Monday, November 23, 2009

A Time of Thanks...

Well, long time no update….for several reasons really. Life gets so busy- doesn’t it? AND there are times I’m just a loss for words- (I know some people find that hard to believe, but it’s true :)

Things here have been busy as usual…school keeps me busy- something about a room full of 23 first graders- there isn’t much ‘down time’! They keep me hopping. Scott’s been working really long hours- leaving for work in the morning before Caden and I even wake up, and getting home around 9-10:00 every night. He’s worked straight through the last few weekends. Caden, well- Caden is Caden, and remains his ‘happy-go-lucky’ self most of the time. He started wrestling practices last week, and is a riot to watch, but he loves it.

Here are a couple of pictures of him in his gear:

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He wore himself out so much doing his moves he had to lay down to play Wii! :) Check out the orb in the picture next to him on the floor...hmmmm
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He also LOVES going to school and daycare, which we’re so thankful for. He told me last week, “mommy, when I’m at school, I don’t miss Coleman so much…I still miss him, but not as much cuz I have kids around to play with”. Then he looked at me, like maybe he shouldn’t have said that, but I told him it was okay to feel what he felt. School is something he and Coleman never got to do together, so it’s kind of Cade’s own thing, and he doesn’t have the memories of Coleman there like he does at home, or when we go to the places we used to go with him. He has his sad moments, but I just keep reassuring him that whatever he feels is okay…he’s entitled to his feelings.

Several people have mentioned that this will be a hard time of the year for us. At first I thought, ‘well, every day has it’s hard moments’…but I do have to admit, as the holidays get closer, so many memories are coming back, and they aren’t exactly the happy memories I’d like them to be- funny thing about memories is that you can tell yourself you’re only going to think of the GOOD ones and then those nightmarish ones just sneak right in there when they want to, and especially at the times you DON’T want them to….We’ve been doing okay… we do have our days, our moments of struggle- BUT we have so much to be thankful for as well…and THAT is what we do our best to focus on.

Thinking back to last year this time, Coleman was really beginning to be in pain from his tumors. We were sent home from New York for the last time, knowing there was nothing else anyone could do for him medically. He was packing on the weight from the heavy dose of steroids he was on, and he was uncomfortable. He slowly lost his ability to walk on his own, and kept to the couch most of the time, unless I helped him to the bathroom, or moved him to another part of the house for a change of scenery. He was OBSESSED with doing art projects, even more than usual, and the tremors in his hands were slowing him down to the point it was getting harder for him to complete them the way he wanted to…it frustrated him- still, I remember him pushing on, with his paint brush in his little shaking hand, determined to finish what he started. He was NOT going to give up! THAT was Coleman. The other thing I remember so vividly is his mood swings…also made worse than usual from the tumors. He would be so happy, then suddenly SNAP at you, then instantly glide back to his sweet self. He’d say, “can you come div me a tiss mommy?” I’d answer, “sure Coleman, you know I will!” Then when I’d kiss him he’d yell, “NO! I SAID ONE TISS NOT TWO!!!” and get all grouchy. He’d see me back away and sweetly say, “but you know I wuv you mommy.”

One day I helped him to the bathroom. A couple of minutes later he yelled, “mommy? Tan you tum and talk to me while I’m poopin?” :) He could never be away from someone to converse with for long, and many of our best conversations together were while he was in the bathroom ‘doing his business’. I’d sit on their little step stool for the sink and he’d chat away. This day he asked me a lot of questions about why he couldn’t walk any more. It was excruciating explaining it to him. I tried to stay as positive as I could, but he wanted to know WHEN DOD was going to make him walk again. Not that he really wanted me to answer him…a lot of Coleman’s questions were just him thinking out loud. HE wanted to answer them himself, and if you tried, he usually corrected you with what HIS answer would be. The words that I remember the most from that day were when he told me, “I know Dod is dunna help me, but it’s no fun livin like this mommy.” At the time it choked me…it was one of those times as hard as I tried, I couldn’t hold back the tears. Those just aren’t words a four year old should ever come out of his mouth. It broke my heart.

