Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Reisterstown, Maryland
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 2:51 PM, CDT
Some days the words come easily and flow like melted snow cascading over mountain top water falls and my hands can barely type them as my mind speaks to itself. Other days, I struggle to put my thoughts into one complete coherent sentence. Lately, I've had more of those kinds of days. I haven't felt much like writing. The is no redundancy in answering the same question of “how I am doing” as it changes from day to day and it seems to be so unpredictable. I still have good days and I still have really bad days. We all do. I still hurt, tremendously, and I'm still trying to figure out how to get through life with a chunk of my heart missing...gone...forever. I know this is one injury I can't mend. This injury will never stop hurting. It could easily be so debilitating, but I work hard at not letting myself walk into that dark forest. I know if I did, I'm afraid I could not find my way back to the light of life again. I plan to stay in the sunshine!
Today marks six months since Sicily died. I can say the word, “died,” now, as that is what she did. She died. Her brain told her organs to stop working. Her heart stopped pumping and her little lungs halted the process of inhaling and exhaling the air we shared. Her little body became still. She died. But her spirit and her zest for life will continue on in the lives of all who knew her and loved her. Death couldn't stop her...her short little life will continue to impact us all! The mere thought of her will remind us to value life. I pray that simple thoughts of Sicily continue to ground those who feel themselves slipping...calm those who are overwhelmed with fears...relax those who are stressed...and strengthen those who feel weak. I pray that visions of her make us all feel closer to God and remind us that life is short...the “here and now” that we perceive as life...but if we are nice to one another and live our lives to the best of our ability, we will never completely “die” either.
Today, as you can probably surmise, I'm feeling pretty fragile. BUT, I am doing okay. I've cried because I felt like crying. I've talked to and picked up Stowie the cat more than usual. She's actually receptive and has reciprocated my need for comfort. For the first time, ever, she licked my chin as I briefly held her. She must sense I am in need of something a little extra today.
I still smile sitting here at the computer as I have a precious reminder of my daughter's love for me watching my every move through black plastic eyes. This past Christmas, her last one to celebrate with us, she gave me a little Santa hat wearing stuffed dog that barks “Jingle Bells” when its left back paw is squeezed. She picked it out herself on a shopping trip to Walgreen's with her siblings and aunts. It was easy to see through her gift giving glasses...giving me this dog would ensure her ability to get to play with it. She had it all figured out. What I don't think she consciously knew was how much comfort this furry little barker would bring me down the road.
I have a picture of us together Christmas morning right after I had opened my special present. I recently added it as the background for the desk top on this computer. I started to wonder where my little musical mutt friend was as I could not remember seeing it since right after Christmas, assuming it must be somewhere in the mayhem of Sicily's bedroom. I also figured it might just have easily been packed away with Christmas decorations, although I could not see myself doing that as I valued the sentimental attachment I knew I would have with it. I didn't waste too much time worrying, but will admit that the desire to find it grew a little more each time I gazed at the picture framed by the computer monitor.
A little over a week ago, I began to slowly deal with a few areas of the house that have been neglected (which if one were to ask other occupants of this household, they would sheepishly admit that that about covers the entire square footage!). I casually opened a box, pausing for a moment to decide if it was something of a priority, but continued more out of curiosity about its contents. I was on a little bit of a mission to find some things I could let go of quickly without a second thought as the church and preschool garage sales were fast approaching. There were indeed some items of Sicily's that I had forgotten about, and decided to donate them without hesitation. As I was nearing the bottom of the rather large box, I saw a brown tail with a jingle bell attached sticking up through some other items. I grabbed the tail and pulled free one of my favorite Christmas gifts, ever! He, or she, as I don't think we ever decided the gender of this dog, is now a permanent fixture on the computer desk in our home office. Sicily had already worn the batteries down enough so that the tail with the jingle bell attached doesn't wag anymore, but the little guy still belts out a ferocious version of jingle bells. It makes me very happy!
Another thing that conjures up thoughts of happiness for me will occur this Thursday. I, along with some other family members, will get to see Natasha Bedingfield perform live at a concert benefiting the Susan G. Komen Foundation in Wichita, Kansas. I PRAY she will sing “Pocketful of Sunshine!” That song epitomizes Sicily! I will never forget how that song became such an important part of her cancer journey and how it continues to help us feel her “light” every time we hear it. It all began right after we moved to Oklahoma from Kansas in the summer of 2008. Sicily and I watched Natasha perform the song on the Today show one morning. I immediately loved it and downloaded it from iTunes. I played it often after that and Sicily began to dance to it whenever she'd hear it. What I wouldn't give to see Sicily dance the way she used to dance...she did a perfect imitation of the Seinfeld character, Elaine Benes, only it wasn't an imitation...she just moved all over the place! If anyone knows what I'm talking about, there was no rhyme or rhythm to the movements...just “movements!” Sicily was a pro!
