Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Goodbye

Our hearts have been heavy around here this weekend even as we rush about decorating the tree and checking things off our our lists.

The daughter of a friend in our community died on Friday. She had tirelessly and fiercely fought cancer for the past 3 ½ years. Her battle began when she was had just turned 13. I remember hearing about the diagnosis, in disbelief, back in 2008. What had started as visit to the doctor for a back ache and flu like symptoms had become a call from the oncologist, and so the journey began. As to be expected, there were many ups and downs along the way. At this time last year, she was doing quite well and our community sighed in relief.

As is the case with life in general, and cancer specifically, there are no guarantees. Things turn  on a dime.

The loss of a child. It has shaken me to the core. There is no sense to be made, especially when it comes to suffering. Emma has taken this especially hard, trying to sort out in her ten your old mind how and why this could happen. She hopes she was not afraid. She wonders what her final moments were like.  I assure her that her family was there, keeping her comfortable at home, loving her. We have had long discussions about life and cherishing every moment of it. Emma’s 70 pound body has wanted to curl up in my lap a lot this weekend, and I am all for it.

Today I wish more than anything that free of pain and anxiety, she finally rests. I wish for her family healing, comfort and peace in the long and painful days to come. I don’t know what else to wish for.

What a reminder to hold it all close. Our friends, our family members, our pets. To not forget to say what needs to be said, to extend that extra bit of kindness. To forgive. To keep our priorities in place. We will all be stricken by loss and grief at some time. It is unavoidable. We rally around those who are suffering and they do the same for us when we cannot get up. It’s all we can do – love one another and be loved.

Rest in Peace, Delaney.

57 comments:

  1. I can't imagine the pain of her family. I will pray for them.

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  2. Beth. My heart aches for you, Emma & your whole community.
    Thinking of Delany's many, many loved ones & friends.
    Prayers for you all.

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  3. She was a great kid. My daughter is in her grade at her high school and chats often with her brother. Our prayers are with her family.

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  4. We are so very, very sorry. Our hearts go out to the family, and all who knew her.

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  5. My condolences to you, your daughter and the many loved ones of Delany!

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  6. I will pray for healing,strength and comfort for your family and your friends. I just lost my best friend of 26 years (she was 34) 8 weeks ago after a 3 year battle. My faith is the only thing helping me through it. GOD BLESS, and know that my friend is an amazing mom and I'm sure she'll look after Delaney :) take care..-Holly

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  7. You have it right. There are no guarantees. Our North American world is the safest society in the world, yet people of various ages die of a variety of diseases every day. Drunk drivers kill people going about their daily business. People eat, drink, and smoke too much and don't exercise enough knowing, KNOWING, they are shortening their lives.

    It is a tragedy a teenager dies of cancer. No parent should have to bury their child. Yet, in living memory parents routinely buried their children; it wasn't uncommon that HALF their children might die. Childhood disease, waves of influenza, infections from cuts, industrial "accidents", famine, war, it went on and one.

    We are very fortunate to live where having a child die is such a rare thing as to make headlines.

    Hold your children, your family. Tell them you love them. I kiss my wife every time we part. You never know.

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  8. I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my 14 yr old niece 4 years ago, and many other little friends since then, so I understand. In fact, that's how I got started running and started following your blog, was to raise funds for childhood cancer research through Rally Foundation. Again, I'm sorry, there is nothing comparable to the loss of a child.

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  9. So sad to hear. The loss of one so young sometimes is harder, they fight so valiantly. It breaks my heart.
    Love and prayers to all xx

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  10. I am sorry for your loss. I will keep your daughter's friend and her family in my prayers. I am sending a hug to your daughter, too. Maybe, in time, she and some of her friends, can do something in her friend's memory that will help them find comfort while honoring their friend. God bless.

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  11. Take them food. You have no idea how much it helps. If not now (since a lot of others are likely doing the same), take some in a week or two. They still will not feel like going to the store or cooking. I'm a big fan of the prepared foods section at Whole Foods to give to grieving friends. They have lots of healthy stuff that can just be reheated. Steaks, twice baked potatoes, veggies, chicken, rice pilaf & sides... it's all there. It's not cheap, but it's such a help in the days/weeks/months to come. $100 there will go a long way. Maybe some of the others in your community could chip in? I'm sorry for your loss.

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  12. My thoughts and prayers are definitely with her family right now. I can't even imagine how difficult that must be for them..especially this time of year.

