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June 12, 2011

Happy Birthday, Colin!

Filed under: Local Color — Mom @ 11:18 am

Today, Colin turned four. To be crass, we didn’t know if he’d live this long. Happy Birthday, Colin!

Some would say I’m macabre, but I think it’s just funny to contemplate the myriad ways we can look at it. Colin was diagnosed at two so, mathematically, he’s doubled his money. This seems like a pointless calculation, but in the darkest days after diagnosis, it was a huge benchmark.

Let me get to know him that much, I whispered into the dim, ever-beeping solitude of the ICU. It’s only two years, but twice what I already have; you can see I was getting caught up in the math. My motivation was normal, though completely selfish. At the time, I can’t say what I wouldn’t have done to assure that Colin would see his fourth birthday. It’s a good thing we can’t make deals with the devil, or else horrible crimes would be perpetrated in the name of goodness in order to save a child.

If I had the choice, I would have easily sacrificed my own life, but how would that have helped Aidan? If I could strike a deal to steal just one breath from another child, one destined for the grave, would I have done it to double Colin’s life?

Our impotence is our salvation, at least in that one regard. As fate would have it, we did manage to find a path that gives Colin real hope, though we’ve gotten a lot of help along the way. Isolation is the worst, since it gives little defense against the cold, dark hand of despair.

From the beginning, we were uplifted by reminders that we were not alone in our new adventure, and we have met so many wonderful souls along the way. The kind words and gestures we have received over these past two years have lightened our steps and helped us along our path to healing.

One voice we have lost along the way is that of Colin’s grandfather, Dick Hayward, who provided emotive comments to many of our announcements of Colin’s setbacks and triumphs alike. Dick hinted that he expected his end would come in exchange for Colin’s second chance. Truth be told, the end was on the horizon for Dick regardless, and maybe his deal was a way to give himself permission to let go or find a gentler end.

However, Dick wasn’t one to do anything gently, and he chugged along after we returned from Memphis, continuing to putter around with various plans and projects. I never did press him on the matter; he faced many of his health problems while we were far away in Tennessee and there is never a good time to ask, “Aren’t you supposed to be dead?”

If I had, Dick would have paused, raising the considerable hedge of his eyebrows as his mind searched for a witty response. As time wore on, the pauses grew longer and the responses less acute, but his family remained first and foremost in his mind. Always one for symbolism, he died on Easter Sunday.

Colin’s birthday was the first big family gathering since Dick’s funeral. Life goes on, and little boys celebrate their birthdays. We resist the temptation to make more of it than it is because what it is is good enough.

Happy birthday, Colin!

12 Comments »

  1. Happy Birthday Colin !!!!
    praying you have many more

    Patty S ( JJ’s granny)
    http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/jjjames

    Comment by patsouth — June 13, 2011 @ 5:01 am

  2. Happy birthday, Colin. We look forward to seeing you at some future party. I’m so glad that life is returning to normal, even though normal also comes with its sorrows. Love from Karen and Mateo.

    Comment by kgraubar@nd.edu — June 13, 2011 @ 6:21 am

  3. Happy Birthday to you, Colin! And many more!

    Comment by nettieboivin — June 13, 2011 @ 7:58 am

  4. Sorry to hear of Dick’s passing…I am sure it rattled all of you. On a lighter note – HAPPY BIRTHDAY COLIN!!!!

    Comment by bjmeola@att.net — June 13, 2011 @ 8:16 am

  5. Happy Birthday, Colin!!!

    You are AMAZING!!!

    Love,

    Rachel
    Maeve’s mom (caringbridge.org/visit/maeve)

    Comment by momofmaeve — June 13, 2011 @ 10:16 am

  6. So sorry to hear of Dick Hayward’s passing. I really enjoyed reading his comments on your site. But life goes on. That said, Happy Birthday, dear Colin! It’s been a tough road you’ve been on but you made it. You’re a remarkable boy.

    Comment by Krysia — June 13, 2011 @ 2:27 pm

  7. Happy Birthday Colin! We look forward to seeing you all soon.

    Comment by caitlin.warkentin@gmail.com — June 13, 2011 @ 4:25 pm

  8. A celebration much deserved! Your message truly shows that Colin’s Grandpa Dick passed onto him strength, resilience and the ability to cope with life’s twists and turns. May the “Force” be with you Colin, you “little starfighter”.

    Comment by shellyrpt — June 13, 2011 @ 4:51 pm

  9. Happy Birthday, Colin! I hope you enjoyed your extra day of turning four at school today. It’s been a busy year and you’ve grown so much. Best wishes!

    Love,
    Miss Beth

    Comment by bethmistriel — June 13, 2011 @ 5:13 pm

  10. Hi Colin….I believe you had a great birthday at school today! The cupcakes were so yummy! Thank you for sharing them and your birthday with me!
    Love and XXXX Miss Marty

    Comment by martyrpt — June 13, 2011 @ 10:38 pm

  11. Happy Birthday Colin!!!!!

    Laniesa http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/maisiewebb

    Comment by MaisiesMom — June 14, 2011 @ 12:04 am

  12. Happy Birthday Colin! You are a special little boy and I was so happy to have been able to celebrate your birthday with you at school
    Miss Lisa

    Comment by miss lisa — June 14, 2011 @ 9:31 pm

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