We lost our precious lil' love to AML Leukemia on March 8, 2010. As an incredibly strong family unit, we fought this horrid disease for 2 1/2 years........only for it to come back a fourth time to finally claim Hunter's life. Zen and I are truly devastated and the beautiful light that used to brighten our days and enhance our souls, no longer exists. Our hearts are truly and forever broken. We have a long journey ahead of us, but we are committed and devoted to surviving and living our life embracing Hunter's amazing spirit. With tremendous honor, we will carry on his legacy of love, his legacy of courage and his remarkable ambition to live strong, live fearlessly and live with passion.

You will remain forever in our hearts baby love. We carry you with us every moment of every hour of every day.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Life.......as we know it

I started writing this blog and it immediately started with thoughts in my head about Hunter. I, just now, decided to tell you about Ryder first. I don't want Hunter's absence to overshadow the amazing feelings of pure joy that Ryder has brought into our life.

Ryder is a rockstar. He lights up every single one of our days and happily carries us through to the next one. He's finally passed the stage of the "blank look" and throws down smiles constantly, especially when we get super close to his face and smile back. Which, believe me, we are in his face OFTEN, (I'm sure we look like big bobble heads to him that are endlessly craving his attention). But I don't think he's on overload yet, and so far, he doesn't seem to mind. He's a fantastic eater, in fact he eats and eats and eats and eats. I feed him and then smile, feed him and smile. We play with toys, he swings in his swing, bounces in his bouncer and we read books - usually Dr. Seuss - mostly because they make me happy and take me away to a special imaginary place. Hunter and I also read a lot of Dr. Seuss together. So good feelings all the way around.

I sing to Ryder often. This one gets sung to him a lot.......he always smiles.

"You are my sunshine.....my only sunshine,
You make me happy, when skies are gray,
You'll never know dear.....how much I love you,
Please don't take my sunshine away".

I mean every word of it.

He's a super happy baby and thank goodness for that - I honestly was a bit concerned being as sad as I was while he was in my belly. I feel like when Hunter was in my belly he heard nothing but laughter and good times and wonderful events going on in the outside world. Ryder, on the other hand, heard lots of tears and lots of silence. I did a lot of crying or thinking or writing............big difference.

When we first started introducing "big boy" toys to him, I was very careful. I didn't want to influence his choices by presenting Lightning McQueen to him first. Soooooooo, I put Lightning in front of him, as well as Elmo, so that he could make his own decision as to which one he preferred most. I am VERY thrilled to report that he went for Lightning McQueen. So SaaaaaaaWEET. That brought a HUGE smile to my face that day and made me think that Hunter would be very proud of his lil' brothers choice in toys.

He also seems to enjoy Lightning and Mater on the big screen. He gets a dose or two of these cool guys while I'm cooking.

Ryder is his own lil' being......but he does seem to have a few "Hunterisms". He's extremely observant and notices everything - especially what's in my hands. That's a HUGE reminder of Hunter. Whenever ANYONE came into the room, Hunter ALWAYS checked out what you came in with........he would check for medicine, needles, nose hoses.....he was no dummy and always made sure he knew what you were about to do. Like Hunter, Ryder also looks you in the eye with what seems like a very old soul. He seems so grown up and he's only 4 months old. He's got Hunter's nose and Hunter's voluptuous lips - which I just absolutely LOVE. And he sits and sleeps often with his arm behind his head and his legs crossed, which is just FANTASTIC. Hunter ALWAYS had his arms behind his head and his legs crossed. Two Mr. Coolios for sure.



Ryder is much more pale skinned that Hunter was - but then Hunter also got darker with the addition of chemo, chemo, radiation, chemo and more chemo. But initially, he was still more of a golden color........Ryder is as pale as a ghost.

Oh and he loooooooooves his "Hunter" blankets. We never went ANYWHERE without a few of these for Hunter. It was his special kind of blanket and it always brought him so much comfort. We now use them all the time for Ryder and he seems to love them just as much.



I know that when Ryder was first born, Zen and I both, honestly wanted to see Hunter come popping back out........we were so hoping that he somehow got back into my belly and was going to have a chance to come out in a brand new body with absolutely perfect blood. We obviously knew that this truly was not going to be the case - but we so desperately wanted to see Hunter again and let him have another chance at life. It's amazing how much we want him back home......safe and sound......away from all evils.

Hunter at 6 months. Healthy as can be........

So all in all, regarding our mental and emotional state of mind - it basically still hurts like hell and has affected us deeper than we ever imagined. We still get hit pretty hard, on a daily basis, with what continues to be our reality.