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  13. I am so sorry to hear this... the death of any loved one much less a child breaks my heart. My deepest condolences to you, your family, community, and Delany's family.

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  14. I am so sorry for your loss. I too lost a good friend of the family Friday morning. A 27 years old who was found gone at 3 am. A happy healthy young man. Life makes no sense sometimes. Having lost my spouse to leukemia, death has been a part of my life directly and it leaves life long scars. Cuddle away with your daughter and answer as many questions as you can to make her feel more comfortable with death as it is a reality, we all eventually must die, some just earlier than others. Sending prayers your way to all those affected!

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  15. I am so sorry to hear about this loss! I will be praying for you and your family and their family.

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  16. Beth, Thank you for a beautiful post. I have been shaken as you have. Delaney has touched so many during her couragious and valiant fight against this ugly cancer. Her spirit will remain with us all her knew her forever.

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  17. I'm always afraid to post such heartfelt raw feeling in posts. my mom feelings are crawling all over my heart right now and feel such a loss when I hear of a child who hurts. Hug your babies. I am trying to do it more and this is MORE motivation to do so.

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  18. Keep hugging Emma you both need it , I will be sure to keep both your family and Delsny's in my prayers.
    Also I am going to give my niece and nephews extra hugs when I see them - thx for reminding us of the previous and important things in life

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  19. Heartbreaking to hear about such a young one being taken from us. I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. My nephew just lost a friend from his class (only a week after he attended her 7th birthday party and while she was in FL for her Make-A-Wish trip to swim with the dolphins which she never got to do). Gut wrenching to think of burying our children. I know it broke my grandfather's heart in 2010 to bury his son even after 66 years with him. But they are at peace now - together once again. Many prayers for peace during this tough time for all. (((HUGS))) to you and your family too.

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  20. Very beautifully said, Beth.

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  21. So sorry for you and your community. We lost a little one in our neighborhood a year ago, and it does shake you to the core. It definitely reminds you to cherish the moments you have with loved ones. Prayers for you all...

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  22. Beth...this is very nice and always so sad when its a child. Unfortunately we have experienced a sudden loss in our family too recently.

    My hubby's brother went in for back aches (and some neck aches) with in 3 weeks of first going in and being tested on, blood drawn, and CAT scans he passed away. They figured out he was full of cancer..specifically Mestactic cancer of the liver...they gave him two weeks once diagnosed and he lived only 3 short days.

    Our November was one phone call after another and a roller coaster of emotions. It's devastating when it all happens so quickly after complaining of "back aches".

    Yes...this is the season to remember to enjoy your friends and family...its about quality time together, talking, sitting, sharing...not so much about the presents but to be "present" in the moment NOW. ;-)

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  23. Its so difficult to explain to our children when we,ourselves, can't even begin to understand the" why's". I was in target this week and saw a young mother and her infant son. She was pushing him in one of their carseat buggies and if I had to guess her age I'd would've put her at late 20s and her child was around 1. She was dressed in nice jeans, high heeled boots, lovely blouse and the unmistakable bright purple scarf around her head of someone going through treatment. My heart sank at first. How could this happen? Look at her and her young child? AND she, herself, is so young!! But then, I saw her again with a smile on her face, taking time to enjoy every moment and every process in the day. Yes, let these situations be a lesson to us all... to remember and cherish the important things every single day!

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  24. I'm so incredibly sorry. Prayers to you and your family, and I will pray that Delaney's family find peace in this heartbreaking situation. (hugs)

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  25. How simply awful! I am so sorry for Delany's family and everyone who knew her. Death is never easy to take, but the death of a child is especially awful and hard to comprehend. I hope that you are able to help your daughter understand, even when you don't and can't explain, or at least feel comforted. Sending good thoughts and prayers to you all.

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  26. Beth, I am SO sorry for your loss. This, unfortunately, is my life. Every single day. Our son Cole has been battling leukemia for four years now.... It came back last September. It is a long, hard fight. Childhood cancer is such an ugly monster... On the kids, parents, family, friends, and community...

    Here are our blogs:
    Thinfluenced.blogspot.com
    Www.fightbackforcole.com
    www.caringbridge.org/visit/coltons
    www.Facebook.com/fightbackforcole

    Sending all of my love!
    .Sarah

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  27. My thoughts are with Delany's family. Another reminder of how fragile life is and how each day is a gift. Hang in there!

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  28. I am so sorry to hear that terribly sad news. My thoughts are with all those that knew and loved Delaney.

