Monthly Archives: December 2008

Happy New Years

I’m not really happy with the year changing to 2009 and it sounds so long ago since 2007 when Nathan was alive.  I can’t say he died last year anymore.  It feels like yesterday but as the time goes by I fear his loss will be marginalized for being “years ago”.

We are hanging out in Illinois.  I have been sick since the 21st but amd functional again.  Luke is in the throes of it now.  Luckily I felt better before he felt crummy.

The girls are enjoying their grandparents and aunt (so am I, of course).  I’ve had my favorite foods and done a lot of lazing around in pajamas.

There is no way we will be up at midnight tonight but we are planning on some fun food and drinks and a few games this evening.  Luke’s sister has wisely gone back up to Chicago to have fun with her friends who are not nearly so old and lame as we are!

School doesn’t start back up until the 8th and so I will have to find ways to entertain the kids for the next few days when we get home.  They did great on the 15 hour drive here.  Hopefully the same will be said for the trip home.

Christmas without Nathan

I’ve been meaning to write about this. I will first share what Luke wrote on his blog

Nathan came up in conversation over dinner with friends a few weeks ago, just after Thanksgiving. Someone at the table asked how Susan and I were doing in this holiday season and the context was pretty clear. It occurs to me that perhaps others are wondering the same thing.

Thankfully there is a big difference between last year and this year. I could have skipped the holidays altogether last year. We traveled and were with loved ones, but the times were mostly painful and I did a lot of going through the motions. I can’t really explain what is different this year. I could say it was easier, but that wouldn’t be right. Holidays or not, there are moments where the loss is every bit as painful as it has ever been. And, good or bad, the holidays are times to focus on family and reflect on these things.

Thanksgiving was great. But it wasn’t great like Thanksgivings past. I thoroughly enjoyed extended visits with Susan’s family and Thanksgiving day was great fun. And I’m looking forward to Christmas and really expecting it to be a happy time with the kids and family.

It isn’t the same anymore though. I don’t think it ever will be. I don’t feel complete and I don’t think that any of us feel like our family feels complete. I can’t think of the holidays as “easier” or “better” this year, but I have been looking forward to them more and so far I have been able to enjoy them and I think that will hold true. For me, the holidays are going well, but they are not the same and they never will be. That sentiment isn’t me being still caught up in grief. Our lives are forever changed and shaped by this experience and the filter through which I view my life and these precious holidays will always include Nathan.

I appreciate the friend who asked. It was loving and considerate and it acknowledged that Nathan is so obviously always in hour hearts and on our minds. I can’t help but think, and fear, that these inquiries will dwindle over the years over the assumption that we “have moved on” or “had closure” or “come to terms” or because new friends we meet and become close with won’t have been in our lives when Nathan was physically with us. So next year, and the year after (and not necessarily around the holidays), let me know that Nathan has been in your thoughts. It will make me feel loved and it will warm my heart to know that he is carried in the hearts of others as well as my own. If you ask in person, I may or may not tear up or even cry. Don’t feel like you are responsible for surfacing the pain. It is always at the surface. And sometimes it is better to share those tears with a friend than it is to shed them alone.

Luckily for Luke and I, we feel very similarly about many things and this is one of them. I have to say that the very last part about sharing the tears…well, maybe not so much for me, as many of you know. Something you should know is this – I cry about Nathan a little every single day, privately. Someone shared a thought with me today “I plan on grieving for my child as long as he’s dead” . That is so true. When I am 60 I will be grieving for Nathan at holidays. Who knows what it will look like.

Things are not as raw this year. I was able to put a little picture of Nathan on the tree and photograph it with the girls. I was able to hang his stocking and the thought of it empty Christmas morning is hard, but I know I can bear it. I think that is the big difference to me this year, my ability to bear the pain has strengthened. The pain is not as raw and I can face it much better.

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Christmas Card

Some of you lucky folks got one of these in the mail…For those of you whose address I do not have – here is our Christmas Card.  If you click on it to make it big – you will be able to find Nathan too.

Thoughts and a picture

I removed my status report post. Why? Well, I want to share my feelings but there is a real or imagined side-effect of having people’s pity. Some things I am bad at: sharing my feelings, asking for help/favors from people and having the feeling that someone’s motivations towards me are driven by pity. This has nothing to do with any comments posted, so those of you that did post, don’t worry. It is more of an internal bad feeling about it.

I put a new picture on Nathan’s caringbridge site yesterday of his playing in the snow in December 2006. I am really liking it and so I will share it here.

