It's been three years today since we lost Darrel to neouroblastoma....three very long and
emotional years! It is always impossible to say how and when the floodgate of memories
I have of him will open up, and (sometimes) overwhem me. But they do, which is both a
blessing and a curse will that will exist for my family for as long as we do.
The summer of 2010 was alike weather-wise with that of 2007. The relentless heat was hard
on Darrel that summer, but at least we didn't have to worry as much about him catching a
cold (which of course, would have been alot worse). We were given an old air conditioner for
the bedroom window (which we really needed again this year. Thanks Jodie!), had a fan for
the living room, and the van's system somewhat worked, so all three spots he spent the
majority of his time (other than the hospital) were kept at more comfortable temperatures.
The heat also meant there was lots of ice cream to be had, which everybody in the house
enjoyed. Darrel had acquired a taste for the Cotton Candy flavour, which he dubbed
'Spiderman Ice Cream', as it was blue and red in colour. At the time, there was only one
place in town that sold it, and they were constantly running out of stock. Since they only sold it in individual cone or bowl portions, we often had to bring plastic containers with us to the
store, so we could bring an extra supply home for Mr.Darrel! It was difficult for Kira and
Lauren to understand sometimes that the Spiderman flavour was only for their brother, and
yes, he got more of it each serving.
This summer also marked the first time since 2007 that we went camping as a family. The girls had gone with Rebecca's parents each year since his death, but not Rebecca or myself. Camping at the Pinery Park in Grand Bend was always something Darrel looked forward
too each summer. Riding the bike trails, swimming in the lake, and watching the campfire
late at night were things that would bring a big smile to his face. We last went in August
2007, barely a month before he would pass away. Rebecca had found a whole body wet-suit
(along with alot of extra care securing everything), so he could go into the water and splash around, central line and all! Of course, he wasn't as active as before he was diagnosed, but at least he was able to have some fun there again one last time.
A few weeks ago, we went up to Mew Lake in Algonquin Park. Not being the Pinery, there
were no memories of Darrel attached to that location, but thoughts of him on the bike trail,
and especially by the campfire still were not that far away. During endless chatter about what had happened that day, fighting over who would get to hold the dog on their lap, and who would get to roast the next marshmallow...he was still there with us in spirit.
As the fire would slowly dwindle away, the glowing embers would remain, often until the next morning, and serve as a reminder of the more happy times that had happened previously. My memory of Darrel is quite like these embers: ever present; providing warmth and
comfort; and yet also sometimes too hot to hold, and with the power to overtake you without
warning. The fire that once would dance in his young eyes may have been extinguished by the cancer that invaded his tiny body, but love that he brought to our hearts will still burn
Love and Miss You Little Man
Please remember that September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Everything and Anything you can do will make a difference. Whether it be making a donationto The James Fund, or something as simple as changing your Profile Picture to a Gold Ribbon, your actions can only help spread the word that more can and needs to be done. Thank You.