|Posted by Celeste Winslow on November 28, 2014 at 8:15 PM||comments (0)|
I can't believe we are getting ready to celebrate our 3rd Christmas without Preston. It is hard to explain how it feels. I remember every detail like it was yesterday of our last days together. I remember our last Thanksgiving and Christmas together more than I remember these last two years. Preston spent the days before his last Christmas in ICU. We were not sure that he was going to make it. He was so sick and we were so scared. I was thankful that we had Christmas a few times at our house before he was readmitted and even though he didn't feel good for most of Christmas day, it was great to see smiles and wanting to get up and play with the gifts that he opened.
It feels like time has flown by. It is two and a half years later and so much has changed, life has gone on and I have a really hard time with that a lot. Stephanie is now officially older than Preston was when he passed away. Abby is 9, Stephanie is 4, Emily is 20 months old, and Preston will forever be 4. He would have turned 7 this year, been in first grade, and we often wonder what sports would he be playing, what toys he would like now, or what he would look like. HIs looks changed so much because of chemo, steroids, and cancer, that when I try to visualize, I often go back to when he was 2 or right before he relapsed for the first time.
Emily looks so much like him. I look at her and am so thankful fhat she shares so many of his qualities. She does his lips, her eyes are exactly the same green, a lot of her personality reminds us of him, always thinks she is in on the joke and causing us to laugh. Even the size of her feet reminds us of him. They both have huge feet. I love that she loves playing with babies and being girly but I also love that she loves getting on the floor and playing with his trucks and trains, making the noises. She loves playing with my phone and has figured out already that if I say no, she says "see Preston" and I will let her. She is truly our gift sent from God and Preston. She will never ever replace him but we are so blessed to have the reminders within her.
Stephanie is great as well. She still has one more year before she starts Kindergarten. She loves gymnastics and dressing up. She even wears dresses to be bed most nights because she wants to look beautiful in her dreams. She is a Princess! She remembers a lot more about Preston than I thought she would. She often cries about how much she misses him. She also has Preston's same green eyes. We talk about Preston often and play his videos and lately she says a lot of his jokes. Stephy has always been the comedian of the family, always making us laugh, we love that she is using some of his material and making it her own.
Abigail is so grown up now. We can't believe she is 9. She is in 3rd grade but skipped a grade in math and doing 4th grade math. We would not allow for her to skip a grade completley. She is so smart, so pretty, serious but funny. She LOVES to read. She plays lacrosse and loves it. She also does gymnastics and starts basketball again in a few weeks. Abby had her first communion this year, she just got braces and had to have green rubberbands because green is Preston's favorite color and it makes her feel like he is close. She misses Preston like crazy. It is hard for her because she is 4 1/2 years older than Stephy or even her next oldest cousin. Abby, Stephy, and James still watch some sort of superhero show almost daily. Preston and Abby were so close, she misses their bond and I wish that someday she will have that same closeness with her sisters.
We celebrated Preston's birthday the same as last year. We spent the day eating all his favorite foods, watching his favorite shows, playing games, and watching videos of him. We went to Toys R Us and bought presents for him and delivered them to his nurse, Kelsey, at Duke for her to give to a boy of similar age. It is important to our family to continue celebrating Preston and celebrating him. Buying presents as if we were buying for Preston and giving toys to another boy helps make the day a little easier for us. It is always nice to hear that it cheers up the patient as well.
We are getting ready to celebrate another Christmas without Preston. What has amazed us this year is that we have already had friends contact us on what they could send and we have already received a few Hess Trucks in the mail. James and I are so touched that so many people still think about Preston and want to help us continue the tradition. Last year we were able to provide a Hess truck and art supplies for every child on the floor with extras. We also had toys that were sent that were delivered to siblings and gave some as well to the cancer floor. It was amazing.
For those who don't know why we chose these things, Preston's favorite toy were Hess Trucks. He played with them constantly. Getting the new Hess Truck each year was so exciting for him and we had ordered many of the previous years as well. He slept with them, kept them in his bed, and could be entertained all day by these trucks. Preston also loved doing art projects. He loved to draw and he loved to paint. One of our most prized possessions are Preston's art work, even the picture he drew of the pee jug that he always had to use to measure his output or Medbot (his iv poll). The art is such a happy part of our home and we hope that not only do the kids enjoy it, but their families treasure it as much as we do.
Giving these things to the kids at the hospital on Christmas day helps us feel like we are still buying for and celebrating Christmas with Preston. We know first hand how it makes the kids and families feel when someone goes out of there way to try and help make their child have an extra ounce of happiness. And we know they need it.
This year we will continue our tradtion and be collecting the following (please see flyer under Christmas drive tab):
2014 Hess Trucks (http/store.hesstoytruck.com or from Hess Gas stations)
Craft Paint (acrylic)
If you would like to send or donate any of these things or any other toys or items, we can't thank you enough and are so appreciative. James and I will also be making a shopping trip if you would like to send a donation. Please contact me at email@example.com for our address.
I have continually delayed doing updates and apologize that we are just posting an update and info about Christmas Drive (wanted to wait for Thanksgiving to be over). I feel like most days we just go from day to day and do the best that we can. Some days it is easier to pretend that I may see him at the end of the day and we keep ourselves busy. James and I are doing well. We keep each other going along with the girls help. We have many sad parts of our days and weeks but we try to remember the good things and focus on the positives. We are thankful for the time we had and can't wait to reunite with Preston someday.
In January it will be 5 years since Preston was diagnosed with AML. We have been blessed with so many great friends, old and many new and with family who have been so supportive and helped us through the hardest days, who are still helping us. Doing something like this for Christmas not only makes us hope to put a smile on these kids faces but helps us put one on ours as well. We can't thank you enough.
We love you Preston, you're the best!
Celeste, James, Abigail, Stephy, and Emily.
|Posted by Celeste Winslow on May 18, 2014 at 9:10 PM||comments (0)|
Two years ago today we lost the best son anyone could ever ask for.
So smart, funny, loving, cute, and most of all, incredibly brave.
Today is just a reminder of how long he has been gone but to us it
seems like it has been longer. We miss Preston so much.
Everyday, every moment, a part of our family is missing.
We are so blessed to have had 4 amazing years with Preston.
What an impact our little boy has had on our lives. I am sure Father Larry
was right when he said Preston is up in Heaven having a blast playing
with his trucks and trains and is happy.
We love you so much, you are the best! You always will be the best!
We miss you everyday. Until we are together again buddy.
As always we would like to thank all of our friends, family, and supporters who have stuck by us during the past few years. You have no idea what your support has meant to our family. Thank you.
I also added a few recent pics of the girls. All 3 girls are doing wonderful. So blessed to have Emily be a mini Preston look a like. Blessed to have the daily reminder.
|Posted by Celeste Winslow on January 5, 2014 at 10:05 PM||comments (0)|
Our family would like to thank everyone who helped us make Preston’s Christmas Drive the success that it was this year. We are so thankful to you all. Last year we provided trucks to the boys and art supplies to all the girls. In our living room, we keep a few of Preston’s trucks that the girls often get out and play with. This year, James and I decided that we had enough to give both Hess trucks and art supplies to each child and not separate them. So everyone in the Duke Pediatric Bone Marrow Department received a Hess truck along with art supplies such as canvases, paint, and paint brushes this year. We made up bags filled with the items to be handed out on Christmas day. We had so many people donate items this year and we were so excited that with all the extra items that did not fit in the bags for the BMT kids, the extras were being delivered to the kids in the cancer unit. I also had more art donations come in after Christmas that I will be delivering to the BMT clinic this week while Abby gets her allergy shots (they share clinic space). They have an art program while kids are in the day hospital getting transfusions/chemo that will be great to donate these items too.
