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.

Monday, June 7, 2010

.......time passes by.....

It's been 3 months since Hunter has passed. Feels like years. Sometimes I feel as if I never had a child and it was all just a dream. A wonderful, heartfelt, life changing dream.........that forever ends as a nightmare.

I don't ever want to erase his existence or run from my memories to avoid the pain, but it's completely surreal to think of everything that has happened over the last 2.5 years and the magnitude of what we have lost. Just doesn't seem possible.

When I think that Hunter is dead - when those particular words actually enter into my mind, it seems too tragic to be real. I don't WANT to believe it. I still don't want to accept it, yet every single day I wake, I am forced to look our reality in the face. And somehow I'm supposed to still find the strength to get out of bed and go on with my day. I find that if I lay in bed too long - I'm taken over by my sadness......so it's best to just get OUT and deal with it. Most mornings the fog settles or clears and I am able to concentrate on other things. But it is definitely a huge effort on my part. I am having to control my mind like never before and it's constantly being challenged or attacked by our past and it's an ongoing battle that I deal with throughout my entire day.

I think the hardest part is not wanting to let go. I want to remember EVERYTHING.......always. All of his little habits, everything that made him giggle, all of the things he enjoyed and everything he expressed. I find myself looking at videos and photographs just to get a glimpse of him and all of his sweetness. However, seeing his sweet face and his charming attitude and his cheerful approach to life just absolutely crushes me. I crumble to no end and my sorrow embraces me with such intensity.....and doesn't seem to let go. It's such a hard blow to my heart, my mind, my gut and my spirit. To think that he will never be in my arms again, at least not in this lifetime, is just so unbearable to believe. My sweet, sweet love.

I am still so, so sad. I still wake up and cry sometimes in the middle of the night. Sometimes I still cry before I go to sleep and sometimes I still cry when I wake up. My heart still feels as if it is broken into a million pieces, slightly mended, but so far from being healed. And my soul still feels empty. My entire being is longing for a child. Longing for the child I had and longing for the next child that I am about to have. I am desperately feeling the need to share my love.

I'm doing my best to survive and work happily towards brighter days, but sometimes brighter days just seem so far away. At least the brighter days that existed when Hunter was still alive.

I've realized that in this lovely healing process, there are things that help me move on and encourage my healing, and there are also things that hold me back. The things that hold me back are the things that I AM able to let go of....and I am trying my hardest to let myself do just that.

The things that come to mind that I am finding seem to bring me down are these.........

I can't listen to sad music. Whenever a sad, sappy songs comes on the radio or on my computer I have to immediately change it. It seems as if every sad song I hear applies to our life or our experience in one way or another. Not very much fun to constantly remember the sad times. So I choose to tune them out.

I can't click on his photos on our blogs or on facebook when they randomly appear when I'm doing updates or postings. I've found that when I do, I get locked into looking at the album they came from and it immediately brings me to tears. It makes me realize again......what's been taken from us. I have to be very selective as to when I allow myself to go there.....it brings me into another world and sometimes I can't find my way back.

I can't stare at the photos that we have up in the house of him for too long, or else I'm stopped dead in my tracks and again........fall into a huge hole of sadness. I have to just blow him a kiss and move on by. I could take them down, but I don't want to and don't think I ever will. I want his presence to remain in our home and I always want to be able to look up and see him whenever I need to see his smile.

I can't be in the car by myself for extended periods of time. My thoughts ALWAYS lead me back to him. I always find myself wanting to look in the back seat and see his smiling face sitting there looking back at me......we shared so many sweet, precious moments. Just in our stares alone.

I can't look over at the couch where he laid for the last 3 weeks of his life. I so desperately want him to appear so that I can run over there and sit next to him and put his tiny little feet in my lap. I would play with his toes all day long and we'd laugh and wiggle and entertain each other 'til we fell asleep.

I can't think of the painful memories of Hunter's last day. At least not yet. Whenever they creep into my head.........it's so terribly horrific and paralyzing........I usually don't resurface after that - it takes me away and buries me - deep, deep down under into a pool of darkness.


However, I have found that what I can do......things that bring me smiles or help me move forward are these:

Making an effort to think happy thoughts. Thinking about all of the wonderful things that we've experienced since we've been blessed with Hunter in our lives. All the love he's brought into this world. All of the emotions he's brought into our life. And all of the the moments he's given us to cherish.

