Sunday, January 4, 2009

First and Last

The holiday is over. The older boys are back at OSU, and the younger boys are back in school. We had a great time together.

Time is an amazing thing. There is no commodity like it. It can not be saved or sold, bought or traded, expanded or negotiated. It is what it is. Our only option is how we use it.

Cancer has wiped us out financially, but that will be rebuilt with time. Some of our relationships have been damaged, but those will be corrected with time. My business has suffered, but can also be corrected with time. In fact, the only thing that can not be regained is time itself. Every minute passed is a minute lost.
Actually, the gift of Tyler's victory over cancer is a gift of time...more time together on this earth as a complete family. I would say my greatest lesson from Tyler's is a deeper respect and appreciation of time. Time as a family. Time to laugh and have fun. And time to have a positive impact on others, to live for a greater purpose. As Ben Franklin said, "Do you love life? Then do not squander time, for it is the stuff life is made of." Time. That is the reward that victory over cancer brought.
A common statement I hear from parents of those who did not survive is that they would trade all their remaining days in this life for just one more day with their child. Time. More time. Just one more day. One more hour. But that is not the way time works. There are no negotiations. The only option is to use your own remaining time in the best way possible. To have an impact on others that will last.
This is one thing that I have struggled with a lot. We are so excited about Tyler's victory, and Jana, Kylie, Sinjin, Colyn and others. But as I celebrate those stories, I can not forget about others who fought with us and did not survive. Brett, Rob, Stef, Brendan, Amie, A.J., Christian, Nathan, John, Chase, Gunner, Isaac, Cole, Drew, Cameron, Cody, Kelsie, Barry, Katie, Julian, Keith, Robbie, Miles, Scott, and far too many others. In this life, there is no more time together.

This was written by Julian's mom.

First heartbeats, First kicks, First hiccups,
You were in my belly, You were already mine, I already knew you …
First cry, First tender touch, First kiss,
You were finally here, You were perfect, I already loved you…

First smile, First tooth, First step,
You were so sweet, You were all I wanted, I’d always hug you …

First words, First drawings, First tricycle rides,
You were fast, You were so clever, I believed in you …

First big bed, First best friends, First questions,
You were growing, You were wondering, I always answered you…

First symptoms, First pains, First scary thoughts,
You were sick, You were scared, I’d hold on tight to you …

First hospital stay, First MRI, First surgery,
You were hurting, You were brave, I was always amazed by you…

First radiations, First Chemo, First feeding tube,
You were thinner, You were weaker, I was so worried about you…

First bad news, First breakdowns, First hopeless thoughts,
You relapsed, You were so little, I didn’t want to let go of you…

Last steps, Last meals, Last real hugs,
You were in pain, You were fading away, I couldn't believe it was you…

Last smiles, Last words, Last kisses,
You were scared, You were fighting, I couldn't stop looking at you…

Last painful breaths, Last heartbeats, Last bath,
You were gone, You ARE mine, I cant stop thinking of you…

First lonely nights, Last goodbyes, First empty hugs,
You are flying, You are free, And I am left here, without you...

Julian Avery passed away at age 5.

For the last two years, my right shoulder has really ached. It came from throwing untold thousands of footballs to my 14 year old son, Alex John, or as we called him, AJ. It honestly hurt enough so that I only slept on my left side and if I rolled over on it, it would wake me up in the night. But I didn't care, how could I stop doing those things? I loved it. My new problem is that over the past month or so, my shoulder has slowly but surely stopped aching. Now what keeps me awake at night is my broken heart. You see, I have no one to throw those passes to, no one to brush back anymore. Because AJ left us on January 5, 2008, a victim of childhood cancer. I miss you AJ.

--AJ Piniewski's dad. AJ lost his life at age 15 to Burkitt's Lymphoma.

2008 held much promise. Ty was starting radiation, and some positive changes had us hoping for the best. Things quickly went south, and it all happened so quickly it still doesn't seem real. I am so glad I let Ty stay up and have fun with his friends that last New Year's Eve. I am sad that I did not enjoy having fun with the kids but instead did our adult visiting upstairs. One thing I have learned this year....we don't know how much time we have. We don't know how much time God is giving us with our loved ones. Why wait till 'later' or 'next time', when you have the time right here and now to spend with someone you love?

--Tyler Hibinger's mom. Tyler lost his life to childhood cancer at age 7.

Today I re-activated his cell phone just so that I could hear his voice once in a while. I miss hearing his voice. I know it will hurt me but, I just had to do it.

--Brendan Kizar's Mom. Brendan Kizar passed away at age 16 from Burkitt's Lymphoma.

So many mixed emotions. 2008, and 2007 when Brett was first diagnosed, are the worst years of my life. Part of me is looking forward to 2009, while part of me is almost afraid of it. It represents new beginnings and the unknown. It also represents time further away from the last time I hugged my son, heard him tell me he loves me. The pain is still with me daily. My heart aches so much. I would give up everything I have to have you back. The ache and pain are still so unbearable at times. I am so sorry son. I love you!

--Brett Workman's Mom. Brett Workman passed away at age 17 from Burkitt's Lymphoma.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello Tyler and family,
I love reading your is so great hearing all your good news. I wish I would have run into you at NCH the day you were delivering Christmas to J5. I have been following your journey along with Ryan Salmaons and Trey Martens. My husband and I visited Trey a few times and also met Ryans grandparents while we were there so we heard so many good things about your family. Maybe one day we will run into each other at Childrens. Until then just know you are in my thoughts and prayers.
God Bless You!