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.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Days without Hunter........

Here are just a few random journals that I wrote on JournalEngine over the last few months.

Zen and I at the Sundance Film Festival the week before we found out we were pregnant with Hunter. Ready to take on the responsibilities of parenting - we were just absolutely THRILLED to be having a baby.

In this photo our lives had already changed and we had weathered one of the storms. This was one of the happier days of our lives. Hunter was in remission after 5 rounds of chemo in Los Angeles and was doing exceptionally well. We couldn't have asked for anything more.

JULY 22nd, 2010

Woke up at 5:30 am today and just laid in bed. Finally just decided to get up at 6:30. Trying to figure out my frame of mind and work myself through it. I went into the bathroom and put two barrettes in my hair - one was a little sparkly. Zen made a comment that I looked surprisingly "chipper" this morning, despite the fact that it was a little too early for me to get up and out of bed. I lightly smiled. As I walked down the stairs to make our morning coffee, tears just rolled down my face as if I had been crying for months. They come so naturally now. They stopped by the time I had the water boiled. I blew my nose. Wiped my face. And headed back upstairs. He never sensed my tears. I'd rather keep them to myself at this moment and not influence the start of his day.....he seems to be doing ok right now and I don't want to make him feel sad. I'm sure my day will get better as I go.....looking forward to smiling.

Life's simple pleasures.......having a husband that I truly love with all my heart, and knowing he loves me back - just as much.

Hunter Helping me blow a kiss. This was when he was stamped "cured" after his treatment in Los Angeles. It was his first day in a park in 9 months.

JULY 17th, 2010

Still processing.............our days seem to be going by quicker and we are finding many things that continue to make us smile and laugh. But there is still an underlying sadness that we seem to carry with us wherever we go. It just takes the tiniest of triggers to bring us back to Hunter and all of our memories. The sad things still make us sad, the happy things.......still make us sad.......and the realization that he's gone - just breaks us down to nothing. It's almost been 5 months now and it truly seems as if it's getting harder and not much easier. We have found some joy in life since his death - but it's definitely not the same.

Ryder is due to make his appearance any day now and we are ANXIOUSLY awaiting his arrival. I was 2cm dilated last Thursday and my body has definitely changed since then - so maybe by the weekend we'll have another lil' bundle in our arms to love and squeeze and shower with tenderness and kisses.

All of my focus will be on our new baby. I feel as if I've come to terms with Hunter's death and that mentally and emotionally I am ready to fully love and devote my entire being to another child. I desperately wish I had two children now, instead of one........and I desperately wish that Hunter was here to show his lil' brother how to be a true champion and get through life with nothing but grace and courage, but so be it. Zen and I will have to pass those lessons and qualities along. I guess I will count my blessings that we were able to even conceive another child and be granted the opportunity to be parents again. We really do feel quite lucky. As Zen puts it......"We are the luckiest, unlucky people around".

Pregnant with Ryder up at Timberline Lodge.

JUNE 28th, 2010

Stayed really busy this weekend with friends in town and spending days outside enjoying the weather. It felt really nice. A very welcomed change from staying inside and working on the computer all day - only leaving to run errands. Plus the sun was shining - so it was warm and just felt soooooooo cozy.

Our friends came in from LA to visit and just had a baby who is now 2 months old. It was refreshing and sad at the same time. But I'll have to say........in the end.....I had more happy thoughts about our life and what's to come than depressing ones. It was very exciting to see another lil' life that was so new and tiny and open to everything that he was exposed to. I'm getting very excited about having our new addition to our family and just can't wait to squeeze him and spend all my days and nights with him. Only 6 more weeks to go!

Zen with Hunter when he was 1 month old.


Today started off kinda sad. I saw tears roll down Zen's face as he sat up in bed. I knew today wasn't going to be "easy", but I wasn't quite sure how he was going to take it on. I asked him what he had on his plate today and if there was anything in particular that he wanted to do or any special meals he wanted me to prepare, he said, "no.....not really". He has since gotten out of bed and has started his day and is staying pretty busy. While he was out at Home Depot, I got all my good cries out so that I didn't make his day any worse. I then washed my face, got dressed and headed down to the kitchen so that he came home to a happier environment.