    My friend's 8 year old daughter passed away this past March after a 10 month battle with brain cancer. I feel so helpless to know what to do or say. She recently posted this poem on Facebook...

    Please, don't ask me if I'm over it yet.

    I'll never be over it.

    Please, don't tell me she's in a better place.

    She isn't here with me.

    Please, don't say "at least she isn't suffering."

    I have yet to come to terms with why she had to suffer at all.

    Please, don't tell me you know how I feel-

    unless you've lost a child yourself.

    Please, don't ask me if I feel better.

    Bereavement isn't a condition that clears up.

    Please, don't tell me "at least you had her so many years."

    What year would you choose for your child to die?

    Please, don't tell me that "God never gives us more than we can bear."



    Please, just say you are sorry.

    Please, just say you remember my child.

    Please, just let me talk about my child.

    Please, mention my child's name.

    Please, just let me cry.



    -unknown



    .

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  29. Oh man. So very sorry to hear. It sounds like you have a wonderful community to rally around the family. Also, you being there for your daughter as she tries to make sense of this must be very comforting to her.

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  30. I am so sorry. Prayers for your family, her family and your community. My school which was very small (about 120 kids in the high school) went though a tough time losing 4 kids in 20 months, and one of those was to cancer. I unfortunately know how hard it is to go through as a teen to lose friends. My prayers go out to you all.

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  31. This breaks my heart and I will be praying for peace and comfort for her family and your community. I cannot fathom the grief of losing a child. Thanks for your beautiful post reminding us to love unabashedly in the time we are given.

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  32. This breaks my heart and I will be praying for peace and comfort for her family and your community. I cannot fathom the grief of losing a child. Thanks for your beautiful post reminding us to love unabashedly in the time we are given.

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  33. Breaks my heart just reading this and the poem lauram posted. I can not imagine the pain of losing my daughter and I know I am blessed every single day with her. My prayers go out to her family and also to your family!

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  34. Thanks for the reminder of what we all should be thankful for each and everyday of our lives. When they get home from soccer I'll hug my two teenage sons just cause.

    My prayers go out to Delaney's family and yours as well.

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  35. Cancer Sucks!
    Praying for her family and yours.

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  36. Absolutely heartbreaking! You did a beautiful job in writing this.

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  37. I am so sorry to hear that beth. I also have a friend in Las Vegas who recently and suddenly lost his 17 year old son. I saw him for a moment before the race and he was wearing a shirt with his son's picture on it. It was so heartbreaking to see and to talk to him through the holidays which are all first holidays without Brady. I can't imagine anything worse. Emma is lucky to have great parents to help her through such a terrible time.

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  38. The loss of a child must be devastating!! God bless the family and it's too bad that this tragedy has struck them right before the holidays!! I will keep the family in my prayers.

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  39. The loss of a child is so heartbreaking. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and yours.

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  40. Just hard beyond words. I am so sorry to hear this. Sending my best thoughts to her family and the rest of the community.

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  41. Beth,
    I read but never post. Thank you for your beautiful tribute to my daughter, Delaney.

    We're blessed with love and support from our community.

    As a fellow runner, though much slower and not near as competitive, I enjoy your blog.

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  42. I'm so very sorry Beth. Hearing this just breaks my heart. Sending hugs to you and your sweet Emma. By sharing "A Goodbye" you have allowed many to pray for Delaney's family and friends. Also, thank you Lauram for posting that poem.

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  43. My prayers to her family and your community. It is such a terrible, unspeakable pain to lose a child. I just hope for peace and healing to come to them in time.

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  44. I am so sorry Beth. My prayers go out to you, her family, and the rest of the community.

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  45. So incredibly sorry Beth.. May Gods peace surround all of those involved.

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  46. My heart goes out to you and your family. Please give Emma an extra strong and long hug today from me. I know how difficult this can be on a child having seen my sister go through it with my dad and she was 17 and not 10.

    It's not easy and you won't have all the answers to all her questions but that is OK b/c you will be right there for her when she just needs to cry and a hug.

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  47. That is truly devastating - my heart goes out to the family. :(

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  48. Oh my goodness. I'm so sorry for your loss and my heart goes out to her family and your community.

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  49. ::sends positive energy and love to her family and loved ones::

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  50. 8 months later we are still reeling from the loss of my niece. I wish peace for her family and yours. Remember the good times and hug your kids often. There is no greater loss than that of a child. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    RIP Delaney xoxox

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  51. I am so sorry. My heart breaks for this family and your community. Thinking of you all.

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