Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

So here it is again. The dreaded month of September. First of all a reminder, September, among other things, is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

On a more personal note though, September is the month that we were blessed with our youngest son TJ. (Taylor Jay Peacock)

It is also the month that cancer snatched him away from our family.

TJ passed away on September 20, 2007. Just 4 days before his 19th birthday which is September 24. We were so looking forward to taking him home that Friday so he would be in his own room on his birthday but that was not to be. TJ’s situation was getting rapidly worse during those last few days and he passed quietly in his hospital room, surrounded by family on the morning of the 20th, as plans were being made to get him home. I will never forget those last moments with my child or the feeling that my inner most pieces were leaving this world right along with him. September is not a good month for us.

So what do you do after such a tremendous loss. A loss that can not be matched or measured. There are no words that would describe what we feel, or what we have been through. There is not a word in the English language that could fully express this kind of trauma. It hurts physically, emotionally, mentally. I’ve described it as an amputation that is not visible to anyone on the outside. It is a piece of your heart and soul that is forever lost and can not be replaced. I would even venture to say that we all suffer from post traumatic stress because it is always there, you no longer function as you once did and every so often, something will trigger a memory or thought and you are right back there on the battle ground, fighting to save your childs’ life. Memories are not always your friend, yet there are other memories that I would not trade for all the riches in the world. So here we are, battle scars and all, just trying to fight to live another day.

We have our own way of dealing with these particular days of Sept. On Sept 20th, we will head to Target and fill a couple shopping carts with toys. I always feel like each toy I purchase is a gift for my son. He was so giving. For instance, we would go to Sea World often and he would win big stuffed toys at the arcade.. So many that we would make 2 or 3 trips to the car to unload them. But TJ always loved to give them to the little kids that we passed on the way to the car.. He would see their eyes grow so big at the sight of these enormous stuffed animals and they would be pointing them out to their parents with so much excitement. Then all of a sudden, TJ would stop and walk toward the kids and hand them each a toy until there were none left. That was TJ. Then he would say “guess we better go back and win some more” with a huge grin on his face.

Soooooo, back to my initial thought.. On the dreaded anniversary date we will go shopping for lots of toys. Toys for boys and girls from a few months old to 19 year olds. That is how we get through that particular day and then on the 24th which is TJ’s birthday, we will take the toys to Childrens Hospital LA and hand out all the toys. After that we will meet with family and have a pizza party, complete with a birthday cake for TJ and we will celebrate our beloved son.

TJ loved a good pizza party, he loved his family and friends and he loved to give, so all in all, I think we are doing what TJ would want us to do. He would not be pleased if we were at home moping around for sure. As painful as these days are, we must remember that this pain came out of a tremendous amount of joy. Joy that we could only know by having our children. I will always wish that TJ was still here with us.. I see his friends now, graduating from college, having careers and families and living life. TJ never had that chance and as happy as I am so see his friends living life, it still hurts my heart knowing that TJ didn’t get to do that. I don’t know if I will ever come to terms with this loss, but clearly I have no choice in the matter. So we will get through this month as we have now since 2007. Then will be the “holiday season” and we will get through that as well. There will never be a moment or a day that TJ is not missed and the world is without a very special person. Heaven has an Angel and his name is TJ.

7 thoughts on “Childhood Cancer Awareness Month”

  1. Diane, what a great post. I know how hard your loss has been, but I love the way you are honoring TJ by helping others, and other kids. I am sure TJ will be smiling down from heaven. Love to you!

  2. Dear Diane and Larry,
    My prayers are with you to get you through this month. You are two of the strongest people that I know. I love the way you deal with Sept. and I’m sure T.J. does too. You are both AWESOME parents. Love you, Glo

  3. Oh Larry and Diane, my heart breaks for you as well as your family. TJ sounds like such an amazing young man and the way you honor him, especially during this difficult month, is so powerful and moving. I will never pass another arcade without thinking of that sweet sweet boy of yours. Much love to you both as you carry on this amazing tradition in his honor.

    Your friend Sherry

  4. Well Diane and Larry…..another year passes……seems so fast but I still remember that TJ smile like it was yesterday! The honor you both show us by keeping his name in our memory really touches our hearts. I’m sure the pain in September is overwhelming, but what joy you bring to all those children and the parents who are where you were 7 years ago. You are both awesome and were loving parents to TJ as well as all his friends, especially Joey! He really admires you both! I honor both of you this month as well as remembering TJ and the joy he brought into our lives with that huge smile I will Never forget! Love you both and I’m keeping you both in my heart and my prayers as we get past 1 more year………

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