About Us

Our family of 6 (dad Adam, mom Sherry, big sister Abby and little brothers Isaac and Brady -- who was born on December 14, 2010) joined the ranks of pediatric cancer fighters when our 4-year old son Logan was diagnosed with a dangerous and highly malignant form of brain cancer in mid-August 2010. Logan's cancer journey began abruptly on Sunday, August 15, when his right eye suddenly turned inward during dinner. Twenty-four hours later, we were checking into Children's Hospital Oakland and finding out that life sometimes takes you places you'd never, ever imagine yourself going.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Anti-Graduations

Five years ago, Logan's little class graduated from preschool. Of course, he wasn't there with them because he'd died a few months earlier, but I went anyway. I remember sitting on a rickety bench outside the back door of the classroom, sobbing uncontrollably because he wasn't there and because I didn't have a little graduate to celebrate. I was so envious of the other proud parents and grandparents who, one by one, passed me by as they entered for the ceremony. One stopped to offer up a lingering hug. A few others sent pitying looks in my direction. Some seemed to pretend that I wasn't there at all, and truth be told, I felt like I didn't belong; like I was sullying their happy occasion with my presence. I never could muster the wherewithall to go inside, so eventually, as the little graduates collected their little diplomas, I slipped silenty away. It's not an easy day to remember and it's a memory that I tend to stuff when my heart summons it from the cobwebs of my mind.

But tonight I'm letting myself remember, because Friday will mark another milestone that's not happening: the completion of elementary school. It seems weird to think about him moving on to middle school since he never even got the chance to begin kindergarten. It breaks me to realize that though I will keenly feel his absence, almost none of his would've-been classmates will know a thing about him. They won't know how funny he was or how he danced or how he was obsessed with all-things automotive or how his big sister was his best friend in the world. I can say "well, it's their loss" but the reality is that it's my loss. It's our loss. No one else knows what they missed.

So I'll stay far away from that ceremony on Friday. I'll look away when I see the giggling girls in their dresses and the boys looking uncomfortable in their quasi-formal mom-made-me-wear-this-stuff finery. I won't cry where anyone can see me. That day will be hard. But like I got through the littlest graduation ceremony, I'll get through this one, too.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

What it's like

"I can't even imagine."

"I don't think I'd be able to get up in the morning."

"I don't know how you do it."

"You're so much stronger than me."

I've heard a lot of things since Logan died, including the remarks listed above. I usually just smile and nod and shrug. What else am I supposed to do? They are, after all, perfectly acceptable responses to a difficult situation. But here's what I'd say if I felt free --truly, really, fully free-- to be honest.

No, you can't imagine. And you don't want to because it's horrific. And you know it's horrific. And since the human heart --and mind-- protect you from horror, you actually --physically-- cannot imagine it. And that's okay, because I don't want that for you.

Yes, you would, because you'd have to. Because you have other kids and a husband who need care. Because you can't quit life when something horrible happens to you. So yeah, you'd get up. And some days, you'd smile and genuinely feel happy. Other days, you'd smile and fake it even when you were falling apart inside. And after enough time passed, your friends wouldn't even be able to tell when you're really smiling and when you're merely eking, slogging through the day, your sights set on a good, cathartic cry by yourself at home. But yeah, you'd do it. Because it's what you'd have to do.

Me neither. But I'm pretty sure Jesus has a lot to do with it. I am not strong enough to withstand it on my own. I am not a superhero. It's okay if you think I am, but I promise you that I'm just a regular woman with regular temptations and loves and victories and failures.

Not really. It just looks like it because I keep getting up and I keep taking the other kids to school and smiling, even on the days when my heart is breaking all over again. If you were me, you'd do the same.

So yeah. I don't like oversimplification any more than the next perfectionist, but in a nutshell, that's what it's like.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Five Years in Heaven

Five years ago today, we had to say good-bye to Logan. I held his battered body in my arms and sang to him as he quietly slipped into eternity. It was, succinctly put, a brutally unfair conclusion to a brutally unfair journey. It was the stuff of nightmares and it broke my heart. It broke Adam's heart. It broke Abby's heart. It damaged us in ways that my then 34-year old, shell-shocked self couldn't even attempt to imagine and it shook my faith to a breaking point that I didn't realize existed.