When we see videos or photos of Hunter, which is often............wow - the sadness that beats us down is pretty much indescribable. So many emotions at once. Intense heartache. An overwhelming feeling of loss. Love........deep, pure love. Happiness, enjoyment and appreciation for what he was......and the wonderful way in which he always carried himself. Sadness. A very powerful and heavy burden of sadness. It always ends in sadness. We miss our lil' love like crazy.

Usually I find myself needing to hear his voice or wanting to remember his cute lil' personality. We have videos upon videos upon videos. So it's quite easy for me to get very lost in my Hunter world. As soon as his face hits the screen and his wonderful lil' words come out of his mouth.........it's all over. It basically becomes a torture session. It is so incredibly painful to see him and hear him and not be able to touch him or hold him. I am so damn tired of gently touching his cheeks on my cold, flat computer screen.........just trying so desperately to remember the softness of his skin. I want to smooch his lil' face and grab his lil' body and snuggle with it beyond belief. My heart just aches.........painfully aches to the point of wanting to vomit. It's completely surreal. It's the biggest struggle for me to piece together what really happened and what we've lost. I just can't believe that something so amazing and so important to me and so REAL and full of love and beautiful energy.......is just gone. Disappeared into the clear blue skies. My first child.......my lil' bundle of love.......my best lil' buddy......is dead. wow. Just doesn't seem possible for this to really be my life.

It's now been 9 months since we lost him and it seems as if the pain, that we thought was going to become easier, has only intensified. The horrible reality of his death is sinking in more and more every month that passes. We've fully realized what we've lost and it's painfully crushing and so terribly heart breaking. Zen and I were talking after one of our Hunter crying sessions and I had mentioned that losing a child is the worst thing that can ever happen to anyone in their lifetime. He basically made me take that back. He said he doesn't like to think of it that way and we should try to think of it a bit differently. It makes him feel as if there is no recovery..........and that "that's it".......once something like that happens you should just throw in the towel and call it quits because you will never resurface from such devastation. I agreed with him......and would want nothing more than a different outlook on our tragedy. And I definitely don't want to feel as if we are doomed for the rest of our life. However, we are now two totally different people with many, many layers......and the bottom layer of both of our souls is a very thick layer of sadness. We now carry it with us wherever we go. It's there. Sometimes it's possible to hide it behind other emotions and laughter.......but at the end of the day - it's the layer of sadness that we take to bed with us.

Here is a very artistic shot of our tear tissues. This was our collection after watching about 30 minutes of Hunter videos. Each one was used MULTIPLE times. We now keep a handy roll of toilet paper accessible at every main area of the house.

Sooooooo I will now end this posting with the things that I am grateful for............I am grateful for another child, I am grateful for his health. I am grateful for my husband and I am grateful for his love. I am grateful for the 3 1/2 years that we got to spend with Hunter......and I am grateful for his life. I am grateful that we are able to get up and out of bed every morning........and continue living. I am grateful that our hearts still seem to beat........even though they are still terribly broken.

Zen and Ryder in Hollywood

Friday, November 12, 2010

Day at the Sea - Hunter's Song


BUY this song for 99 Cents and help support the FIGHT.

3 Options for purchasing this Cool song:

BandCamp: (Name your own Price)

iTunes: (99 cents)

cdBaby: (99 cents)


Too Cool To Die

Love = Power,
Power = Strength,
Strength = Courage

These children fight like hell,
and they're too cool to die.

Please share the song......Please share the love


Hunter's Mom on Twitter:

Hunter's Dad on Twitter:


This is the MOST perfect song to celebrate the life and courageous spirit of our lil' love. Created by Simone Benyacar and Alexis Harte, they've truly captured the essence of Hunter, the happiness of his ife and the power of his love.

Please support the FIGHT:

100% of the proceeds go into the Healing Hunter Fund where they will be appropriately dispersed to the research efforts towards AML Leukemia, families touched by cancer, as well as to the organizations that so graciously helped, supported and encouraged us during Hunter's fight. We could not have done it without them and they will be forever appreciated.


How this beautiful Song came about:

A few months ago we were asked to write a song. This is not an unusual request, but it was the most difficult song we have ever written. It wasn't just any song. It was a Song for Hunter.

Hunter was a little boy who lost his battle with AML Leukemia on March 8th 2010. He was kind, brave and hilariously funny. He was only 3 1/2 years old. We never met Hunter, but we discovered his story through a friend of ours who introduced us to his parents' blog that documented his journey. Reading about his courage and looking into his eyes though pictures, we realized that we had to do something. "Something" became a song in his honor.

