As I boarded my plane this morning looking forward to meeting “The Awesome and Amazing Erin’s” mom in Houston today, I noticed an attractive mom with her daughter – who looked to be a college student. Going to airports is always hard for me now because Christi and I traveled so much together throughout her years of treatment, the memories are always fresh and painful. I watched the two of them interact and was saddened that I'd never be able to share that special time with Christi. Talking to Shayne on the phone I said through my tears trying to comfort myself, "At least we had four years with her knowing it was only a matter of time. Some of these little babies are diagnosed and dead within months."
Well, wouldn’t you know, they boarded the plane and sat beside me. I was just hoping they didn’t ask if I had children because I no longer know what to say – am I the mother of one or two? And if I admit two then I have to explain and it’s just sooooooo hard. Seven months after Christi’s death, I’m still living in “that didn’t really happen” mode to get me through each day.
Well, you guessed it – it came up and I finally said my daughter died from neuroblastoma on September 19th. The look on her face said it all before she even responded. She told me that she had a daughter – Macy and that Macy died of neuroblastoma on September 17th 1994. Small world! Not only that, but what I had just told Shayne - about babies dying within months of diagnosis was her horror story!
The daughter with her today was seven years old at the time (just like Shayla was). I was glad that she said she remembered her sister and the hospital. She’s now majoring in pre-med and shared with me that she just wrote a paper about neuroblastoma. Immediately sharing a special bond, we talked and cried the remainder of the flight. Each time I glanced out the window, I wondered if our Angel daughters were just outside on the clouds, high fiving that they got us together!
I can’t help but think Angel Christi made them sit beside me this morning. Southwest was her favorite airline...because you get to pick your own seat! And silly Christi's joke was always, "You can pick your own seat, but don't try to pick my seat" (meaning her little butt) hee hee.
On a happy note, it was GREAT to finally meet Dr. Vickie, Erin’s mom and to see all of Erin’s soccer equipment piled in the back of their vehicle! Not only is Erin out kicking the soccer ball but she’s out kicking neuroblastoma’s butt too and I’m thrilled about that! (Erin and Christi were diagnosed within weeks of each other in 2002 and were the same age. Erin is doing a great job with her relapse fight and we pray she’ll one day be NED forever!) While I had never met Erin's mom in person before today we've shared many emails over the years and I really thought one day Christi would get the vaccine in Houston since her cells actually grew and we'd meet up then. Little did I know work would bring me to Houston and allow us to meet, even if for only an hour and a half. Erin's mom is a Professor at a large Texas University, so (hee hee) I just HAD to bring them Ohio State shirts today!
Here's wishing you and yours a great weekend!