I can think about our future and all of the possibilities that still lay ahead.

I can make sure that Ryder, Hunter's little brother, knows what a hero he was and how strong of a fighter he was and how truly courageous he lived his life......every single day. And hope he lives his life the same way.

I can take deep breaths and continue to realize how fortunate we were to have Hunter in our lives at all.

I can make an effort to continue to find our carefree spirits and not let the devastation of our past inhibit our ability to live life or soak up everything this life has to offer.

I can appreciate the fact that I will be an even better mother to Ryder, now that I have experience and know what a true blessing motherhood really is - not one single moment will be taken for granted or ever overlooked.

I can continue to look at my husband with loving eyes, realizing how lucky we are to have one another. We hold each other up, we keep each other strong, we encourage each others fight. Our fight to survive, our fight to find happiness and our fight to live.

I can continue to hope for better moments, better dreams and better days. They're there.....within reach.......we just have to be patient and they'll come.....I know it. With Hunter's sweet blessing and beautiful spirit - I am hoping they are just right around the corner.

An image I found that brought a sweet smile to my face.


  1. Loving you and Zen...Angel Hunter and Ryder XOXOXOXOXOOX

  2. Monica Raber Miyashita - There are so many emotions those first few months, as you come out of the shock of your child's death....you will pass through so many different emotions and phases. I know you and Zen are letting yourself really feel and live every emotion and not press it down inside you. Max gave me a reason to wake up every day, and this new life will do the same thing for you. I pray for you four (You, Zen, Hunter and Ryder) every day : )

  3. Heather Stepp McCormick - Hi Lenore, I was thinking of you today and your sweet little Hunter so it struck me that the first thing I saw on FB was your blog update. Please know that you are thought of often! Hunter has touched us all, even those of us who did not have the pleasure of meeting him! I know that "better moments, better dreams and better days" are around the corner for you. Hang in there!

  4. Tammy Lee Dickson - I just lost my Dad to Lukemia.... just happen to come across your story. OMG... I feel like I know you? wierd I know. I cant explain it but reading your story was amazing for me. Hunter is soooooo sweet and beautiful. You should be very proud!!!!! I hope your doing well and things get a whole lot better for you even though I know it must be so hard for you . I cant iimagine how it must feel. You and Zen are so amazing, I could just feel the LOVE reading your story. I wish nothing but the best for your family, and may only good things come your way. Sincerely, Tammy :) I lost my Dad 2 weeks ago, and it really doesnt seem real.

  5. Tami Sullivan - you will always have one foot on earth and one in heaven. thinking of you so much today....tomorrow is 3 mos. right?

  6. Jill Metz - Big hug.

  7. Yes Tami.......tomorrow on the 8th is actually the 3 month mark. Nice to know someone else out there is keeping track!!! Love you for that!!

    Thanks so much for the hug Jill. Always love and appreciate them.

    Love the encouragement Monica. We honestly can't WAIT to get this new little guy in our arms.....I so desperately want to be a momma again!!!! I'm almost gitty!!! What a gift and I truly feel blessed that we've been given another opportunity.

    And thanks so much for thinking of us Heather. Your messages are always so nice to read. You're a true sweetheart. Xo

  8. Lenore..

    I know what I am about to say will sound like I pity you but really it is not mean that way. IF I were ever in your situation I can honestly say that I would not have the amazing strength that you have. I would lose my mind and the rest of my life would go along with it. I don't know how you keep such a wonderful outlook but it is such a blessing!

    My little cousin died 4 years ago at the age of 9 from Cystic Fibrosis. She was in the hospital for most of her life. When she passed it was sadly not a surprise. It killed us all. 4 Year later and I still can't watch Spongebob without my heart breaking. My aunt (her mom) is STILL a walking zombie! She is not even half of who she use to be.

    I do not know how you do it BUT I am so very happy that you do!

    Hey and don't feel so bad - I also can't look at pictures of your little boy without falling apart and I don't even know you guys:)

    Hugs and Kisses
    Your STranger Friend

  9. Love you so much for sharing Keila. I am soooo, soo sorry to hear about your sweet cousin. Breaks my heart. I am also sad to hear that your Aunt is not recovery so well. It's definitely a dreadful blow and extremely difficult to overcome. I fully understand and can unfortunately relate. I hope she can come out and enjoy life the way she once did. We are only here once and there's no living life again. Much, much love and many blessings to you. Thank you for being such a wonderful stranger friend. XoXoXo Lenore, Zen and Angel Hunter

  10. Christina Rodis Burleigh - My prayers are always with you and your family.

  11. Matt Nolan - We're always thinking about you, hoping that you somehow find a way each day to find some light and hope. And you DO. You're the bravest and best Parents, and Ryder is going to be showered with love, what a lucky boy. Hang in there!