We first decided to write a song as a gift to his parents. But then we realized that we could do something bigger. We could help other children and their families who are battling this disease. So we decided to write a song that honored Hunter while raising money for leukemia research through the Healing Hunter Foundation. (www.healinghunter.com)

Now we had a goal, but that didn't make it any easier. How we could possibly write something meaningful enough to honor such an amazing boy? A very tall order indeed. After many weeks and many unfinished songs in the garbage, we finally found our inspiration.

Inspiration came in the from of a little home video of Hunter and his parents at the beach, enjoying the sun, the breeze, and the crashing waves. Hunter was so happy, and his infectious smile and giggle brought us all the more close to him. How do we honor Hunter? The answer was simple...celebrate his life.

And so, a "Day At The Sea" was born. It took us nearly 4 months to compose, record (including recording an amazing children choir), produce and mix the final version.

We truly hope you enjoy the song and help us spread the word to raise money for much needed research.

Thank You

Alexis Harte
Simone Benyacar

Go to HealingHunter.com for all 72 COMMENTS:

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Spirit of Halloween

Haven't posted in quite awhile. Days come and go and life just continues to be flying by. It's now been almost 8 months since Hunter's been gone and it sometimes feels as if it was a lifetime ago. There are times when he feels so very close to me and there are times when he's just so far away. Too far.

On Halloween last year, Hunter was still recovering from his Bone Marrow Transplant and his Graft vs. Host. He had been bed ridden for months and on Halloween night, Hunter took his very first steps again on his own. He was laying on the couch and surprised us and just got up and walked across the room to come sit with us. It was such an incredible moment of strength and determination on his part. His lil' body had been broken down so many times and he always found a way to come back from the total devastation. We were soooooooo thrilled and excited and overjoyed. Our lil' man was walking again! We were visiting the Kobbe's at the time and had walked up to their house with the stroller and I remember the walk home.......we were all just so damn happy. It seemed as if NOTHING was going to defeat us.

So here we are now, defeated, the first Halloween without Hunter - celebrating it without him here. It's a little hard because last year's Halloween was just so memorable and such an important one for us. Hunter was still alive and still fighting and we honestly thought our second chance at life was going to stick and we were going to be able to keep Hunter forever. We all had been through so much at this point.....it just seemed fair for us to be free from the cancer.

He has surprised me in my dreams. He was there on his birthday and he showed up again two nights ago. That makes a total of 8 times that he's been in my dreams in 8 months. I honestly thought he'd be in my dreams so much more. Every time he comes I always know that my time is limited. I try to get in as much time with him as possible before he goes away.....not knowing when I'll see him again. The last two times he's been healthy and happy......no machines, no chemo, no nose hose. It's nice to see him well.

Zen and I still have very broken hearts. We hold on to each other for dear life. The other day I woke up angry. I was just in a pisser of a mood and Zen just kind of let me go through it. By 11am I just sank my head into my hands and tried to regroup and start my day off a little differently. Zen just hugged me tight and told me to just let it out. And so I did. I don't have many angry days......usually the emotion that hits me the hardest is sadness and not anger. Both emotions kind of suck and are ones I'm not used to carrying around with me. Looking forward to the days when they are slightly lifted.

Me, Frank and Hunter on Halloween two years ago. This was when he was in remission and stamped "cured" after his first 5 rounds of chemo in LA. Little did we know what was waiting for us around the corner.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN my sweet lil' prince. Love and miss you soooooooo much! Sending tons and tons of smooches up to you today.....I want to fill your Halloween bucket with as many kisses as possible! XoXo

Our newest lil' Halloween Pumpkin. This lil' man gets so much love it's sincerely comical. All day long he's smooched and tickled and entertained. I'm sure he feels pretty special......which he should. He has saved our lives. He has saved our love. He has saved our spirits.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Happy Birthday to our Little RockStar

Happy Birthday Love!

You turned 4 years old today. Wow. SUCH a big boy.

I want to start out by telling you how very proud your dad and I am of you. You are a remarkable little boy and we love you so, so much. You made us realize what life is all about and we are forever grateful to you for that......our lives are now enhanced with such an abundance of love. You inspire us, you encourage us, you define us, you enlighten us. We will forever celebrate your laughter and your smile, your fight and your courage, your bravery and perseverance. You are truly our hero and we will honor your life and your valiant efforts.....always. Like your dad said - "We lived our life for you and we couldn't have asked for a better King". And a King you were. You were always so gracious and kind and loving. Always so appreciative, and gentle and warm. I can still feel your wonderful lil' arms wrapped around my neck as you'd squeeze me and love me til' no end.