As we were putting this all together this year, I can not express enough how this made our family feel. We love that so many of you are so thoughtful to contribute. It is so wonderful, if even for a minute, to hopefully put a smile on a child’s face, especially during the holidays. I know Preston would be thrilled that we are doing what we are doing and for us, it makes us feel that he is still such a huge part of our holidays. We will continue this Christmas drive every year in honor of Preston so thank you for being a part of it with us.
I wanted to share an email that one of the nurses wrote to me. We dropped off all the items to be delivered on Christmas morning. It was important for us to have them delivered then because when Preston was inpatient, I remember that Christmas day for us was so lonely. Preston got out of ICU the day before and was in the room. Most of the kids don’t leave their rooms very much in the BMT unit. Child Life handed out presents for the kids but it was days before actual Christmas. I was just so surprised how un-christmas it felt besides what we did to celebrate. So thank you to all the nurses on 5200 who also handed out all of the gift bags and presents to all the kids. Without you, this day would not have been as successful as well.
Celeste! Sorry didn't message you earlier but I wanted you guys to know that the kids loved the gift surprise t his morning!! They all LOVED the trucks. One little boy opened up the truck and let out the biggest "yesssssss!!!!" It was the cutest thing. Another little guy was painting pictures for his family back in Saudi for most of the morning. They were thankful and it made their days, the only gift they received on actual Christmas Day . You guys are so wonderful and generous. Oh and one little girl had many questions about Preston and what he was like. It was adorable! Hope you all had a Merry Christmas. Was thinking about you all today. Thank you for all you do for 5200's kids. Words can't express what it's like to see the joy on their faces when they receive such thoughtful gifts from a family like yours. It truly is magical and you make a difference in each of their lives so thank you for that!! Tell everyone hello and merry Christmas. Thank you for letting me hand them out
Christmas was ok this year. The girls had a great day. Abby said it was the best Christmas ever and it was nice, but I don’t know if we will ever agree that it was the best Christmas ever. It was fun with them and with Emily. It was fun to watch Emily rip paper and eat bows but you still felt an emptiness. New Year’s was tough for me. Another year as a sign of how much time has gone by already without Preston here. I am starting to look at pictures again looking at them as before or after he was diagnosed. Before or after our lives were turned upside down. Was he happy, how scared we were, how helpless we felt, how we were still so hopeful. January 15th will be 4 years from when he was diagnosed. What I keep thinking about now is how Stephanie was still in my belly when he was diagnosed and by then end of this year, she will be older than he was when he passed away. Time stopped for him but keeps going for us. He was 4 years, 8 months when he passed away. We don’t say he is 6 now.
The holidays this year we had a family scare. My father in law got bit by a spider. After having swelling and pain in his foot, he went to the doctors to have it checked who thankfully did a physical while he was there. The doctor had him get a chest x-ray which showed a spot on his lung which turned out to be stage 1 lung cancer. Long story short, Pop Pop came here and had surgery to remove one of his lobes in his lungs a few weeks ago. We are so thankful that Pop Pop got bit by that spider and thankful to God that he was able to catch it so early. Abby was really scared and she was an amazing nurse to him while he recovered here for a few weeks. I am glad that she was able to have him here to help take care of and see that he would be ok.
I will post a few pictures in the picture section of all the items we collected and delivered. I also am going to post a picture from the POttery Barn Kids catalog. The other day I flipped open the catalog while feeding Emily. I will never be able to flip it open to that same page but it opened to a picture that said “Every brother is a superhero” and on that page it has Preston’s name in 3 different places (pillows and artwork). It was crazy and so true! It makes me want to buy the art. Preston is and will always be a superhero, our superhero.
Thank you again to everyone. We are so fortunate to have so many friends and family that support us. Happy New Year.
|Posted by Celeste Winslow on November 26, 2013 at 12:10 PM||comments (4)|
It has been such a long time since I have written an update. Most of you I either talk with or we are friends on facebook. I have tried writing an update a few times but have a hard time. I found myself often with the “I will do it tomorrow” mentality.
It is hard to sit down and really write about your feelings when most days you are just trying to get through each day staying busy and keep a smile on your face.
Preston is on our minds all the time. You hear that the first year is the hardest but I don't agree. Last year we were grieving just losing our son and within the first 6 months or so we got almost all the first's out of the way. This year has been different, it has been tough and with the holidays getting closer, we know it is going to get even harder. Starting in August, within a matter of a few weeks, we celebrated Abby's birthday who wanted to feel her brother's presence so badly. It seemed like her day was centered on things that Preston liked and it made her happy to feel like she was including him in her day. Preston was also supposed to start kindergarten this year. The first day of school was tough seeing all the first day pictures. He loved learning and would have loved to have been able to attend school just one day. That day I saw a rainbow out and knew that was a sign from him. In September, we celebrated his birthday for the 2nd time without him. He would have been 6 this year. This birthday was really hard. We spent the day doing things he loved, eating his favorite foods and playing games and watching his favorite shows. We let go of balloons and we tried to keep ourselves busy and we ran out of time that day. With Thanksgiving this week, I find myself often conflicted. We are so very thankful we got 2 ½ extra years to be with our sweet son. We are so thankful for every day we had with him. We are thankful we got to hold our son during his last moments but there is still so much anger too. James and I are so thankful for the people who remembered Preston on these days with us and reached out to let us know you were thinking of him and our family. We have a life time of moments ahead of us and are thankful for the support we have.
I really do feel like I am handling things better the past few months. I don't get tears or have to fight them back every time his name is mentioned. I feel more comfortable talking about him with people, and can watch videos without feeling like I can't breathe. A few months ago I started letting Stephy and Emily wear some of his clothes (all still in his armoire in now Emily's room) and just this past week I got out his train table, train tracks, and trains for the girls to play with. It was the first time I put together tracks since before he passed away. I want the girls to feel comfortable with us, to talk about him whenever they want, to remember their brother, and to not feel like they need to hide their feelings from us because we are having tough days. I also felt that I was trying to block things but I don't want to forget special moments either. I even ordered Christmas cards last night too which is something I never thought I would be able to do again. I still can’t write out our names and it is “The Winslow Family” but I ordered them and feel good about it.
Each day is a balancing act I think. I can’t tell you how many times I catch myself just standing in front of chicken broth at the grocery store thinking I need more at home. I wake up sometimes thinking Preston is asking for some. It was the last food he asked for and I feel like I should be prepared. I relive our last moments still on a daily basis. Some days I want to scream and not get out of bed. We miss Preston so much. I am so thankful for the time we had with Preston and wish everyday that this never happened, that things worked out differently, that he was still here. I wonder often how life would be with him still here, especially during this time of year while looking at Christmas toys out there. I still add things to his wish list when I see things I think he will like.
The girls are doing well. This family is what keeps us going. Abby is in 2nd grade, playing lacrosse, getting ready to start basketball in about a month. She loves reading more than almost every child at her age that I know. Stephanie started preschool in the fall and loves it. She played soccer and is starting gymnastics after Christmas. She is so full of energy and boy can that girl make you laugh. Emily is 8 months old now. She is all over the place with cruising furniture, crawling, and close to walking. She reminds me so much of her brother. She can’t sit without her legs crossed and she still makes his lips occasionally. I have guilt thinking some days that she wouldn’t’ be here with us if Preston was here. I can’t imagine my life without her and I know she was a gift from Preston.
There are a lot of things I am proud of that happened this year. Abby decided that for her birthday party this year with friends that she was going to donate all her presents to the kids on the bone marrow floor. It was a huge success. It was so amazing for her to do something like this and she loved knowing that gestures as simple as this made the day for so many others like they did our family while Preston was sick.
