Monday, March 29, 2010

We will miss you, Jason

Jason and Jackie, after our fundraiser garage sale last summer. Jason has just got out of the hospital after spending 6 months there, just a few days before this picture was taken. He unfortunately relapsed 2 months later.

Jason Eckrich passed away at 6:45am on Saturday, March 27th. His parents both at his side in the PICU at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. The doctors and nurses said they believe it was heart and lung failure, although his kidneys and liver had been failing the week before. His body just could not fight after he got the blood infection a couple of weeks ago. A blood infection after a round of chemo is not a good combination.

Kyle talked to Jason's dad, Steve, today, and I talked to Jackie tonight. We have learned things about what happens when a child dies, that no one should ever have to experience. Jackie told us the PICU staff told them they would do CPR on Jason until they were comfortable enough to make the call to stop. Jackie said her and Steve struggled for 35 minutes before they could say those words. She also said the PICU staff had Jason cleaned up, wires out of him, etc., in less than 5 minutes, and gave Steve and Jackie all the time they wanted to just lay next to Jason and say their goodbyes. Then they called the nurse up from the 3rd floor that always gave Jason his baths, to give him his last bath. When the person came up to transport Jason to the morgue, he recognized that they weren't ready yet, and said he would wait outside until they were. He then offered for them to walk with him if they wanted, or he could take Jason away too.

They also learned that one of the funeral homes in town will do everything at cost, and offer their services for free. They will not be in the business of making money when children die. What a noble thing to do as a business.

The casket that was picked out for Jason, was made from wood that was blessed by Monks before the tree was even cut down. I think that is pretty special.

It just amazes me that Steve and Jackie had to make these decisions. Making these decisions about a loved one would be hard enough, but for a child that fought so hard, went through so much, and was at one time, so full of life, just doesn't make sense.

Tyler and I have talked about it some more tonight, and I think he might understand it more than I give him credit for sometimes. Tonight he told me, out of the blue, "Mommy, it isn't fair that kids have to die." Exactly.

Please keep the Eckrich family in your prayers.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Tyler in college

I had the opportunity to spend a few minutes alone with Tyler today. That rarely happens, but the conversations we have are priceless...

Tonight we had to go to downtown Iowa City, and whenever we go into Iowa City, I explain to him what the University of Iowa is, and how he can go to college there someday if he wants to - and then, try explaining to a 5 year old what a "dorm" is. It's not as easy as it sounds.

"Mommy, I don't want to go to college when I'm 8." He said.

"Tyler, you don't have to go to college when you're 8, but 18, if you want." I told him.

The conversation then proceeded, and got a bit deeper...

"Mommy, but I don't want to go to college, because I don't want to live in a home without you, and I don't want you to forget about me."

(insert my breaking heart here....)

"Tyler, I would never forget you, even if you go to college. By that time, you'll have a cell phone, and you can call me whenever you want." I tell him.

"What's your phone number, Mom?" He asked. "I can call you every day then? Here, write your phone number down on this piece of paper" he told me, and found a scrap piece of paper in the back seat.

"Yes, you can call me every day" I told him. "You could even text me if you want to."

"Can you show me how to text?" he said. "I will text you every day to tell you that I love you."

Wow, Tyler. You never cease to amaze me, and really hope you can follow through with that promise, in about 13 years!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

That's My Son

Last week while leaving Charlotte, I had a while before my flight left, so I just wandered around. I found a bookstore - which is really never a good thing. I cannot enter a bookstore without buying something, and LOVE browsing books. I usually end up buying at least one book, but usually only read 80% of it. (One of my odd quirks.) I found a rack with an interesting compilation: how to be a better leader, a better friend, a better cook, etc... and then found this book:Call me strange, but books usually "speak" to me. Just a glance at the cover and a flip through the book, gives me enough confidence to buy it.

While still in the bookstore, I opened this book to the Introduction, and read this:

"You hear his little feet stomping up the wooden porch steps fast as they can go on a summer's afternoon. You yell, "Don't small the screen do--" SLAM!