BUT remembering those words also brings me some sort of peace- I know Coleman is no longer in pain. He didn’t like living the way he was. As hard as the holidays are going to be this year, they will not compare to how hard it was this time last year…knowing that cancer was slowly taking everything away from Coleman broke my heart into a million pieces. I can’t begin to explain how helpless we felt…time stood still, yet went way too fast- if that makes any sense. All I know is I wouldn’t wish Coleman back here, if it meant he had to be in pain. The hardest part of the end for me was signing the ‘do not resuscitate’ papers. I remember the doctors taking Scott and I to a room by ourselves to have a talk. At the time I saw it as meaning we were giving up- something that went against everything we had fought so hard against since the beginning of Coleman’s diagnosis. I wasn’t ready, yet there were no options left. Giving up wasn’t in me…we needed to fight! Yet, seeing this swollen shell our Coleman was stuck in, I knew – it was time. Not time to give up, but to give it to God, knowing He would take care of ALL of us. Through the entire two and a half year battle, THAT was the moment I cried the hardest.

God HAS held us up this year though…He brings us strength when nothing/no one else can. The thing is, as much as I tried to teach Coleman about faith, he ended up teaching us so much more. He ‘knew’ things that weren’t things we’d taught him, he just knew, and THAT is why I can find peace knowing his fight is over- and he doesn’t have to go through any of the horrible things he endured ever again. Still, there is this HUGE hole left. We feel it each and every day. I always told him I wished it was ME who was hurting and not him…and he would so sweetly say, “I wish it was you too mommy, but no, it’s me.” Oh do we miss him.

Caden’s (and Coleman’s) birthday is coming up….last year if you were on the carepages with us, you’ll remember the boys had a small party at the Sport’s Page. I remember Coleman wasn’t feeling the best, but we did our best to celebrate knowing it would be his last birthday, their last together, yet always, always holding out hope.

Caden is planning a BIG skating party this year, with MANY people on his invite list. It will be a bittersweet day, but we’re determined to make it a good one for Caden. He deserves that. And of course he will take a birthday present out to the cemetery for Coleman, and we’ll send some balloons up to his “brudder”…for they will always have a bond, whether they are together or apart.

Here’s a little piece of video I found on my birthday- it was Coleman reading Caden a Clifford Christmas book. This was taken shortly after Coleman’s release from his stem cell transplant. The boys were still getting used to being together again after their many week separation. Each one was getting used to sharing the spotlight, as Coleman had had our full attention while he was in the hospital, and Caden had been top banana at Grandma’s for many weeks. The video really shows how different their personalities were. Caden is still just as bouncy as he was here- and Coleman always, ALWAYS talked non-stop. I’m so thankful we have these memories on tape…

Tomorrow is my last work day this week and then I’m going in to help for a bit in Caden’s classroom on Wednesday…then we head back to my sister’s for THANKSGIVING…

We’re wishing you all a very HAPPY and BLESSED THANKSGIVING. We can’t thank you enough for all of your support and messages- you have been a HUGE blessing to our family, and we thank God for sending us so many angels to be a part of our team. Please keep praying for all the little heroes still fighting, and for all of the families missing their little heroes this Thanksgiving and every day.


BLESSINGS to you all,

A old picture, but one I love-
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  1. God Bless You All! And thanks for letting us be a part of your lives as well as learning so SO much from an unbelievable set of brothers.

    Your stories and FB statuses continue to make me smile...What does Caden call the one legged dance move in wrestling?


  2. I was just thinking about the boys' birthday coming up and then came on here and saw your update. Soon found myself laughing through my tears ("I wish it was you too mommy") as Coleman so often has me doing. I love the wrestling pictures. My 5 yr old grandson wants to wrestle all the time and, well, I'm too old to really enjoy it :-) I'm wishing Team Larsen a blessed Thanksgiving with visits from your special angel.

  3. Thinking of you and your family often. Your post had me in tears. As a mother, I admire your strength. I don't know that I could be as amazing as you are. Wishing your family the happiest of holidays and knowing that your angel is watching over all of you.

    Love and prayers,
    Christina Gomez (a Carepage follower)

  4. Oh Peggy! You had me in tears going back through the memories of the last few moments with Coleman. I too held out hope until the very end! I still think about Coleman all the time and all of the funny things he said. He was a special boy that truly touched my heart. Caden was and still is the comic relief for all of you and although he still has those days where he hurts I have faith that his broken heart will heal.

    Many blessings to your family too! May God continue to provide comfort to all of you throughout the upcoming holidays!

    Before I forget...I loved the wrestling pictures!

    Stef, Ryan, Wyatt and Logan Jacks

  5. I did notice the orb, Peggy! Coleman is always with his brudder... Your post was so touching - I really love you and your family so much. Coleman was and always will be my hero. I learned so much from the wisdom of that precious angel.
    Blessed Thanksgiving to you all,

  6. Another great video, Peggy! I'm so glad you have them to cherish. And I'm so glad and honored that you continue to share your sons with us. Wishing you a happy and blessed Thanksgiving. With love...Jennifer