For Preston's birthday, we went shopping for things that he would have enjoyed and had a nurse give it to a similar aged boy on the floor.
For Halloween, Abby's class worked hard on preparing treat bags that they decorated along with pumpkins, cards, spooky stories, and treats. Preston's nurse, Kelsey, went in and spoke to the kids about doing kind things for others and what it meant to the kids and families on the floor (living a life of service).
Preston inspires us to give back and what better way than to give back in honor of him. I know that he smiles at the things we are doing and we are getting ready to start collecting items for the Christmas Drive like we did last year. When Preston was feeling well enough he was down on the floor playing with his Hess trucks all the time. It was his favorite thing to do. He even slept with them sometimes which was so cute. And when he wasn’t on the floor playing, he would be doing art work. He especially loved to paint and I can’t tell you enough how thankful we are to have his artwork. We said last year that we were going to make it an annual thing to deliver Hess trucks and art supplies to the kids on the Duke Pediatric Bone Marrow floor. We have attached a handout for information under the CHRISTMAS DRIVE tab about this if you would like to help. Even though we can’t celebrate Christmas WITH our son, we are looking forward to doing this again FOR our son.
Thank you everyone again for your continued support and prayers. If you are interested in helping and have any questions, please let me know.
Now that I got this update out of the way, I will be better about updating more often and will be sure to update everyone on the success of delivering these gifts on Christmas day.
|Posted by Celeste Winslow on May 10, 2013 at 1:25 AM||comments (7)|
I can’t believe it is already May. I have been putting off doing any updates because every time I think about doing one, it reminds me of how much time has passed since we lost Preston. And now it is May. It will be 1 year on May 19th. I wish it I could say it seems like yesterday but it doesn’t. I think this is one of those times that it seems like it has been forever since we were able to hold him, hear him laugh and see his smile, or since I last heard him tell us that he loves us.
James has told me something that I think about every day, several times a day actually. We don’t miss him anymore today than we did yesterday. He is right. I don’t. It is hard though and you think you miss him more because a month like May is filled with reminders that he is not here for things like Mother’s day and the Bone Marrow departments Rainbow’s for Hero’s walk we just attended last weekend. Soon it will be his anniversary and Emily’s baptism. We just need to keep reminding ourselves that we miss him just as much today as we did yesterday.
In the last update I mentioned that we were expecting another baby. Emily Belle Winslow joined our family on March 8, 2013. She arrived at 6:37pm and was 6 pounds, 4 ounces. 20 inches long. She was a month early and besides being jaundiced and having a hernia, she is a perfectly healthy baby. Emily arrived on our 10 year wedding anniversary. Before we got married James and I talked about renewing our vows (because he wanted another bachelor party) and for the past few years we talked about how we wanted the kids to be part of this renewal. After Preston passed away, the idea of our vow renewal was not as appealing. It just didn’t seem right. When Emily was born on our anniversary, we took it as a sign as a gift from Preston and that he was right here celebrating with us.
Besides missing Preston so much, the hardest part of the past year has been the pregnancy and having the new baby for me. Not because I am sleep deprived or because I don’t have the best pregnancies but because of the comments like:
You have 3 Girls.
How many kids do you have?
You going to try again for a boy?
You don’t want to explain private family situations to strangers because I knew that they never intended to hurt anyone by the questions but I can’t tell you how many times this has made me cry or bothered James. We were given a boy, the most perfect boy and he was taken away from us way to early. I am so glad that we had another girl because it would not have been fair to a boy. He would have had a lot to live up too. Even going to the doctors for baby check up’s was hard. Not having the same doctors every visit, they knew about Preston. I walked into almost every appointment with them asking about how I was handling things instead of how was I feeling or talking about the baby. I felt abnormal if I didn’t cry and abnormal if I did. You also think about all the things that you know that he would have enjoyed and we wish he could have done. It makes it hard to sit back and fully enjoy things. I think there will always be a guilt (even though I know Preston would want us to be happy) that we are having fun and he is not with us to be doing these things. But to be honest, I think I have handled the last year pretty well considering. We are still devastated at the loss of our son but we deal with at home privately. It could be so easy to get depressed and just breakdown but we need to try to be the best parents we can for our other children, Preston’s sisters.
The girls are doing well. Abby has been doing great in school. She started playing lacrosse and loves it. She is busy with play dates, sleep overs, and being a normal 7 year old. It is great to see because she didn’t have normalcy for so long. I try and think about how hard this has been on her and I am so proud of how she has been dealing with it. She misses Preston so much and from time to time she feels a sense of guilt that she didn’t play with him enough. I love the stories that she remembers about him.
Stephanie is doing great too. She is such a funny and smart girl. She will start preschool in the fall and I think this past year has been a huge transition for her. Her first 2 years were spent in the hospital, watching us care for her brother. This past year, she has really been able to experience things that she could not before. Stephanie is an incredibly caring, independent, patient, and loving girl. I wonder how different her personality would have been if our luck was different. She misses Preston a lot too. You wouldn’t think it would have such an impact on a 2 year old but it does. She talks about him often and plays with his toys all the time. A few weeks before I had Emily, I had to be admitted to the hospital. I had to go to the same floor Preston was on and it broke our hearts to hear her ask if I was going to go to Heaven too.
Emily is 2 months old now and we see so much of Preston in her. Bittersweet, yes. But we welcome that she looks like him, that she makes the same lips that he made, and her calmness and way she crosses her legs when she sleeps. Even in a picture from one of her ultrasounds, you could clearly see those lips. She is such a joy to have as part of our family. We often think about how hard it is on us that she never got to meet her amazingly strong and courageous brother and how hard it will be on her to hear about him all the time someday without being able to have the connection her sisters had. We will do our best to make sure he is just as much as part of her life as he is in Abigail and Stephanie’s. We are so thankful that he was able to name her. Emily Belle, his 2 favorite girl Thomas the Train’s. We used his artwork in her room and we will tell her stories and watch videos often.
Looking back on my last post, I failed to give an update about the Hess trucks and art supplies that we gave to the kids on the floor for Christmas. It was a huge success. We are so thankful for everyone who contributed and helped us make it happen. We are planning on doing this every year. We know Preston would have wanted to do this if he was here. He was such an unselfish boy even at his age, wanting to give his toys to kids that needed them. He was the first one to clean out his toy box if we asked him too. We can’t thank everyone enough who made this happen. I was also touched when the girl’s doctor said that he bought a Hess truck for his daughter in memory of Preston. We love that idea as well. Stephanie often plays with his trucks and it brings smiles to our faces remembering how much Preston loved playing all the time. I think part of the reason I forgot to post about it was that we decided that we couldn’t be home for Christmas last year. It would have been too hard. We ended up going to Disney for the week and to Discovery Cove on Christmas day. We had a very nice time and it was a great distraction. We kept ourselves very busy and we are so glad that we did this.
Some have asked what we are going to do for his anniversary on the 19th (It is really hard to call it an anniversary) We don’t really feel like it is a day to celebrate, it was the worst day of our lives. What we would love the most, for those who want to remember Preston that day is for you to play with and love your children as you should every day. We are going to spend the day at home with our girls. We will wear our shirts, release some balloons, watch videos and make some of his favorite foods but we will wait to celebrate his life on his birthday in September.
James and I have started to write down funny stories or things he used to say. If you have any you would like to share, please email them to me. We would love to have them. We have been going through videos as well (or James has). It is still really hard for me to watch. You want to watch and talk about him all the time because eventually it will be harder to remember but at the same time you don’t want to watch or talk about all these things because it breaks your heart and I end up hysterical every time.
