Wow, it's been a very busy past couple weeks since I've last written. We took a much needed trip to Salt Lake City.
This was our first trip (besides when we went down to bury you) as a family without you physically with us. How awful of a feeling it is to be going to the place where we took you every 3 months for check-ups and MRI's. We lived there in our camp trailer outside the hospital for 10 months, now we’re traveling without your sweet face. Everything just seemed so wrong without your presence, your silly giggle, your rambunctious monkey self in the back seat (usually not in your car seat because you would just refuse sometimes, which we felt was alright for a bit because hell if your destiny was to wreck and die in a car accident, well as morbid as it is, at least it wouldn't be the cancer killing you. I always kept my seat belt off if you did, mom you’re probably shaking your head) doing the Cashy fist pump to all the awesome songs you loved so much.
We arrived in SLC pretty late as we didn't leave town until 2pm because I had to work the night before. I think I slept 2 1/2 hours. Ugh. I got a double shot pumpkin spice latte on the way out of town and was wired the whole way!
The first thing we did the next day was to go and visit your grave site. I never thought ever, even in your last few weeks of life, I never thought I would have to visit your grave. I honestly never thought we would lose you. We never once talked about a funeral, never once talked about if we would bury you or cremate you. We were just so positive that you would beat that nasty tumor. We had HOPE, we believed. We honestly did. If you don't have hope and belief in your heart, well what's life worth living then? You taught me that Cashy. You taught me so much in life. You taught me how to live. You taught me how to stay positive, how to not hold a grudge, how to forgive, how to trust in GOD, you taught me how to hang on to every ounce of faith and hope. I miss you buddy. Daddy misses you too.
So when we arrived at your grave, I instantly felt shaky and weak in the knees. Your grave was completely bare as the cemetery grounds keeper had taken and cleaned up your grave. Nothing was there besides your name stand. I instantly was upset. Nobody had come to visit you on Easter. Everyone was under the weather and not feeling well. This broke my heart. If you were buried in Missoula I would be there every day visiting you. It probably would be unhealthy, lol. Daddy said if you were in Missoula he would probably have his tipi set up at your grave and he would most likely never leave. Haha.
As I'm sure you know Daddy ordered a Tipi and it’s now set up in our new backyard. Well he's taken it down and set it up three times now as he has to have it just perfect. It's beautiful though. Colty and Sierra already had a sleep over and a campfire in it. Your daddy is a big kid at heart.
So back to SLC. We left your gravesite, I didn't cry until we got back into the car and had a rush of overwhelming emotion. I hate the face that you’re down there in the cold ground, 12 feet down. It does make me feel better to know that you have your monkey jammies and your blankies with you. I hope you’re playing with your Taggie. You were so cute how we would always have to find the tag on your blankies so you could rub it between your fingers and on your cheeks. You called it your "Taggie". I was so fast at finding the tag for you, I'd just turn the blankie and run my fingers along it, bam I'd find it and you'd be happy as a clam. Man I miss snuggling up with you and your blankies. You would always love snuggling with "mommy's blankie" too. I can picture and hear you saying it now, "MOMMIES BLANKIE." God, sometimes I just watch your videos so I can hear your sweet voice. I have this one video, it's more of an audio shot because you hated the flash on the camera so I was just recording what you were saying. You were saying "no pictures, no pictures, no pictures." You hated pictures those last couple months. You reminded me of Great Grandpa Buck on how you hated pictures. He hated them so much he'd twist your fingers if you tried to get one. I hope Grandma Gladys and Grandpa Buck are up there taking care of you. You only got to meet Grandma once before she passed away and Grandpa Buck a few times. I know they were with you on your whole journey and I know they kept you safe as long as they could.
