Life is full of constant changes. At 23, where would Darrel be today? For many parents, at this point in their children's lives, the paths they have chosen to take could give a clearer indication of what the road in front of them might turn out to be. Decisions about education, employment, and even long-term relationships may have already been made by now. I've been so proud and amazed to see both Kira and Lauren grow, mature, and prosper over the years (not without the occasional setback of course), but for Darrel, I will forever be left to wonder. Over the past couple of days, I've gone through my usual birthday preparation 'rituals' of restocking the Ring Pops (as I will never forget that one time there weren't any around), making sure there is Apple Juice in the fridge, and the going to McDonald's for a McNugget Feast...but if he were still here, I would have undoubtedly stopped doing all of these things YEARS ago. But if cancer had not taken from us, would I be attending another post-secondary graduation this year, helping him move in with friends (probably not "the boy with the dinosaur shirt") or someone special, perhaps getting ready for another Robb Wedding, or even the arrival of a grandchild??? These are only a small fraction of the countless Life Choices Darrel would never ever have to consider making. Because his time for us was cut so very short, it is impossible for me to even start to think about what might have been...yet I often find myself lying in bed at night doing that exact thing! I don't dwell in the Past, but the Past is the only place where my son still exists, so my mind does take me again and again.
For Darrel's sisters, their paths continue to move forward with changes as well. Last Fall, Kira received her Masters from Brock University, and currently has a Full Time position with Campus Administration. At the beginning of the year, Lauren and her new husband moved out to Alberta, starting completely fresh in almost every way possible. I'm hoping to visit them over the Summer, but with Wildfires ravaging that province right now, it will have to wait for the time being.
Another change closer to home was the passing of Darrel's dog Lady back in October. In my last Blog, I spoke of some of the health issues she had been having, and it finally came to the point where we needed to say goodbye to her. Over her 17 years, Lady truly became a loved member of our family (though I often would not admit that, as I wasn't the one who wanted a dog...ever). We still have Lady's daughter Bella (and my father has her son Baxter), who will be turning 12 this coming July. So in a way, Darrel's desire to have a dog in our family 18 years ago still resonates through Lady's puppies being here today.
Changes can come when and how you least expect them to, and we all do the best we can when the moment arrives. It still surprises me when people ask how I managed to get through all that I have had to contend with (some things you know about, while others I have never shared), the true and simple answer is "I had no choice". All of us have, are, and/or will face obstacles that seem too big and over-powering to ever come to terms with at, but the support of family and friends can help lessen the burden on all concerned. Hopefully, if you find yourself in a situation like that, you will be able to find a pathway through for yourself and your loved ones. It may not be easy, but nobody ever said that life was easy.
Happy Birthday Darrel
Love and Miss You Little Man
Just A Reminder that the International Neuroblastoma Awareness Week will be taking place from June 12th to June 18th, 2023