Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Ride that Unicorn Sweet P

   Happy Birthday My Littlest Love.  I know you are riding unicorns, picking flowers, and playing with all the other kids that don’t have to hurt anymore.  There won’t be a whole lot of celebrating from me, it’s just another day to remind me of what I miss more than anything. 
   We are doing something special though.  With the help of some special people, we are going to put a brick in your name at St. Jude’s and putting a bench in your memory at Bright’s Zoo. 
   In the fall Mommy and Daddy get to go back to St. Jude’s for a Remembrance Weekend and will get to see your name their forever.  A piece of our family will forever be inside those walls, and your name will be there for all those to see.  It will be there for those kids who finally get to go outside after chemo.  For the Dads that need to take a walk and cry.  For the Moms that need that breath of fresh air so they can be there for their little ones.  Your name will be on a bench for all those to see, but more importantly for that Mom or Dad that needs a break.  Maybe that little kid needs to stop and eat their ice cream, or that grandmother needs a spot in the shade.  They will see your name and smile just like we did.  Some might know your story and be honored, others might look you up, and some might just be thankful there is a place to sit down.  Whatever the reason, we said we’d never let your name and fight be forgotten, and that is what we are doing.

   We have talked many nights about this, but you and I both know I won’t be writing much more.  It’s your birthday and your day little bit, and for that we should all smile.  There are a lot of things I still don’t understand and probably never will.  I promise I’ll still blow out that candle and wish our special wish, but it’s up to life to tell us if it will come true.  Happy Birthday P, ride the hell out of that unicorn.

Friday, June 9, 2017

To my Girl

To My Littlest Love,
                It’s been a year since I’ve gotten to hold your hand and tell you I loved you as I kissed your forehead.  There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t smile, laugh, cry, cuss, and all that in between.  I miss you more than I thought I could ever miss anything in the world.  A piece of my heart left that morning and I’ll never get it back.
                But you know all this.
                You are there when the sun rises over the trees in the backyard.  You are there in those purple sunsets I see from the driveway.  You are there when I look at your picture, and even when I’m not.  You are there when I want to quit.  I feel you in the breeze sometimes.  I hear your voice when I’m alone on the couch.  It might be that I’m going crazy, but I know I hear it.  I feel you there and it is all that gets me through the day sometimes.
                I know you see my every move and everything that happens.  I know sometimes you are happy and other times disappointed.  I promise I’m trying to be the Man you thought I was when you looked me in the eye.  I fall short a lot, but I will do my best.  I still can’t sit on the couch without your boppy and can’t leave the house for the night without taking Beatrice with me.  They are my favorites, just like your pigtails.
                I’ll never understand why you had to go.  I’ll never understand why it was you that had to have cancer and everything else instead of me.  I talk to God about it all the time; I still don’t have an answer.  You were here Little Bit for a reason and did more for your Mommy and Me and the people around you than I could have ever imagined to do.  You were amazing while you were here, I’m just happy I was yours.
                I will see you again one day I promise.  All those times I imagined us running through the backyard and having that real dance will come true.  I love you Sweet P.
                                                                                                                                                Daddy   

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

What I saw...

   It was a few months ago that I noticed something I had never seen before.   Looking into Penelope's eyes was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.    I noticed it first in a picture from the beach.  Something about her eyes looked different and it took me forever to figure it out. 
   Those last few weeks I never saw once that Penelope was sick.  I believe that it is God’s gift to parents with special needs kids. I never saw the cancer taking over her body and slowing her down. I never saw it.  I knew that she was tired and tired of getting poked with needles.  I knew she was tired of medicine and needed rest.  I watched it all but I never once saw what she couldn’t fight for much longer.
   I believe once I got over the shock of something was different with my little angel standing in that hospital office, it never ran through my head when I looked in her eyes.  I was lost in her soul.  All she had to do was look me in the eyes and I was fine. 

 I saw strength not weakness from everything going on.
 I saw a fighter that could have quit at any moment.
 I saw myself in those beautiful eyes and it made me want to do better.
 I saw hope that one day it would all be alright because she believed in me.
 I saw a little girl who I wanted to give the whole world, but all she needed was what she was looking at.

   I have to say that “I saw” instead of “I see” now.  I regret spending time, whether it was seconds or minutes, looking at the things that were wrong some days.  I see people all the time looking at their kids but not really seeing them.  I see them on their phones instead of being connected with the little one in front of them.  I’m over here wanting just one more minute and they are wasting hours.  what do you see when you look at them?  Do you see a disability or a miracle every day?  Do you see their faults or their little victories?

   I’m so glad that I got to be in the moment for that period of time.  My memories are now my moments, and I’m glad that I had the chance to see the light in all the darkness.  It was a beautiful.

Yeah, it is hard...

   That is the answer to everything this week.  It’s hard to think.  It’s hard to look at pictures.  It’s hard to wake up and it is hard to go to sleep.  I get so excited to scroll through my Facebook memories, but then end up almost getting sick to my stomach from the feeling of it being just a picture now.  Life stopped a year ago at the end of this week.  We go on and have really done some great things in her memory.  That’s what is hard and forever will be: the distance between memories of then and life now.
   That whole cliché of time heals is complete crap.  Time doesn’t heal, it only takes me farther from the last time I got to look into her eyes.  Time has done nothing for me but make me so mentally tired sometimes I can’t stand it. 
   I’ve wanted to write a million things over the past few days.  I’ve started and I’ve deleted.  I’ve written a sentence and then my mind wanders 100 other places.   Nobody and nothing can prepare you for the day you lost your little love.  I have relived that day a million times, but something about the official “1 year” hits you like a freight train right in the chest.
   I wouldn’t wish this feeling on my worst enemy.  It is a feeling of being lost that you can’t even describe.  I want to talk about her, but I know I’m going to cry.  I want to think about all the amazing things we got to do, but it makes me miss them that much more.  I want to be happy with my friends about their little ones, but I feel empty inside when I can’t hold her hand.  I’m crying right now writing this and I haven’t even begun to talk about what I want to.  That’s life though right?  

