For most childhood cancer families who still have their children here to celebrate with Christmas truly is a celebration, a memory filled time to laugh and smile and play…to soak it all in. Our last Christmas with Gaby was the best Christmas we have ever had. We truly got the meaning of Christmas that year. We were given the best gift ever…more time and memories with Gaby. Earlier that year, she had fought to survive as she lay in ICU, with tubes and medications, and chemo and scans and monitors and uncertainty. She pulled through all that and more. But it wasn’t until Christmas Day that we got the best gift. After the kids opened their gifts and we cleaned up a bit and they had a chance to play, Gaby came downstairs dressed up in her ballerina outfit to put on a show for us. That show became the highlight of our Christmas. As sick as she was and had been and was to be…there in our living room Gaby danced and swirled and spun. Christmas.
The past 2 years there has been no dancing ballerina Gaby, no laughing Gaby, no singing Gaby. It’s quite a somber day in our house. We go through the motions but struggle to really feel happy. Grayson does get excited but then when the quietness surrounds us he will say “I miss Gaby” with a sigh.
If you knew Gaby, you knew how loud and spirited and happy she was. She filled us with so much of her presence that our hearts were just filled with warmth & joy. Our house was filled with noise - laughter, singing, music. Our lives were filled with light. Gaby was the difference. She had a greater calling in her short life and she was always so busy trying to fulfill it. If you didn’t know Gaby, just imagine a butterfly – flittering, fluttering and floating from here to there never resting for more than a moment or two. That was our Gaby.
I didn’t write this to depress you all, but to remember all of us parents that have lost a child to cancer. Our kids were the bravest kids you could have ever met. They were some of the brightest, happiest, most positive kids around. And we can continue to learn from the legacy they have all left in us. This Christmas squeeze your kids tighter and longer and cherish this time.