MOM’S LETTER TO BRANDON READ AT HIS CELEBRATION OF LIFE
As I am writing this to you buddy, I am thinking about all of the people that will be at your celebration of life service. You’d be humbled by just how many people cared about you. You’d shrug your shoulders and just say “what” as if it were no big deal or was common for this many people to celebrate with you. I would love to take a picture of everyone that will be there and send it to you; unfortunately I don’t have your exact address.
Thanks for choosing me to be your mom. Of course as grammy told me,” you don’t realize the depth of your love for someone until you have a child”. She was so very right! I never imagined I could feel the amount of love I feel for you. But she forgot to tell me how I would be inspired by you, that I would never let you out of my sight so I could protect you, that I would be sad when you choose to play with a friend instead of me. She did not tell me it was possible to be your mom and your best friend. I knew that learning the ropes of being a mom would be a “fun job” but I did not know how much I would actually learn from just you.
Life to me with you was before your cancer and after your cancer. They were both equally as special and rewarding, but they were different. You made my belly ache with laughter when you were little! You were a very uninhibited child, with so much curiosity for the world. Your ability to be uninhibited led to you riding your bike naked in the drive way. You did not care, why would you! You learned that a guy just needed a tree when camping to go to the bathroom, our yard had lots of trees and I can’t tell you how many times I saw you peeing out back not wanting to waste time from playing to come inside. Your inquisitive mind kept me on my toes with your questions. As you got older your questions got tougher. I would often defer you to your dad as I did not want to steer you wrong as to how our satellite dish could bring TV shows into our house.
Along with the belly aches of laughter came your honesty. A combination of these 2 were presented in your 3rd grade class. Your curiosity for how beer tasted led me to offer you a taste from the cap of my bottle. Little did I know that on Monday Ms. Ikeda-Yee would play the “my name is alphabet game”. When she quoted “My name is Brandon and I like Beer my face turned many shades of red! I learned to be careful about what I did and said with you before a Monday.
After February 4th, 2003 I was still your mom but you became my teacher. You were diagnosed with a brain tumor and my only job was to get you well. You did the best job at getting yourself well more than anyone. As I heard other children crying and screaming about getting an IV all you did was hold my hand. As we arrived at Children’s for your first surgery at 5:30, I was a nervous wreck, all you did was tell the doctor he would need to adjust his schedule as this was a bit too early for you. You taught me that life is what it is, if you let your fears and anxieties get the best of you then you will miss the blessings of the experience along the way. My 5 year old child, with a bald head and a tube to eat thru in his belly still laughed, still smiled and still loved. It would have been easy to be angry at everyone and at the world, but your cancer was what it was so you lived in the face of it every day, smiling and laughing.
When you were really sick and on chemo I thought I could “buy” you happiness and get you gifts and toys to help you forget your cancer. Those items would distract you for a short bit of time but I learned it was just me that you wanted and needed to cheer you up. I learned to turn off my computer and shut off my phone and just be present with you. Whether we were reading a book, watching the same Clifford movie for the 18th time or taking the 21st walk down to the hospital coffee shop all you needed was me. I learned that you did not care what I gave you only wanted to know that I cared.
As it became apparent to me that you would not live a long life all I kept begging for was more time. “Lets get thru summer, lets get to Christmas, and finally lets get to your birthday. During those last several months of your life when for most people it would have been easier to give up, you chose to keep living. You wanted to go dog sledding, you wanted to see your cousin Ryan, you wanted to have your friends spend the night. You wanted to visit an air force base and see up close a C-17. You wanted to go on a boat trip and fly a plane. All of these things happened, and although you enjoyed seeing and doing all of these things, what you really soaked up on those adventures were the people. You spent more time with the people you met than with anything else. You asked them questions and asked for their autographs. You missed Brian Miller if he was not in the exact room as you and you made your way up to school to see your friends even though you felt terrible. You took hundreds of presents to Children’s at Christmas and barely had 1 or 2 items on your list. I asked you if I could take you to Funtasia and all you wanted to do was to go for a drive with me. You taught me to slow down, not worry about the detail of a present or purchase, you taught me that the relationships and the value you got from them and put into them is what mattered.
I am proud of the friendships you made, the people’s lives you touched and so thankful for the people that touched yours. You strengthened our family’s relationships and to not waste time as it can be short. You showed me that my heart did have more room for love as the love I felt for you kept growing every day. The pain I feel because I miss you is an indescribable amount; it is an unrealistic amount for any human being to have to carry. But I am working hard every minute to try and replace some of that pain with the memories I have of being your mom. Most of those memories just include you and me. We are no where specific and are not doing really anything, it is just the happiness and Joy I feel from having been your mom.
I love you dudie,