Wonder Girl Rides Again

June 12, 2009

I’ve been trying all week to craft a post about my sister and Tanner, about how they’re struggling right now, about how they keep taking blows, about how they keep taking blows but never stop moving forward, never stop pursuing happiness, never stop pursuing life. I wanted to craft a post about how my sister recently made the most difficult decision that a parent could ever possibly make, the decision to allow Tanner’s life to be shortened, probably significantly, so that it might be a better life. But the words just don’t come, because I just don’t know how she did it, how she found that courage to do what is absolutely certainly the right thing, but also absolutely certainly the hardest thing. And so I don’t know how to talk about it, write about it, make sense of it. Not without crying so hard that the tears blur my vision and make my head ache. Not yet, anyway.


Today is one of those days when I just love my children so much that my breath catches in my throat and my stomach hurts and tears prick at the corner of my eyes and I just feel all, you know, clenchy and overwhelmed by the feeling, the conviction, that this, this is what people mean when they talk about miracles and wonder.

Because they fly, they really do fly, and they take my heart with them when they soar.

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    Michelle June 12, 2009 at 1:06 pm


    Anonymous June 12, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    My heart breaks for your sister and your family. I know some of the deceisions she is making. I had to make them for my own son.

    The medical condition was different but the end result the same. I will continue to pray for her strength.

    Tatiana June 12, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    I got teary-eyed. Emilia is so beautiful and happy and vibrant. i want to say that your sister's strength is inspiring, but what I really want to say is that I wish life never put her in a situation where she had to find strength like that.

    Maggie May June 12, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    I read through the posts you linked, as a newcomer to your blog. My whole life, starting during my abusive childhood, I wondered how could it be that human beings were given burdens so fucking heavy as to seem impossible to carry. I have no answers to that, but only know that the only thing that makes anything easier or better is the support and dedication of those who truly love you, in action, even when it's hard. Your sister has your family and I hope that can help make up for how her husband failed. I will say a prayer for her and Tanner even though I'm not religious. I still think there is some power in that intent.

    Ann Brennan June 12, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    I am posting a link to your blog from mine because all mom's should see this post. It is so hard to be a mom and we are all convinced that we could never handle the illness or death of our child but we find that strength. My best friend lost her twins babies within a month of each other and she survived. I still don't know how she did it but she did. Moms have to be the strongest people on earth.

    Amy June 12, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    I'm keeping you and your sister and nephew and bad grandma in my thoughts and prayers. I'm so sorry.

    The pictures are wonderful!!!!!

    Mandy June 12, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    I don't know how your sister has that strength either.

    My heart goes out to your family.

    Lala June 12, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    you must know that in Yiddish we have words for things like this. I would say you were verklempt.

    feefifoto June 12, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    I'm so, so sorry for your family's deep sadness.

    Syko June 12, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    Bravo to your sister! That is one gutsy lady, and I'm proud of her.

    Certainly, given the choice of two good years versus four years befuddled by medication, we would all choose the two good years. But it's very hard to make that decision for another person, particularly when it is your child that you love more than life itself. I'm amazed at her strength in making it.

    Don Mills Diva June 12, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    Your sister is an amazing woman and so are you.

    Enjoy your kids today and try and forget some of the nastiness that has visited you here. I don't always agree with you, but I do admire your ability to hold your head up and debate logically when people start to get nasty.

    Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com June 12, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    My heart is shattered for your sister. Please, please tell her that she and her family are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Maureen at IslandRoar June 12, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    Thank you; this has been a sad awful day out here on the Vineyard, and your post was heartwarming and beautiful.

    Wendy June 12, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    Beautiful and joyous girl. It's hard to watch something so fabulous when one is sad, I know.

    My thoughts are with you and your family!

    Karishma June 12, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    oh GOD my heart is just breaking for her, that she had to make that decision. how in the world does she find the strength to keep going like this? i can't imagine that she ever gets any time to breathe… but now, hopefully tanner will be able to enjoy more fully the time he has, and create memories that will last longer than a lifetime.

    The Wit Factory June 12, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    This is my first comment on my first visit to your site. I type through tears, though I feel grateful for the reality check. I will go home tonight and hold my babies as if they may not be here tomorrow. My heart breaks for Chrissie as she endures a mother's worst nightmare. God Bless your family. And thanks again for that reality check.

    GingerB June 12, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    Catherine, I love to read you because you have a high joy level, I hope you don't feel bad about being happy while you also mourn for your sister and her baby, its just part of that complexity of being a woman that you can feel joy and sorrow all at once.

    ewe are here June 12, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    It's amazing how much strength we can find when we have to. My heart goes out to your extended family… but I know that somehow, someway, you will find a way to focus on the joy Tanner has brought all of you in the end.


    As for your wee girl, I can't stop smiling looking at these pisc. I have a series of pics of my little "superheroes in capes" running around our backyard as well … there's nothing sweeter.

    Susan aka Miss. R June 12, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    How amazing that your sister has your love, that Tanner has her love and that you both have your mother's love. It has to be enough, anything less would be torture. I have been close to where you write about and it's the love that really matters.

    mom2nji June 12, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    Beautiful! I can't fathom what your entire family is facing with your nephew's illness. Nor do I even want to imagine the heart breaking choices your sister has to make.
    Sometimes devastating sadness opens our hearts to mind blowing love. Your family is in my prayers.

    Lee of MWOB June 12, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    The story of Tanner is never far from my heart, I tell you – from the moment I first read about that brave boy and his strong mama.

    And so I'm scrolling down after your little intro and wow. That first pic appeared and I have to say, the tears welled up in my eyes.

    Wonder…….that is the truth. I'm gonna try to find a little snippet of wonder in more of each day….

    Happy summer.

    Dana June 12, 2009 at 9:53 pm

    The moment I read about Tanner, I started to cry. I just cannot fathom what your sister is going through, but her bravery and courage amaze me.

    The photos of Wonder Girl are just awesome. She makes me smile.

    Sarcastica June 12, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    I cried too, she is such a strong brave woman…I couldn't even fathom going through the things she does. She's amazing.

    And those pictures? So gorgeous. You totally captured how happy E is; she definitely soars.

    Her Bad Mother June 12, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    Sarcastica – she does, doesn't she?


    BeautifulWreck June 13, 2009 at 10:23 am

    My heart breaks for your sister. My thoughts and prayers will be with them. Often the best decisions are the most difficult ones. I'm going to go hug my babies now.

    Vickie June 14, 2009 at 12:00 am

    The last line in your post is awsome! Prayers for your sister and nephew.

    meandtheblueskies June 14, 2009 at 10:22 am

    My heart goes out to your sister. Stopping by from SITS.

    Merrily Down the Stream June 14, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    Your sister is simply amazing…
    And those pictures?

    LAVANDULA June 15, 2009 at 10:43 am

    i'm so sorry for your sister.how heart wrenching to have to make that kind of decision….i love those pics of emilia….my little stinkerbell sings when shes hsppy and it always makes me smile when i hear her singing….hugs to you

    The Gypsy Mama June 16, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Yes, the constant, unrelenting vulnerability of parenthood takes my breath away on a daily basis. But I wouldn't trade it – because then I would miss out on seeing them fly – how right you are!

    Anonymous June 16, 2009 at 10:49 am

    See? I've been away for a few days, and I TOTALLY see that *THIS* post and *THIS* feeling is what precipitated the 'Dyson Incident'.

    Hugs to you Catherine.

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