It is often difficult to put into words unceasing and ever lingering pain a parent feels when they lose a child. Like most of you, I have had my share (perhaps more than my fair share) of highs and lows...physically, financially, and emotionally. People usually try to categorize and compare events they deem to be of the "Life Defining" variety. As time goes on, their ranking of these moments will no doubt change...as there will be new adventures (both good and bad) to add, while others no longer will hold to be as important as they once did. For me, the Top of the List never changes, and probably never will. After all that I've been personally been through, a significant part of all that I was, and all that I would be will be is forever frozen at 4:10 PM on September 9, 2007. How can being there at the end of a Life you helped to create, and were duty bound to guide and protect, not alter everything about what makes/made you...you? Knowing that whatever I may face in the future, there is little likelihood anything will ever have such an enormous and lasting effect as having my son die in my arms. On that day, I learned what true pain could be.
For the past 11 years, I've had to contend with my memories of that day. There is no escape from what happened, nor do I want there to be one. I have (so far) been able to cope (for the most part) with losing Darrel, but not everyone is able to process such a traumatic outcome as balanced as I apparently have. I still experience good days and bad days...it's just I am better adapting when possible triggers present themselves before me. It is certainly not my position, or anyone else's, to pass any kind of judgment on how a parent chooses to address what they are going through. There is no direct correlation between how a person reacts and the depth of their loss, or the underlining love behind it all. There is no one right or one wrong solution to move forward, but having a strong Support System in place can often play a significant role in the pace of a person's recovery timetable. We are all individuals, and a proven path taken by one person in no way can necessarily translate into a successful route for someone else.
With the death of my mother last year, I've also had to reflect on another life of someone else close to me. While the family dealt with all the financial issues of her estate in the first few months of her passing, there remains much of her personal belongings and mementos untouched. Every once in a while, my father and I pick a few drawers or boxes to sift through. Pictures and letters comprise the majority of what we have reorganized so far, but there have been a few unexpected finds. One of the biggest surprises was the several certificates for her from the Royal Conservatory of Music! In all my 47 years, I never once had heard my mother play a piano...yet she was quite (apparently) accomplished at the instrument in her younger years. How is it possible that I never had any inkling that she had once had such a talent? It made me feel a bit better when my father said he had only heard her play once throughout their many years together. Truly amazes me that someone who knew me so well, and I thought I knew everything about, had such an interesting aspect to them that I was totally unaware of.
Loss is a strange thing, but it is something we all will have to contend with on one level sooner or later. It is not a weakness, but a part of life. Hopefully we can grow and learn from our losses. It is never easy, but who said life was meant to be easy?
With that, I'd like to thank you all for your continued support of my family and this website.
The 2018 International Neuroblastoma Awareness Week was held on June 11 -17, 2018. Darrel's Playground was once again proud to assist in this Global Effort as one of the Administrators. Thank You to all who participated.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Please consider changing your Social Media Profiles to Gold for this month. Anything you can do to help make a difference will be greatly appreciated.