But we are survivors.

We're still breathing. We're still walking. Some days, it feels like we're all strangers living in the same home, speaking different languages and yanking one another to and fro in our attempts to cope with this change that no one wanted, but we're still together. We're still trying to love one another as best we can, and we're still trying to figure out how to blend heartache and happiness in a way that honors Logan and still allows us to feel the warmth of the sun's rays on our faces. It's hard. It's painful. There are ups and downs and highs and lows that I can't even come close to describing. But we try. And we're getting there.

Ironically, I think that in many ways, I'm a better person for all of the struggles. I've learned that it's okay to cry in front of my friends and that the ones who matter won't judge me or walk away. I've also learned that those who choose to leave aren't bad people; they're just struggling with their own insecurities. I've learned that a broken heart can't render me useless; only bitterness can do that. I've learned that I can yell at God until I can't breathe and He still won't turn His back on me. I've learned that though we don't always get what we pray for, God will provide what we need to not just survive, but to thrive. I've learned that He loves me so much that he sends people to me to stand in the gap when I don't have the strength, energy, or desire to do it for myself. I've learned that I can see Him moving all around me if I don't forget to look, and that although human life is hard, we're given relationships that help us to grow and mature. I've learned that it's okay to be vulnerable and that my fragility isn't a weakness but a strength that I can use to help others. And I've learned that I'm never going to learn it all, and that's okay.

I miss him every single day and I mourn the future he didn't get to have, but I'm so thankful that he was here.

I love you, Logan.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Always my baby you'll be

June 26, 2016. Brady is 5 years, 6 months, and 12 days old, which means that he has officially lived longer than his biggest brother, whose earthly hours numbered 5 years, 6 months, and 11 days. In a way, from here on out, Logan will be my forever baby.

I've had my eye on this date for quite some time. Although we never discussed it, I know Adam had it in mind too; how could he not? How could you not be aware of the date that your youngest child is suddenly older than one of your older children?

And as it turns out, so did Abby. She brought it up to me yesterday as we meandered around the fair. "Mom... do you know... do you know what tomorrow is? What it means?" I just looked at her and nodded and she nodded back and kicked at the dirt with the toe of her sneaker. We didn't say much, but she knew, and she knew that I knew. And we were together in that moment of comfortably awkward silence, remembering who he was and still is and wishing with everything in us that he could still be here.

We're still getting by, as my dad used to say when I was a kid. I try to do more than go through the motions and for the most part, I think we're faring okay. It's hard to come to the realization that you're no longer the person you were and that there's a big part of you that will be jaded and broken and injured until all is made right in Heaven. But I'm still working to find joy in hidden places and to be a better person. And for now, at this point in my life, that has to be good enough.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Friends

I know it's been ages, but I'm still here. Still breathing. Still driving the mom-taxi and writing and missing my boy. And though life may continue to change and evolve, that third item will remain constant.

Abby started middle school in the fall. It's stunning to realize that she's on the verge of becoming a teenager. I worry about her; I listen carefully when she talks about new kids at school and then stealthily stalk their parents' Facebook pages to be sure they're nice girls. I'd be embarrassed to admit that, but I'm sure I'm not the only one. Middle school is hard, after all.

We had a conversation the other day, she and I. I asked if she'd told any of her new friends about Logan and she shrugged.

I'm not sure. I don't really remember.

I paused. Then I asked if she talked about family, and if she mentioned having two brothers or three.

Three, she said. Always three.

Then I paused and revisited my original question. Did they know? Had she told them that he'd passed away?

She shifted uncomfortably. I don't know. I don't remember.

I paused again, trying to choose my words with care. I wasn't entirely sure what she'd say, but I had an inkling and I cringed internally when I asked: Why didn't she want them to know when he was such an important person?

She sighed. Because I don't want them to just be my friend because they feel sorry for me.

