a year ago

A year ago today, Jodi was getting ready for school to start. Caemon had been in his first year of preschool for one whole week. He had been reacting terribly to an antibiotic, so we took him to the doctor, a doctor he hadn’t seen before. She felt his belly, noticed his enlarged spleen and liver, and sent him for blood tests. Caemon and I went grocery shopping, and I hunted for supplements and probiotics and anything I could find to help him have a healthier year. And then we got home, and shortly thereafter, my phone rang. The doctor was on the line, listing Caemon’s blood counts–something with which I would later grow intimately familiar but which seemed utterly foreign at the moment. His platelets were low. His white counts were high. He had blasts. He very likely had leukemia. Most of you know the rest of the story. If you don’t, it’s here.

One year ago today was the day our lives changed forever. For the past year, I have been stuck in August. I couldn’t grasp that fall had come and gone, then winter, but they were manageable so long as we could watch those seasons go by through the hospital window with our boy by our sides. But then came spring–spring was surreal and unwelcome, and the return to summer, terrifying without my son. Finding myself back in August, back to the date when time stood still is confusing and heartbreaking without Caemon here. Both yesterday and today have seen Facebook filled with images of friends’ children starting back to school, wearing new clothes, sporting new haircuts. But not Caemon.

With the end of the summer also brings Jodi returning to teaching. Caemon and I used to drive her to school some days, and then Caemon and I would have adventures. Other days we would stay home together and have Mommy and Caemon time reading or baking or whatever else he wanted to do because I would have to work in the afternoon when Jodi came home. This time of year was always an adjustment, but it was normal and routine. It was our family life. It’s all so different now. The house is too quiet when Jodi leaves for school. My trips to the less-populated Tuesday morning grocery store are so lonely without a little boy in the shopping cart stopping me for hugs or asking for a snack. This is not a life I wanted to leave behind.

It’s hard to know what a year means at this point. For the first half of that year, nearly six months, we were fighting like hell to save our boy’s life. For the latter half, we have been floored by our loss. Both today and yesterday have found Jodi and I back in those early hours of leukemia, the trip to the ER, the first IV, the ambulance ride, the first nurses and doctors, the feelings of terror, the welling up of hope. In some ways, that day was a beginning. It was the beginning of a boy and his moms on a hero’s journey, the beginning of medical play, of meeting a whole new oncology family, of healing our son. But we know now that it was also the beginning of the end, first the end of normal family life–and later, the worst ending of all.

Oh how I miss you, my sweet, sweet son.


23 thoughts on “a year ago

  1. I am so sorry for your loss and how keenly felt it is this month. I hold you and your beautiful boy in my thoughts. Caemon made such an impact in his far too brief time.

  2. I can’t even imagine…. Lucas often wears his Caemon tee to bed. when i check on him at night, the bright orange always reminds me to love each other and be grateful for every moment.

    Thinking peaceful thoughts for you both.

  3. That first year is so horrible and I’m afraid that the next year is pretty bad as well. Hold on to each other and draw strength from each other. And draw strength from those of us who hold you both in our hearts and prayers. Sending thoughts of love and peace.

  4. My heart goes out two you both! Its hard for me to read most of your blogs because I start to tear up. I am terribly sorry for your lost. I did not get to follow you long, however your son is filled with so much joy in his pictures. I prey that you both have a full filled and peaceful life!!

  5. You write so beautifully about such horrible things, things I wish no family ever had to face. My heart breaks for you both, and for what it’s worth from a stranger, I wish you strength and love.

  6. You have so many land mines to navigate, especially at this time of year. I’m thinking of you and wishing you the strength and peace you will need to get through this. Sending lots of love to you.

  7. Caemon is missed by so many….it is so unfair that he is not here. You are both so strong and an inspiration. These next few months will be especially hard, I know you will continue to trudge foward on this journey. We are all here continuing to support you. Sending love and light to you both.

  8. It is powerful to think about how many lives have been affected by C and I know that I have never been the same after reading of the diagnosis. I will always remember where I was—on my first trip with Meghan, in a beautiful chapel in the Arkansas hillside. I cried while sitting in that pew, and I cry today. None of us can fully comprehend what you are both experiencing but please know you are never alone.

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