So we left the grave site and immediately went to get stuff to decorate your grave. I bought you some cars, some play-dough and some awesome Cars stickers, all your favorite things. There were so many emotions running through me when I went into Target to get you these things. I cried each time I found the things you loved. I hadn't bought cars, play-dough or stickers since before you passed. It was so hard, but also felt so good to be able to buy little boy toys for you. I just wish more than anything you were here to play with them. Instead they just sit above your grave, until they become discolored and wet from the rain, then the grounds keeper will take it and throw it away again. We got you an awesome sign with your picture and the ‘Cancer Militia’ logo. It's a weather proof sign, so it should last awhile. Your headstone is actually being cut this week!!! We can't wait to get back and have it set up and looking beautiful. I think it will make it a lot easier to visit next time.
Saturday the foundation threw a car wash to help raise funds for the SLC chapter so they can order bracelets. The Salt Lake chapter is in the process of building a healing center where parents from the oncology floor up at Primary can come and do yoga, get a massage or acupuncture, relax and just chill in a serene environment. A place where they can forget about their worries and cares for a couple hours. We're all very excited about this. Cashy's Healing Center! One day we aspire to build an actual healing center where children and their families with cancer can come and stay and be treated with cannabis oil, fresh organic juicing, organic meals high in alkaline, Gerson therapy, Alkalized water, physical therapy, cannabis therapy, mineral soaking.... Everything from nursing care to spiritual healing. One day Cash, One day! I know you will make this dream of ours come true in your honor. Anyways back on track, the car wash (although it was freezing cold and we only did it for 4 hours) it raised nearly $700! We were thrilled! We had people holding signs up saying "honk if you hate cancer". We definitely got tons of honks and tons of random donations from people’s car windows as they were driving by and stopping at the light, it was awesome!
Sunday we had a family birthday party for baby Sissy at the Bada Bing. Lots of family came for just throwing it together at the last minute. Thanks everyone who came!!! Can you believe your Sissy is one years old already???!!! Makes me sad to think that you've been gone 5 months already, she has changed so much in those 5 months. You would be so proud of her. Well, I know you are so proud of her. You were the best big brother to her. You always loved giving her kisses and holding her. Now she's a wild one and doesn't sit still for more than a few seconds.
We headed home Monday morning, making a stop at Lava Hot Springs where we soaked it up in a mineral hot springs. Ahh it was so nice and as we soaked a hawk kept circling high up above us. We knew it was you with us. You always loved soaking in hot tubs. It was good to know you were there with us on our way home, Making sure we made it home safe and sound.
Tuesday was Sissy's actually 1st birthday. We had a small party for her with just the family. I didn't feel like throwing a big party, my heart was in it, but I knew it would be so hard so I just kept it low key and had grandparents and a few friends. Sissy was so cute in her dress and hair bow. Sometimes when I look at her I see you, I see you in her blue eyes, in her chubby cheeks and definitely in her little flat butt, I see you. She reminds me so much of you it's almost like God gave us her so we wouldn't be torn into a million pieces on the outside or the inside. My outside is presentable, but if you saw my insides, their definitely in such disarray that you'd think one could die from a heart broken into a million pieces. Is it possible? Death from a broken heart? If it is, I'd probably already be dead. The only reason my heart is even beating right now is because of my two sweet babies left on this earth, and my ever so broken hearted husband, Your Daddy. Daddy and I have had our differences throughout the years, but right now at this exact moment our love is so strong, bold, and connected through an energy that only you Cashy, could have left us with. Last night we held each other close and cried ourselves to sleep thinking of your sweet voice, your innocent smile and how you should be nestled in between us like you had been since birth.
Daddy was the one who started with the tears last night, every night one of us is feeling your absence and it sparks the chain reaction of the immense feeling of loss we have without you.
Sissy is 1 year old. I still can't believe it. We never planned for your sister, she was a huge surprise. I HAD an IUD in place that somehow went MIA, never to be found. I swear who does that happen to...? If there’s a will there’s a way. Right? Again that damn psychic. Cashy, you were actually our only "planned" child. We actually planned for you and tried a whole 4 weeks and bam, we were pregnant! One would say we are some fertile myrtles. But you were given to us for a reason, to better ourselves, to better our future, and to change the world buddy. Which you’re doing, a little bit at a time.
