.....made of glass.....
So today is the year anniversary of Hunter's Bone Marrow Transplant. The transplant that was supposed to save his life.
This was supposed to be our 1 year mark, a celebration - Hunter's "2nd birthday". This was supposed to be when we were going to be able to worry less about a cancer relapse, and worry more about the normal things of a 3 year old child - "normal" worries that we would have welcomed with pleasure. This was supposed to be the time when Hunter should almost be back to normal after healing from what his little body just went through over the last 12 months. This day was supposed to be many things.......
We were told when he got the transplant that there was a 90% chance that the cancer was going to return. Because his cancer had already viciously attacked him 3 previous times - the odds were obviously against us. However, if we learned one thing from this dreadful disease, there is no rhyme or reason as to who makes it and who doesn't. Some kids are only given a 1% chance or survival and somehow they make it. Some kids are given a 5% chance of survival.......and somehow they make it. Some kids are given a 50% chance of survival and somehow, they don't make it. So how were we to know. We didn't. So the last thing I ever wanted to believe was that Hunter was not going to make it. In my mind - he was a fighter, his body was perfect and his organs withstood all of the toxins that were thrown his way. He was amazing throughout the entire process. He championed his way through everything. HE was supposed to make it. I'm slightly angry about that outcome.
This is the one time in my life that I can say I sincerely want to beat the shit out of something. I've often thought that if cancer had a face, I'd rip it off and torture it for the rest of my life.......with a smile - and not think twice about it. I guess this is the tormented side of me rearing it's ugly head. The defeated side. The side that should be addressed, but not given any more time than needed. I would never let this side take over and rule my days or my mind. But it's nice to know it exists.
A couple of times over the last 3 months, since Hunter has passed, I have said that our life sucks. Zen is VERY quick to correct me and say that, "our life does not suck, just this particular time in our life and the ending of our experience sucks. But our lives are amazing and we need to always remember that". So I do. What Hunter brought into our lives is unforgettable. The love, the laughter, the undying compassion and understanding. The bonding, the togetherness, the true sense of family and the overwhelming amounts of strength that we were able to witness. The strength we witnessed in ourselves and in each other, the strength we witnessed in our families and the strength we witnessed in our friends, as well as strangers. It all kept us strong and in many instances, made us feel indestructible. The times when we needed to feel love, we felt it. The times when we needed to feel powerful, we felt it. And the times when we needed to feel the victory, the victory was felt by many. They say there is strength in numbers.....and I firmly believe that. So many of us fought Hunter's battle with him - endured his suffering, endured his pain and endured his defeats. And, our army always stood strong.......til the very end, and I'm forever grateful and extremely proud of that.
These stepping stones made of glass are now our hurdles. We could chose to step on these glass stones on so many days for the rest of our lives. So many days to remember that cause significant bleeding. The day Hunter was originally diagnosed with cancer was a day we'll never forget, Mother's Day, Father's Day, his Transplant Day, the 4 different days that he relapsed, which one was on my birthday, the day he was born.............the day he died. And there are many others that I just don't have the energy to list. We could "sad" day ourselves to death. I don't think Zen and I are too interested in living out our lives this way. Doesn't leave room for much laughter. And if there is one thing that Hunter made us appreciate it's how good it feels to laugh. I don't think we would ever give that up. And we certainly won't surrender to sadness. So we'll slowly start turning these glass stones into solid rocks and step on them with Hunter's confidence, step on them with Hunter's courage and step on them with Hunter's passion and desire to always fight and live strong.
The lessons we've learned and the ways in which we have grown are only gained by experience. We constantly need to focus on the treasures that Hunter brought us. Each and every day we had with him was a gift. A gift like no other. And he was the most brilliant package with the most unbelievable bow. A package that I will hold deep in my heart on every "sad" day that there is to come. I will continue to treasure his love, treasure his life and treasure his spirit.
Zen's Thank You Tribute to Hunter at his Memorial Celebration:
To our son,
Thank you for being so courageous and strong. You endured more pain in three years than most people do in a lifetime. And yet your charisma, love for life and your spirt - never stopped shining.
Thank you for trusting and loving your parents so much. Lenore and I had to make some very hard decisions and every time we doubted ourselves for putting you through more pain - your ferocity for life told us to keep fighting. You gave us your courage and we were able to do what we had to do.
Thank you for always smiling and laughing. You gave us your energy and special light at every opportunity. At times that was all we had. We cherished every little laugh. We loved every smile. We absorbed and celebrated every moment we had with you. Thank you for giving and giving and giving.
Thank you for always dancing. The Leukemia took away much of your ability to walk, talk and even move on some occasions - but even when you were too sick to move you body, your found a way to move your soul. We called it the eyeball dance and you were always willing to perform. Your dancing, your love for music and your awesome rhythm made even the darkest of days beam with light.
Thank you for being our son. You have made the world a better place. You have made those that have read and endured your story better people. You have taught parents around the world to hug their children a little tighter. You made your mom and dad better parents. You will always be cherished and never forgotten.
"Dance in the clouds sweet baby love. Mom and dad love you so, so much and you will remain forever in our hearts".
Hunter on Versed about to go in for one of his Spinal Taps. This was before his transplant and was a check to see if he is in remission. If you look closely, you'll see a little wiggle towards the end!
Hunter's Eyeball Wiggle and Dance after his Cat Scan. This was about 7 months after his transplant.
Hunter's FAMOUS Countertop Jam.