It broke my heart to hear her say it. I figured that would be the explanation, but it still stung to her the words as they escaped her lips. She deserves better than that. So much better. She deserves to be able to speak freely about her best friend, just like her friends can speak freely about the special people in their lives. But at 11, she knows she can't. She sees where that kind of honesty can lead, and she doesn't want to venture down that road.

It's one of the heartbreaking lessons with which I've had to wrestle during Logan's saga and its aftermath: people are fickle and weird and unpredictable. Some long-time friends abandoned me when I needed them. Others came alongside me and held me up when I could no longer stand on my own. Some have gone on to become great friends and confidantes. Others have completely vanished from my life; it was as if the ambulance pulled away and they were gone, in search of another to chase.

I'm sorry. I know this is harsh and some won't like my words, but if you take anything away from this entry take this: be careful with others' hearts. If you're not ready to be a genuine friend, keep your distance. If you are, then dive on in, but realize that the ocean floor is lined with jagged rocks and that the waves can be fierce and overwhelming. But if you navigate the storms, you'll wind up seeing some pretty amazing things in the end.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

#9

I keep starting and stopping and re-starting this entry because no matter what I write, it doesn't work.

Logan's ninth birthday is tomorrow.

For most parents, birthdays are happy occasions filled with cake and ice cream and the birthday song and giggles and pictures and fun. November 3 and June 15 and December 14 are all like that for me.

But July 31st is different. It's a day of remembrance. It's a day to look back on and really internalize the profound impact he had on all of our lives.

It's a day for the cracks in my heart to re-break and ooze.

It's a feeling you don't get unless you've been where I am. It's a lonely place. It's a deeply painful place.

But we'll do what we did in 2012 and 2013 and 2014, and celebrate him as best we can. We'll make the day about him and what he liked. And we'll get through it, together. And if we're extra specially blessed, we'll feel him hanging around, in whatever way it's possible.

Happy almost-birthday, my Sunshine. I so wish you were here.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Endings and Beginnings

Logan's best friend finished elementary school today.

In the hallows of my mind, I can still hear them laughing together; they were, after all, a mere 20 months apart. Although 20-month old Abby wasn't immediately taken with her tiny baby brother back in the summer of 2006, it didn't take her to long to start asking to "hoooooooold baby Yogan." And I was more than happy to comply. I'd always hoped my children would be great friends, and the never-ending "morning" sickness I endured while shepherding both of them into this world in quick succession seemed to handily transform that simple hope into reality. They played together. They danced together. They told silly stories and splashed in the rain and collected rocks and dug in the sand beside the ocean. And they laughed, sweetly and with so much heart that it filled mine with a joy I never knew existed.

And then the brokenness that pierces the planned sweetness of God's creation intervened, and everything changed.

I'm sure that Abby still hears her best friend's laugh sometimes. At least, I hope she does. There's the cliche that says that those we love never truly leave us, and I think there's a degree of truth in that. I see shades of him in her. I see it in the way she smiles when she doesn't know anyone is watching and in the moments when she allow her inner goofball to bubble to the surface.

And today, I know he was so, so proud of her. I know that if he could've been there in human form, he would've clapped and whooped and hollered when her name was called and she walked across the stage. And he would've been the very first person she'd have hugged after the ceremony was complete. He loved her so, so much, and she loved him right back with the same intensity.

Abby really is my hero is some ways. I get upset sometimes because I feel like there are people out there who have no conception of what a true survivor she really is. Her best friend in this entire world died when she was just seven years old. Seven. She came into the room right before he slipped away and tearfully told him good-bye. At seven. People tell me I'm strong, but to have that kind of fortitude as a child is mind-boggling. She has a unique perspective on life that many adults would be challenged to fully understand, and I am so proud of the young lady she's become.

And I'm sure Logan is proud, too.

I just spent an hour scouring my hard drive for the perfect picture to sum up their relationship before finally coming to the conclusion that no such image actually exists. So I'm settling on the one right there to the left, because in the end, it's really all about love. Nothing more, nothing less. I am so thankful that Logan was here and that he poured such pure love into her life. And I'm thankful that some day, we'll all be together once again.