There is not a day that goes by that you are not in our thoughts. Your dad and I speak of you often and remember just how wonderful you are and we can only hope that all of our children turn out with the same wonderful spirit and love for life as you have.

You are so very important to me. You are now what encourages me to get out of bed every single day and live. You dance through my mind and tickle my heart and I want you to know exactly how many times and when it is that I think of you......

I think of you as soon as I wake........every single day. I open my eyes and you are the first thing that enters my mind. I smile knowing that you'll be with me throughout my entire day, adding that beautiful lil' Hunter glow to everything my eyes take in.

I then go into my jewelry box and put on your necklace. I am never without it. I kiss it before I put it around my neck and it reminds me that you are close to my heart, keeping it safe......keeping it protected.

I think of you when I go into our closet - you used to love to play hide and seek in my clothes. There are some photos of you in there as well as Hudson Hornet and Tex. I also have your lego James and Percy next to them - I greet them all hello when they catch my attention.

I think of you when I come downstairs......one of my favorite pictures of you and dad is right on the counter and I light a candle every time one goes out. You are a constant burning flame that brightens my mornings and keeps me grounded.

I think of you every time I open the refrigerator - we have two photos of you on the front and I smooch them constantly. My lip prints are all over them!

I think of you when I see beautiful flowers......I remember how much you loved them and how you would always show me and make me take a sniff. You'd find the tiniest lil' flowers......

I think of you when I am on my laptop and using my iPhone.....you always kept them both so close and were VERY computer and iPhone savvy. You could use them both better than most adults. tee hee

I think of you when we are at the beach or near water.....you used to love to take walks with dad......or by yourself for that matter. I was always close behind.....watching you, admiring you......loving you.

I think of you when I see an amazing sunset and wonder if that's you up there dancing around creating beautiful color combinations with your groovy moves.

I think of you every time I hear this song Manhattan from the Kings of Leon. This was our theme song when you got your Bone Marrow Transplant. I love when they sing the words - "I yelp and scream......and away I ride".

I, of COURSE, think of you every SINGLE time I see Lightning McQueen and the rest of the gang. He was your absolute favorite and I'll have to say......he's a pretty cool guy - much like you.

In fact Mater is still up on the wall from your birthday last year. I'll never take him down. Every time I look towards the front door, I see him and think happy thoughts of you.

I thought of you when Ryder was born.......I remembered the day you came into our lives. It was SUCH an amazing day....one I will cherish for the rest of my life and never, ever forget.

I think of you when I take your necklace off at nighttime. It's too heavy to sleep with and I don't want anything to happen to it - it's very, very special to me. I then Kiss it again and gently place it back in my box.

I think of you when I lay my head down to sleep. I see your handprint and think of you waving hello. I always wish you sweet dreams and blow kisses up to the sky.

........I think of you always........you are a part of me. Every breath, every heartbeat and every smile.

Thank you for being in our lives and for being the phenomenal child that you are. We love stronger because of you. We love deeper because of you. We love more wholeheartedly because of you. You are the rhythm of our hearts and the strength of your love is what keeps them beating......even though there are times when they truly feel as if they've stopped. However, the thought of your brilliant smile and splendid love usually gets them going again. Such fond memories we have of you and your life.

Your shining personality and infectious giggle captured thousands of hearts all around the world.....that's quite an amazing accomplishment. You continue to inspire people, encourage people, and bring people together......you've made such a difference in this world. You made a lasting impression and I want you to know that you are thought of every single day by so many people that hold your precious spirit in their hearts.......my little love, the heart stealer. You will forever be our little rockstar, a legend......the boy who stole our hearts and made us cry.

We will celebrate your life all day long......and for all the days to come.

This is one of my favorite videos to remember and I want you to know that today I am helping you blow out YOUR candles. I've made a wish and I hope with all my heart.....it comes true.

Your famous jam......I loved, loved, LOVED the way you'd show off your perfected dance moves. Sooooo original. Always ready for MORE.

I thought you would like to see your favorite scene from Cars - Lightning and Mater tractor tippin'. We must have watched this a million times. It still makes me laugh.

And of course, I had to include "Mater and the Ghostlight".....another favorite. I can still hear you giggling when mater finally sees the light. tee hee.