Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A New Beginning

I know it's been a while since the last post. There just wasn't enough time in September and for the last couple of weeks, I just haven't had much motivation.  I've finally had some downtime to reflect on our past year and start dealing with the emotions of it all.  I was told this would happen and I thought I could stay ahead of being busy.  But that can only happen for so long.  The feelings are surging inside and they are starting to surface. For so long, I had to be strong and put up a barrier. I had to be courageous for my daughters and for my family. But only for so long can one keep up this exterior of strength when the real feelings are buried inside. I knew this would happen. I knew that once I had time, I would feel all the grief and sadness that I wanted to feel during Gabriella's treatment and would start to realize I couldn't hold it in any longer.  

I was at work this past month and it started to creep up on me.  When you work in an ICU, you see people die...often. You help them to be comfortable, peaceful and hopefully die with dignity. You form a wall...a burier between the emotional pain of it all and the professionalism you need to continue doing the job. What you try not to do is relate personal experiences with the hardship that is happening before you. As much as I tried, I couldn't separate it. I couldn't take my personal emotions away form this experience and I thought to myself, there are parents out there who have to do this with their child. There are parents hat have to see their own child take their last breath and watch as their heart beat weaken to the point where it finally stops.  End of life.  It crushed me. To think about those parents who go through this...watching their babies take the first breath of life....then watching them take their last.  I finally got a chance to share this and when I did, I cried my eyes out.  I cried because there are children still loosing the battle. I cried because this monster tried to take my child.  This demon called cancer, I know too well has affected our child, our family and many of you who surrounded us.  We now know this world all too well and there's really no escaping it.  There's no turning away from it to pretend it doesn't exist or that it didn't happen.  I cried because it's a long, long journey and its the toughest thing I've ever done.  

It started after our return from an amazing vacation. A celebration with family and friends for Gabriella finishing treatments and a celebration for Adam and my relationship....and the tragedies and triumphs we overcame, together. It was wonderful.  We got to escape this world...if only for a was an escape.  Adam and I got to talk about our "new life" together, how that's going to be, what it's going to look like.  We realized that we were both still adjusting and realized its going to take some time.  It's a process.  We still struggle with the torture of what we had to put G through in order to save her life. The thoughts that the cancer can return (although it won't) and the future scans that she needs, what damage it will do, what damage has already been done.  We struggle with how the year of treatment affected Bridget and that all of our friends and family have been exposed (or tainted) to this life that we know...this life of pediatric cancer.  Sure, it affects many people and most of you already knew about it but I feel that we brought it up close and personal.  I feel very responsible for that and not always in a good way.  Now, I truly believe it is my responsibility to make most everyone aware who comes my way.  I say "most" because there are times where I just don't feel like bringing it up.  

We had an incredible experience (one of many in Hawaii) lighting up a piece of the sky with a couple of floating lanterns.  It was releasing the evil...letting it float away, burn and dissipate into the universe.   One was for Gabriella and one for Bridget.  In the beginning of this journey, as some of you remember, we often watched Tangled; after surgeries and after chemo.  It was part of hour hospital world.  Watching that movie still stirs up emotion and hearing the song brings a tear to my eye... "make the clock reverse...bring back what once was mine....".  I remember lying with Gabriella wishing for this to happen.  Wishing we could have our healthy girl back.  G was always in awe of all the floating lanterns and I told her that once this was over, we were going to send up lanterns into the sky.  My vision was to have at least 10 of them (ok, I really wanted 100 or more)...but having a firefighter as a husband...let's just say I had to change my plans.  On our last night in Hawaii, we all watched the sunset and met up on a lava field.  I was honored to have both sets of parents and four very close friends there, for they all traveled the journey with us.  It was our time to start letting go. 

The last couple of days has been full of excitement.  Team G Foundation finally got the 501(c)3 status that we had been waiting for.  I can feel that magic is about to happen.  All this heartache will not go in vain and we will continue to fight on!

In strength, hope and courage,