Monday, May 15, 2017

Just Have Faith

Having Faith is a process, not a phrase.

   “Just Have Faith” is a phrase I hear a lot.  This is what a lot of people use when they truly don’t have anything other to say.  Faith is the fallback when we can’t explain something or are out of options.  Faith should be anything but a fallback.  It should be a stand on, lean on, start with, or anything better than a last resort  I have so many questions when someone says this to me.

   Have Faith in what?  Have faith in the same thing that made me whole and now leaves me broken? 
   Have Faith in who?  In myself? In God? In humanity?  Two of these three have failed me on a consistent basis and the other makes me question the other two almost every second. 
   Have Faith when?  Just when I’m out of options?  Just when I need help the most?  Because this is the only time people seem to mention having Faith.  What if I started this venture with Faith and it is all been downhill? What do I do then?

   I truly believe that my little girl is in heaven; perfectly healed and filled with love.  I am more connected to my spiritual side and what I believe than some people that “HAVE” to go to church every Sunday morning.  So don’t get it twisted or say “He’s lost his way and I’ll pray for that.”  I pray sometimes that some people see blessings and have something like I do to believe in.
   These questions are just what come to my mind when somebody says have Faith and I don’t think many that say it really understand what their Faith is.  Some have never had their Faith tested, lost it, found themselves in the midst of it, and repeated that process every time they wake up and twice when they go to sleep.

   I believe that everyone should have Faith in something.  It first has to be with yourself.  You have to believe in yourself before you can believe in something or someone else.  I’ve made my peace with God and I am solid in my foundation of what I believe.  My prayer for you is that you can say that too.  If today was your day, would you “Just Have Faith” or would it be more than that?

Sunday, May 14, 2017

To My Love on Mother's Day

To my Love,
                I could write a million things right now but I know none of them will be enough.  I’ve been right there the whole time. Sometimes holding your hand, sometimes looking in your eyes, and sometimes walking away because it’s best for both of us.  Nothing I could say on Mother’s Day will ever bring back what you lost that morning.  I only promise to never stop trying.
                A mother is something you always wanted to be.  I know that it is all you ever wanted.  I know you lost that part of your soul and although we don’t know what the future will hold, I know that little piece that Sweet P created will never come back.  I know how that feels. I know hun, that’s what makes life so hard.
                What you lost as a mother is what you also gained.  You did more for your daughter in 23 months than some could ever imagine.  Cleaning out blowouts, wiping up those damn bananas she’d spit out, and washing those bottles day in and day out was the easy part.  That was just part of the job.  That day you earned the title of Mommy, was the day you started something that will never be forgotten.  You did way more than what was published in newspapers and on TV.  You showed what it meant to love someone more than anything in the world.  You held back tears in times that needed you to be tough.  You held onto her when she needed it the most.  I will always say that she was a Daddy’s girl, but she was her mother’s daughter through and through.  Penelope was lucky to have you as her own, and she knew that.  She told us that morning how much she loved us, but always you first.
                All those signs we see are there to let us know how much she loves us and is watching over us.  They are there because you look for them and she knows that. 
                This day might not ever have the same meaning or be celebrated like it once was, but that’s ok.  It can be whatever you want it to be because you are Penelope’s Mom and always will be.  No one or no thing can ever take that from you.  I will celebrate it because I celebrate you and what you mean to me.  I love you.

                                                                                                                -Andy (with help from P)

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Just Stop

You can’t control a lot of things in life, don’t forget about the ones you can control.  

  Life can a complete cluster sometimes.  Take mine for example.  End of school, spring football practice, 1 year since our travels to St. Jude’s, jacked up lower back and can’t lift, grandmother not doing so hot, and 50 million other things I’m sure you can relate to.  The problem with it all is in this life we forget to stop.  We get so consumed in the externals we forget about the things that we can control.  It is just as simple to stop and relax as it is to deal with all this stuff.  “Oh that’s easier said than done,” is probably what you are thinking.
    Most people resort to posting some sappy poor pitiful me post of Facebook and look to others to lift them up.  That’s the problem to me.  We are looking elsewhere to lift ourselves and forget that looking inward is where the peace is.  I won’t lie, a hot tub overlooking the mountain is my current state and helps with this, but I had to make this happen.  I have enough shit going on at home that I feel like I can’t ever stop; but until I fix me, everything else isn’t going to be worth it either. 
    Most of my inner depression and anxiety comes from the piece of my heart that is missing.  Everybody has their problems and demons, but we too often bury them deeper and deeper because of the more “pressing issues” in front of us.  There isn’t anything more pressing than your sense of self and taking care of you and those you love.  Ellen needed to be away this weekend and truthfully I needed it too. 

    Worrying about the dishes, the jungle I call a yard, the gutters that need cleaning, and the long list of financial issues that haunts us all every morning while brushing our teeth are no match for dealing with things like the emotions I see when I look at pictures of my princess and about throw up I get so upset.  All I’m saying is just stop, take a minute, an hour, a weekend and just work on yourself and the ones closest to you.  Just like everything I write, one day I’ll be drawn back to reading this and need this message; I just hope I’m not too far gone to fix it.