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, January 15, 2011

So now what....

My birthday came and went. New Year's came and went. Christmas.......Thanksgiving, Halloween - all came and went and apparently, we are still standing. At one point, we truly did feel like jumping off a bridge.......actually, at several points, we felt like jumping off a bridge - but we opted not to. We figured we'd stick around for Ryder. He seems to be pretty cool so far.

The holidays didn't suck as much as we thought they would. But they were definitely NOT the same. Typically, I am a HUGE Christmas fan. Usually the tree goes up immediately after Thanksgiving, (if not before), and stays up until my birthday, which is January 13th. The whole house gets lit up and there is holiday cheer everywhere you look. This year, it took me forever to talk myself into making the effort. I could of cared less. Santa Schmanta. So Zen, realizing I was in a no-Christmas-having funk - made the effort to bring up all my Christmas boxes from the basement to help encourage me along. It was then that I decided to stuff my sadness in a sac and put the tree up for Ryder. He loooooves bright lights and shiny things, so he would for sure enjoy the tree. However, when the tree was finally up and beaming with lights, the only ornaments I managed to get on it were Hunter's Guardian Angel that hangs in our house all year long and our new Angel Hunter as a tree topper. That's about as far as I got and it looked just fine to me....in fact it was perfect in my eyes. But, after about a week of that.......Zen nicely said to me as he was looking the tree over, "That's just about the saddest Christmas tree I've ever seen". Even though his comment was pretty sad and very true, it made me chuckle. I then bucked up and decided to make our sad Christmas tree into a happy one. Or at least as happy as I could make it. So up went all the other ornaments and all the other lovely decorations in an effort to make new Christmas memories with our amazing Angel and our newest, sweet lil' love.....Ryder.

This was an amazing ornament that was made for Hunter that immediately went up on the tree when it arrived. Thank you so much Rick and Courtney......made my heart smile.

Christmas this year with Ryder.

So our efforts to have a happy Christmas worked to an extent, but not really. Now it seems as if we are feeling the loss like never before. We've reached another stage. Just as painful as the last one...if not more. I just COULD NOT for the life of me stop thinking about how amazing our holiday season would be if we had Hunter running around the house......cracking us up.....cracking himself up.....hanging out with Ryder, gobbling down holiday goodies........shaking presents, wondering what's inside.....smiling. Wow. We are missing out on so much.

One of my favorite Christmas videos from last year.

Decorating the tree. Hunter thoroughly enjoyed this part.....he was very, very helpful.

Opening up gifts on Christmas day. We had made it home in time for the holiday from the hospital. We felt very fortunate to be opening up presents in our home and not in a hospital room on the 10th floor at Doernbechers.

Hanging out during the holiday sitting in his favorite Lightning McQueen chair. We've saved it for Ryder....I'm sure he'll totally dig it.

Below is Hunter's second Christmas. He's 15 months old here and barely knew who Santa Claus was. We were spending Christmas at Children's Hospital Los Angeles because he had just been diagnosed in the beginning of December with his AML Leukemia. The next two Christmas' to come he would still be at battle with the beast that ends up taking his life.

Not counting random thoughts during the day, I seem to spend most of my time with Hunter now at nighttime, once Ryder is in bed. It usually starts with involuntary flashbacks and then moves on to deeper memories accompanied by a river full of tears. I cried so hard at midnight on my birthday I thought my heart was going to explode out of my chest. Wow how my life has changed within one year. COMPLETELY different. Last year on my birthday, Hunter was in remission. We were constantly in and out of the hospital, but still, Hunter's cancer was gone as far as we knew. We were pregnant expecting our second child and we were just as HAPPY AS CAN BE...........and we felt as if the whole world was smiling with us. That was my MOST FAVORITE birthday of my whole entire life. I sincerely thought as if all my wishes had come true. My hope had been restored. My heart had been saved. And Hunter's life was ours to enjoy. I never would have thought that night on my birthday that my son was going to be dead within 2 months. No way.

This was us last year blowing out my candles. We did it over and over and over and made tons and tons of wishes........all of which didn't come true.

I've posted this video several times before.....also one of my favorites.

My birthday this year. I put 4 candles on my cake.....One for Me, One for Zen, One for Hunter and One for Ryder.

Making my wish.

So now this year, it seems as if we've been plopped down on this earth again with a whole different family. I'm somber Sally, (except when I've got Ryder in my arms). Zen is sad boy blue. Hunter is gone. Ryder is here. And we're still alive and breathing and can still function on a daily basis........soooo "take-two". Try this life and see if this one turns out any better. Just so....wow.....hard to wrap my head around.


  1. **hugs** and tears........ It has been a really hard year for so many of us..... and you are right.. we are here to do SOMETHING! Keep going on ahead.... God gave you Ryder, the handsome little guy, to help ease some of the pain and keep living. You are a fantastic mama. keep breathing and keep functioning- look for the bright spots. Hunter loved you He is still in your heart. **more hugs**

  2. Wishing for you..in this year~ a renewed SPARKLE... one that shines all of your most beautiful colors...Hunter, Ryder, Zen and YOU !
    I have a favorite book... that reminds me of your LOVE for your sweet hunter.
    "On the Night You Were Born"

    "On the night you were born,
    the moon smiled with such wonder
    that the stars peeked in to see you
    and the night wind whispered
    "Life will never be the same"
    because there had never been anyone like you...
    EVER in the world."

    " For never before in a story or rhyme
    (not even once upon a time)
    has the world ever known a you, my friend,
    and it never will, not ever again...."

    Im so happy to have known the amazing hunter through your blog... thank you.

