was prepared for. . and I thought I was pretty prepared. Because I miss that. The smell of her still on me. . my hand still able to remember the way her heart felt under my hand. And the last days of being complete.

I think this horrific a loss cannot be consumed all at once.. or even right away.

Pieces absorb in as time passes. I think right now I am just starting on the final piece of it.. The final bit of the reality of my daughter being dead is now becoming fully revealed. .. or maybe not.. maybe a year from now I will think -now I finally have it all- I don’t know.

But I know the euphoria after. The sleep deprivation hitting.. the lack of food and water tolls hitting and our minds ability to insulate us.. from the unimaginable depths of the dark, the swirling waters of child loss.

As we hung up the phone Tony walked in the door from a day of golf.. and I grabbed for him. Violently. Clawing at his back and yelling my cries into his shirt. And then I just looked at him. We communicated so much with so little said.

He vividly remembered that euphoria too. And misses it. The peace it brought with it.

We sat outside.. just together. Remembering then.. longing.. wanting.. wishing..

And I texted Leanna .. worried I hadn’t said or done the right thing. Wanting her to know how desperately I cared.

So damn surreal being in these shoes now. Watching and wanting to help .. unsure exactly how. Because though some things are exactly the same..  much is so very different.

I fought the urge to jump in the car and drive to her. .. because that urge was more about me than her needs. I know she was well taken care of right then.. But one day I will.. one day I will jump in the car and drive to her. I have to trust Jennifer will let me know the right time.

So now I will grieve.. apparently loudly and deeply. For Jennifer always.. and again and again.. And for Wyatt. . because there has to be a first and I really hoped … even believed a little .. we could make it be him.

I’m sorry Tony. Jonathan. Nicholas. Charlotte. Our dandelion wish. I’m sorry Leanna, Bryan and Lilly. I’m sorry I can’t save any of you from this. ..

i’m sorry jennifer.

i’m sorry wyatt.

i’m just really sorry.


wyatt1…until there is a cure..

  1. Lori B says:

    Bless you, Libby. Without you, I would not know about Wyatt. About this precious life that matters so very, very much. I am sad now. I go to bed grieving with Wyatt’s family, and with you. But I’m glad that I know. So I can pray and share and be aware. Thank you.

  2. Doris says:

    Libby I can’t imagine how surreal this must be. I know Wyatt’s family has been blessed to have you with them in this way. Dang it shouldn’t be happening again. Thank you for introducing Wyatt to us and sharing his sweet smile.

  3. Janis says:

    God Bless.

  4. Laura says:

    Thanks for sharing Wyatt for us. Each new child who has taken from cancer breaks my heart. I seriously don’t get people aren’t screaming about this and changing the world really fast…but I’m glad for people like you have taught me and helped me to tell others — and though slower than it should be — things are changing…just not fast enough. Wyatt is beautiful just like Jennifer.

  5. Karen Zoucha says:

    I have been following Wyatt as well. Sadness. Crying up prayers for you all. I will be active!!!

  6. Meg says:

    I’m so sorry Libby, again so sorry. I always wish there was something “more” to say. On a happier note, The picture of the kids wet outside, Jonathan has your face, looking up in contentment with such love. He looks just like you.

  7. Kristina says:

    I followed Wyatts story because of you and I fell in love with that little boy just as I did Jennifer. These last weeks have been so hard to see him and his family suffer. Thank you for bringing them into my life so I could send them love and strength during their time of need. You are an amazing woman and mother to be there for Leanne during what I imagine is her worst nightmare.

    Still sending lots of love and light to the Norell family, as well as the Kranz family.

  8. Kristen Tredrea says:

    I want to write. To let you and Wyatt’s mum know how much I care. How much I wish you both had different stories to tell. But words feel painfully hollow and inadequate and I too am scared of saying the wrong thing. Just please know I care and i am hurting for you. But i promise to use that. To do my part in ensuring that one day soon childhood cancer and dipg will be eradicated completely

  9. Melissa says:

    I also wanted to believe that Wyatt would be the first survivor of dipg. Every time I checked his page, I longed to hear that he would be cured. I do not understand how there is not more public outcry to cure dipg. It is just so heartbreaking and angering to hear of another child getting diagnosed with dipg, fighting an unfair fight, and suffering so horribly before being completely stolen by this vicious cancer. My prayers are with you, your family…and the families of all the children who were stolen by this killer.

  10. Debbie says:

    I too followed Wyatt, and so many other DIPG children, some gone, other’s still in the fight…we have to make it stop, we will make it stop, cause if it hurts so bad to open my heart to children not my own, and cry for every loss and every broken- hearted parent, sibling, grand-parent, Aunt, Uncle, cousin or loved one; I can’t even begin to comprehend the pain it causes for those previously mentioned. It already takes my breath away <3

  11. Georgina says:

    Wyatt looks very like my son too, and I believe they are only a few weeks apart in age so it was easy for me to get attached. The night before he died I dreamed of him. I dreamed that he was slowly getting better. He started to breathe easier and to swallow. He started to blink and smile and communicate better and finally got mobile again. I dreamed he was running and laughing. I woke up Friday morning positive that it was real. I still can’t believe it wasn’t real. I keep asking God to give him back, to give Jennifer back, to give them all back. I wish I could get them back for you. More than anything.

  12. Erika M says:

    I’m so sorry DIPG took another child. Dear Wyatt looks like a sweet child and indeed like your boys. My heart hurts.

  13. Linda Blundo says:

    My heart goes out to Wyatt’s family. Im so sorry Libby. Jennifer, Wyatt and every child who had to go thru this will always remembered and we will find a cure. ♡

  14. Esther McKee says:

    Wyatt was just a baby! I am so sorry and Angry that DIPG took another sweet little child. This is not ok! My heart just breaks all over again for Wyatt’s family and for the entire JLK Family.

  15. Lisa Jack says:

    Oh I so wanted it to be wyatt too. He was doing so great so the hope was there. All of them and your entire family are in our prayers.

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