"Mom! Mom!" he hollers, so out of breath he can hardly get the words out. (Why are boys so loud? you think.) You hand him a glass of water, and he attemps to drink and tell his oh-so-important story at the time.

"Mom - GULP - I - GULP - saw - GULP, PANT, PANT - the most - GULP - biggest - GULP, PANT, PANT....."

You smile at him and gently push the hair from his eyes, lovingly studying his countenance. What you see causes your heart to melt like the chocolate bar he left on your dashboard in the hot sun. His smudged face, his dirt t-shirt, and the grass-stained knees of his jeans tell you he's been on some outrageous adventure about which you can only guess. His hair is damp with sweat, and he's got that incredible boy smell about him - one part fresh-cut grass, one part odor of dog, one part unwashed hands that have been who knows where, and one part long-lost dreams from your own childhood. You gaze at him with love, wondering what he will be like as a man..."

Instantly my eyes welled up with tears. I cannot even count how many times I do this. I will find myself just staring at him as he plays, watched his eyes and trying to figure out what's going through his mind just at that time.

This book was absolutely incredible, and I ended up reading the whole thing (GASP!) within about a hour and a half. I don't think I blinked the entire time. I hung on nearly every word, and have used a lot of what the book suggested already.

The book talks about how to discipline appropriately, how to get your son to listen to you, how to play with them, how to praise them, etc. It was amazing, and especially amazing is just how well it has worked so far! To get Tyler's attention now, I whisper at him, instead of yelling. He stops in his tracks, every time!

This book actually made me feel....normal. My boys have always been so.... crazy. I've had women raise their eyebrows at me in the stores, and I've become so frustrated at times that I just sat down on the floor, and cried. Knowing that most boys are crazy, rambunctious, loud, and don't stop moving, made me feel like I hadn't done something wrong. Most important, it helped me learn how to become a better and stronger mom so my boys will grow up understand what it means to be a man, by what behaviors to encourage and which to discourage.

It was nice to know we are pretty normal, after all....

The boys, after building a "fort" in Tyler's room. In this picture, every blanket we own is behind the mattress that is yes, on its side, and they are jumping on the bed, having an absolute BLAST! (This isn't something they do to cause trouble, or make a mess, but is truly a way they develop and learn, and have fun while doing it!)

Monday, March 1, 2010

I have to find a snowplow

I had to go out of town for work this week, so I'm sitting in a hotel in North Carolina.

I remember when I was a little... my dad would go out of town for work and would come home with cool stuff for us. Now that I think back, I think he just gave us stuff that the supplier that he went to visit, gave him (flashlights, rulers, pens, etc.), but to me as a kid, it was COOL! I loved that stuff, and would usually bring it for show and tell.

Now, every time before I have to go somewhere that will keep me overnight, I ask Tyler what he would like me to bring him. (Out of a tremendous sense of guilt, I guess, I will buy him a toy/snack/fill in the blank - pretty much whatever he asks for). This time, he asked for a snowplow. Yes, a snowplow.

I have no idea where this came from. He apparently wants a truck that looks like a snowplow. The only thing I can think that would be close is when we were at Wal-Mart yesterday, we stopped to looked at the toy cars. I think I remember seeing a John Deere that had a blade on it. Tyler must've seen it too, and just got in his mind that he wanted it.

So, I'm in North Carolina, looking for a snowplow.

I apologize in advance Tyler, but I don't think there will be much of an opportunity to get a snowplow, unless I go to Wal-Mart and get one, which would be ridiculous because we have a Wal-Mart 2 miles from our house. And, it doesn't snow here, really at all. They are talking about it "possibly snowing in Charlotte" on the news (Insert Newscaster's "GASP!" here), but seriously, it was 52 degrees when I got here today, and there are flowers planted in the ground.

I love you're thinking though, Tyler. You're always on it, your mind always going. Your big, huge, green/hazel eyes looking at me, telling me to have a good trip, was awesome! Thanks buddy! I needed that!