  3. "On the Night You Were Born"....LOVE that. Thank you so much for sharing. :)

  4. I enjoy your stories of Hunter and the rest of your family... seems strange sometimes I feel like I am sitting right in the middle of your world. I can never imagine the pain you feel, and I must tell you that your a very strong women.You are a great mom... it shows in all your pictures! I wish you and your family only happiness and Hunter was one special little boy, and always will be. God Bless, and I am so glad you guys did not jump.... sending hugs your way <3

  5. I just want to give you the biggest hug right now...I wish that we could spend more time together...I wish I could bring some laughter in your life....Lenore call me anytime...I'm always here for you and Zen...and can't wait to meet that new lil' GEM of your's - Ryder - Lets get together, just say 'when and where' - I can come out to your place!

    All my love, Colleen Dooley

  6. Ryder, honor the memory of your big brother forever, and build on his strength. And I personally hope to be part of that for both of you forever. Rock on Ryder, and all love for your bro.

  7. Ryder will make his brother proud.

  8. Dear Lenore,
    I think I have finally decided that the rest of my life is just always going to be bittersweet. There will be no moment of happiness when I won't think "Wow, if only Lydia could be here". That is such a painful realization. But we have Max and somehow we have to make the best of it for his sake...just as you are doing for Ryder. I don't understand why these kinds of horrible things happen to the best of people and to the most special of children. Heartbreaking. Will be thinking about you in the days and weeks ahead. God Bless. Just keep taking one day at a time.


    Monica Miyashita, Mama to ^Liddy^ and Max

  9. Wow, Ryder is one gorgeous child!

    I wish Hunter could have been with you this year to celebrate the holidays. I've watched the video of you two blowing out candles every time you have posted it, and it always brings me to tears.

    Just know there are still "strangers" out here reading your story, and praying for your hearts to find some measure of comfort through this most difficult of trials.

  10. Tyler Anne Kaltenbach - You are amazing! I am in awe of your strength.

  11. Lenore & Zen,
    Ryder truly sparkles off the page! I am so glad you are his mommy and daddy. And because of your warrior spirit I know you will make his life shiny, peaceful, and meaningful. And because you've been on the receiving end of life's trials, tests, hurdles, triumphs, and loss, Ryder will be a more compassionate, patient, understanding human being; and he will spread those virtues to the world. YOU are the creators of all good.
    I can feel your deep pain jumping off the pages but remember how much hope, fight, promise, encouragement, and lightness you have brought to so many families with sick children. All four of you have made a difference in so many lives. You are a God-send.
    I love you guys!
    Christine Tarallo

  12. Lenore...I knew these holidays would be so hard for you....we are all here..to "listen"....

  13. I know exactly how you feel, even down to the flashbacks. Every day I wake up and wonder what happened. It's so hard. I'm so sorry you're in this club.


  14. Wow, does Ryder look like Hunter, or what! Just a different skin tone. What a beautiful boy, just like his big brother.

    I cannot begin to fathom what you are going through... but know that I think of you all often, and I don't even know you personally. Take care.

  15. Your welcome ! It has been a fav book of mine and it just reminded me of your love for your babies !
    "The Night You Were Born" another quote...

    " So enchanted with you were the wind and the rain
    that they whispered the sound of your wonderful name
    It sailed through the farmland
    high on a breeze...
    Over the Ocean...
    And through the trees...

    Until everyone heard it
    and everyone knew
    of the ONE and ONLY ever YOU !

    Not once had there been such eyes,
    such a nose,
    such silly, wiggly, wonderful toes !"


    Thinking of you and your family, Michelle Morris

  16. Happy New Year to you, Zen, Hunter and Ryder.

    Ryder seems so to be drinking life in; his eyes are joyful and happy, just like Hunter's always were in photos with you and Zen.

    As always, I send positive thoughts, hugs and prayers to you and yours from me and mine. May your 2011 be filled with friendship, love and support.


  17. I found this poem on the carepage of another child who is battling neuroblastoma. His mother posted it and it made me think of you.


    By Erma Bombeck

    Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice, a few by social pressures, and a couple by habit.
    Did you ever wonder how mothers of children with life threatening illnesses are chosen?

    Somehow, I visualize God hovering over Earth selecting His instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation.
    As He observes, He instructs His angels to make notes in a giant ledger.
    "Armstrong, Beth, son, patron saint Matthew. Forrest, Marjorie, daughter, patron saint Cecilia. Rutledge, Carrie, twins, patron saint Gerard."

    Finally, He passes a name to an angel and says, "Give her a child with cancer."
    The angel is curious. "Why this one God? She's so happy."

    "Exactly" smiles God, "Could I give a child with cancer a mother who does not know laughter? That would be cruel."

    "But, does she have patience?" asks the angel.

    "I don't want her to have too much patience or she will drown in a sea of self-pity and despair.
    Once the shock and resentment wears off, she will handle it."

    "I watched her today. She has that feeling of self and independence that is so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I'm going to give her has it's own world. She has to make it live in her world and that's not going to be easy."

    "But, Lord, I don't think she believes in you." No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect. She has just enough selfishness."
    The angel gasps -"Selfishness? is that a virtue?"

    God nods. "If she can't separate herself from the child occasionally, she'll never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn't realize it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take anything her child does for granted. She will never consider a single step ordinary. I will permit her to see clearly the things I see...ignorance, cruelty, prejudice...and allow her to rise above them." She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life, because she is doing My work as surely as if she is here by My side."

    "And what about her patron Saint?" asks the angel. His pen poised in mid-air. God smiles, "A mirror will suffice."

  18. Thank you so much for that "mpstokes". It was very lovely to read. Xo