I fixed him poached eggs with bacon and apple sausage and Dave's Killer toast.....his favorite bread. He gobbled it down with a smile, but still seems to have a certain sadness about him. On Mother's day......my sadness pretty much stayed with me all day - so I am assuming his probably will as well.

He is now putting up the backsplash in our kitchen with his friend. I don't hear any music down there.......it seems pretty quiet. So maybe I'll go down and start some cool tunes and add a smile to the room. I'm sure it's needed.

Zen with Hunter when he was 6 months old.

Zen with Hunter on the beaches of Australia. An amazing trip that we will never, ever forget.

JUNE 14th, 2010

What do I see in the world that is awesome.......hmmmmm...........there are actually so many things that I see that are awesome - despite our personal tragedy.

But in order to see those things, I'm having to restructure my thoughts and retrain my mind to head in the positive directions first - so that I AM able to continue to see the good, so that I can embrace the positive and so that I can "stop and smell the roses". Every morning and every night is a huge struggle for me. I have to think about how I am going to start my day and how I am going to end it. My dreams are always very vivid and I usually always remember them, so my last thoughts that cross my mind before I close my eyes to go to sleep are very important. They can make or break me the following day.

This month is particularly hard. Hunter has now been gone for 3 months and it's hard to continue to accept that life is just going on as usual. Time is passing by and nothing has stopped and stood still, other than me and my husband.

Tomorrow is the year anniversary of his Bone Marrow Transplant. The transplant that was "supposed" to save his life. Well it didn't save his life. After all that hard work and after all of the treatments and radiation and emotional struggles.........his life was still cut short. And we feel forever defeated.

Then there is also Father's day. Mother's day wasn't as horrible as I thought it was going to be, but still..........pretty sad. A long day and one that took me in and out of sad fogs from the early morning well into the nightfall. I know that in most cases, women are slightly more emotional than men - so my husband might not be hit as hard as I was......but still........his precious son is gone and on Father's day, he will be a father without a child.

SO.......here we are.......needing to go on.....needing to continue to live and not wanting to fall off the face of the earth in all of our sorrows. In order to go on, we MUST think of the positive. We have to take all of the goodness that came out of our experience and embrace THAT as opposed to the never ending pain and heartache. And we are forced to look at the future to keep ourselves strong for the following days to come.

The world didn't stop the day Hunter died. Many luminaries have been lit, many races have been run and many people have continued to be inspired by his courageous battle. He's a true warrior and still has so much to teach. He'll keep contributing to the love in this world every single day that he is thought of, remembered and honored.

His transplant didn't end up saving his life, but it did give us 9 more months of pure total enjoyment with him. Granted we had lots of hurdles to overcome in those nine months and it was extremely challenging - but we got to see his personality shine like we've never seen it shine before. He amazed us with his charm and his never ending amounts of wonderful giggles and his beautiful spirit that has touched so many and has stolen our hearts.........forever.

And Father's day is what it is........a day.........just another day. We won't miss him any more than we already do on that particular day. That would be impossible. We are choosing to honor our lil' love and will always do so, but we are also going to appreciate the blessing of the next child that we will bring into this world in two months. So Zen WILL be a father again.......all in due time. And he is an amazing father and deserves that more than anything in this whole wideawesome world.

Hunter after his relapse getting ready for his Bone Marrow Transplant.

Hunter after his Bone Marrow Transplant......just soaking up the smiles.

JUNE 4TH, 2010

My promise to myself is to stay very busy and productive. I usually am.......but I am going to make an even bigger effort to really knock some things out. Plus it will make the time go by waaaaaaaaaay faster. And I am all for that - but only for the next 3 months. Then I would like for time to crawl along very turtle like.

I've been updating all of our photography blogs, pages and twitter buzz......I've continued to schedule clients for more upcoming shoots and I am going to complete Hunter's book in the next 2-3 weeks. Hunter's book is something I think I embrace and shy away from all at once. It's getting harder and harder to see his beautiful face and not break down and drown in my puddle of tears. Wow, I miss him in my life. Our horrible tragedy just seems to be hitting me harder and harder every day we are away from him. It's truly amazing what I would be willing to give up to have him in my arms.......if only for a day.

I promise to survive.

On our way to the hospital for a clinic check-up. Routine at this point.......something we had to do 2-3 times a week after his transplant.

