As COVID-19 continues to evolve, mutate, and alter what societies around the world consider to be the "New Normal" for their populations, I still constantly cast my gaze back to May 26, 2000...the day Darrel was born. While I am not stuck in the past, a large part of my conscious and unconscious mind will remain firmly placed within those brief seven years Darrel was with us. I would certainly never try to diminish anyone's grief over their loss of a loved one, but losing a child is on a completely different scale. A parent's sole purpose is to protect and nurture their child, through all that may come their way, all the joys and pains...and every moment in between. The death of a child, especially at a young age, is utterly devastating, but the grief also comes layered with a sense of guilt and defeat. What could and should I have done differently??? What if this action was taken or not taken....Would the outcome have been changed...Would my son still be with me today??? I know we did everything we could for Darrel, but there will always be the same nagging question...Could we have done more??? These are the thoughts that I live with daily, but I allow myself to openly consider them at least every May 26th and September 9th. It may not be healthy to always dwell on those times, but I truly feel that to not think about them at all would definitely cause more harm to me in the long run.
On a happier note, I am pleased to announce (for those of you not on Facebook) that Darrel's sister Lauren got engaged back in November 2020! This was/is Great News, and I certainly wish to congratulate Lauren and Jacob, and offer them All My Best for their Future together!! As with almost everything nowadays, COVID will play a significant role in deciding how and when their forthcoming wedding will unfold. Regardless of all that is happening around them, it is reassuring to see that people are still living in the moment, and dreaming of their futures the way only young couples in love can do.
Kira has been accepted to the Masters Program at Brock University, and will continue her studies there in the Fall. Thanks to her excellent grades, she has received many Scholarships and Grants along the way, so her hard work on her educational endeavours has provided some financial benefits along the way too. Another Proud Father Moment to be sure! When all that is said and done, she will have actually spent 21 consecutive years in School!! Don't think she really appreciated that fact after I pointed it out, but it's True (Funny how it seems...Optional).
I could also not escape the passage of time and personal reflection last month, as I celebrated my 50th Birthday! I remember how old I thought my father was when he turned 50 in 1996, but reaching that milestone myself...it isn't that old at all! I should add, that even to this day, my father expects a call to tell him I've made it Home safely if I've been driving a long distance out of town! He is still always looking out for me now, regardless of how old I get, or even how old he gets.
While so much is behind me (The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly), there is so much to look forward to as well. With the Love and Support of my family and friends, I embark ready to embrace whatever Life happens to send my way...but not so many Curve Balls please! A Special Thanks go out to Kim, Kira, and Lauren for the Birthday/Easter Combo Party they held for me that weekend. With all the COVID Restrictions in place, I'm sure it was more of a challenge than it otherwise would have been.
On what would have /could have/should have been Darrel's 21st Birthday, it is hard to even begin to imagine what his life would look like today...along with how all of our lives would have been dramatically different if he had not been taken from us back in 2007. All that we ever were, and all that we would ever be was set on a different course on the day in 2005 when he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. But today is his birthday, so I'll focus on happier times, yet be saddened that the opportunity to make new memories with my son were forever stolen from me and our family.
A Parent's Love should not change with the passage of time. Kira, Lauren and Darrel are as much in my heart and in my thoughts as the day each of them were born. Of course, Blogs like this are really only express those emotions as far as Darrel is concerned, but that certainly does not mean they are any greater or lesser than for my daughters. For those that would say different...they don't really know me, or know what being a true parent actually is all about!
Happy Birthday Darrel
Love and Miss You Little Man
"In the back of my mind
You live all the time
In the back of my mind
Every night, Every day
That's where you still play
In the back of my mind"
Just a Reminder that International Neuroblastoma Awareness Week is just around the corner: June 14th - June 20th, 2021
Darrel's Playground is just about to reach 55,000 Hits. Thank You for your continued Support.