Children are resilient. But they are also vulnerable and trusting. They believe. They hope. They try to make things right.
Jennifer always did. She fought. She hoped. She trusted.
Children are supposed to be innocent.
I stole my 4 year olds innocence. .. Another piece of it at least.. I had to rip more of it away from him.
I get told not to put my grief on them. To not misplace my feelings as theirs. They are so young they won’t remember. They barely knew her .. or never knew her. That my kids are innocent.
But they aren’t. Cancer. Her death. Lack of funding. It stole their innocence. Charlotte was only 9 months .. and Bridgette wasn’t even born yet. ..
The boys decided to donate their birthdays to Unravel. Instead of presents from friends they asked for donations they could make to save other kids.
One thing that matters to me a lot in Unravel is giving people the ability to fundraise in honor of their own fighter.. The “her” in “#forTHEMbecauseofher” that means the most to them. So that when you want to fundraise aka give us 12.. then you can choose what kind of pediatric cancer you want your money to directly impact. Honor funds or bake sales … or like my boys just did, donating their birthdays.
For my boys that “her” is their sister.. and themselves. Because when we went to the bank yesterday we talked about where they wanted the money to go and they said Jennifer’s type of cancer. So their 500 dollars will go to a lab fighting DIPG. But you can choose whatever kind you want your money to directly fight..
Nicholas was very intense in his want for that. .. Jonathan was excited about it, he seemed to get it and it seemed to me that he had some joy in his ability to fight back.
They are each so different in their reactions and needs right now. We work hard to juggle them both. We talked about how they are working to save other kids from having to experience what they do .. what they are.. after losing Jennifer.
We got in the car. And I turned it on to our family song for her playing. A popular song 2 years ago so we don’t hear it often was playing. I told them I thought that was sissy’s way of saying thank you. As we drove out of the parking lot Nicholas spoke.
“So mom .. Now Jennifer can come home. ”
This wasn’t a question. It was a statement. It was a knife to my heart. It was his innocence and want to make things right vocalized.
I gagged. Literally fighting back the urge to throw up and cry.
“No buddy. Heaven is forever. Jennifer will be there forever..” he cut me off
“But why? Why can’t she come home? Why do some kids have to stay there forever?
I’m not even sure what I said as he would throw out these grenade questions. I know I explained that the good news is when we get to heaven we will never have to be apart again. I know I tried to explain that because death is forever its even more important to try to do something now. That that is the reason we work for Unravel.. to save other kids and families.. even though we can’t help Jennifer we can help other families.
And because one day they will be teenagers we talked about why its important to make good choices to keep ourselves safe…because death is permanent.
I tried to explain that there is nothing we can do to bring her back to us.
I know I admitted that there is so much I have no idea about when it comes to heaven. But there is so much I believe…like that she finds ways to send us signs. ..
We went to the cemetery yesterday as a family. We smashed glitter filled eggs on each others head that we made for her birthday. We all had our favorite candy in her honor and I told them stories of their big sister.
I tried to share stories… I had so little. I am horrified to admit I struggled so hard to think of stories. I can talk about her in broad strokes. Her love for water, for her siblings and her fierce independence. But I struggled to come up with stories of moments.
Jonathan and Charlotte wandered away quickly. Off to explore in the playground I never imagined them having.. a cemetery. Nicholas however.. he paced around us. Quiet and listening. Until he said still looking down ..
“When are you going to tell me a story about ME and Sissy?”
This was a question. One that hit me with a similar slice as the day befores statement. Because it was laced with both hope and doubt in my ability to tell a story of Nicholas and Jennifer. I understand him more than I want to admit.
its me too baby girl
i think i have the same hope
when will i have done enough
to bring you back
..until there is a cure..