We are thankful for the friends and family that have provided us support over the past few years. We are so lucky to have so many wonderful people keeping us in their thoughts and prayers.
Please also pray for James. He will be taking part 3 of the board exams in June. This is the test he was scheduled to take a few days after Preston passed away last year. Since it is only offered once a year, it is that time again.
I will update again soon. I will post a few pictures too in the picture section as well.
|Posted by Celeste Winslow on November 30, 2012 at 10:30 PM||comments (8)|
November 19th was 6 months since our sweet, funny, incredibly smart, loving, and adorable little boy passed away. I have not really felt like updating, it is hard enough each day thinking that this is still not a nightmare. We are still devastated and I think we will always be. People say “time will heal all wounds” but James is right, all time has done is made us realize we will always be sad and we should be. We had to lose our child, our son. We watched him fight so hard and go through so much and besides loving him, there was nothing we could do to save him. As a parent, your job is to protect your children, to keep them safe, and although James and I know that we did everything we possibly could, you can’t help but feel that you failed somehow. There has not been one day that we have not cried. We miss him so much. It is so strange. You want to hold on to every memory, you are so afraid you will forget. Yet you want to block it to lessen the pain you feel. Every night I fall asleep re-living some part of the day that Preston passed. It was the worst day of my entire life yet I try and remember every word, every hug, every last second I had with my son. James and I watch our girls play sports, watch movies, just play with toys and you can’t help but think about him and know that he would have loved those things too. I think things like this are the hardest parts of the day for me. I listen to the girls and I am so happy that they talk about their brother all the time, they remember stories and his jokes but then I also feel sad that they say some of the same things that he would say. You picture him in your head saying these things or doing these things and it breaks your heart that all we have left are memories. James and I are doing the best we can though, we all are. I can’t help but think what great actors we have become. Life has had to go on. I feel like we have to put on happy faces and pretend that everything is normal or ok. It is easier to do this than to talk to people about how we really feel because no one understands. We hate when people ask how we are handling things, it makes us feel uncomfortable. What are we supposed to say?
Last year we spent Thanksgiving at home, with everyone happy, hopeful, and so thankful. Preston was doing great after transplant and feeling well, at least that is what we thought. On Nov. 30th last year, we were told our son relapsed and his cancer was back for the 3rd time. This Thanksgiving I have really had a hard time being thankful. I know I have so much to be thankful for, I know that. Yet I am angry and still don’t understand how Preston was chosen to be taken from us so early. How someone who loved life so much, fought so hard, who spent almost half his life in the hospital, and never gave up or complained about the crappy things dealt to him could be made to suffer so much. I am not thankful for that. I am not thankful he was chosen and taken away from me, from our family.
The girls are doing ok. Stephanie had a very hard time in the beginning. She misses Preston a lot, more than I thought she would for only being 2. You are not sure what someone at their age thinks but she understands. She plays with his toys all the time and for some reason she found his shoes in his room and insists on wearing them although they are much too big. She loves wearing his shirts and when she sees a picture of him wearing it, she gets so excited that they match. I hate her seeing me cry though. She knows why I am sad and reminds me that he will never be able to come home, that he is in heaven. She means well but I hate having the reminder. Abby has her good days and bad. She misses her brother so much and it is so hard to see and hear her sometimes talking about her regrets. My heart breaks for her. She has had to deal with so much the past few years and she is incredible. I know there are many days that the only thing that gets me showered, dressed, and out of the house are because I need to go pick her up from school. Being back in school has been great for her. She has made many friends and is able to be a normal child. She is excelling in school work and makes us so proud. Christmas will be very hard for her, for all of us, but the only thing she has put on her Christmas list this year is that she wants her brother back. I would do anything to make that happen if I could. Most of our friends know, but we are expecting another baby. A girl due in April. After 3 miscarriages leading up to this pregnancy, I was not sure I could suffer another loss. I think this baby is a gift from Preston. He wanted another brother or sister. Before losing the 2nd baby, Preston picked out names. He knew I loved the name Emily (Stephie was almost Emily) and that is one of his favorite girl trains. Not only is it hard to imagine that he will never get to hold her or be in a family picture with his new sister (although right now we could not imagine a family picture ever again), it is hard for James and I to think that the only memories that Emily will ever have are ones we tell her. We are so happy that he gets to be part of his sister’s life by naming her, Emily Belle (both his favorite girl trains names) and we will make sure we incorporate him into her life in every way we can.
During the past 6 months we have experienced a lot of the firsts already. It has been overwhelming and filled with sadness. With everyone’s birthdays (except Stephanie) and some holidays, there is always a constant reminder we will not get to celebrate these days with him physically here. Preston would have turned 5 on Labor Day, September 3rd, this year. I gave birth to him on Labor Day. We spent the day trying to celebrate him with his favorite things (food, movies, games, toys). James and I decided that we would like to purchase toys that he would have loved and gave them to his nurse to give to a boy on the floor who we hoped would have loved them as much as Preston would have. His nurse picked a boy, the same age as Preston, who had been having a tough time and said it really perked him up. I know Preston would have been so happy. We ended the day with a balloon release and eating his favorite cupcakes celebrating him and what little time we had with him.
Christmas is coming up and the thought of him not being here is painful. We would like to do the same thing, by purchasing toys that Preston loved, except this time, for the whole floor and we hope to make it a tradition, honoring our son. For the boys we thought it would be appropriate to get a Hess truck. Hess releases their new truck of the year around the holidays. Playing with all of his Hess trucks was by far the highlight of everyday for Preston. These were his favorite toy and he was often on the floor begging for all of us to play with him, pushing them all around the room. For the girls, we thought it would be nice to get art canvases with painting supplies. Preston loved to paint. I know that his paintings are treasured in our home today and we are so fortunate to have so many of his wonderful drawings. We have shared this idea with a few family and friends and some have wanted to help and asked that we post this. If you are interested in helping us purchase art supplies or Hess trucks, please contact me. Although Preston himself will not be able to enjoy these toys, we know he will take great joy in watching from above all the kids on the floor getting to enjoy them and I know James and I take comfort in that we feel like we are buying him presents and celebrating Christmas with him.
I want to apologize also to everyone who sent flowers, cards, or donations for not mailing out their thank you cards. They have been done for months. They are sitting in a box under my dresser ready to go out. I will never be able to mail out birthday invitations or anything else like that for Preston again. I know it may seem silly to some, but I can't help but feel that once I mail out these thank you's, that is it. It is not the last card I would ever have imagined mailing out to people for him and I am not ready. Someday you may receive it but please know, James and I thank you all, from the bottom of our hearts.
James and I want to thank everyone who has supported us throughout this difficult time. It is hard. We have lost friends and we have gained new ones. We are so thankful for our families and I am beyond thankful for my husband and wonderful girls. They keep me strong and going every day. One day at a time, sometimes one hour at a time, we will continue to be as strong as we possibly can. We miss you Preston so much. We love you, and you will always be the best!
|Posted by Celeste Winslow on June 14, 2012 at 12:10 AM||comments (9)|
I can't believe it has been almost a month. It is weird, in some ways it feels like it was yesterday but it also feels like it was so long ago since the last time we were with him, holding him.
Over the past several weeks, I honestly feel like it is getting harder. We miss him so much. The girls are still keeping us busy but even Abby is starting to speak more about how angry she is and how she misses him. I just can’t shake this feeling that he needs me. I wake up in the middle of the night and think about him all day about how I should be caring for him. I know really that it is me who needs him. I have cared for him for so long in a different way than how I have needed to care for the girls. I miss everything about him. A few days before he passed, James recorded him saying “I love you mommy, you’re the best. Bye”. I cannot tell you how many times I listen to that. I wish there was a button I could push to get him back.
