Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dragons are very dangerous!

Friday marked the first annual Ryan Westerman Open, golf tournament. Can you imagine? Ryan would have been over the moon at the idea of a golf tournament in his name. Investors Group, where he worked, pulled this amazing idea together. It had 32 golfers and then there was a BBQ after at the Colbourne's house. They put together a raffle with a bunch of prizes and a big grand prize - a trip to Arizona. The money they raised went to us - but really will go into Talyn's sports fund.

After they presented us with the money they put together, I just stood there rather stunned. But then Talyn turned to me and asked if he could talk. They quickly got him a chair and up he stood in front of about 50 people assembled, waiting for him to speak. He took a deep breath and then started...

"Dragons are very dangerous. If you ever see one, you should stop what you're doing, look around and run away." It was hilarious. I think he might have been referring in his own way to the book - stop, drop and smile - but maybe he was just being a 5 year old and talking about dragons.

I went over to him and whispered that maybe we should say something about daddy, but he just shook his head and so I took over. I started to say a few words of thanks to them all and then Talyn decided again he did want to talk.

"You all know that my daddy is dead and that means that none of you will ever be able to see him again. But he will always be with my mommy and our hearts and in his box." Tears welled up and because I knew exactly what he meant, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Talyn and I both got keepsake hearts with a few of ryan's ashes in them that we will keep forever and we keep them in a beautiful wood box we received as a gift. So Talyn meant that daddy will always be with his box.

The night ended with the organizer approaching me to tell me about all of the plans he already had for next year and we quickly brainstormed what it could be. And so another piece of Ryan's legacy has been put into place, as we continue to try and fill the big hole he left behind.

MANY THANKS to everyone at IG that attended and helped with this.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Trying to find the joy

So much has happened over the past month, but overall the feelings for both of us are still about the same. Life with cancer was filled with very high - high's and very low - low's. But lately things have just felt numb. Although I do still laugh and smile, it's not the same. I feel like the mountain peaks I used to climb and fall from are more like prairies now. There aren't many high's and not many low's either - until I got literally dropped back down.

Talyn and I have been trying to catch up on our normal lives - doctor and dentist appointments. So when we went for our annual physicals (about 2 years late), I thought - so this is what normal life is like. Until we noticed an area of thickening near my recurrence. Quickly all the pieces went into motion and I was in for an ultrasound and to see my surgeon just days later. Luckily, it all turned out to be just change in scar tissue - but it did rattle me a bit. It rattled the anger that hasn't really come around.

Then over the past couple of weeks, Tricia has been having her own health issues. One thing has led to a couple of others and last week there was a period of time where we were all fairly certain that her leukemia was making a come back. Just when I was feeling like I was starting to get more back into a few things in my life and BOOM - out of nowhere, we were all dropped into the valley. Over those days, I felt that anger come out more strongly and in that moment, I completely understood why Kevin decided to train for a marathon over the past year. I had all of this anger building up inside of me and couldn't figure out how to get it out. But running for me has always been a way of getting the build up of crap out.

But you will have noticed I used the past tense above, because we found out Wednesday that whatever has been going on with Tricia, it has not been due to the Leukemia. In the moments when we found that out, I was shot back up to the mountain peak - in fact we all were. I felt like we had both again been handed back our precious lives and at the same time, the subtle reminder to treat it with respect.

I continue to increase my hours at work and am trying to find the same connection with it that I used to and with time, that is definitely coming back. The struggle that I am having is that my filter is gone. The little things build up inside of me and I have a hard time keeping them in. When I feel that people aren't remembering to focus on the good things - I can't help but remind them.

The hardest day for me so far has been Father's Day. For that entire day, there was just a big hole that existed that was impossible to ignore. But throughout the day we did see many two dotted ladybugs to remind us that Ryan wasn't far away. We have now been seeing these two dotted ladybugs since Ryan's last month in the hospice, when it was winter outside, so I know they are a sign for us.

Our friends have been forcing us out, to do things we haven't done in a very long time - hiking and trips to the mountains, edmonton to visit Jill and family and it all really helps!

Talyn continues to talk about Ryan, it's now just his story. On two occasions, he has just added it into conversation with strangers. Once at Zoe's (Jill's daughter) kindergarten class, where he was asked to tell them a bit about him. He said "my name is Talyn, I am 5 years old, I live in Calgary in a red house, next door to my best friend Andy, Zoe has been to calgary a lot to visit me, cause my dad just died." It absolutely blows them away, they usually tear up and look to me in disbelief, but all I can do in nod in agreement, as he continues to answer their questions. It doesn't make him sad, it's just his story. And I am just happy he continues to talk about it.

After the shock to reality that we had with Tricia's health scare last week, I feel a push to start to do more. I was thinking about what places I have always wanted to travel to and wondered why I hadn't planned for a trip to one of the list in the next year? I was thinking about all of the things I have always wanted to do with Talyn and wondered what I am waiting for? I was also trying to think about what things make me happy and wondered why I don't do them more often?

Although I don't yet have any good answers, I hope to get some soon. I also truly hope that our lives will make you ask yourselves some of these same questions and that you come up with some good answers soon too.