Three days ago I got drunk. Beyond drunk, goofy, silly drunk. During this time I talked about Gabby, yelled, laughed and cried at the end of the night. The next day I stayed in bed till 4:00p.m.I didn’t do this because I was hung-over, surprisingly I wasn’t. I just couldn’t seem to move out of bed. Carolynn did, thank goodness we had just returned from the beach and the girls had a week worth of homework to catch up on. I got out of bed for four hours and went back to bed at8:00pm. The next day I got out of bed at2:00. Same thing. Don’t worry I haven’t become an alcoholic that is going to crawl in a bottle. It’s just the pain of facing another day seems too much.
I want to thank all those who attended. I apologize because I don’t remember much of it, I was in a daze, the night before Carolynn and I had to go to the funeral home and see gabby, after an hour of crying and holding her cold hand as well as kissing her what seemed like a million times we left. The Day of the viewing we had to go to the home again and make sure everything was how we wanted it. Another hour of crying after seeing our little girl cold and lying in bed appearing to be asleep. The immediate family came to the viewing an hour before the door opened. Another hour of crying. By the time everyone started filing in we were in a haze. I kept glancing over at Gabby hoping she might wake up as insane as that sounds. We were told the sky was pink, a pink rainbow had formed, it was Gabby saying hello. I wish I would have seen it.
The next day
We ran away. Headed to the beach to use a house of a friend. We were originally going for the weekend and ended up there for over a week. One night I went out on the roof and apologized to god. I said I’m sorry for all the horrible things I said and thought and begged for some sort of sign Gabby was still somewhere. The sign didn’t come. The only sign we had was the next day the family came down with an illness which kept us from at least trying to enjoy the trip. It just felt like another punch in the stomach.
I had many breakdowns at the beach, Carolynn did as well. When she did I couldn’t say anything, no words can fix this, and words can’t make the pain go away. At the beach I can count two happy moments, but each ended in tears, flying a kite for Gabby, tears. Searching the beach at night showing the girls sand crabs, but in the dark I looked up and only saw two faces. She was missing. Tears.
While at the beach one night I just started crying, begging to be able to hold her hand one more time. I wish I would have held her longer the night she passed. But I’ll never get to hold her hand again, she’ll never taste soda, I’ll never teach her how to drive, scare her prom date. She’ll never have her heart broke by a boy, she’ll never be married. All this will never happen but I keep wanting to hold her hand, smell her, and touch her cheek. I should have done it more the last three months; she was supposed to have longer. She was cheated.
What have I become
It’s my opinion being the parent of a child with cancer adds years to your life. I feel 60. I’ve become an old angry man that scares my other two girls. For the last three months I spent everyday with Gabby, treatments, feedings, therapy. Now I don’t know what to do but cry. I’ve been absent even while I was here for the entire summer to my other two girls. I don’t know how to act around them, when they cry about something I think is trivial I want to yell, be tough like Gabby. I don’t, but the idea I have these thoughts is sickening. I love them more than my life itself. I would give my life for any of them in a second and switch with Gabby now if I could. Other times I feel myself start to resent the other two girls because while gabby was a baby Carolynn took care of her while I kept the other two busy. I realize this isn’t right and I know it’s irrational but again the thought crosses my mind. I’m not angry with them, I’m angry with myself; during the last five years I spent more time at work than at home. It’s an anger I can’t seem to shake.
Everyone is terrified of the house, Katie doesn’t want to sleep in her room anymore, and their stomachs are always hurting. I tried to explain it will get better each day whether I believe it or not. Even the town haunts us, I can’t go into Dunkin Donuts because at times I would grab gabby in her pajamas and go get donuts on Sunday morning, and the Sunoco down the street is a constant reminder of walks there to get candy and Gatorade with her and the girls. The pizza place across the street another reminder of another place I won’t be able to take gabby. How do you go on I ask, a piece of us was torn out, our lives are over as we know it, we can never heal, no matter how many people say time heals all wounds. It’s not true in this case, because twenty years down the road I’ll still only have two daughters instead of three. I don’t want to hear about the new normal.
Pure anger, acceptance and denial
I told a friend tonight I hate life, I wish everyone could feel the pain I felt. She reminded me is that something Gabby would want? Of course not. I realized again I wasn’t angry at people just life itself. I walked around the block late tonight just thinking, when I came in the door the book bag we got gabby still hangs by the door, I found her preschool backpack, in it was a pink headband, a macaroni necklace that she never got the chance to show us, and a purple bracelet she must have made. I knelt in front of the door and cried, there was nothing else to do. I went to her room and found her purse; it still has 40.00 in it she saved for the beach, also an old wallet of mine she wanted with fours dollars in it. Money she’ll never spend on a doll, a little pony, on anything. I walked to the bedroom and just said to Carolynn “She can’t be gone, it’s not real, and I didn’t realize I was holding up a pair of light up sneakers and one of her socks. We just got her them last month. She wore them one time. Acceptance doesn’t last long, denial always overtakes it.
Here and now
So we are here, she isn’t. We go on and she doesn’t. For the last three years Carolynn has been marking the girl’s heights on the kitchen wall. The last time Gabby was measured was 5/11 the month she went into the hospital. There will be no more lines on that wall. We have no choice no other option to keep going no matter how hard it is, learn to accept the unacceptable, learn to love our two daughters without comparing them to Gabby. They are a mess, they are hurting like we are. The worst part is they don’t truly understand exactly why. They know it’s because they miss Gabby. Katie told me the other day Gabby will no longer be able to talk to her, or touch her. I let Katie know Gabby is part of all of us, talk to her, when you want a hug from her, hug me, her mother , her sister, we all have some over gabby in us.
Gabby and Cancer
It’s been sixteen days since gabby passed away. Since then I have gone through a range of emotions regarding cancer. The first thought was: I’m done with it, what do I care if they cure it, my child has been taken from me, why should I care about others. I realize now it was just the anger again. Carolynn and I have discussed that one day when we are ready we will form the Get Well Gabby Foundation. Hopefully her events will become annual and all the money raised will go towards research of pediatric brain cancer. As much as I hurt I don’t want another family to feel these thoughts, I don’t want other family’s to struggle looking for therapists for their children, with the formation of this foundation Gabby will live on. In my mind doing this I can still hold her hand and say: Hey Kiddo your helping others fight the yuckies.