After Sicily's diagnosis, the song took on a whole new meaning for us. My favorite memory occurred as we were driving to the hospital from my sister's house in Oklahoma City for the first time at 5:30 in the morning for her port insertion surgery. It was dark outside and Patrick and I quietly listened to the radio. Despite having to wake up so early, Sicily was in her usual spunky mood. She asked if she could listen to my iPod so I handed it back to her. I attempted to instruct her on how to put the little earphones in her ears, but she pretty much already knew what to do and if she didn't, well, she'd figure it out on her own anyway! She placed the ear phones into her little ears and began pressing buttons, fully thinking she knew how to work it. Next thing we knew, a cute little voice began singing, “Take me away, take me away...” Patrick proceeded to turn off the radio. We drove the rest of the way to the hospital listening to Sicily trying to sing the fast paced words of “her” song, “Pocketful of Sunshine.” I remember looking over at Patrick, and he briefly looked at me, and our eyes communicated without words. We both knew how precious of a moment that was! I'm still moved completely to tears every time I think about it. I love that song so much and will for the rest of my life. Sicily was totally our “Pocketful of Sunshine!” If you think about it, a pocket could never hold sunshine...sunshine cannot be contained! Bright rays of light would shoot out from the corners and break free from the confines of any fabric. That was Sicily. I think her little life was so bright, that even death can't subsume her brightness!
I apologize, even though I know an apology is not expected, that so much time elapses these days between journal entries. It's either because I am very busy, which is good, and time escapes me...I'm just having a great day and I want to enjoy it...or I'm having a very gloomy day and just can't do it. The last two are the days I “need” to write, but they also fall simultaneously on the first explanation. I will just try to do what I can when I can. I always feel better when I write so you'd think I'd figure out a way to make it happen. There are a lot of things I still haven't figured out these days, and may never.
Six months...hard to believe! I still love life...I still think my faith in God is the coolest thing, EVER...and I still miss my little girl every second of every day, even more than the night we placed her body onto the gurney behind the funeral home vehicle and watched them cover her up!
One more thing I've been meaning to write about for so long and just haven't gotten to it, and I'm ashamed! Our beloved friend, “Aunt Glenda,” has worked long and hard at developing a website that both honors and memorializes Sicily and will be a blessing to other children fighting cancer. Before Sicily even lost her hair, Glenda began knitting her custom chemo caps. These precious hats quickly became a part of Sicily's daily wardrobe and her trademark appearance. Some of her favorites where the ones that Glenda attached “hair” to...strands of brown yarn that served as bangs, ponytails and braids. We would add bows to her “hair” and she would at times pull her “hair” back into ponytails and clippies. These hats were vital to her battle and they made her feel so very special. Another favorite was the beret Glenda designed that soon began to symbolize Sicily, and others who wore it, as a little soldiers in the battle for their lives. We had “Sicily berets” in about every color imaginable.
More important, Glenda and her friends held knit-a-thons and made dozens and dozens of hats that they sent to The Children's Hospital in Denver (she lives in Fort Collins, CO) as well as boxes to me here to distribute at the hospital and clinic where we were patients. Now, because of this desire to fashionably accessorize the beautifully bald, Glenda developed a website that will serve as a clearinghouse for chemo caps for pediatric cancer patients. Those who are in need will be able to find those who want to provide. Right now, they are hoping to have contacts at children's hospitals nationwide that would help distribute their creations. The website will be funded by the sales of Glenda's custom patterns (the actual hats to children will be free of charge) and any extra funds earned after the subtraction of administration costs will be donated to the Pablove Foundation. The website is aptly named, “Pocketful of Sicily” (Pocketful of Sicily - Home Page). Please consider checking it out and if you knit, crochet or know of someone who does that might find this pulling at their heartstrings, please pass it on and spread the word! The website is still in the early stages and is not fully complete, but it's up and running. This means so much to us and we will never be able to thank Glenda enough, as well as all the others who assisted her with this project!
I will sign off for now. I am patiently waiting for Fall to arrive. Summer isn't quite ready to give up the reigns, but I'm ready for my favorite three months of the year to begin! I need to find Stowie the cat again for a little more feline bonding. Actually, it looks like she is right behind me napping in a rocking chair. Maybe I'll just blow her a kiss!
All my love to you all,