Lunch for Life

It is that time of year again, when the fundraiser Lunch for Life is in full swing. We may not be able to save Nathan, but a lot of his friends are still battling and I would love to help find a cure for them and all the kids yet to be diagnosed.

Here is some information:


Lunch for Life® is about helping children who have been diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a deadly form of cancer that strikes thousands of infants and toddlers each year.
This fundraising program is a simple but powerful solution: We ask people to donate one day’s lunch money to the Children’s Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation (CNCF), a public charity dedicated to curing this cancer.
The cost of one lunch, if enough people contribute, will help save lives, fund research for a cure and provide support for families. Please donate your lunch money to the Children’s Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation and help us eradicate this disease.

Here is an explanation of how your money is used:

  • ALL funds raised through “Lunch for Life®” go directly to support neuroblastoma research and initiatives.
  • Funds are dispersed through a grant review process and funding decisions are based on the direction of the CNCF’s Medical Advisory Board. (This board is an independent and organizationally diverse group of neuroblastoma specialists and researchers committed to hastening a cure.)
  • Lunch for Life® is entirely about removing this horrible disease from the face of this earth. It is about speeding up the process.
  • Lunch for Life® is about saving children’s lives.
It is simple. We are an organized group of families with children, grandchildren, friends, and relatives afflicted by cancer. Our only goal is to erradicate this disease. Our children may or may not benefit from this research. A cure may not come in time for many of our little warriors. But we can keep other families from walking in our shoes and we can keep other children from entering into the world of neuroblastoma. It is for these reasons that we are committed to finding the cure. We have no desire to fund expensive marketing campaigns. We are committed to finding a cure. It is about the children.
Our goal to hasten the search for a cure does not only include fundraising but it is also about speeding the process of getting research dollars into the hands of those that need it the most. For this reason, the CNCF developed a grant review process in order to direct the funds into the most promising areas of research. As parents we do not always know what is in the best interest of neuroblastoma research. To correct this problem we created a medical board of the top researchers in the country to help us make better decisions regarding funding. The medical board operates under the following directive:
Make funding decisions that are most likely to hasten research into the cure for neuroblastoma.
It is this design that guarantees your lunch money will be put to its best use.

I have personally met the founder of CNCF and the creator of Lunch for Life and they are incredibly dedicated people.
Nathan has a giving tree on Lunch for Life. Every donation fills his tree with ornaments ( and gives our family a chance to win a trip to Disney World) .
A special code will give Nathan extra ornaments. That code is 32109.
Thanks in advance to all that give. I know we all have our charities we give to and in times like these we try to stick to those. So, no pressure here, just an opportunity for anyone who wants it!


I have been enjoying the album “Wintersong” by Sarah McLachlan. I hadn’t listened to every song yet but today I listened to the title track and it is beautiful but it made me cry.


Sarah McLachlan

The lake is frozen over
The trees are white with snow
And all around
Reminders of you
Are everywhere I go

It’s late and morning’s in no hurry
But sleep won’t set me free
I lie awake and try to recall
How your body felt beside me
When silence gets too hard to handle
And the night too long

And this is how I see you
In the snow on Christmas morning
Love and happiness surround you
As you throw your arms up to the sky
I keep this moment by and by

Oh I miss you now, my love
Merry Christmas, merry Christmas,
Merry Christmas, my love

Sense of joy fills the air
And I daydream and I stare
Up at the tree and I see
Your star up there

And this is how I see you
In the snow on Christmas morning
Love and happiness surround you
As you throw your arms up to the sky
I keep this moment by and by


The other night I went into Lauren’s room before bed to check on her. She was in bed with several toys surrounding her and also the pictured craft that I had somehow missed coming out of her backpack. It melted my heart.

p.s. Last night I hit her with the door trying to check on her. She had taken her lamb and blanket and fallen asleep next to her door.

p.s.s another new post follows this one


Latest un-nap


I have been forgetting to mention that Lauren is potty-trained…at night too!

I had tried to potty train her a few weeks earlier and it was a disaster. However, that half of a day got her thinking about it and becoming aware and she started to use the toilet at times but was still in a pull-up. She asked to wear undies to school and I let her and she had two accidents. So – a few days later when we had several days at home we tried the panties again and she had success and has been pretty much dry ever since. She is self-sufficient right from the get-go. Using potty by herself which is great. She has been asking to wear undies at night and so we took the leap and that is just fine too. She gets up in the night and uses the toilet by herself if she needs to.

I never potty-trained the other two and so it was a new experience and I feel good about it.