We are all doing ok though. Like James says, we are managing. I hate when people ask how I am doing though. I am ok. Ok for our circumstances. I know people say time heals all wounds and that we just need time. I don’t believe that. We will never be the same. We will just learn to cope with it and that is what we are trying to do now. We are taking it a day at a time. I know people ask because they care and I know people don’t know what to say. It is a horribly awkward topic. I have been so angry, especially this past week. Preston went through so much in the past 2 ½ years. More than anyone should ever have too. He rarely complained and he did everything he had too. I can’t stop thinking about his last month. Between the biopsies up his nose, cutting of roof of his mouth, and the injection under his eye, he should have complained so much more. He was so strong and incredible. He was 4 and he should have complained. That is what kids do. Hell that is what the majority of adults do.
Another thing that really upsets me is reading several people’s complaints about their kids being out of school and they can’t wait for them to go back and get away from them. I wish more than anything I could have all my children here with me, I would love to hear them fight constantly, I would love to see them be difficult and make messes. I would gladly welcome it. Being a parent is such a privilege, be happy you have the opportunity to spend time with your children, embrace it. You never know when it could be taken away. I wish I embraced it more than I did. Enjoy your children, even if they do drive you nuts.
For me right now, my girls and memories are the main things getting me through this. We painted the frame we got from his memorial portrait and ordered a shelving unit to go under it. We put it in the family room near the new digital picture frame that James got as well to show all the pictures of Preston. We have placed some of his favorite things on the shelves (books, games, movies, toys with some pictures) and at first I thought it was weird. It is kind of a shrine but Nana called it Preston’s corner and that sounded a lot better. James is right, truth is, who cares if we have a shrine of Preston in our living room. People display pictures of themselves all over their homes and for us to have a special corner in our home, other than his room, is not “not” normal. Most people never have to go through what we have and we can think of them as being not “normal”. I actually like it. It reminds me every time I look at it how amazing he was, how I miss his smile and laugh, and it has been great for the girls. I want them to remember their brother. I don’t want them to forget what they meant to him. His favorite things shouldn’t be tucked away in his room where we would rarely see them. I look at his trucks and remember him playing on the floor. I am thankful for those memories.
Abby has been expressing her feelings more. I hate that she hurts. This morning she woke up and went to Nana telling her how she is mad at God and he should have picked some other kid. James and I talked to her about it and she has every right to be angry. I am angry. We have read her a few books about death but in general we have been trying to avoid these kinds of things and we talk about our feelings a lot. A few people have sent books and Abby wanted to read one. This one particular book (which I have not and will not read the one for adults) talked about this child who got sick, went to heaven, how great it was, and then he went to God, sat on his lap and God told him he had to go back because he answered his Dad’s prayers. We quickly explained to Abby that God answered our prayers a number of times in that Preston got to stay with us much longer than anyone ever expected him too and that heaven is a great place for someday when she would get to go and be with her brother. The next morning, Abby woke up very upset. She went to Preston’s room and then to ours. It was a school day so we got ready for school and she told me a few times that she was really sorry. She talked about this book. I know the books intention was to portray heaven as this great place and that if a loved one went there, they would be happy but what Abby took from reading from this book was that if she prayed hard enough, God would answer her prayer and send Preston back. She was saying sorry to me because she thought she didn’t pray hard enough. For 2 days she prayed for God to send him back. This was 2 weeks after he passed. She hates the book that they say is a true story and is mad at God for not answering her prayers.
Abby went back to school for a few days last week. We sent her on the day of Field days hoping it would be a fun day and that she could slide back into her class with hopefully little talk about her brother. She so was worried and scared to go back. She did not want to talk about Preston at all with anyone. We told her that she could go to school and if anyone said anything to her, especially upsetting, to go to her teachers and they would take care of it and we would come get her. Thankfully, there were only 3 instances, and all 3 were taken care of and she did have a great day at school full of fun and was able to go back for the last 3 days. That day though, Abby told me, one of her classmates said “you must be so sad about your brother, I know how you feel”. Abby said “how do you know” and the girl said “I don’t”. Abby said to me “why would she say this, she doesn’t know, no one knows except people who lost a brother or sister”. She is right. I don’t even know how she feels, because it is different loss. Tuesday at school, they have mass. I wish someone would have thought how hard this day would have been for her. At the end of mass, they were setting up for a funeral. It was the first thing she said when she got in the car, “there was a funeral today at church, I thought about Preston”. I didn’t know that she would have seen them setting up and it has probably happened several times while she was there and she just didn’t notice. I knew there was funeral that day because James had received a text earlier in the day from the funeral director saying he was there and Preston’s flowers still looked wonderful so I asked her if she saw them. She said she saw white flowers but didn’t know if they were his. I know we can’t avoid Mass and church, especially since she goes to Catholic school but I know it would have been really difficult for me as well. The next day, Wednesday, Abby graduated from kindergarten. I was terrified of going because they held the graduation in the church. I told Abby I was probably going to cry a lot and she asked if I could please try not to but could I pretend it was because I was sad about her going to first grade. As soon as we walked through the doors, Stephanie said to James “I go see Preston”. Everyone always asks about Abby but it must be so confusing to Stephanie. James asked her where Preston was and she said “Preston is in heaven” but I wonder what that means to her. We went in and sat down and Stephanie got up and ran to the firs row where we sat for the funeral. I went and got her and told her we couldn’t sit there, that was reserved for the kids and she said she was a kid. I moved her back and thankfully Kerry and Ellie came so Stephanie was happy. Ellie is one of her friends that she was yelling about “where’s my friends” during Preston’s funeral. She asked Kerry (Ellie’s mom) “where’s the rest of my friends”? Well Stephanie saved the day. Every time I thought I would start crying, she did something to draw attention. When the kindergarteners were all walking in, Abby started down the aisle and Stephanie yells “Abby wearing my shoes”. Thankfully they both wore the same shoes that day and I said “what shoes are you wearing”. She looked down and said “oh, there is my shoes”. She walked back and forth between Ellie and me before I asked if Ellie could sit with me. She started eating dried fruit and was feeding ellie. Then while the class up singing she started yelling “Abby, Grace”. Abby in high tone, Grace in low. Just like she was yelling Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck at Preston’s funeral. She made me laugh. Abby was adorable. She was full of smiles and just so happy. I am proud of her. At the end of the ceremony, we were over with the principle getting pictures and Father Dan was saying a few things when I see Ellie out of the corner of my eye kneeling in front of Alter moving her arms like she was signaling someone to come to her. I look up and see Stephanie on the Alter hopping across. I was mortified. She hopped all the way across and I picked her up. After Father Dan was done with his prayer, he came over and said not to worry, they have kids who get up and go sit in their chairs and asked Stephanie if she had fun. She said yes and he told her to go hop some more. I told him to please not encourage her. After there was a nice reception and I got a cute picture of Abby in front of her brother’s flowers (I will post in the pictures section). They were almost 2 weeks old and looked so pretty. I would like to think of it as a sign that he was with all of us that day watching his sister graduate.
School is out now for the summer. Being a “mean” mom, I bought Abby a present and wrapped it. It was a 1st good language arts and math activities workbook. It was hilarious to watch her open it. She opened it so carefully, and then when she saw what it was, she was not thrilled. She said “no thank you”. Funny thing is she has enjoyed doing the activities when she sits down to do them.
James had a birthday last week as well. It was weird to celebrate without Preston. I think everything we celebrate is going to have emptiness to it. Abby signed Preston’s name in her dad’s card and then was worried that it would make her Dad sad. Of course it didn’t, he was glad his name was in it and that I got him a balloon from Preston but still, we all wish he was here with us celebrating.