MAY 16th, 2010

It's 12:10 am and I can't sleep. We were watching Seinfeld and I was attempting to close my eyes and head off to dreamland, but somehow it didn't work out as planned. As soon as we turned off the TV......my mind immediately went to Hunter. I took a deep breath and tried to clear my mind, and just then, Zen quietly asked me if I was trying to clear my mind of memories. As soon as he asked........my eyes welled up with tears. We laid in bed and mentioned a few of our "Hunter" moments, which triggered more tears....which didn't seem to really comfort me. Then we tried to go to sleep again. Didn't work for me. I continued to think of just how horrible our situation was and just how unfair it was for Hunter to get sick. And just how sad I was during his last 3 weeks before he died. I kept trying to push these thoughts aside and think of the good memories, but even those made me sad. I so desperately want to hold him and squeeze him and smooch his tiny little face..........I feel as if I am going insane.

Zen heard me struggling and crying and I'm sure my rapid heartbeat was causing the bed to shake......he reminded me once again to try to think of the good times. Think of him dancing and his little side shuffle and his fantastic moves. His little giggle.

Nothing was working. I was just plainly falling apart.

I eventually got up and threw some water on my face and here I am.

I am going to attempt to go to sleep right now.............Hunter was our gift..........and I am doing my best to accept and to deal with what happened to our "gift". It's truly taking all my strength and every last bit of courage to face what is now our every day life.

Hunter in Oregon, right before he relapsed. He hadn't been feeling too good, and we were already starting the pediatrician visits trying to figure out what was wrong. We were desperately hoping that he just had a cold or a virus..........or some sort of flu bug. ANYTHING but cancer. Three weeks later, on my birthday, they told us that his cancer was back and he'd now have to get a Bone Marrow Transplant to survive.

MAY 14th, 2010

Just Another BLOW...

........just picked up Hunter's death certificate......just when I think that we've already been hit with all of the major blows - one more sneaks up on us and brutally punches us right in the gut. Guess I am going to pick myself up off the ground now, wipe my tears, put a sweet smile on my face and blow a kiss up to the sky.

That was my posting on Facebook on Wednesday and it's still kind of hitting us pretty hard.Zen got out of bed early this morning and when I woke shortly after, I heard him downstairs sobbing.I immediately ran down and wrapped my arms around him and joined in on the tears.When I rushed by his computer, I saw that he was reading our blog post from Hunter's last day.We usually try not to go there.......it just opens up the flood gates to pain.....but it's sadly our life and that's all we have left and those are, unfortunately, our memories.However, we definitely have better memories than the ones from that day - but sometimes we just get stuck and go back to his blog to read it and see him and low and behold, before we know it, we are back to that dreadful day.

Our life has definitely become extremely more challenging......trying our best every day to find the joy and happiness that we once used to share, especially with our child that we miss so terribly.I know someday it will return, but it will never be as full.

I LOVED this day. He was feeling so good and was so happy. I honestly thought we had won the battle and he was going to be with us forever.


Woke up at 5am and laid in bed for an hour thinking.

As I sat up 4 tears rolled down my face, thinking about what my day has in store for me.......

I immediately felt the need to write Hunter a message -

Hey sweetness......it's Mother's Day and you're on my mind like crazy. I'm looking forward to feeling your sweet presence with me all day. You're an amazing son and I couldn't imagine having lived my life without you. I am so incredibly proud of you. You're courageous spirit and your brilliant attitude will float me through my life with wonderful thoughts to constantly hold on to......I will never let them go. I have many precious and amazing memories to cherish and I am forever holding those in my heart.....along with your tiny little toes that used to rest in my lap every morning and every night. I love you deeply......and always will.....Mom

Mother's Day

...........wishing it would come and go........yet, feel the need to experience it and face it and make it a beautiful experience for myself.

To be a mother without a child on Mother's Day is not something I would have ever guessed I would have to endure. And yet, here I am.

So I've decided to tackle Hunter's and Ryder's room and make it a place of healing and a place of beauty and a place where their energy becomes one. Instead of a place where I enter and leave, crawling out on my hands and knees with tears that never seem to end. I feel as if it will make me feel closer to both my children. My child that has sadly departed and my child that will soon be arriving.

During and after Mother's Day, I am going to focus on positive healing and energize my spirit and my soul with Hunter's love and the newly found love that will exist for Ryder.

Me with Hunter when he was 3 months old.

