Friday, January 11, 2008

The Holidays

We imagine that folks may have been wondering how the holidays went. As you can imagine, it was pretty hard. All the "firsts" without Mason are hard. But we tried our best to honor his memory and enjoy the holiday he loved so much. Friends of ours came over and helped us decorate the tree before we left for NY. That really helped us.

We kept most traditions the same. We went to NY and had a pre-Christmas with my parents and siblings, then it was off to Albany for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. On Christmas Eve we had star helium balloons and we wrote notes to Mason and Poppa - (Kirk's Dad who passed a couple of years ago) and let the balloons go. Mateo wrote on his note: "I hope you are okay." We also prepared our reindeer food like we always do, and put candles in the ground to light the way. We held hands and said a few words about Mason and those we loved and missed.

Kirk's sister and her family changed their usual plans and spent Christmas morning with us so Mateo would have kids around. That really helped to not seem so empty and strange as both Mason and Francisca (who was on vacation in Bolivia) were not there. Then we went to Kirk's brother's house for dinner. We had a little candlelight ceremony. Each of us had a card to read: family, community, memories, love, laughter etc. The kids and family added to what Kirk and I wrote. The candles looked beautiful and had stars on them.

I also went and saw Mason's grave. The temporary headstone is up and my friend Mary and I placed notes that Kirk, Mateo and I wrote for him. A friend had suggested a blanket of pine to put on the grave and we did that. It was a beautiful day- crisp, cold wintry.

And so life continues.....

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Mason's jeep

As you know, using Celebration of Life funds, we purchased a battery powered jeep for Mason's birthday that he loved. Recenlty, we asked Mateo if he wanted to keep it and he said no, he was too big for it. We asked if he wanted to give it to another kid at the hospital and he said he wanted to do that. So we asked the hospital if we could give it to a friend of Mason's, if he would like it. It has gone to a little 5-year old leukemia patient, Jake, who was a friend of Mason's at the hospital. He loves Power Rangers and Superheroes like Mason.

His parents picked it up a week before Christmas. He was very excited and knew it came from friends and family of Mason for him to enjoy. We thought it was the right thing to do.

Holiday greetings

This is what we sent out to family and friends. We appreciate all your help always.

Dearest Family and Friends:

This year’s Christmas note is difficult to write, as you can imagine. It has been two months since we lost Mason and it has irrevocably changed our lives. We grieve and struggle to find the strength every day to keep going. But as we reflect upon the last year of our lives, there have been many good times, laughter, and bittersweet moments that help us remember we did the best we could to bring our boys joy in the midst of pain and sorrow. We enjoyed their laughter, fighting, their happiness, frustrations, tears, and loved them with all our hearts and souls. We could not have survived without our family and friends. You have given us so much support, phone calls, e-mails, money, food and many special gestures and invitations. You have gone beyond what any community of people needed to do for us. Our boys knew they were loved, cared for, prayed for and embraced by pure positive energy and love from those around them near and far. It made all the difference and continues to make a difference as we put our lives back together again.

As we have said before, if love and prayers could have saved Mason, he would have been healed a million times over. But it was not meant to be- for reasons we will never understand. We are committed to love each other the best we can and find a way to give back so much of what we have been given.

A good friend who lost her son to cancer told us that there will always be the pain of losing Mason. That never goes away. But she said that you learn to live with that pain and learn to live again. It may take us awhile to come to that point, but we, together with you all, will get there, somehow, someway.

We all know the holidays are crazy times with families and stress. Breathe. Try to love those around you for who they are. Laugh. Love your kids even when they are making you a bit loony. Love them every moment they are here, for life changes in an instant and you are never the same.

You, our family and friends, are treasured by us and you help us keep going every day. We will continue to post updates on the blog to inform you on what we are doing with your generous donations to the hospital. Please check it periodically for updates.

Thank you for all your patience with us as we try to piece our lives back together. Bear with us. We will get through this with your love and support.

With much love and gratitude,

Kirk, Danielle, Mateo and Francisca