|Posted by Celeste Winslow on November 30, 2012 at 10:30 PM|
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!