TJ was such a fan of Comedians, Music and Sports. So here I sit, working on our next event. The TJ’s Dream Team Comedy Night. I have spent countless hours making phone calls, posting, sending out press releases in the hopes that someone will help us to get the word out about this disease, as well as our event. MAY IS BRAIN CANCER AWARENESS MONTH. Most people are not even aware of that unless they have been personally affected by it. We are only a month away, the anxiety and sleepless nights have begun and the frantic work of getting things in order to be prepared for this next event. The anxiety will end when the tickets have been sold, the comedians have shown up, the raffle tickets sold and the night is winding down. Until then there is no calm. At least not inside my head. The brain does not shut off. I think of TJ and how much he would enjoy all of these events. I feel in my heart that he knows what we are doing and that he approves. I wish we didn’t have to do any of this. I wish I was completely oblivious to the pain of losing a child and the ravages of childhood cancer. But here I sit, thinking about my son and what he would be doing now. How much he would enjoy sitting in the crowd of people and watching the show. He’s not here, which is why we do what we do. It is up to us to make sure he is never forgotten, that his fight continues through us and that people who never met him will know his name and know what a brave and amazing person he was. He was heroic in his battle, and to not honor that and carry on for him would be such a disservice to his memory. We welcome you to post your opinions, experiences, stories.
On Sept. 20, we honored TJ’s passing. 7 years before, at 11:43 he drifted away from us. Tomorrow is TJ’s 26th Birthday. Yes I said is. I am painfully aware that he is not longer here with us but it is still the day he was born and we will still have a party in his honor, complete with birthday cake. My son lived, he loved and he was loved in return and we will continue to honor the day of his birth for as long as I am on this earth.
We will get up and drive to CHLA hospital in the early afternoon and we will deliver the toys that were purchased. We have really over done it this year. I think we have more toys than there are children to receive them in which case we will hold the extras over for next years delivery.
I love this day because its the day we received one of our three greatest gifts. TJ was the third and final child in our family and so that day is beautiful and special. It is also sad and empty and painful at the same time.. Happy memories, devastating future. I guess you can’t truly know or appreciate joy without also knowing and experiencing extreme pain. So here we are now with the sadness and loss. These days are tearful, empty and sad days but I would not trade a moment of this pain if it meant never having known and loved TJ. I guess its just a big trade off.. the love and joy of a child for almost 19 years to a lifetime of pain and loss. Its life, what can I say. For anyone who has lost a child under any circumstances, you know what I mean.
So on Sept 24, please think of TJ even if only for a moment. Wish him happy birthday. I like to think he is with us enjoying the pizza party and his family and friends getting together in honor of him. We will send up a sky lantern into the night filled with messages of love to him and talk about him and how funny and talented he was. And know that there will be many many chid with smiles and a new toy tomorrow. This is what TJ would do, I know that in my heart so he will be smiling tomorrow and hopefully with us every step of the way.
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.
Every step we take is for TJ. This Sat, June 21st is the annual Walk for Wishes sponsored by the Make a Wish Foundation. Our son TJ was granted the most amazing wish. In actuality, it was a dream come true. TJ was granted his wish to golf with the great Jack Nicklaus. It was a day that will live in our hearts forever. How often can you say that a seemingly unattainable dream was granted? As much as we strive and work toward raising awareness and money to aid in brain cancer research, we realize that dreams are also important. So along with our friends and family, we will walk for wishes and help to pay it forward. Every child who is battling a life threatening illness deserves to have their own dream come true. And in the meantime, we will continue to work toward a cure for brain cancer.
For me, every moment of every day of every month is the time to remember and spread awareness. You see, not an instant of my day goes by without me remembering brain cancer and what it has done to my family, my world, my outlook on life and my future. As if a bomb was detonated, with a very long, sinister fuse to just burn slowly and patiently, waiting to blow up our world and all that was in it.
I never really thought about brain cancer before. I especially never thought of it in terms of my child. I never thought I would be one of those parents that I always felt so immensely sad for. A parent who had lost a child under any circumstances. I was so protective of my kids, keeping them safe from the “bad people” in the world and the dangerous situations that they might find themselves in.. How do you keep your child safe from the monster inside their own body? It is truly a helpless, frustrating and devastating feeling.
I believe parents such as myself suffer the rest of our lives from post traumatic stress. We have been to battle, we fought the enemy and we saw the casualties of war. But we can’t go home after the battle has been lost. We must live with the terrible visions of what we have witnessed and carry it with us till the day we leave this earth.
I’m not asking for sympathy, this is our life and this is the hand we were dealt. Our only choice from this point is to either give up and die or push ahead and try to make a difference. I have chosen the latter. I will NOT go down without a fight, just as my son TJ did not go down without a fight..
As parents, we think we teach our children about life, but in reality, I think they are teaching us. I never knew I could continue to get up every morning after losing a piece of myself. I never thought I would be picking up the sword and continuing to fight the enemy, but my son has taught me this. How could I, as the mother of TJ, Travis and Josh not continue this fight. Give up???? I wouldn’t ever let TJ give up and he’s not going to let me give up now..
I accept the challenge TJ. I will take my strength and guidance from you and the example you set for me. I will not surrender and I will not lose faith. This is the promise I made to you and I will keep that promise as long as I live. I will honor your struggle and all that you taught me and those who knew you.. those who know you now through TJ’s Dream Team-HEADing for a Cure..
RIP my angel, I’ve got this