Our youngest son, David, died July 30, 2010. Six days later — on Aug. 5 — he would’ve turned 22. He’s been gone six months now. I think about him all day, every day, and wonder if and when I’ll see him again.
David lived with cancer for about three years. He experienced symptoms for six months before we learned there was a problem. He chose not to tell us. I found out by accident.
A freshman at the University of Delaware in winter 2008, David consulted WebMD and diagnosed the chronic pain in his jaw as TMJ. He didn’t make a big deal about it. One, he didn’t make much of a deal about anything. Two, he believed our dentist would fix the problem at an appointment over spring break. Wrong.
Our dentist, very concerned, suggested we see our family doctor right away. On leaving the office, David said, “I hope whatever it is, that it’s life-threatening.”
Sadly, he got his wish. Six weeks later, on May 15, 2008, we learned that the 6-cm. tumor in his left sinus was rhabdomyosarcoma, an aggressive malignancy that usually strikes young children, and more rarely, teens. David was 19.
On the advice of a friend, I set up an online journal at www.CarePages.com, so loved ones could follow David’s treatment. After he died, I continued to post updates on that site, but it no longer felt like a good fit. The CarePage was supposed to be about David’s journey; he insisted on it. It wasn’t the right place to share my grief.
I’ve chosen to create this blog, so I can pick up where the CarePage leaves off. Although David was the one who was ill, and his declining health was the prominent concern, his journey was one we all took. He led us — his dad, his two older brothers and me — but we accompanied him. Step by step, we walked with him as far as we could, to the border between this world and the next.
Our journey here continues, as surely as David’s continues in another realm. While it’s true that he’s no longer physically among us, many people have assured us that he’ll always be with us. For that reason, we’re still The 5 Bucks, like we’ve been for 22 years.
I’ll launch this blog with my most recent CarePage post, which captures the transition I find myself in at this time — moving from the numbed state of disbelief over David’s death toward a sad acceptance of a seemingly impossible reality.
Peace, love & ice cream,
1 February 2011