We are trying to keep ourselves busy. Abby has allergy shots twice a week and Stephanie starts swim lessons next week, twice a week and Abby has swim lessons twice a week as well. All different days and times. I am kind of looking forward to it; it will force me to get out of the house.
James and I would also like to thank everyone again for all your wonderful support. All the plants, flowers, cards, emails, and messages have meant so much to us. Thank you Lorie Roberts, Julie Roberts, and Kristi Olsen for holding a fundraiser at Julie’s fan appreciation party. Your thoughtfulness is beyond appreciative. You all heard about Preston, never meeting him, and have showed our family such kindness. Thank you to all the same people plus Jaime McCament for also doing a fundraiser to help earn money for Bob Doster to build a sculpture in memory of Preston. That is so wonderful as well. It is things like this and knowing that our son has had such an impact on so many people’s lives that help us get through each day.
My mom left last weekend and my mother-in-law will be leaving this weekend. We are so thankful that we have had such wonderful family help and support. You guys have been more helpful than you will ever know. Thank you to everyone who has been sending donations as well. We plan on distributing in Preston’s names to the three organizations that have meant a lot to us at the end of the month.
|Posted by Celeste Winslow on June 1, 2012 at 10:10 PM||comments (13)|
One year ago today Preston received his bone marrow transplant that we prayed so much would cure him from this horrible disease. He was 11 days shy of seeing his one year transplant birthday. I have so much anger that this did not work yet at the same time I am so thankful that it gave us nearly one year more with our precious son.
I wish I could say that things are getting easier. Days are much easier than nights, mostly because of the girls but I also walk around pretending that I will get to see him later. The girls hate to see me cry and as soon as I get a tear Abby tries so hard to stop it and if Stephanie sees she says “mommy crying” and then she says “I miss Preston”. I know it is healthy for them to see us cry and they do, but I also want them to feel comfortable around me and know that everything will be ok. Abby had a nightmare a few days ago that James died. She ended up in our bed and in the morning when James was not there, she got very upset. I hate how scary this all is for her. I wish I could pinky swear to her that this would and could not happen. Every night I cry myself to sleep and wonder how he is doing. Two nights ago was the first time I was able to dream about him and was so upset that I couldn’t remember what it was about at first when I woke up. Later I remembered that it was that I was trying so hard to get to him. I could see him sitting at this big table with all these people around him eating. Tons of food but Preston was just sitting there waiting for someone to help him eat, something we would often do. I wanted so badly to get to him and help him but he just sat there watching everyone else. The simple things that I would give my life for to do again. I miss so much sleeping next to him, getting his hugs and kisses that we would sneak on the lips that he would always whisper (don’t tell daddy), and just the sound of his voice. People say you really never know what love is until you have a child and that is true but now I truly believe you really never know what love is until you lose a child. My heart aches so much for him. I would do anything to have him back. It has not even been 2 weeks and I know I will hurt more.
Last week was kept busy with planning his funeral and with people here visiting. The funeral home could not have been more wonderful. They took care of everything and always came to the house. I am so thankful that we did not have to actually step foot in the funeral home. I had written last week that we had to come up with pictures for a slide show. I narrowed it down to 40 and I thought we did a pretty good job and Hall Wynne did a great job putting them together. (I posted them under the photo section) James bought a giant digital picture frame and put all the pictures (over 500) that I originally picked on them and put it in living room for us to see all the time of Preston. This is good and bad. I love looking at him but sometimes I catch myself not even raising my head to look at the part of the living room because I know I will break out in tears. James and I wrote his obituary and his eulogy. That was really hard. You try and capture what an amazing, loving, kind, funny, and strong boy he was in just a few sentences or stories. Really the hardest part for me leading up to the funeral was handing over his clothes, knowing that this was the last time I would ever get to dress him and I didn’t even get to do that part. Of course we put him in a suit. Underneath he wore his Preston’s League shirt, his favorite fire truck underwear and his Batman socks. He looked so nice.
Abby was very scared about the funeral. We decided to have Preston cremated basically because I could not bear the thought of if we ever moved that he would not be with us. Abby was very upset about the process of this and actually until the day before, she thought she would have to watch it be done. It was a huge relief to her to know that she wouldn’t. I am also really glad that we had the viewing at the church prior to the Mass. I really did not think that we could handle it to do a separate viewing days prior. I think it would have been even harder on Abby. We had a car pick us up and take us to the church. The day prior to the funeral, the funeral home informed us that the Durham Police department called and asked if they could provide a police motorcade escort to the church. There were 4 police officers in front of our home that morning and we were so touched to know that they had been following Preston’s story and wanted to honor him in this way. We could not be more thankful. Preston would have been thrilled to see this happen. He would have thought that this was so awesome and it was. The girls were fascinated by how they drove in front and alongside of us and how the cars stopped for us to pass. Abby was cute a few times when cars wouldn’t slow fast enough. We could not be more thankful to the Durham Police Department for starting Preston’s Memorial Day off right. And it was a great distraction as well. We kept thinking about how much Preston would have loved it the whole way there and the reality of the day didn’t hit until we were about to pull in and 3 of the officers were standing in front of where we would turn into the church with their hands on their hearts. It was so touching. Thank you!
The actual viewing was difficult. We are so thankful for the portrait we had done because Preston did not look like himself. Abby was so upset by this actually wishing that they would have left him to look like he did the day he passed. It was very hard to see but at the same time made you remind yourself that this was not Preston, he was already in Heaven and this was just his body. None the less, it was hard, especially when we had to say our final goodbyes. The Mass after was lovely.
It began with us laying a cloth over his casket. Father Larry spoke about Preston. We are so thankful that he often visited us in the hospital and had a true sense of the kind of fighter Preston was and about our family. It made his words that much more meaningful. We wanted Abby to be a part of this service as much as possible and so she and our friend Kerry presented the gifts. She did such a great job. At the end of Mass, Abby escorted the pall bearers out carrying Preston with the tolling of a bell. I am sure most people don’t know the significance this was to our family. James favorite movie is It’s A Wonderful Life. He watches it every year with the kids. In the movie, they say “every time you hear a bell ring, an angel gets its wings”. In February when Preston was first sent home, Abby asked if she could ring a bell for him to give him his wings. While we were at Disney, we bought a bell that we had engraved with his initials and this year on it. That bell has been sitting in the box, praying to never have to use it since we bought it. Abby rang that bell all the way out of the church praying that she was giving her brother his wings. On Preston’s casket we had 5 roses with a green ribbon on it. 4 white for all of us and 1 red for him. After he was loaded into the car, each of us got to place the roses back on his casket. Abby was the last to put hers on and had just placed it to take it back quickly. She kissed her rose and put it back on him. It was the sweetest moment. Before they left with him we did a balloon release with all green balloons. It was great. Not one got caught in the trees. I can’t think of one thing that would have made the day better besides not having to have this day at all.
James and I are so thankful for all those that attended and for all of friends whom traveled from afar to be there with us for that day. It meant so much to us.
Thank you to Father Larry for rearranging your schedule to be there for us and Preston. It meant a lot to us that you performed his Mass. Thanks to church and for those who hosted the reception after providing food and making sure that there were no nuts because of Abby’s nut allergy. The reception was so nice. And thank you to Bonnie (my mother in law) for cooking such a wonderful meal for after the reception as well.
