Friday, October 10, 2014

Dillon

Tomorrow I plan to participate in the Puget Sound Heart Walk. It is an annual event to raise money for research on heart disease and stroke. I will be walking in honor of three amazing people, and I thought it might be cool to share their stories. You can donate here.

I posted about Ethan. What I didn't mention in the previous post was that since Amy wrote Ethan's story, they lost Amy's husband and Ethan's father Dillon to a sudden heart attack. Here is Amy again on losing her rock and best friend.

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I will first state the obvious.  I am now the mommy of a FIVE YEAR OLD! Wow!! Ethan turned 5 on Tuesday and he could not be more excited!  Just last night, he had to show me that he didn't need his step stool to wash his hands in the guest bath anymore, "Because I'm 5 now." This morning at school, he said, "Pick me up.  Do I feel heavier? It's because I'm 5!"  I simply cannot believe he is 5.  He's more adorable than ever but I guess I will always mourn the stage of life he's leaving as I look to the one he's currently plowing into.

Where do I start with this other bit of surreal news?  Most of you know by now, but Ethan's dad and my best friend woke up in the arms of Jesus on October 29, 2013.  No, he had not been sick.  No, he hadn't complained of anything (other than some sinus junk).  We were preparing for our surprise trip to Disney World and Give Kids the World in November.  He had started a new job with Daisy Brand (you know, "Do a dollop of Daisy!") in September and was SO excited about us going back to Disney World (evenmoreso because we were keeping it a surprise!).  Sure, he wasn't able to work from home any more but he was getting a good raise and was elated to be able to provide for us to do more things.  He was always wanting more for us.  That's just who he was!

Anyway, the night of the 28th, we ate dinner and he took his usual 2 mile walk.  He went earlier than usual so I decided to put E down early so that Dillon and I could spend some quality time together because I knew that he was trying to get in bed earlier to catch up on some sleep.  I put E to bed while Dillon was in the shower and he came out, said, "Where's the critter?" and was pleasantly surprised he was in bed.  We watched some shows and he tried on some new shirts we'd bought for work and we matched up ties to go with them.  He took all the tags off, asked me if I would please wash them while E was in school the next day and if I could also find out if it was ok to wear brown shoes with navy pants.  Ha! Only Dillon.  He said he had been Googling about it but wasn't coming up with anything but he'd noticed some guys at work wearing brown shoes with their navy pants.  I was cracking up.  So funny!!  We talked about Disney and how Ethan was going to do the Jedi Training Academy (and he WAS going to do it, by golly!  Dillon was determined!) and then he said goodnight and went upstairs.  He had been sleeping up there to be closer to E's room, because he now was getting up so early for work and also because he is an aerobic sleeper- all over the place- bed to floor and back to bed and just...yeah.  Crazy!  I hate to say it, but Ethan is JUST like his Daddy!! Ha!!

In the middle of the night, Ethan came and got into bed with me.  Our bathroom door was still open (Dillon always closes it before he leaves for work).  Strange- strange that E was in bed with me and not Dillon b/c, obviously, it was still too early for him to have left.  My alarm went off at 7:50 (Dillon always left by 6am).  The door was still open but I didn't think too much of it.  I got up to get ready to take E to school and Ethan went to the kitchen to get his milk and juice.  He came back in to say, "Mommy, I think Daddy forgot to go to work today."  Sadly, he didn't forget.  He just never woke up.  :-(

My sweet son has had to endure more in his 5 years of life than most kids.  He is a champion and is so amazing.  He is the reason I am still living and breathing today.  When all I want to do is crawl in a hole, he is there, needing a hug, to go to school, play or whatever a 5 year old needs.  So many have said they are amazed by my strength and grace.  My reply?  I do it for him.  It's so hard.  We thought we had everything figured out.  The only question revolved around kindergarten next year.  We were mulling a couple options over (two have now been nullified due to our circumstances) and then also trying to figure out when I would return to work.  We had concluded that, due to the "school schedule" and Dillon no longer working from home, that I would stay home another year until we figured some more things out.  In 9 hours I went from a stay-at-home-mom to Mom and Dad and not quite sure what in the world to do.  God has a strange way of answering prayers....I didn't want this to be the way.  I still don't know what I'm going to do but I can say that the prayers of many are carrying me.  They are carrying us.

