most painful part of my life, in a strange way, I am grateful that I managed to put my thoughts together enough to have these to look back at today. Time has a way of changing our perception of both recent and/or more distant events. Though it is impossible for me to ever forget what happened over those last few weeks, days and hours with Darrel, it is somehow helpful to know exactly what I was thinking when they were actually occurring to myself and our family. Judging from some of the comments they have received, they also continue to have an impact on those who read them today. For that, I am also thankful.
I am often asked why, even now...six years after Darrel was taken from our family, I continue with raising awareness about childhood cancer? How will any of my actions encourage the decisions makers to pay more attention to the fact that childhood cancers are both overlooked and underfunded here in Canada, and elsewhere around the world? Wouldn't be easier on me to distance myself from all the pain and suffering that goes along with watching other families fighting for the lives of their children, much like we did with Darrel? What goals to I hope to achieve, and how am I going to make it happen??? Sometimes, in the back of my mind, I wonder if these people aren't more interested in me stopping these efforts so they don't
have to constantly see my Posts on Facebook or be asked to donate any of the fundraisers that I take part in. In truth, I don't have a definitive answer to these questions, but who really does know what tomorrow will bring for them and/or their loved ones. We all just do what we can, when we can, and hope for the best outcome.
Making a difference is never easy, but anything worth doing usually never is. I am reminded of
the story of the young boy and the starfish. I've seen many variations of the story posted on the Internet, and have no idea who the original author was (though credit often is given to Loren Eiseley, among other people). Below is one version that I have taken from another site:
One day, an old man was walking down the beach just before dawn. In the distance he saw a young man picking up stranded starfish and throwing them back into the sea. As the old man approached the young man, he asked, "Why do you spend so much energy doing what seems to be a waste of time?" The young man explained that the stranded starfish would die if left in the morning sun. The old man exclaimed, "But there must be thousands of starfish. How can your efforts make any difference?" The young man looked down at the starfish in his hand, and as he threw it to safety in the sea, he said," It made a difference to that one!" After thinking about what the young man had told him, the older man spent the rest of the morning throwing starfish back into the sea too.
Spending time online communicating with the parents of children battling against neuroblastoma may be upsetting now and again, but it does come with its own rewards for me on a personal level. That is not for others to judge, yet they still do. It doesn't matter to me if I ever know the person who gets involved because of something I post, or get a "Thank You" from a family who is helped by one of the donations that I make. That isn't why I do what I do. My family was once on the receiving end of the generosity and kindness of strangers, and know all too well how much it is appreciated. Unfortunately, the road towards a cure is blocked by many obstacles, one of which is a lack of adequate funding for research. While the ongoing research was not at a point that it could save Darrel, and the countless other children lost over the last six years, or those taken in the years before that, each step taken forward raises the hopes and chances for the children facing any of the forms of childhood cancer in the future. Knowing that some how, in some way, I will have contributed to this better tomorrow, is more than enough to keep me fighting the fight.
In a world where wars have been going on for so long that the many of the combatants don't even know how or even why the conflict began, life and death decisions are still being made by political leaders, both near and far from the battle lines. Why is it that these same political leaders seem determined to sit idly by as children in their own countries not left with little or no support in the fight against childhood cancer? Why is it that many in the general public are prepared to mobilize to protest on either side of the pending war debate, but have no willingness to even sit through a commercial from a children's hospital, as it makes them too uncomfortable? While the prospect of peace in the Middle East is a noble goal, our children deserve better TODAY....MY CHILD DESERVED BETTER.
There is no longer any thing I can do to help my son in any way. That responsibility and honour ended six years ago today. The memories I have and share through these blogs, and the efforts I make to raise awareness, help to keep Darrel with me in the here and now. It does not need to make sense to anyone other than me, so if you disagree, please refrain trying to impose your logic onto me. If you are truly my friend, you would support me for who I am today, not who you want me to be tomorrow.
Love and Miss You Little Man
Looking at the Hit Counter, this website will have reached the 13,000 mark today. Thank You to everyone who continues to keep the memory of Darrel alive with me.
Next weekend, the Grand Opening of the newly renovated The Rotary Club of Fergus-Elora Accessible Playground will be held. I would like to say Thank You once again to everyone who has given their support to this project. The Park has been open to the public since late July, and has always full of children enjoying all there is to offer throughout the Summer. While I am pleased to read that the Centre Wellington Council has recently approved a bid for the Millburn Park Splash Pad here in Fergus, it is somewhat disheartening that the Township is
funding this project, but did not financially assist the former Stait Park renovation. The fundraising for the park, fronted by Power of Play, was a true community effort, of which Darrel's Playground is proud to have played a part in. It is unfortunate that the Township could somehow budget $245,000 for the Splash Pad, but nothing for the Park. That being said, if the Township had assisted in the funding for Park, our participation may not have been required, and Darrel's name would not be on the Park's sign as a Bronze Sponsor. Hopefully the weather co-operates for us next Sunday, as several activities and special events have been planned for the official Grand Opening.
Lunchtime on Sept 9th/13
A McNugget Feast in Darrel's Honour and Memory. I would like to think I would have converted him to Harvey's by now, but that's yet another one of the "What Ifs" that I'll never have an answer too.