TJ’s 26th Birthday

TJ Playing BaseballOn 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.

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.