Preston's fight against Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Updates

Winter 2013

Posted by Celeste Winslow on November 26, 2013 at 12:10 PM

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.

Happy Holidays!

 

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4 Comments

Reply Grammie
1:59 PM on November 26, 2013 
I am so in awe of you and the entire Winslow family in how you handle this tragedy. You all deal with it so much better than I do, or at least you make it seem that way. I am glad that I can talk to you about Preston, it helps me get through it.

When people ask how many grand kids I have, I always count Preston too, I just add that I have one in Heaven. I will be sending a few Hess trucks down for the bone marrow kids, I don't have Preston to buy for but I still have his memory to celebrate at Christmas.

Emily is that healing gift that Preston sent to his family.

I love you Winslow family (and that includes Preston) and I know that Preston watches over you everyday.
Reply Gina Avioli Taylor
8:34 PM on November 26, 2013 
Sending prayers for strength and joyful memories. God bless you and your beautiful family.

Gina Avioli Taylor
Reply Sandy Daron
10:37 PM on November 26, 2013 
Hi Celeste,

It is good to read an update. I am glad you are doing well and it is easier for you to talk about Preston. I imagine the holidays will be tough. I pray God will give you comfort.

It is great to hear the girls are well.

Love ya!!
C.O.L.E.'s Foundation
(Caring Openly, Loving Eternally)
www.colesfoundation.org
http://www.colespages.org
Email: sandy@colesfoundation.com
Sandy Daron
Reply Donnalyn Trapani
12:40 PM on November 28, 2013 
So glad you were able to update! God bless you Celeste and may He continue to provide you strength every day. Happy Thanksgiving. I am sure Preston is thankful for having such great parents and sisters :)