I sat on the couch today wanting to write. I have so many things to say. I thought to myself: Sad or Happy? It can go either way. Our family’s life is like that every day. Ups and downs, slow moving time, speeding out of control. I decided I’d figure it out when I start. But first I wanted to find the perfect picture to put in the post. I broke down more today than I have done in a very long time. Looking at all the happy times. It was definitely a big down. I don’t want everything I write to bring tears. It’s so hard being a parent and a family who has lost someone. You want to feel good so badly, but then the fear sets in: I shouldn’t have the right to feel good; I haven’t hurt as much as Gabby did. I realize I will get comments saying it’s okay to feel good, Gabby would want us to. But it’s easier to say those things than feel them.
I don’t write this blog to get pity. I don’t write to sound like a broken record. I apologize if I do. I write this blog to share my daughter and families bravery with all of you. I write hoping it will make a difference. Earlier this week a person commented she at times has been appalled at some of the things I wrote and the depths I sank to describe our feelings. She didn’t say it in a mean way. She wasn’t trying to hurt us. I understood exactly what she was saying. I know I have said some incredibly dark things about life, religion, and others. I am appalled at times with what I write. But I won’t hold back. People going through this need to understand those thoughts are fine. It’s better to think and get it out there than fall apart and crumble. My intentions are for a father or mother to read it and say, “ Thank god I’m not the only one who feels this way”. My intentions are to spread awareness about this horrible disease. My intentions are for everyone, cancer touched or not to understand how precious and short life is. Don’t waste a minute. Realize what’s important. I learned this lesson to late to share it with Gabby. Work was so important; I needed to work so hard to make sure my family was taken care of. What cancer taught me was you don’t need all the toys and gadgets to be happy. Now we play board games, read and hike. Look up the new birds that fly to the feeder. Build Legos together. (Katie is much better at building Legos than me)
I know I have said all this before and I will keep saying it. Believe you can be a better person, believe in your children, and believe that all things happen for a reason. Even if that reason isn’t clear and makes no sense. Even if you hate what happened and will never accept it. All you can do is try to enjoy this rollercoaster of life the best you can. Because eventually the ride will come to a stop, the park will close and it’s time to go home. You’ll never be able to feel the same way and have the exact same experience on that ride ever again. So realize that while you’re on it. Smile, be scared, be sad, belly laugh, Do it all you deserve it, your family deserves it. You all deserve it together.
Why a Foundation?
Someone commented that we don’t need a foundation to make a difference. We should work on the foundation of our family earlier again this week. Again it wasn’t said with Malice. I understood what she was saying. I need to address it in two different ways.
First, Of course we are working on repairing the foundation of our family. I don’t just speak these words I live them. Whether its researching birds with the girls or playing the game parents vs. kids with Carolynn and the girls. We talk about Gabby daily; we also talk about how amazing Katie and Madison are. Each night as we sing to them before bed I tell them how brave they are, how amazing they are, how incredibly smart and kind they are. I tell them that this page is Gabby and their story. That they are warriors as well and can do anything they put their mind to. When they cry, we cry, when they laugh, we laugh. When they play Dance party 3, I attempt to dance with them (after one dance I have now perfected the play the game from the couch dance, what can I say I’m a little older nowJ)
Carolynn and I understand how important it is to make sure they are with us, to make sure they understand we know what they are going through. And we will be there everyday to remind them.
Secondly, for those of you who have children. Imagine the first touchdown your son scores, the homerun your daughter or son hits, the 1st place they take in the spelling bee. How they look when they drive the first time. The pride you feel watching them. In your mind you say, “ That’s my boy! That’s my girl! It’s a great feeling.
I have had those times with all my daughters. I have had them with Gabby. I look at how brave she was the last 3 months of her life and I’m sad and proud at the same time. The Get Well Gabby Foundation in memory of Gabriella Martha Vogel is another way Carolynn and I can say: That’s my daughter, she did that! She changed the world! She helped others not just in the short five years of her life but for the remainder of ours and longer. That’s why it’s so important to us. We want the homerun, the prom queen, and the spelling bee champ for Gabby, but that’s not possible. This is.
Thursday the paperwork will get the final review, it will be a reality. The foundation will start to make a difference for a family on Valentines Day if we can raise the money. Valentines day was always a special day for me and the three girls. I would get them each a small toy and sneak a small box of heart shaped chocolate under their pillow as they slept. I’ve done this for nine years. They all know it’s coming but are excited each year. I broke down in a Valentine’s section of a craft store the other day. And decided this year Gabby”s foundation will surprise a little warrior this year.
So I plead to you all, help us! Tell everyone if they are looking for an amazing cause, an amazing place to donate towards a foundation that will work till they drop making sure the donations go to the right place. Please spread the word about Gabby’s foundation. Help Carolynn, The girls and I be able to say: That’s our girl, That’s our sister!
Earlier this week I was watching people surf on the bay using huge Kites to drag them through the water. It was so beautiful to watch as the sun started going down. I was happy, then sad. Another beautiful moment followed by a drop when reality set in. I posted something to the other parents starting this battle, It took me a while to realize it, and don’t get me wrong at times I say to myself that’s BS this is horrible, life is horrible. What I realized is the road all of us are on now has lots of ups and downs. A lot more downs in the beginning and even more if something terrible happens like your baby earns their wings. But the one thing you can never forget is there will be an up eventually. The job you need to do for your family and yourself is just wait for the next up. Believe it will happen. It will.
Believe in yourself
Believe in your family
Believe you can do more
Believe there will always be an up
Believe in Gabby