To say I long to hold my baby boy in my arms again would be a drastic understatement.
I apologize for not writing lately. I really do plan on keeping up this blog... I guess I just needed a little break to gather my thoughts. Though I'm not sure my thoughts are gathered quite yet, but I'm going to try.
There has been A LOT going on, so this may end up being a rather long post. I guess I'll start with how I am doing... except for the fact that I really have no idea how I am doing. I know I'm keeping really busy. Going to the gym (sometimes even two-a-days), spending time with my family and with Stephen and his family. Those are the things that make me happy right now. I've come to realize that no matter what I say or how I say it, I could NEVER explain to you guys what I'm feeling. And I know most of you understand that.
Two years and almost 10 months ago, I gave birth to my first baby- and from that SECOND on, for 2 years and exactly 8 months, I devoted every waking (and sometimes even non-waking) hour to taking care of him, loving him, and keeping him alive. And now for almost 2 months, my arms have been empty. It's the worst feeling that I will ever have- I'm positive of that. I hate saying that "I miss him," because that just doesn't seem to do it justice. There are no words that could ever express how much I miss him and how much I want him back in my arms. As tired and exhausted as I was, I would trade this life that I have now for my life back with him in a heartbeat. HE was my life. And I'm having to learn how to live my life without him now- not by choice, but because I know that God's plan is much bigger than the plan that I had.
And God's plan is still happening... through Tripp and through some pretty incredible, generous and caring people. First of all, I want to say that I DO receive all of your letters and e-mails. PLEASE forgive me if I haven't thanked you personally, but it's been pretty impossible for me to keep up. I'm trying to send out thank you cards, but I'm a little behind and a tad bit overwhelmed. But I want you all to know how VERY much it means to me when I receive a sweet card in the mail, or when I read your kind words through an e-mail. I promise that I receive and READ each and EVERY one. They honestly keep me going. So thank you all- from the bottom of my heart.
Two weekends ago, there was a Softball tournament that was put together here in my hometown in honor of Tripp. It started with an extremely kind family- David and Jessica Thompson- and David's softball team, who wanted to dedicate their entire "season" to Tripp. They named their team "Tripp's Troops." They had jerseys made and then began to rally teams to put together a tournament. Well, it turned out that it was much bigger than they expected. There ended up being 56 softball teams (Men's teams and co-ed teams) from across the state. The whole town participated- our local Recreation park and director, Mr. Bill Wheat, donated the park and also worked hard to gather some incredible local bands and activities for the kids. Tripp's Troops also put together a silent auction where people from the town donated things and services to be bid on. And they also had a huge amount of men and women who volunteered their time to cook, clean, set-up and work this big event! The turnout was amazing. It was incredible to see so many people out there in support of Tripp and our families. I am so humbled that a family that we didn't even know would go out of their way to do such an incredible thing for Tripp, our family, and for EB.
I am so grateful for the support.
Thank you SO much to everyone who was involved.
AND then, this past weekend, we had another amazing event happen.
Our local news anchor, and now friend:), Scott Walker, from WDSU Channel 6, decided about 2 months that he was going to not only run the Rock-N-Roll Half Marathon on March 4, but he was going to dedicate it to Tripp. He decided that while he was training for the half-marathon, he was also going to raise money for DebRa.org in Tripp's honor. He then created a website- www.runningfortripp.com where he has been tracking the progress and keeping people updated.
Then, people from the community wanted to get on board as well. So, local friends decided that they, too, wanted to run for Tripp and also help Scott raise money. They created t-shirts with "Team Tripp" on them and spread the word through Facebook. It was so emotional for me to see so many people wearing red and honoring my sweet boy in such an amazing way.
There was also someone really special who wanted to get in on the action- my Daddy, Tripp's Papa:) My dad has been running here and there- he runs 5Ks pretty often and for the past 3 years, he has run the Crescent City Classic, which is a 10K. That's the furthest he had ran- before he decided to also run the half-marathon for Tripp. He said he would just be happy if he crossed the finish line, but he sure surprised us. My dad ran the whole 13.1 miles, without stopping. I was completely choked up when I watched him run through the finish line, smiling and pointing to his "Team Tripp" shirt. I was so incredibly proud of him. So was my mom, as tears ran down her face. And I think even Stephen got choked up a little:) It was a pretty great experience.
Scott writes about this weekend and his feelings about it HERE, on his blog. It made me cry this morning.
I am so proud of him- for taking this on, and for totally ROCKING it.
I got to meet Scott's amazing wife, Jennifer, and the rest of his family this weekend, as well. They are such wonderful people.
I will never forget yesterday and the support we received as long as I live.
Scott first set his goal at $5,000, then $10,000, then 20, then 30... There was over 500 donations online plus the donations given by mail, phone and in person.
As of today, he has raised a whopping $42,481 for DebRa.
That is HUGE. This whole event was HUGE.
If you missed out on getting to donate to DebRA in this way and towards this event, Scott still has his website up and running for a few more weeks! Let's help him get to $50,000 before he closes out his site for this year! Visit www.runningfortripp.com for details on how to donate!
To watch Scott Walker's live interview after the race, click HERE.
I got a little emotional after the race- seeing everyone gathered together with their "Team Tripp" shirts on and meeting people who have followed my blog and who's lives have been touched my my precious little man.
I want to thank everyone who was involved in this weekend.
I want to thank Scott Walker for taking this idea and running with it- for helping me to spread awareness about EB in Tripp's honor. I want to thank Dianne Cothern and everyone who signed up to be a part of "Team Tripp." I know God was smiling down on all of you yesterday- continuing what Tripp started. Spreading the love, spreading awareness, and doing something for us that was so much bigger than I can explain. I know how much it means to me and to all the adults and children who are affected by this horrible disease.
I am completely humbled by the generosity and big hearts of so many.
I hope all of you will continue to fight EB with me. Because Lord knows it's about time that these children and adults receive the long overdue and much needed attention and awareness that they deserve.
Scott Walker at the finish line (with the beanie:)
My Daddy at the finish line!
My dear friend Amy (from WDSU) interviewing my Dad after the race.
The only thing getting me through the days is knowing (well, believing) that my little boy's soul is in Heaven and he is playing, laughing, and running around- having the time of his life. Probably using a little stick to "bang" on anything and everything he can to play music. Maybe humming "Elmo's world" or "Shoo Fly"- and maybe even thinking of me... But most importantly, I believe that his time in Heaven is a blink of an eye compared to the time I have left here on Earth. So I pray and hope that while he's running around and playing, it will seem like only minutes to him. And I hope he's having so much fun that when he finally remembers to turn around and look for his Mommy, I'll be right there.
I kind of think of it like this video below. This shows his little personality PERFECTLY- always ignoring his Mommy. I like to think he's up in Heaven ignoring me until I make it there to squeeze him and kiss him like never before.
The cutest booty shaker EVER.