We know Preston’s ashes are ready but we are waiting for his urn to be delivered. Hopefully it will be in the next week. James was searching for an urn for Preston but really nothing was great. We wanted to find something that fit Preston and the things he loved. I looked up real quickly “truck urn”. The first website that popped up, I clicked on it and told James to look at it and said that this was it. It fit Preston perfectly. These were handcrafted wooden truck urns. They had several to pick from but we chose one that looked like fuel truck, which was Preston’s favorite kind of truck. He used to tell us how he couldn’t wait until he was older so he could drive one. James was worried about the cost, some boxes we would see were hundreds of dollars, but after looking for a few more, he agreed, cost didn’t matter. We know he would have loved this. This was perfect for our son. If you are interested in seeing what we chose, it is U7 on this site. http://www.gibsonwoodtrucks.com/urntrucks.html
Yesterday, the funeral home did stop by and drop off the things they had collected at the church and things there were extra of. They also dropped off his death certificate. It hurt so much to read it. 4 years old, never married, no kids. Life is just truly unfair sometimes. He never had the chance that so many people take for granted and yet many of these people complain about such stupid things.
I am very thankful that my mother in law has been taking Abby for her allergy shots. For some reason the bone marrow department shares space with the allergy department. Same check in desk, same rooms to get weighed in, and same rooms to sit and wait in for 30 minutes after your shots that Preston used to use for his clinic appointments. I am not ready to go there yet. Especially since I have a lot of anger towards Preston’s doctor and that department right now. We are not happy with how the day Preston passed was handled (not Dr. Martin), actually we are not happy with pretty much this past admission. Preston’s nurses are amazing and I am so thankful he had such wonderful nurses. No one on his team was working the day he passed and within 30 minutes of his passing, 3 of them were there and took care of him and us the rest of the day. They even packed up his room and brought us all our stuff. I am hurt and disappointed with the lack of communication from any doctor, especially Preston’s after his passing. No calls, emails, anything until the day of his funeral. To me, Preston should have meant more to them but it made me realize that to them, he was just another patient. Eventually I will have to get over not wanting to take Abby but for right now I am thankful I don’t have too. I would love to say thank you to Molly to from Child Life. She came in after Preston passed as well and did hand molds of us with Preston. We will treasure these for ever and ever. I am so thankful for these memories we will get to keep.
Quickly I wanted to say something about the day Preston passed. Besides being annoyed with the doctors working that weekend (both night and day) there were a few things about that day that we will never forget. Preston’s mouth had been bothering him a lot the night before. They called the ENT in the morning to have her come back and do another injection. In the meantime, we asked that his pain medicine be increased. Preston was very thirsty that night and requested some of his favorite drinks. Coke, pink lemonade, and even asked me to make him chicken broth. All he drank and later threw back up but it made us happy that he wanted these things. I fell asleep next to him first and in the middle of the night, he asked for James. In the morning around shift change time we switched again. Around 10ish that morning his breathing started becoming very labored and he was saying his belly hurt. He had not peed since around 2am. They had already given him Lasik and it did not make him pee. He was very agitated and after a while of seeing him like this and telling the nurse working that day this was not normal, she paged the doctor. He did not come but sent a fellow (not friendly at all) whom ordered a chest x-ray and another medicine to make him pee and left the room. A while later Preston was becoming more uncomfortable and another nurse was in our room. I asked her when the doctor would be coming in and she said that he was doing rounds right now and our nurse was in talking with him about Preston. I freaked out. Here we were, watching our child being very uncomfortable and complaining about his stomach which he never does and he is doing rounds on all the patients on the floor. This poor nurse though, it seems like every time something happens with Preston she is the one in our room at the time I take it out on. She went and got our nurse and the doctor so kindly finally came in to stand at the end of the bed and tell us Preston was uncomfortable but his chest x-ray was clear and we need to make him more comfortable. He suggested going up on his pain meds by .5 more. I basically told him he was wasting time because we increased by 1 last night and he was still uncomfortable and I didn’t believe .5 would help. He decided to increase his pain meds by 2.5 and then about 30 minutes before he passed, we asked to increase it again. About an hour before he passed, James was sitting with him, holding him, reading him a book. James is known with the kids to make up parts of a story or an ending to see if they are paying attention but this time he was just reading the story as is but Preston must have thought he was kidding in a part because he rolled toward James and said “funny joke daddy”. He was calmer and we all thought the pain medicines were working, he was finally comfortable. He said he had to go pee and we told him it was ok to go in a diaper. He said he really had to go and again we told him to go in a diaper. He said “I want to pee regular”. We were happy. He needed help to stand up so James and I both held him as the nurse held a jug. He happened to go a tiny bit #2 in the diaper so when we laid him back down, I cleaned him up and put a new diaper on him. James was holding him with his arm around him, holding his hand and I held the other hand and was rubbing his leg. Not even 3 minutes later his heart stopped. Maybe 30 seconds after, his heart beat came back for just a few seconds, and he squeezed James hand tightly, and that was the last breath our son took. We are so glad we were both there and he passed with us holding him and loving him. Since he was becoming more comfortable, James was thinking about running downstairs to grab a pizza. Thank God he didn’t. We are so proud of every last bit of fight and determination he had in his body, even to try and pass with dignity and go pee regular. We are so thankful that our nurses were so wonderful and they gave us as much time as we needed with him after. We called and had the girls come so they could come and say goodbye. It was truly the worst and hardest day of our lives.
James had to go back to work this week. The first day back he walked from his office over to south tower. He called me to tell me he was not sure how he felt. Two weeks prior we had taken Preston for his last walk on the same path he was walking. He was happy to be thinking about it but also sad at the same time. I am sure he will have lots of days like this working in the same buildings that Preston received his treatments. Honestly, I am not sure how he is doing it. I can’t even take Abby to go get a shot twice a week and he has to work there. He says he is glad because he has those good memories and those are the ones he wants to remember. Two days after Preston’s funeral we took Abby to swim practice and then we went to Target trying to just get out of the house. We got a bunch of things and as we were leaving I see him standing looking at Imaginext toys on an end cap. He turned to me with a toy in hand with a smile and I stood there watching him and the only thing I could say was “what are you doing”? The toy dropped and he looked at me with his face instantly changing. He said “I forgot, this sucks. I just wanted to get him something to make him happy”. I started crying and here we are making this scene. I wonder how many times things like this will happen. I know Abby has forgotten and it is over Stephanie’s head. She gets in the car and says “going to see Preston now at hospital”. I wish this was a nightmare we could all wake up from. This really does suck.
Thank you to everyone who sent flowers and plants, they were all very lovely. Thank you to those who brought over food, edible fruit, sent pictures, presents, and made books, and we love the star that was adopted for Preston too. It has all been so wonderful. Thank you to everyone who has made donations as well. If you sent donations directly to an organization or deposited into Preston’s account, please let us know so that we can thank you. Donations that have been mailed to us, we plan on splitting up among the three. I wanted to tell you why we chose the organizations we did. Big Love was an organization that helped us out while we were in Houston. Every week while you were inpatient, you would fill out a list for up to $25 worth of groceries, toys, or anything you needed and the Big Love volunteers would go get it and bring it to you. It was so helpful. I would love to someday start something like that here at Duke, someday when I have healed more. Meg’s Smile was the organization that was planning on doing the mini make a wish for the day for Preston. They had organized a day at a fire department and construction site. Preston would have loved that. When we had to cancel, Meg’s mom brought toys for the all of the kids to the hospital room and put his wish day on hold until he was better. Hess Trucks and games for Preston, craft stuff for Abby and Mickey stuff for Stephanie. Great idea to cheer up all of these kids. We also chose Tim Tebow W15H foundation. As you all know, Tim invited Preston and our family down to Tampa. Technically it was not considered a W15H but seeing how much joy this day brought to Preston and our family, giving back to this program is important to us. We are so thankful for everyone’s kind support and prayers. What we are going through is terrible and you all have been so kind. We know we have many, many very hard days ahead. It is nice to know there are so many people that care about us and about Preston.
