Yesterday, the Fourth of July, was four years since Nick was diagnosed. It’s a hard day for us to get through as a family. We remember the call to rush to the hospital, the devastating news, the fear, anger and shock of the unknown. Four years is just a drop in the pool of grief. The pain is still so real, the emotions run deep, and when it’s a holiday you struggle with what you traditionally did and try to figure out how it do it without your child. Nothing is the same.
On every holiday I visit with Nick at the cemetery. I sit on a blanket or a lawn chair and write. I write to Nick, reflect, cry, and just be with him. Yesterday I cleaned his stone, laid some mulch, but couldn’t settle to be with him. So I went on with my day. We changed our Independence Day tradition to get through the day, but to also reflect who we are now. We used to watch the town parade, and now we are in the parade representing Nick’s Fight to be Healed Foundation and all the children fighting cancer. About 25 teens walked with us, showing the community that they do indeed make a difference. People cheered and recognized our group. Those teens made me smile.
Then our friends came over and the simplicity of playing Dominoes, joining in lighthearted laughter, and eating good food helped me get through those moments of sadness. My friends know without saying how much we need connections on this day. We walked to Clifton Commons for fireworks. I remember walking with Nick, our family, and friends, knowing that he was sick, that life would never be the same, but hoping for healing.
It didn’t work out that way.
As I watched the fireworks last night, I thought of my son. I missed him, but having my younger son and his friends there supporting him warmed my heart.
Days to get through–holidays, diagnosis day, birthday, soulday, and sometimes every day. We need to do what works best for us to get through each moment, each annual milestone. Sharing those days with people we love is priceless and Nick wanted it that way.
Today I remember Dylan Mayo who passed away four years ago. May his family find peace on this hard day.
|July 4, 2008. Nick is in the red sweatshirt. His little brother in front of him and supportive friends surround him.|