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What is it about the number 5?   When I was in High School, I went on a retreat, and we had teams that had competitions.  Our team leaders said to us “hey, this is the 5th year of this retreat, and 5 is special, so let’s win!”  We did win.  The ONLY year I was ever on a winning team, as a camper or as a staff member!

for kids, 5 seems like a cool age to be.  Maybe because you can use all your fingers to show your age, or because if your birthday is just right you can start kindergarten?

Many birthdays seem to be special in 5’s  – 10 (double digits) the Big 30, 40, 50, (okay, so you could say those are 10’s but I am sure you get my point.

Today has been 5 years since I last held my beautiful son in my arms. 5 years since my heart was shattered into a million pieces.  Some of those pieces have been put back together, but there will always be one missing.

5 years.   How the hell did that happen??  So much has happened in 5 years.  I buried one child.  I gave birth to two more.  One of my children had open heart surgery at 6 weeks old.  We moved into my childhood home.  I started on a new job, far, far away from the nursing field.  So many things have happened in just 5 years.   It seems like a lifetime ago, but yet it seems like yesterday.

As Richard pointed out in his post earlier tonight, I can hardly remember what I did 5 DAYS ago.  But I could tell you everything that happened from April 1, 2011.  Like him, I won’t go into the details, because they are horrible.  For a long time, when I would close my eyes to go to sleep ALL I could see was those horrible moments.  That did eventually fade.  But, I can recall them in second if I want to, and sadly sometimes, even if I don’t want to, they will pop back into my mind.

I woke up early today.  When I did, my heart was aching.  Literally aching.  I looked at the time.  It was the same time when Alexander first started to crash and have trouble.   A bit later, I really wanted to just stay in bed all day, but we had plans to do something special.   Julia wanted to “wake mama up”  but Richard was pulling her away.  Elizabeth, managed to find her way into the room, and I told Richard it was okay.  He called Julia in to “wake mama up” and she did!  The two girls climbed into bed and crawled all over me.  We had a fun time laughing and talking about what we would do today.  The aching started to fade away.

We had a pretty good day.  Lots of laughing and fun.

In one of the support groups I go to we often say, you don’t move ON but you do move FORWARD.  That is what I do.  one day at a time, sometimes, one moment at a time.  I move forward.  Further away each day from the worst day of my life.  Some days the pain is as raw as it was those first days.  But, thankfully more days than not though, it is there, but not right in front of my face.  Life is bearable most days.  Some days it is great.   One day, one moment at a time.

001Alexander Whipple


5 Years – from Daddy’s view

Time is a weird thing. Sometimes you can’t remember what happened five days ago; and other times you can remember things that happened a long time ago with crystal clarity. Today is one of those days for me. Five years ago today, We lost our son, Alexander, to cancer. I remember Alexander returning to the ICU at around 2:00 am and our surgeon telling us that Alexander did great in his 16 hour surgery. I remember getting up at around 6:00 am and getting ready to go over to the ICU. I remember going past a video game Galaxian and wanting to play it. Something in my mind said you should go to Alexander so I passed the game and gave it a second look. I remember walking into the ICU and seeing the surgeon heading out and him saying that Alexander is doing great even though he was crashing as we spoke. I remember turning the corner and seeing a bunch of activity around one of the rooms and thinking, “they are doing rounds” and then getting closer and realizing that it was Alexander’s room. << what the F*ck. Fatale crash restarting Microsoft word. Where the hell is my document. Slam…. one hour later after doing some dishes. Ok now I have to restart this document.>> Alexander was crashing for the first time and the doctor’s and nurses in the ICU were trying to save his life. Someone quickly moved me to the back of the room to be with Nancy, my wife. I will spare you all of the details that are still burned in my mind. Alexander crashed again; about the same time as I was writing this document for the first time, five years ago today. I remember holding Alexander as he passed away around 12:40pm

I remember going to the hospital garage getting packing up some of our stuff that we had brought to the hospital and finding a book (Noble Dead series) that I had misplace and though lost before going home. I don’t remember the drive. I remember very little of the next week as we prepared for Alexander’s funeral.

Time has moved on Nancy and I have two beautiful children Julia, almost four, and Elizabeth, 2 1/2. Where has all of the time gone? I can list off lots of stuff that happened some of the very slowly and some of them very fast. Slow ones my wife being pregnant twice, my 22 hour work day Sunday into Monday mornings. The fast one Elizabeth’s 2-3 hour open heart surgery and then being out of the hospital in one week.

I would like to say to all of my friend in the group no one wants to be it. Thank you for all of your support over the last five years. Nancy and I think about your families all the time as your anniversaries of your children passing comes along. To Camp Sunshine Thank you for the Services that you provide to all of the families going through cancer and bereavement of children who have passed. To my family, thanks for your support.

To all of my other friends, remember that time is a weird thing. Play, love and enjoy ever minute with you children and family. Because I pray that you never have a day where all of the details are burned in you mind like my day five years ago.

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