Friday, June 25, 2010

Pity Party

"My life seems pretty complicated. Sometimes I just want to throw a pity party."

I agreed with her. We discussed medication changes, hoping that will improve her coping skills. But honestly, sometimes there's just too much to handle and still feel good about life.

I replied, "The tough part is that it's always easy to find people who seem to have it so much better than you. But if you really look around, there are always people who have it much worse. And the pity party really doesn't help."

This has been my past few weeks. I always joked that when you've lost a child, you should get a GET OUT OF TRAGEDY FREE card, that lasts at least a few years. But of course it doesn't work that way.

There are a couple of big, painful, stressful things going on in my life. Great big sucky things. No, not nearly as sucky as Henry's illness and death. But pretty big and sucky. And I could use a break from big and sucky. I even feel like I deserve one, and I know that I don't deserve anything. But I also know that I don't deserve this.

Yet, there is nothing to be done. Such is life. And the pity parties don't help, in fact, they make me feel like an ass. Who am I to expect a stress-free existence?

Still...Big. Sucky. Not sure what else to say.

Friday, June 18, 2010


One lesson that I have learned since Henry got sick is that people deal with such profound loss and grief in very different ways. Liz and Jay Scott, parents of Alexandra Scott who died of neuroblastoma 10 years ago, channeled some of their emotion into the development of the foundation started by Alex before her death, "Alex's Lemonade Stand". Their mission is largely about funding pediatric cancer research, though recently their literature show that they are also expanding into family support. We have funneled most of our charity event money toward their foundation.

I am always amazed by Liz' calmness and grace on her many fundraising and awareness-raising appearances. I truly don't know how she does it.

Today I received an email from the foundation, as she reflected on ten years without Alex. I'll reprint her list of 10 lessons; I found each of them to be profoundly true to my experience as well.

Of course, I also miss Alex every day. Last week, I spent some time reflecting on the fact that it has been a decade since Alex's first stand. As I thought about the past decade, with all its happiness and sadness, I realized that this milestone in the history of the foundation coincides with what should have been a milestone in Alex's life. Today, Alex would have finished her last week of middle school, and celebrated her passage into high school with her classmates and friends.

That really gave me a lot to think about...What would Alex be like as a 14-year-old? Who would her friends be? How would she get along with her brothers? Would she get along with me or think I was annoying? So many questions, so many things I will never know. As I thought about these things I will never come to know, I realized all of the things I am privileged to know. Life lessons that I have learned because of Alex, her life, her legacy, and the wonderful supporters who continue it.

So, in that spirit, I created a List of 10 Lessons learned over the past decade:

1) Our children are much stronger than we are in every way.

2) Truly living for the day is something everyone should experience in their lifetime.

3) Good friends are found in tough times.

4) Life is unfair sometimes~ accept it and make something good out of it.

5) Putting on a happy face can actually make you feel happy (try it, it works!).

6) There are many more good people in the world than bad people.

7) Time does not heal all wounds.

8) Inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes.

9) One person can truly make a difference in the world.

10) Many people working together can accomplish amazing things.. including curing childhood cancer.

Thank you Alex, and thank you Alex's Lemonade Stand Supporters. You have a lot to be proud of.

Liz Scott
Alex's Mom

Thank you, Liz, for all that you do.