a bears voice

The holidays have come and gone. We survived.

But I don’t really have time to catch my breath. Because now the countdown begins. To the official start of our 3rd year without her. That thought makes me choke and gag. Its a horrible notion.

its my vile truth.

2 years ago right now I still had some hope. That maybe.. maybe my Jennifer would be the one. The first to beat this thing. That we would have time for more memories and experiences. That we made all the right choices. Choosing to try radiation. To have Tony keep working so we could take that time later on .. to be with her while she was healthy not in treatment.

We would try to meet once a week for dinner. She so desperately looked forward to those meals. Now living without her I can imagine how much Tony did too..
We would try to meet once a week for dinner. She so desperately looked forward to those meals. Now living without her I can imagine how much Tony did too..

I will always carry a guilt that I think I pushed for him to do that… To work while I took care of her medical needs.. then take time once we came home again.

But by then it was already too late. He missed nearly 2 months of her last 3.5 months of life..

I wonder if he will always blame me a little for that too?

Our time together those 7 weeks.. Just us girls, Jennifer Baby Charlotte and Mommy
Our time together those 7 weeks.. Just us girls, Jennifer Baby Charlotte and Mommy. I am eternally grateful for it.

She was just so little .. and such a big fighter. I couldn’t imagine her not being bigger than this thing. We were at Stanford. The best of the best doctors .. How could they not save her? How could we not have that time? I just didn’t know. I guess maybe I couldn’t have known. It was too big.

it still is most days i think

I think she did though. I think she always knew she was getting worse. But I wonder if she knew what not getting better meant.

I have so many questions for her..

I don’t want to wait my lifetime to have them answered.

Im tired of kissing a headstone and saying sorry to a block of granite. I want to hold her hand.. feel her long fingers interlocked in mine and say sorry to her. I want to know if she was scared. I want to know if I did the right things. I want to know .. to know her still..

The matching bracelets I made us to keep us connected when she started school. I miss that hand.. more than I ever would have imagined possible.
The matching bracelets I made us to keep us connected when she started school. I miss that hand.. more than I ever would have imagined possible.

All I know is the memories. .. the recordings.. the pictures.

We gave the kids their build a bears she made them on Christmas. She made them with my sister for all of us. I had to walk around the mall so she could surprise us with them. She loved surprises and she loved shopping! She picked out every single accessory for each of our animals, I can’t even imagine what Auntie paid for them.  And she locked her voice inside each one.  Her sweet love for each of us.

Before I was "kicked" out.

We gave them to the kids and now its their nighttime ritual. To press their animals hand to hear their sister speak to just them. But they are careful how much they do it.. Because we are all scared for the day the technology gives out. And these fucking stuffed animals become like our everyday.

She so proudly and carefully picked out just the right ones for everybody.
She so proudly and carefully picked out just the right ones for everybody.

We push and we reach for her.. But we can’t hear her anymore..

So we limit our usage.. to try and stretch it out. .. We know that her voice is precious. And we savor it. We inhale it. We try to feel it with every ounce of our being.

But not Bridgette. She wasn’t here yet. She will never have a picture with her sister. She will never get to hear her say I love you.. she will have no Jennifer coined nickname.

I hope that’s ok for her. I hope I can help her through those struggles. I hope I can help her know she was so very wanted and never meant to be a replacement for her oldest sister.

A mix of those two things.. my fear to lose her voice and the guilt that Bridgette doesn’t get it has stopped me from taking mine out of the box yet..

so now I’m guessing

what do you say to me

i love you mom

or

mommy or

mama?

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…until there is a cure..

 

 

 

 

 

 

16 Responses to “a bears voice”

  1. Oh, Libby, I’m right there with you. I have the same questions. Maddie was in the hospital when she passed away. She was having surgery for a g tube and I believe, mercifully, the tumor hemorrhaged and she just never woke up. She was in a coma for about a day before she died. Did she know we were there? Did she hear me talking to her until I was hoarse? Telling her how much I loved her and that she didn’t have to fight any longer. I would make sure her sister, Mom, Dad and I would be ok. I’m trying to move pass the stage of replayinig her last 72hrs over and over in my head. Did I do everything I could so she wouldn’t be so scared? She never showed fear before. She was such a trooper. Never complained. Accepted things as they happened and as they were. Always smiling, laughing and doing whatever made her happy. Adults could learn a lot from a dying child . . .

  2. Your pain is so raw and all I can say is that others care…we think of all of you and admire that you can move forward despite it being impossible. I pray that answers surround us all one day…

  3. What a truly powerful sign that last beautiful photo is… ” Hear me”… Open your bear Libby..it’s ok.
    Still here..still reading & remembering your sweet baby Jennifer.