  12. Jody Ferlaak - Marking the weeks and then months and later years was SO hard for me during my grieving process with Teagan. It still is hard. Each year when the month of July rolls around my mind goes right back to how life was in 2001. I had no clue what was coming or how my heart would hurt and there are times I wish I could take that innocence back. And never have to let go!
    I found it actually got harder, rather than easier in the beginning. That first month so much happened. The second month reality began to set in. By the third month my mind 'realized' she was never coming back and the ache and sorrow was heightened. I used to ask people who didn't understand such loss this question, "Do you miss your loved one when they go away somewhere the first day they are gone... or moreso the next week, or month...or year?"
    It's a journey and does take twists and turns and feels different any given day. But especially obvious are those big reminder days- like the 8th for you.
    I am sending you my love and hope that you will feel Hunter's presence and sense his energy all around you.
    I hope you never let go of holding on to him- even though he's gone. He will still be a source of happiness for you forever! Prayers for you and Zen and Rider... on this 3 month mark and beyond. xoxo

  13. From Trish Ying:
    Hi Lenore, I happened to glance at my calendar and saw that today is the 8th. I just want you to know that you, Zen and Angel Hunter are in my thoughts often. I'm still so amazed at the grace and strength that you have shown thru out this ordeal. I am forever grateful for having read your blog. The wonderful love between a child and a parent is truly one of a kind and I feel so blessed for having been granted to feel this kind of love in this lifetime. May God continue to bless you and Zen and soon to be born Ryder. You guys are truly good people in my book.

  14. Jeff Werner - I wanted to send you both Love. It was amazing to see you both and share your experience I will hold on to that feat of bravery and read all that you write as it helps us all to grow and be stronger.

  15. Thanks so much Jeff. It was truly so lovely to see your sweet faces. Thank you for coming out and sharing your hearts with us. Wish we got to see you guys and your beautiful girls more often. Please come visit us in Portland....ANYTIME. It's fantastic here - especially in the summer.

  16. Joy Tatum Hibbs - Sorry for the loss of your Beautiful Baby! GOD Bless You!

  17. Kelly -
    Lenore, you don't know me, and I don't know how I became your "friend" on facebook- but I am so glad I did! I feel as if I know you and your precious family. Thank you for sharing your story, and allowing us to see in and draw strength from it. Everytime I see a picture of Hunter I cry... isn't it every mother's worst fear to lose a child? And yet you speak of joy, and peace... you give me hope. You have touched my life. Thank you!

  18. Thank you so much for your kind words Kelly. And thank you for sharing your heart with us and joining us on our journey. It means a ton to have the support and "looking after" from people like you. It's much, much appreciated.

    Many smiles and hugs being sent to you from us.....XoXo Lenore, Zen & Angel Hunter

  19. Anna -
    Hi Lenore, Was outside working in the garden this morning before going into POF and was thinking of you, Zen and especially Hunter and then came in to find today is a 3rd month since Hunter has been gone.... So now I understand why my thoughts were so concentrated on all of you ! I am holding you all in my heart ,admiring your brave hearts and thankful for the spirit in which you share your grief with us , so honest, so real, so painful, so optimistic. love, anna

  20. Anna - Thank you so much for your sweet thoughts. They were felt indeed.

    We are off to the doctors right now to go get a 3D pic of Ryder and a check-up. I am sooooooooooooooo EXCITED. I can't WAIT to see his lil face!!

    Sending you love and smiles!

    ps. Zen and I almost ate that whole pot pie in ONE sitting. We were almost ashamed of ourselves...........but not really. Ryder actually ate most of it..... tee hee.

  21. Shirley -
    I know u get this a lot but reading what u write touches me so deeply. Words can't even explain. I have 3 children that I luv more than the world & still u teach me how to be a better mother everyday!! ♥ thank u. I believe that there is a purpose for every person that crosses paths in their lives and I know why u & ur family did w/ me. Thank u thank u again. U r truly an amazing person & best of all MOTHER. God bless u, ur husband, and most of all ur children...Ryder & HUNTER!!

