However the days between the PET scan results on June 27th, the birth of Aria on July 2nd and the start of treatment on July 14th hardly allowed us that opportunity.
Once we got that dreaded call it was almost like Brandon stopped being able to fight the symptoms anymore, knowing it wasn't just a thyroid problem or a reaction to the Avastin preventative treatments. It was cancer. It was back. And in reality I lost him to it in the beginning of July.
Sadly we never had 1 normal night as a new family. Even before the chemo started Brandon was battling severe nausea, fatigue and pain and was mostly bedridden and unable to be the father and husband he so longed to be.
On July 9th we had our newborn photos taken and until he had to be in them he was in bed.
Days later I remember bathing Aria in the living room so that he could take part in it while resting on the sofa.
I spend a lot of time wondering what any random day would have been like for us had this not happened. I get mad because most of the time I can't actually imagine it. I have nothing to base it off of. I feel cheated and like something has been stolen from me. I let myself cry, pout, throw a pity party or punch a pillow. I sit in it for a moment. Marinate in the misery.
Often it's for just a minute or two, or an evening here or there. And every now and then I let it swallow me for an entire day.
But then, once I have felt that pain God reminds me that nothing will be lost in Heaven. I don't know how, but I believe with everything in me that He will redeem what death has stolen. A husband. A father. A complete family. That is the hope I hold on to. That alone is what gets me through each day and blankets me with peace beyond understanding.
As these trigger dates over the next 3 months approach I feel ready to take the next step and reflect back on the traumatic details as part of my healing process. I am rereading my updates day by day, and taking myself back to where I was a year ago. (7/14/14 Update)
Though I have accepted what happened, and I have accepted my new reality, I have not yet processed how it all happened, and I think it is time that I do so.
I feel I need to unpack the painful memories I have compartmentalized so that I can come to terms with them. In the beginning those images were all I could think of. I pushed them away desperately wanting to remember anything else. But I couldn't.
Gradually I became able to remember Brandon prior to the summer from hell. But in a very strange way. Most of the time it feels like facts that I have memorized rather then memories of a life I lived. They feel foreign. I assume this is a very normal grief experience. A healthy way my brain is coping, by allowing me the memories, but minimizing the emotional association to them for now.
I do believe my brain will restore the memories to a more complete form when it is ready, but that day is not today - and that is ok. My brain knows what it needs to do to survive this and raise a toddler on my own, and I just have to wait it out and go along for the ride.
Thank you for supporting, encouraging and coming alongside me on this ride.