Hello, my name is John. My daughter was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer almost 7 years ago. Two days after she walked into the hospital we were told she would die within a year and a half. She was now living with a time clock above her head, actually more of a time bomb in her head that had already exploded and now would kill her in a slow, painful and horrible way. We were told she had 3-6 months to live without treatment and 6-18 months with treatment. We opted to treat her. Time is a cruel thing. Even with treatment she only lasted 3 months and 12 days. Her time ran out.
Hello, my name is John. I’m dying, we are all dying. Now most of us, including me don’t know when, we don’t get to see that clock ticking away above our head. One day it expires and so do we. Our time runs out. No different than my five year old daughter’s time. I haven’t written in a really long time. Time played a role in that. For the last seven years I was trying to stay ahead of it, trying to forget it. Last year was the worst year of my family’s lives since Gabby died. When a child dies, the siblings of that child go through grief, they can get a double dose or even a triple dose of it. Our other two daughters entered into teenage year it hit them again, it can hit them again as they enter adulthood. The therapists told us this was going to happen. But we thought we had more time. After Gabby died I took some time off. I left my Job and decided I wanted a new career. I went back to school and received my Masters in elementary education. I did pretty well! I was even selected to speak at my graduation. During this time I also worked two jobs. Take a second there and think about that. Two jobs and going to school. On top of that assisting Carolynn with the foundation, events and awareness projects. The minute Gabby died I started running away from time. I didn’t really take any to grieve. For me it was just keep moving, just keep working, never stop and it won’t hit me. After graduation and the death of my grandmother it hit me. I ran out of time. Carolynn was also going through a rough year as well. Along with our daughters going through a double dose of pop up grief, my resistance to actually grieving ,she runs this foundation, the household, had a business of her own and still managed to make sure our son escaped as much of this as possible. Our family had run out of time.
When Gabby died we promised ourselves we would be different, we wouldn’t let the small things bother us, we would make a difference every day, live life like it’s our last day on earth. That sounds great in theory doesn’t it? I’d love to tell you that’s what we did and we are still doing it. The truth is, it lasted like that for a little bit. As the days, months and years went by we returned to our old ways. Last year it hit us. When we were told Gabby was going to die, we didn’t believe it. I think deep down we knew it was the truth, we didn’t accept it. When she was fighting it was hard, horrible and tiring, we thought we had all the time in the world. Our day consisted of wake up, medications, radiation, therapy, feed her, change her, medications, clean up vomit, hospital visits, medications, more therapy. A day went on for what seemed like a year. Then on September 11th 2011 a few minutes after 8:15pm we had no more time. Her last breath was like a match going out. The flame is beautiful, bright and warm, then with one little breeze the match goes out. It lived its life, fulfilled its purpose.
Gabby did live her life. She was an amazing little girl, my heart aches when I remember the way it felt when she would run to the top of the stairs when I came home from work, Tears sneak up on me when I try to remember the sound of her almost heavenly laugh. The room lit up when she came in. But she didn’t fulfill her purpose; her flame went out way too early. It took me a very long time to get where I am now. I don’t know what the “plan” is but I do know had Gabby not lived and died so early this organization wouldn’t exists, all the families we have helped may not have received help, and all the hospitals we have donated to would not have received that donation. Her brother would not have been born. Gabby’s physical time on earth ran out, but her clock was reset and all of our supporters, our family, and the amazing children we help had a part in resetting that clock. My time is running out all of our times are. What matters is what we do with it while we have it. What matters is knowing it could end a lot quicker than we think.
There are 31 days in May, that doesn’t seem like a lot of time and 31 doesn’t seem like a big number. That’s not even a full tank of gas. The Get Well Gabby foundation is currently in a campaign called “Dollar a day in May” Please consider donating a dollar a day in May to The Get Well Gabby foundation, even though it’s not a lot on it’s own, together with other donations it can give some more of these amazing families time. Time to enjoy life a few minutes more, time to hold their child’s hand and not worry about bills, time to just be still. You can go to our website and donate directly online or mail a check to PO Box 555 Ocean View, DE 19970. Please do it now, don’t say I’ll do it later, please share this with all you know now, again not later, time has a cruel way of sneaking up on you, getting in the way, do it now.
Although last year was the worst year we have had since Gabby died, our family has come an incredibly long way in a short amount of time. The girls are working on their grief and I stopped running and decided to be still and work on mine. Carolynn is doing amazing things for the foundation and continues to do so with all of your help and support. A good friend of ours and our Pastor spoke in church and said something that really stuck with me recently. He talked about openhanded living. If you go through life with closed fists or crossed arms not only are you not giving anything back but you can never receive anything from anyone either. That’s how we live now, open hands and open hearts, we don’t live every day like it’s our last. We live everyday like it’s our first. The world is new, the world is amazing, and we are doing amazing things every day with the time we have. Please take a few minutes of your time to share and donate today. Thank you
John (Gabby’s Daddy)