Year in Review 2014

I didn’t realize how long it had been since I last posted.  I have made a promise to myself to try and do more postings.  This year has been interesting.  That’s a word – interesting. Interesting could mean both good and bad, and in this case it does.  I got through the first anniversary of Dawson’s death with help and remembrance from everyone.  Hard to believe a year had gone by.  The first annual Dawson’s Run took place and was such a great turn-out.  We raised $5,000 for TheTruth365.  Our planning for the next one is already underway.  More details below.  I also got through a second birthday for Dawson without him here.  I think that’s the one that is the hardest.  He would have been 15 and would have been excitedly getting his permit and driving.  I’m not entirely sure if I would have been ready for that.  He was a daredevil to say the least.  Mason graduated high school and we went on a cruise.  As I lay on a beach chair at Coco Cay, Bahamas, I could look over the spot where I was last there.  It was one of our ports on Dawson’s Make-A-Wish cruise and he and I sat on a beach chair underneath a palm tree and watched the ocean.  Such a fun trip with Mason but had an air of sadness as I remembered the last time I was there.  The Oviedo-Hagerty Hometown Showdown game was a huge success.  I wish the weather had cooperated better.  It poured down rain the whole game but the stands were packed nonetheless.  Lots of media attention was gained and the word about childhood cancer got out to more people than I could have imagined.  We raised around $8,000 for TheTruth365.  Amazing!  I got a foot of my hair cut off and donated to Wigs for Kids.  If you are in a position to do this, please consider this organization.  Locks of Love does not give their wigs to children with cancer.  I got a wonderful invitation to be a part of the first Bereavement Retreat by Arms Wide Open Childhood Cancer Foundation (AWOCCF) at Skytop, Pennsylvania in October.  Carson and I traveled together to Pennsylvania to attend and had the pleasure to meet Dena Sherwood (founder AWOCCF) and Mike Gillette, both from TheTruth365.  Such wonderful people and just solidified my passion for TheTruth365.  I got to spend the weekend with some amazing families, all who have lost children to childhood cancer.  Carson got to spend bonding time with other children who lost siblings to childhood cancer.  Everyone there was so honest and genuine with their struggles with losing their child.  There was an unspoken bond between us all.  Losing a child is such a lonely existence; it is not a topic anyone wants to discuss, and to be surrounded by those who are walking my path, was emotionally validating.  Thanksgiving came and went.  No Black Friday for me.  No sale can possibly be worth the chaos. Christmas is always hard.  Buying for 3 children instead of 4 is not natural for me.  We tried to keep the meaning in Christmas this year instead of caving in to the commercialism.  I didn’t go to Christmas Eve service last year – I just couldn’t do it.  It was my first Christmas Eve without Dawson and I knew I would not be able to get through the service.  I went this Christmas Eve.  Our church has 4 services on Christmas Eve.  The first is at 4:30 and it is for families with small children – short service to accommodate antsy children.  The others are at 6:00, 8:00, and 10:00 pm.  We decided to go to the 8:00 service.  I did not anticipate the crowd that was there.  The church was packed full!  It was beautiful to see.  I was so happy to see people knowing the reason why we celebrate Christmas.  Since I did not anticipate the crowd,  we left the house in just enough time to make it to church with 5 minutes to spare, just like we do every Sunday.  There weren’t many places to sit so we took what was left.  As I sat there listening to the organ music playing, I realized that I was sitting in the exact same spot that I was sitting in with Dawson the last Christmas Eve service that he was with us.  I took a picture of him with a smile on his face as he light his candle.  I knew that would be Dawson’s last Christmas with us.  My gut told me that.  I had to soak everything in that I possibly could.  As we lit our candles this past Christmas Eve, I had to smile as I remembered Dawson and I sitting in that same spot, together, like we always were.  I cannot possibly imagine the birthday celebration for Jesus that Heaven has.

So the year has come and will be gone in a couple of days.  I will renew my strength to tackle 2015.  My worst day ever has already occurred so that gives me hope for the new year.  I pray comfort for all of the families that I met in Pennsylvania.  Prayers for the family of Mathias Giordano as they had to lay their precious child/brother to eternal rest a few short weeks ago.  Prayers also for Leslie Cruz and her children as they cope with the loss of her husband and their father, Mark to that terrible airboat accident Sunday evening.  Prayers for the Floyd family as Nicholas’ journey ended this morning at 4:54 am.  If you want a completely honest and open view into the childhood cancer world, please visit his Facebook page at “Nick’s Epic Battle to Defeat Osteosarcoma”.  With Nick’s blessing, his mother and family documented his journey through this cancer world with amazing clarity and emotion.

As I said above, the second annual Dawson’s Run is almost ready for sign-ups.  The date is April 11, 2015.  We have Be The Match coming to the race to swab those that wish to be placed on the national bone marrow registry.  Lots of activities and raffles are planned.  All proceeds once again will benefit TheTruth365.  Please visit the Facebook page Dawson’s Circle of Hope for more information.  Sign-ups should begin on January 11th and the link will be posted on the website as well as the Facebook page.  We would love to have more sponsors if you would like to sponsor or know of someone who does.  Any question, please email dawsonscircleofhope@gmail.com.

A story to remind everyone that this world is only temporary and God’s greater plan will always prevail and gives us hope to face another day:

A ship sails and I stand watching till she fades on the horizon and someone at my side says, “She is gone!”  Gone where?  Gone from my sight, that is all.  She is just as large now as when I last saw her.  Her diminished size and total loss from my sight is in me, not in her.  And just at that moment when someone at my side says, “She is gone,” there are others who are watching her coming over their horizon and other voices take up a glad shout, “There she comes!”

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