  4. Libby there is so much power and love in your words and your photographs and in your Jennifer too. She was, and still is, such a beautiful spirit. Many blessings to your whole family.

  5. My biggest fears in the fing world are based on what I didn’t do. Was I right or wrong in letting her decide certain things (she was 12). Did I not talk enough? Was she afraid? I thought we had more time.

  6. I know nothing of your experience, but for my own reasons very much identify with you not taking the bear out of its box. This way, she has something to say to you still, you have yet to hear her say something completely new and I just, I get that.

  7. Wow , just wow. What a heartbreaking post read. Don’t second guess yourself on your choices that were made with the facts you had at the time. You did great. Jennifer loved you and knew she was loved. Listening to her personal recorded message to you… when your strong enough open the gift. Sending love

  8. I had the pleasure of meeting your sweet Jennifer at Build-a-Bear that day, and it was an experience I’ll never forget. I had never been in that store before, so as I was walking by with my 3yr old, I felt this strong urge to go inside and check it out. I knew we didn’t have enough time to let her actually build one, but I figured she’d at least have fun seeing how it all works. There were only two people in the store – a lady, and a little girl with the cutest little pigtails who was at the bear washing station. My daughter walked over to see what she was up to, and the little girl instantly started showing her how it all worked and took her from station to station. I was in awe of how sweet this little one was and how comfortable my shy daughter was with her. As I looked closer, I suddenly realized it was Jennifer! I had started following your blog less than a week before, so her sweet little face was constantly on my mind. I couldn’t believe it was actually her! THAT was the reason I was drawn in to the store. To meet this incredible young lady who I hadn’t stopped thinking about from the moment I heard about her story. I went over to the lady, who I then found out was your sister, and mentioned that I knew of Jennifer. She began telling me how Jennifer was making bears for everyone in her family, as you were walking around with Charlotte. Jennifer excitedly ran over and showed me the bear she made for you, and then pushed his paw so I could hear her recording. Tears welded up in my eyes, so I quickly turned around and acted as if I was checking out the store. I could already tell through the computer screen just how amazing this little girl was, so to meet her in person and witness her firsthand, I was left speechless and overwhelmed with emotion. So we said our goodbyes and I gave my well wishes to your sister, and as I was walking out I saw you standing outside by a kiosk with Charlotte. I so badly wanted to go up and give you a big tight hug, but I could tell you were having a moment by the distant stare in your eyes.

    I went to Jennifer’s service, and afterwards I called my best friend and asked to meet up for a playdate at a local park in Campbell that I had never been to. As I was getting my kids out of the car, I noticed someone had drawn with chalk all over the sidewalk. So here I am, already extremely emotional from Jennifer’s service, walking up to a park I had never been to, and then I see the chalk… #love4jlk …

    Libby – your daughter touched the lives of more people that you’ll ever realize. I’ll forever be a follower and supporter of yours. Jennifer has a huge piece of my heart and will never be forgotten!

    Much love,
    Heidi

    p.s. as I’m writing this, what commercial comes on the television? Build-a-Bear 🙂

  9. How wonderful of your sister to be there to make this happen…love from beyond, from Jennifer. Such an incredible gift. I’m sure it was incredibly emotional to listen to your daughter’s voice again. When the time comes to listen to your message, I hope it is everything you wished for and more. Is that you and Charlotte in the background of the last photo? If so, that is the most extraordinary photo ever, including the “hear me” sign.

    You and Tony made decisions together, and they were the best ones to be made at the time. Who knows how stressful it might’ve been to do it otherwise? He was there to support the boys, and you supported Jennifer and Charlotte. They needed him, and the girls needed you. She loved having all your attention devoted to her during that crucial time.

  10. Libby I’ve read a few comments. It seems Jennifer wants us to be her voice. Last night in my car coming home from work I’ve loved you for a thousand years (the song from her memorial not sure of the name). Two reasons hearing this were unusual. First I don’t listen to the radio on my long drives I listen to audio books. Second that isn’t my station, I must have hit the button on accident. That song brings back all the prayers from when Jennifer was still here. Begging god to flick that tumour off her brain was my main prayer. Telling him she was to beautiful to die. Then realizing on the twelfth my prayers along with thousands others weren’t answered. Last night I realized they were. The tumour is in a lab, and your words and pictures connected Jennifer to SO MANY people that she will never “die” . She’s here Libby never doubt that. Those beautiful eyes are just beyond us, but she’s definitely here. I hope you feel it too.

  11. tears as I read those last few sentences. powerful.
    your girl is moving mountains and she is the wind of change. prayers and love, always.

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