So, where to from here?

We are blessed, I know that — we have amazing friends, neighbors and a wonderful family — beginning with our siblings and their families, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins to my four beautiful children — Beth&Sam, Stan&Sherri, Danny& Cathie, Jenny&Mike and the blessing of our 13 grandchildren — Kaylob, Sammy, Will, Lucas, Hunter, Devan, Cailyn, Kane, Drew, Molly, Brady, Declan and Cole.

We are blessed to have been part of this past year with Declan. We moved back from NM and bought a house in VA only a few short weeks before the twins were born. Stan and Sherri graciously opened their home to us while we waited for our house to be delivered. Although they were happy for the help in those first months after Declan and Cole were born (not sure they wanted all the advice that came with the help :) — the gift of those months was to us and not to them.  The memories of this past year will be with me forever — the joys of holding and caring for Declan and Cole from the very beginning.   So many memories –coming home from work to those joyful babies, helping with those middle of the night feedings — the groggy laughs Judy and I shared with Stan and Sherri at 2AM, watching all the boys — Will, Brady, Declan and Cole grow and change, their tolerance of my many songs, Declan‘s first belly laugh, his smiles, he was so full of smiles and laughter. How do I keep those good times, smiles and memories close to my heart without all the sadness that goes with them? God has a plan I tell myself. 

We are blessed to have had some very joyful days over the past 5 months since Declan was diagnosed. With all the lows, there were the highs — Declan’s good days — his smiles, how Will could make him laugh just by saying his name (and we all tried to imitate Will and get that same laugh from saying “Da, Da, Da, Declan“).  Declan’s joy when all the boys were visiting — his interaction with Brady and his pensive looks at Cole when he would chatter away. The memory of seeing Declan in Houston listening in amazement to him squeezing his giraffe Sophie — he was so proud of himself when he could make her squeak using both hands. How cute it was when Declan would light up when a female walked in the room, he flirted with all of them — his eyes and smile would light the room. Our daughter Beth, our research specialist, was beside herself when she was told it was AT/RT but I knew it would be okay — I had faith it would be okay.  How do we maintain our faith and our determination to help other families dealing with this horrible disease? God has a plan I tell myself.

We are blessed, to have had Declan’s story touch so many people and to have received the most amazing support from so many — friends, neighbors, family and strangers. Even today, the deeds, messages, prayers, songs that uplift us when we are in this abyss of misery — that support has been the mortar that has kept us from falling apart on so many days and continues to uplift us now. One said that you could see the beauty of God’s face in Declan’s eyes — those beautiful eyes. How we insure that these people know how much their support and meant and pay it forward? God has a plan I tell myself. We are blessed by Sherri and Stan, watching them weather this storm with amazing grace and fortitude despite the torture of their hearts. Watching them with determination gracefully demand and be the best possible advocates for their child in the worst of circumstances — what they learned about AT/RT and everything that comes with it was mind-boggling. My heart aches for Sherri, Stan, Will, Brady & Cole. How do we help them heal and navigate this quaqmire of emotions now and in the weeks, months, years to come? God has a plan I tell myself.

So where to for now, I think we are blessed to have had Declan for even so short a time.   Declan was premature so I know that it would have been easy to have lost him then and never have had that all to short a time with him.  So for now I tell myself that we will have to hang onto that — the fact that even though his time was short, the gift of Declan was huge. Hang on to the blessings we have, the memories, the gift of Declan’s goodness and smiles, the gift of our family and the tremendous support by so many people. Hang on to the positives in this journey. I know Sherri will have much more to say — there is so much more for her to say and I think that is part of God’s plan that will help us heal.

Matthew 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

3 thoughts on “So, where to from here?

  1. Thank you Declan’s Nana so much for this post. I know I am only one of thousands who’s heart has broken over sweet Declan, but please let your family know how very much they are in our hearts, thoughts and prayers. I have been watching Declan’s journey since the very beginning, I have laughed with you all, cried with you all, prayed and prayed for you all and now although it doesn’t compare, I am grieving with you all.

    You see (and no one else knows my story but I need to share it with you) my father passed away last September, and I was devastated. We were and are a very close family, then of 4 on this earth and now 3. I was going in and out of depression for months until I saw the story of this remarkable young boy named Declan. I saw his smile, I saw his laughter and all of his trials and tribulations and yet this little soldier still had a smile on his face. He brought me through the darkness. I am forever grateful for your Declan, although I wish with everything that I am, he never had to go through any of this. My heart aches for Sherri and Stan and family, I wish I could take away the pain. I so wish I could, all I have is to let you know your sweet precious Declan with the amazing and contagious smile has changed me forever and filled me with hope.

    I will do whatever I can from now and forever to spread Declan’s story and to get the word out about Pediatric Cancer.

    With all of my heart and prayers for you and the Carmical Family,

    Leigh A. Trefry

  2. Donna – I know what a mother’s love is about and I now know what a grandparent’s love is about, so I can only imagine your sorrow. I send my deepest sympathy. I too followed Declan’s journey from the beginning, because I made a vow to support other families who have a child with a medical condition. I made that vow after my grandson had to have surgery at 5 months old and we received so much support from family, friends and strangers on a website. They gave us such hope at a time we were so scared. In fact, many were “Perfect Strangers” and I will never forget them. In that aspect, I know how grateful you are and the need to pay it forward. Declan left all of us with a mission to push for a cure for cancer and find compassion in our hearts for other people by lending our support. I have a lot of respect and admiration for your son and daughter-in-law for the reasons you mentioned in your statement above. My prayers are with you during this difficult time!

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