Thanks to my mom too for taking care of all the flowers and planting everything for us. It looks great. And thanks Nana for all the great meals and to the both of them for all the help with the girls.
We miss you Preston so much. We love you, you’re the best!
There are a few funny things that we wanted to share. We are so thankful for our girls right now.
-At Preston’s funeral during the viewing, Stephanie was a little crazy. She had woken up around 3am that morning and did not go back to sleep. There is a family here in Durham that we are very close to and they have 3 girls. They love Stephanie and Stephanie adores them. Stephanie came running up to James and I and said “oh no, where are my friends” and yelled “friends, where are you”? It made us laugh and James said to her “Stephanie, mommy and daddy are your friends”. With the most serious face, Stephanie looked at James and said “I a baby, you big” and got down and ran up the aisle to find her friends.
-During the actual mass, Stephanie was getting ancy. I had brought some fruit treats, fruit roll up’s, crackers, and some Mickey board books. My sister in law was holding her right behind us. Stephanie was asking for gum and Claire gave her one of the books. It was silent in the church and Stephanie yells “Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck” and then said it again in a much lower voice. This is one great thing Stephanie provides our family. She can always make us laugh.
-I had promised Abby that we would do build a bear a few days after the funeral. We were on our way to the mall when James spotted a rainbow. It was faint above the trees. James said he would like to think of it as a sign from Preston that he was saying hi. Abby said “why can’t Preston make the rainbow bigger”. A few seconds later we went around a curve and there the rainbow was again and it was huge. Abby said that was a good sign but could we ask Preston to make it brighter? Since then Abby says Preston has been sending her lots of signs. That same night, we saw lightening bugs for the first time. We have not lived anywhere where we have had these in over a decade and it was the girls first time. Every night she has been looking for them.
-At Target over last weekend we decided to buy the girls a sprinkler. I wanted to get a big plastic pool or a slip and slide but James said no and that sprinklers stink too but agreed to get one. (I wanted something to play with the girls at home for all the days when I will not feel like going to the pool). The next day we got the sprinkler all hooked up and it stunk. It barely sprayed one foot high. It was supposed to be this crazy sprinkler and all these shoots off it. James tied a lot of the shoots off but it still stunk. The girls loved it though playing in the water as it ran down the driveway. My mom had brought 2 others sprinklers with her when she came to visit and we hooked up one. It sprayed back and forth really high. Abby liked it, Stephanie hated it and they liked the first one better. So we hooked up the third sprinkler. It was a circular sprinkler that maybe shot up 2 feet in the air. This one was a hit. The girls played in climbing up and down the driveway pretending to climb over the big Fountain of Terror. This was hilarious because this water was pathetic. We were sitting up on the porch and James joked that we should call the news so that they could see what we were doing now, that we make fun out of every situation. Abby yells to James “daddy, please don’t call Grace and tell her to come over”. We laughed and he asked why. She said “this is fun but it is embarrassing”. We really started laughing and I told her we could turn it off. She then replied with “well I guess it is not that embarrassing”.
Here is James eulogy if you are interested in reading it:
Preston James Winslow Eulogy 5-25-2012
Celeste and I want to thank you all for coming. The thought that Preston has touched so many hearts is very comforting. One might think that the struggle our family has undergone for the past two and half years would have led to much misery. However, despite drastic lifestyle changes, we were actually very happy most of the time. Really, the only unbearable aspect besides the separation from each other was the specter of today. That we could have fun at all is entirely due to Preston. He was so very easygoing and resilient. He rarely complained, and had an uncanny ability to deal with medical poking, prodding, and poisoning. Preston’s sense of humor and predisposition toward laughter was invaluable. That today is so painful is only a testament to the pleasure that came from Preston’s presence.
For those of you who might not know, our family is fond of good-natured teasing, and Preston was as good at it as any of us. For example, when I would tell Preston something like his urine was so smelly that it could make a garbage truck explode, he would come back with how meeting Tebow would make me so excited that the nurses would have to change me. He would regularly use his high-pitched mommy voice to tease her about how much she loves the movie The Burbs. He thought his sister’s reactions were hilarious when he would pretend to whistle a song playing on my phone, while pretending he was really whistling, while pretending he was fooling Abby. One of the phrases he said so often was “funny joke, dad” whenever he recognized that I was teasing him. That was actually one of the very last things he said on Saturday.
Anyway, here is a story that some of you already know, but it is typical of how Preston made us laugh. After watching fireworks at the Magic Kingdom, the monorails stopped running to Epcot, where we had parked, and so we were forced to take a Disney bus; Preston was the only one of us excited about taking a bus. The ride was bumpy and my dad and I joked with each other about how badly the bus driver drove. Preston said we shouldn’t pick on him and that he was a good driver. Two days later, we stayed for fireworks once again and coincidentally ended up taking the same bus with the same driver back to Epcot. As we left the bus, I told the driver how Preston said he was a good driver. Preston agreed and the driver said “thanks.” As we walked away, Preston said “aren’t you glad I didn’t tell him you said he was a crummy driver?”
Preston was an amazing little boy, and although we can’t help but feeling deprived, every minute we did get to spend together was an absolute blessing…a blessing magnified by our knowledge that those minutes were likely numbered. We miss him immeasurably, and look forward to a time when we may meet again.
We love you Preston, YOU’RE the best!
|Posted by Celeste Winslow on May 23, 2012 at 1:05 AM||comments (6)|
To say that the last few days have been hard is an understatement. James and I are reaching pure exhaustion which is good because we are starting to sleep. The days are better than the nights. The girls are a good distraction. When you climb into bed at the end of the day all you think about is Preston. There are no distractions and we just miss him so much.
The past two days I have been working on pictures for a slideshow for the reception after Mass. Yesterday, I spent hours going through pictures and was proud of myself that I was able to pick about 500 pictures. Today the funeral director came over and I asked for another day. I looked at these pictures and how happy Preston was. He spent 492 days inpatient and he was the happiest boy even during hard times. James happened to ask, which I guess we should have asked before, how many pictures we could have and he said 40. I sat there through the whole meeting just thinking 40 pictures. How do you capture your child's life in just 40 pictures? Well, I think I did ok but it was so hard. You can't help while looking at all these pictures how jipped we feel. Preston was such an amazing kid and we are going to miss out on so many things. However, at the same time you also feel so appreciative for such a wonderful child who made you so happy to just be around him. We are so thankful for all the amazing memories we have with him. Pure joy is what he brought to our lives. I will post the pictures in a few days.
I just wanted to post a few things. The first is a wonderful story that ABC news in Durham put together of Preston. What a great job they did.
Secondly, here is Preston's obituary.
Tim Tebow spoke about and posted a few pictures on his facebook page about Preston. Preston had so much fun playing and meeting Tim. We are so thankful for all the memories he has given our family.
Thank you to everyone for all your support, prayers, flowers, baskets, food, and donations. James and I are so appreciative.
|Posted by Celeste Winslow on May 20, 2012 at 8:20 PM||comments (9)|
Thank you allf or your kinds words and prayers. James and I are so appreciative. Preston was so lucky to have so many people supporting him as we are as well. We miss him so much.
We have made arrangements. On Friday, May 25th, there will be a viewing at 10am, Mass at noon, with a reception to follow at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Durham, NC.
While making arrangements this morning, it was mentioned that next weekend was Memorial Day weekend. James pointed out something interesting about this. Preston was born on September 3, 2007; Labor Day. Our son was born on Labor Day and here we are 4 short years later having to say our goodbyes on Memorial Day weekend.
Preston, we love you so much! You're the best!
We will post more when we have more information.
Also, some of you have asked for our address. It is:
701 Harkness Circle
Durham, NC 27705