MAY 4th, 2010

Broken Hearted...

Wow.....I'm just amazed at how much my heart aches....every moment of every day.

It will be 2 months on Saturday that Hunter's been gone.It seriously feels like forever.Sometimes it feels as if he was never here.It really does just seem impossible that something so wonderful and amazing was ours, and then all of a sudden it's just gone.Just doesn't seem like something so horrible could have really happened to us and to our child.

I am still working on not allowing Hunter's last 3 days alive haunt me.A mother never wants to see her child suffer.......and I think when it happens, it's something that is never forgotten.It will be one of my battles for the rest of my life.

I used to love butterflies.I loved their beauty, their vibrant colors and the way they would flutter by so carelessly.I remember going to a butterfly pavilion in Colorado once and one came by and landed right on my nose.I felt like the luckiest girl alive....such a pure connection.I also remember learning that day how short a butterfly's life was.Some only live for days, some for weeks and some for months.I felt the need then to let my love for butterflies leave me because the thought of their life being so short just saddened me.That same emotion is surfacing with Hunter.His incredibly short life span brings such a painful hurt to my heart and I am saddened beyond belief, however, with Hunter, my love for him continues to grow.In fact it gets stronger and more powerful every single day that he's gone.My heart and mind won't allow me to let go......and I don't want to let go.I want to hold on to him with everything I've got.I know my strength will get me through our toughest times.......but I just wish, I could hold him one more time, or smooch his beautiful face one more time or tell him how much I love him........just one more time.I'd give anything......

In the hospital at Doernbechers during his relapse. He was heading towards his second remission and things were looking positive.

APRIL 27th, 2010

What's working for us right now is the love and devotion that Zen and I have towards each others healing.Despite the overwhelming amounts of sadness that sneaks up on us and brings us to our knees in our puddles of tears, we are somehow able to comfort one another and save each other from drowning.Sometimes he rescues me, sometimes I rescue him, and sometimes we just swim around in our tears with our eyes closed tight, wishing desperately that when we open them, Hunter will be standing there in front of us, smiling and giggling, letting us know that he's home to stay.

But he's not there.He's never going to be there again, standing in front of us, smiling and giggling.........and that's what's NOT working for us.We're devastated.We're sad, we're angry, we're hurt and overall.........we are just not happy with the way that Hunter's life ended.And our life used to be nothing BUT happiness.And all of a sudden, it's taking a whole lot of effort to just find some genuine smiles within our days that last longer than a few seconds.There is a looming cloud of sadness that hangs over our souls and it's ever so present and so not enjoyable.Zen and I still share a good bit of laughter together, but that laughter is always chased by our reality...........and our reality right now is every parents worst nightmare.

New Years Eve 2009. Thinking we were on our way to Hunter being healed and everything finally being OK - The start of our new life. Hunter fell sick shortly after and we were back and forth in the hospital until they found signs of his cancer about a month and half later. When we took this picture - I NEVER would have believed that he was going to be gone in 3 months. I would have never let go.


  1. Tears and hugs, Lenore. Hope you feel them. My heart is just broken.

  2. Tami Sullivan - when you talk about life going on without him, i remember feeling that way the 3 mos. my little one was in the NICU. we had to celebrate holidays and attend things and carry on like no one was missing.....it's nothing to compared to what you're going through, but just know that you get to stop anytime you need to and grieve. so much love to you guys.

  3. Priscilla Tallman - amazing, lenore. thank you for continuing to share your journey with us. i don't know why your entries comfort me, but they do.

  4. Kelly Roberts Lenore, so many people love you guys, and would take away your pain if they could. All we can do is share it with you, but that doesn't diminish your portion. I was thinking about that the other day, and these words popped into my brain:

    "If only we could draw you near
    and wipe away your every tear,
    absorbing through our very skin
    all the pain that you've been in.
    Our hearts unite with love for you
    as we see all that you're going through.
    The pain we see becomes our own,
    you do not suffer all alone.
    If sorrow shared could somehow be
    a fraction of it's misery,
    we'd spread your heartache far and wide,
    that your portion would be minimized."

    Your sorrow is great because your love is great. A meager love would have resulted in meager mourning. In your moments of deepest pain, remind yourself that your love is just as unfathomable. I wish I had words to help, but there are no such words. I pray for comfort and peace for you and Zen.