Ethan is amazing- I can't say that enough.  If you were at the visitation or on Facebook afterwards, you saw his handiwork as they allowed him to draw on Dillon's casket.  He asked matter-of-fact questions (Death is such a hard subject!) and I did my best (and I'm still trying) to give matter-of-fact answers.  We went to visit Dillon's grave yesterday at his request.  He doesn't ask when Daddy is coming back.  He asks, "When am I going to die?  When are you going to die?"  He knows his Dad is in Heaven.  God has put that peace into his heart, yet the thought of death just won't get out of his head and I hate it.  Last night, though- listen to the maturity in my sweet son:

"Mommy, are we going to die tonight?"

"Sweetie, if we die, where will we go?"

"Heaven."

"Yes, and who is in Heaven?"

"Daddy."

"Yes.  We will be with Daddy.  We will be happy again."

*he thinks a minute and gets teary again*

"Mommy, when you die, I'm going to call people."

"Um. Ok?"

"No, Mommy.  How do I call the people like you called for Daddy." (911)

"Oh, Ethan.  Let me show you.  What a brave and smart thing to want to know."

We then had a little instruction time on how to use the house phone and when it was appropriate to call for help.  Oh my goodness, y'all.  He is wise beyond his years and I couldn't be more proud of him.  What 5 year old has to spend his birthday at a holiday memorial service?  That kid.  That kid who was all, "Ok. Whatevs. Where are the cookies and how many can I get away with eating?"  Yeah.  He's a rock star.

I just want to thank each and every one of you who have offered prayers, food, money, love, and anything I have needed in this past month.  Yes, we did take our Disney trip, by the way.  It was November 11-19, much like last year. My oldest sister was able to stay and go with us and we wore her out (Dillon was planning on us going full-force and we did our best to honor that crazy man).  Ethan defeated Darth Vader and met all the characters he wanted to meet, he was sprinkled with some sweet Pixie Dust the first night we were there (poor Cast Members were always commenting on the button I was wearing "Celebrating Dillon" or the picture of Dillon we laminated and brought with us).  Ethan was treated to longer meet and greets with a few of his favorites and VIP seating for the Christmas Parade as well as s sweet stuffed Mickey from one of the extremely thoughtful CMs named Mark.  Another named Ben brought us cookies and hot chocolate while we waited for the parade.  For that night, it was nice to have people stop and honor a little boy who had lost so much.  It helped this mama's heart because all I wanted to do was stop and scream, "He lost his father!! Give him the world!" Ethan had a fantastic time.  FANTASTIC! Of course, memories from last year and what should have been flooded my heart a lot of the time but I was able to smile and watch the magic of Disney through my precious boy's eyes again and it was awesome.

The outreach from those around us has been nothing short of wonderful.  This weekend, barring any crazy ice storms that are predicted, Ethan will have his first "big" birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese.  Icing Smiles is providing the cake, another awesome friend is footing the bill for the party and another took the time to put together goody bags for his guests.  I have another friend who has made cookies for me to take to Ethan's class today- not just any cookies, but star shaped ones with LIGHT SABERS on them!

I love each and every one of you.  Please continue to pray for us. Know that your prayers are powerful and are sustaining us.  It's really really hard.  It was always the 3 of us (and Giggs).  We were a team.  I miss him SO much and being in this house without him hurts.  I'd give anything to have him back.  Anything.  One thing that is of comfort is, he didn't suffer. He simply went to sleep and awoke in the arms of Jesus and I have to say, what an amazing way to go.  It could have been while driving to or from work or driving E to soccer or.... God's mercy is good though I don't begin to understand why He had to take Dillon away from us so soon.  He was my rock, my provider, my best friend.  He was the BEST daddy in the world to Ethan.  He loved him SO much.  The awesome thing is, we both know how much he loved us.  I know there are some who aren't as fortunate.

Love fiercely.  Make sure you have a plan for the unthinkable (we didn't).  Keep up with your checkups (Dillon had only just begun in the past few years and having his heart checked was next on his list).  Make your moments count.

We love you,

Amy and Ethan


Picture by Amy Durham. Used with permission.

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