The call

You all know what I’m talking about…the call you get from a family member, typically a parent, about someone who has died.

My dad called me earlier and I could hear it in his throat, that sound, I know you know it…the dreaded catch/hesitation. I heard it and my heart sank. Dad, what’s wrong…please tell me. My heart sinking…who has died.

And then he said it…I just read your last blog post. Ugh. My heart broke.

No one died…well at least no one “new”. It is Declan…the pain we’re all feeling. That last day you were alive 2 years ago was today. At 2:20am tonight…or tomorrow, however you tally time….you died.

He was distraught…as I’ve seen my Mother in Law…and Mommy and Father in Law. I felt awful…I feel awful. I/we hate their pain. HATE IT. We don’t want them to not call and share their pain…they should, but Stan and I have both lamented about how hard this must be for them. They lost their grandchild…how horrible. But they also have the added bonus of watching their child suffer. It breaks my heart to think about it….and they’re living it.

Declan we all love you so much. I know you are with us, hoping we are strong…but buddy…our hearts are breaking. You are missed. You are loved. I know you know this. It’s not just Mommy and Daddy…and Will, Brady and Cole. It’s our whole family. Our hearts are breaking tonight (and every night)…all over again, for you. We will love you and miss you forever.

Please wake up…please, please, please let this be a nightmare.

Wake up. Wake up! It’s time, this nightmare has gone on long enough. It’s too much to absorb so it’s time to wake up. Did this really happen? Has it almost been 2 years since we held you? It can’t be. I mean I look around and everyone is normal. The same things that went on before March 9th to August 18th 2010 are going on. There is no change. Life is the same…so this has to be a dream, right? Or is it the manifestation of that horrific phrase, chirped so cheerily by folks…Life goes on! It never felt so horrific before but it sure does now.

Life goes on.

Nope, it can’t be…this must be a nightmare. We didn’t really see a CAT scan with a golf ball sized “something” in your brain. We didn’t get rushed in an ambulance to the PICU only to discover the something was cancer. We didn’t really watch you get wheeled away for brain surgery…BRAIN SURGERY. Oh my God, you’re a baby. This isn’t happening. You didn’t really endure all those major surgeries…we didn’t really sit there with wringing hands for all those times. Did we?

No it can’t be…wake up!

Did we really watch them inject chemo into your little sweet head, to your brain? We didn’t really become so accustomed to you throwing up from the chemo that it became a routine in our days. We didn’t really spend almost 3 straight months in the hospital with you? Did you really become that darling little boy I saw walking the Oncology floor with his Mommy in the green scrubs? No, you can’t walk…wait that couldn’t be you. You didn’t have your first wagon ride in a hospital with your IV pole in tow, did you?

No, it can’t be…wake up!

Was your first flight really to Houston, TX…so we could radiate the cancer in your brain? Did we really spend 6 weeks there in a cramped hotel suite between your countless procedures so we could spend time together as a family? Did Grover and his friends make you belly laugh like that from a hospital bed?

No, it can’t be…wake up!

Did they really say there was nothing more that could be done? What? What did you say? What do you mean? It was all moving in the right direction…shrinking tumors and vanishing spots. What do you mean the area we didn’t radiate because nothing was there is so filled with tumors that you can’t count them? What do you mean we have no time…not 3 to 6 months or less than a year like it is in the movies…no time left. What do you mean we have to tell everyone Declan is dying…tomorrow. Did we really stand there and watch everyone say good-bye to you? Did all those awful things happen?

No, it can’t be…wake up!

Did we stand by your coffin, stuffed with all your comfort items, and watch an incredible stream of loving people come pay their respects to you? Did our friends with tear filled eyes and no words on their lips, come and hug us so tight? Did we watch the faces of the nurses stained with tears come to see you one last time? Did we watch the faces of the families we knew from treatment watch in horror as the thing they fear the worst has happened to their friend? Did she really say in my ear through tears, “I don’t know you but I read about Declan and have prayed for your family and had to come.”? (my stomach is turning as I type this but that’s ok, this is a nightmare, right?) Did we really watch your brothers peer into your coffin and kiss you good-bye? Did we watch in horror as that happened? Did we really watch your grandparents shoulders sag and shake from the sobs as they peered down into your coffin? Did your aunts, uncles and cousins come kiss your forehead and lightly touch your hand for the last time? Did we really bury you?

No, it can’t be…wake up!

Did we celebrate your 1st birthday by crying over your grave?

No, it can’t be…wake up!

Do we really have to think about what we say when someone asks us how many kids we have? When we proudly say four boys and are asked their ages, do we silently hope we can get it out without a tear shed or make the asker of that innocent question uncomfortable about our loss? Did we really learn that stuffed animals aren’t the best things to leave at your grave and plastic toys stand up to weather better? Do I really sleep with the I’m 1! bear that sat on your grave for a whole year?

No, it can’t be…wake up!

Did I really just sign up Cole for pre-school? Just Cole? Did I really watch Cole ride the rides at the PWC Fair, alone, without his twin? Do I really say Hi Declan! to every butterfly and dragonfly and feel like it’s him? Do sunsets and sunrises make me think I’m seeing you smiling at me? Am I really sending out invitations for Cole’s 3rd birthday, not Declan and Cole’s?

No, it can’t be…wake up!

Do people think we’re over it? Is that why so few people mention you to us? Or is it that they have moved on…their life has gone on and you are just a baby that died almost 2 years ago. Are we not that poor family any more…you know, Declan’s family, the baby who died from cancer? Are we just the Carmicals another family from Ashburn…you know them, the one with the 3 boys?

No, it can’t be…wake up!

Is life really going on…without you?

No, it can’t be. Please, wake up…please, please, please let this all be a nightmare.