I remember the day Sissy was born like it was yesterday. My water broke as I stood up from the toilet after peeing. Literally a giant gush of fluid, like they portray in the movies. Gush, gush, gush. You were propped up on the couch watching the Mickey Mouse Club house. I hurried and called Daddy but he didn't answer. I thought crap, I called again, still no answer. So I called my mom and texted daddy that my water broke! I hurried and took a shower and of course did my hair so I would look semi presentable. I wasn't contracting too badly yet so I figured I had some time. Finally daddy arrived and he got you ready and we loaded in the van after I changed the 6th soaked towel from my underwear, it just kept gushing and gushing. I swear it kept coming and coming. (I know TMI). So as we drove down the hill you were in the back in your car seat and daddy decided to do a little filming. We arrived at the hospital and all of a sudden I had extreme amounts of pressure. I thought, oh crap the baby is coming now. I stood up and here we go again, a giant gush of fluid again. Ugh, it wasn't the head coming, just more fluid. Literally a giant gush came down and splashed the ground and now my shoes and pants were completely soaked. Cashy you were so reluctant to even pull up to the hospital, you thought we were bringing you in for another poke or another procedure. Poor little bugger. I promised you we weren't though. We arrived and were put in our room, my nurse, Alissa checked me and I was 4cm. So I walked some laps, sat on the exercise ball, and now the contractions were kicking in and starting to hurt. I got in the shower to hopefully get things moving even faster, I let the hot water run on my belly for what seemed like an hour. After I got out of that shower, those contractions were hurting soooooo dang bad. All I wanted was to have someone rubbing my back while I sat on the ball and rocked side to side. Now at 4:30 pm I was hurting big time, but I really didn't want an epidural. For some reason I really wanted to prove to myself that I could do it without. Well at 5:17pm I pushed out a 6 pound baby girl (which was a surprise) without any pain medication and not even an IV in my wrist. I was so proud of myself as was Mike. Pushing a baby out of your vagina without pain medication really takes the words "ring of fire" to a whole new level of meaning. Your daddy videoed the whole birth and was so excited that I did it without any drugs that he had to show all of his friends. Ugh, thanks for that Mike! Like I wanted all of your buddies to have a shot of my vagina at its ultimate worst. I'm pretty sure some of them will never have babies because of that. Oh well I guess…their loss! What's done is done. Hahaha. The next day we brought out little sweet bundle of joy, surprise from God, home. We were so blessed, three babies, and a cancer free Cashy. Could life get any better than this?? Not at that moment.
The first thing we did when we brought Sissy home from the hospital was that you insisted we put her in your car bed with you. Man you were so proud of your baby sister. You were the best big brother ever smothering her in kisses and hugs.
I long for the days of sleeping with you and her, one of my babies in each arm. I would have to switch you and Sissy to different places so I could breast feed her on both sides. You didn't mind though, you just loved cuddling with momma and Sissy.
You don't know the sting your absence has left us. It's like treading water, you keep treading and treading and trying to keep your head afloat, stay afloat, keep afloat. Some days I want to sink and never tread again. I want to sink to the bottom where nobody can find me, slowly letting the bubbles of my breath float to the top, bubble by bubble, till I'm out of breath. Till there's nothing left.
People keep saying, "Oh the pain gets easier as time goes on." That's a crock of shit. I feel like the further we get from the day you passed the harder it is. Today marks 5 months almost a half a year. Where did the time go? How can it have been 5 months, how have I even lived 5 months without you? It's not even possible. Even though I took thousands of pictures of you, I'm so mad at myself God for not taking more, for not taking more videos....it's all I have now, memories, pictures, videos, and of course your things tucked away in a box to save forever. Forever is so permanent, and you’re forever gone, we can't get you back no matter how many times I run your scenario over and over in my head. I should have done this, I should have done some of that. What IF I had tried harder, what IF I would have found him this supplement or that herb or vitamin? What IF I hadn't had to work all that time, could I have changed the course? Could I have altered the path of your destiny?