  22. So sweet Shirley. Thank you so much for reaching out and expressing yourself. And thank you for the compliments. Being a mother was my MOST favorite thing in the whole world and I can't wait for our next child.......and hopefully more after that.....keep your fingers crossed for us!!!

    Much love and many blessings to you and your family! Xo

  23. Hi Lenore,

    I'm just one more of the "strange friends" that read your blog and your beautiful words often. I had left you a comment once before and I came across Hunter's amazing story and battle through TNT as a member of the Pac Crest Team which has Hunter as one of our honored teammates. I wanted to write to let you know that we are going to complete the Pac Crest triathlon in Sunriver, Oregon on the weekend of June 25th and we are all going to do it in honor of Hunter and so many loved ones that battled so bravely and left behind such a beautiful mark of their lives and journey. We will have Hunter's name on our jerseys and I was just thinking that if there is a way to buy one of the Iron Hunter tshirts to wear on race day, I would love that. Let me know if you have a minute. Like I said before, I want to wish you good luck with everything, with baby Ryder and the renewed energy that a new life brings and keep loving each other and the others around you. I DO believe Hunter is spreading his wonderful energy and smiles somewhere else and he is full of energy, full of life... he will NEVER be forgotten and will live in the lives of so many, forever. I am so happy you two got to have Hunter, that unbelievable little guy, in your lives. Thanks for sharing your journey and Hunter with us. I am a mom of two little ones and reading your blog always makes me love my kids with even more intensity, if that is possible, and love everyone around me even more.
    Lots of love, smiles and the highest vibes to you and Zen and Ryder and Hunter.


  24. Hey Leticia!

    Thank you so much for your love and support and everything that you give of yourself......we are truly honored and Hunter would be extremely proud.

    I would love to send you a shirt, but I only have men's XL and women's Small left. So you either need to be pretty big or really small. I wish I would have had more made.........

    Your words were very kind and sweet regarding Hunter and I couldn't have asked for a more loving child. He was so full of life and laughter and was sincerely a true fighter. His wonderful lil' being is so missed and I still think of him almost every minute of every day. I loved him so much.

    I wish you so much luck with the race and if Sunriver isn't too far from Beaverton.....we'll show up and cheer you guys on!!!

    So much love and smiles sent right back in your direction, XoXo Lenore, Zen, Angel Hunter and soon to be Baby Ryder

  25. My heart is broken for you both. I stumbled upon your blog about a week before Hunter was taken and when I read that he passed I cried out loud at my laptop (scared my poor husband to death). As an RN in high risk OB and NICU I have seen so much sadness in my career. And I'm sad to report it just doesn't get easier for me. As a mother I cannot imagine ANYTHING in this world that would make me want to "give up" more than losing one of my boys. Not only emotional devastation but PHYSICAL pain! You and Zen are the definition of strength and love. You are such a testimony to families everywhere. Those images that are so painful will never leave your mind and I know you both have seen things no parent should EVER see a child to through. But your outlook on the future is so refreshing. I feel so blessed to have found this blog. I pray for you all every night. Pray that you stay strong, feel peace, and stay safe as you bring another life into this world. You have a prayer warrior in Oklahoma!

  26. Hi Lenore. I found your site right after Hunter passed away and I have been following you ever since... Your strength and brutal honesty about what you are experiencing is so amazing - and I think you telling your story here will help your heart to heal. Every time I see pictures of your beautiful son, I cry - but I know he is soaring with the angels!

    God bless!

  27. Thank you so much Annie. My heart goes out to you as well.........your job is extremely difficult and I am so glad that there are people out there that CAN do it. I can't imagine what you see on a daily basis. My heart wouldn't be able to take it day after day after day. Thank you so much for doing what you do.

    Thank you also for your kind and sweet words. Zen and I share a pretty strong love and we couldn't have done this without each other. Some families are driven apart........we were driven together. I'm very grateful for that.

    Thank you for your prayers, thank you for your peace and thank you for your well wishes. Much love being sent back to you from us! XoXo

  28. Thanks for following Katie! I use our blogs as a way to get everything out....so I guess there is not much of a filter. I do believe it helps tremendously in the healing process and I am so glad that I have this avenue to express what we are going through. I am also glad that there are people out there like you that read it and deliver your sweet messages - they help me tremendously. Thank you for that. Sending you love and smiles......XoXo