Sometimes I swear I'm driving myself certifiably insane. I keep over analyzing your baby sis. Sometimes I swear she has a brain tumor. I know, I know it's absurd. But sometimes I watch her eyes, I feel like they move weird. Sometimes I look at how she's always falling over and bonking her head. I'm just literally a freak that worries about everything. Will that cause cancer? I'm constantly learning about new healthy ways of living and I know this will help keep my kids safe from a lot of the dangers out there. But you can't chance fate.
I feel like I've lost a lot of friends along this journey of losing a child, yet I have also gained many new friends, and some old friends have re-surfaced as well. The truth is some people are only there for you during the drama, during the worst times, but where are the people when you really need lifting, when you need a smile on your face, when you need to laugh or cry, when you need that support. I feel like sometimes it's just Daddy and I alone in this grief of losing a child. Nobody understands OUR pain. Nobody understands what it was like to have such an awesome kid like you pass away from the most awful deadly thing possible. Nobody besides daddy and I had a Cashy like you. You’re the one and only Cashy, nobody can replace you or stand in your shoes. You’re a one of a kind dude, Cash. It's nice to get that random text from a friend, wondering how you are, how you’re dealing with losing such a special boy, wondering how you’re even getting out of bed of even dressed for the day, or even just a quick text to say, love you friend. I truly appreciate those and I smile big when I get those (you know who you are). I appreciate the little things like that. But I also do understand that life is continuing to go on around us even though at this moment it seems to be standing still. Standing still in a sea of loneliness and grief. A baron empty deep sea where the only thing around is a giant wave to swallow you whole, along with the pain and emptiness in your heart.
On a more positive note, on Thursday we held a reggae concert/fundraiser at the Top Hat starring Pato Banton and the Now Generation. Wow was it amazing!!! Nearly 600 people packed into the Top Hat for a reggae concert of a lifetime! It was so much fun getting people together for a good cause and to spread Cashy's story. At one point, and I really bless this girl’s heart because she was so sincere. I went into the bathroom and this girl came out of the stall and I gave her a Cashy wrist band, she asked what it was for and I told her the reason she was at the bar in the first place, Cashy’s story, (she didn't know why she was there, just a free concert) so I told her that my son died of brain cancer and we were throwing a fundraiser. She looked at me with (well a half drunk/half whole heartedly head tilt to the side look) and goes "OMG, my cat died of cancer," I was like "uhh, well my kid died." Awkward moment there. Some people. I told Mike and he says to me, "everybody has dealt with loss babe." That made me smile when he said that, because it’s so true. But the event was so great! The owner of the Top Hat even paid the band more money to keep playing because everyone was having such a good time. If you didn't make it to the concert, well, you missed out on an epic concert! All of daddy's hard work to put this together in the last two weeks had really paid off. I’m so proud of you babe!
The k you to all our sponsors and to everyone who came and helped out. Amanda, nick, Sara and benji and Helen for helping out and running the booth during the show! We truly appreciate it guys! Love you all! I can't wait to see where the foundation will go this year with all your help!
Colty has been adapting to his dirt bike and he's been riding it up Pattee Canyon on the dirt roads. He's really been doing great with it. Although it makes me sooooo nervous! He's a little stud muffin though. Mike’s buddy Dan took him to the moto-cross store and bought him all new gear to wear. Boots, riding pants and shirt and gloves. Dano sure knows how to spoil a kiddo. But Colty deserves it. He's been through more than any 8 year old kid ever has and I'm proud of him.
Well sweet child of mine, I must go. I love you to the moon and back, to infinity and beyond and to the depths of my lonely Cashyless soul. I love you sweet boy. Please come to me in a dream (preferably one you’re alive in, please), it's been way too long and I miss seeing your chubby cheeks and your pink lips.
Your momma forever.