Don't Wish it Away

<<< I have so much to share in regards to all of the things going on in my life -- the birth of our 4th baby boy Nolan, moving into our new home, the boys starting (and loving) their new school, birthdays, and more -- but right now, I'm not ready to write about all the amazing new beginnings we're experiencing as a family while our dear friends are going through one of the most heartbreaking endings anyone could possibly endure. 
As some of you may know, our friends and old neighbors, the Pickel's, have been tirelessly helping their little boy Dustin fight neuroblastoma. Cancer is an ugly disease, and while I've been touched by it before with older family members and friends, I've never been this close to a child in a battle for his life. I can still remember when Kelly called me to tell me her motherly instinct knew something was wrong when Dustin ran a low-grade fever for over a week and just wasn't himself. And a few days later, we sat in the waiting room at the children's hospital in Texas as they were hoping to confirm that the mass they found in his abdomen was in fact a benign Wilm's tumor and not, as they feared, cancer. Unfortunately, their lives took a very different turn when instead, they learned it was indeed neuroblastoma - one of the most rare and aggressive forms of childhood cancer.
This past week, after almost 2 years of traveling between New York, Michigan and Texas to have Dustin treated with the best teams across the US, the Pickel's learned that his remaining kidney is failing. The cancer and treatments have become too much for his little body and he doesn't have much time left on this earth. I cannot imagine the pain and fear that has lived in the hearts of our dear friends for so long now and how it has manifested in these last few moments they have with him. But I do know our hearts silently break all these miles away with each and every update.  
This precious family was put into our lives for a reason. We were lucky to have spent the time we did with them and to have known Dustin before cancer was in the picture. And while we will always long for the carefree days of sitting together in the warm Texas sun with cheap wine in a "Mommy's Sippy Cup" glass, watching our kids ride Razors and Cozy Coups up and down the sidewalk, I hope they know that we will always be there for them, even in their darkest of days.
Reflecting on Dustin's brave fight has put so many things into perspective. Perhaps that is one of the gifts he will impart on all those who have known him. >>>

It's 2:30 in the morning and the baby stirs next to me. A grunt, a whimper, a full-out cry. I peel back the covers of my warm bed and nestle him into my arms to feed him. With my eyes falling shut I think to myself, "I can't wait for him to sleep through the night."

It's 5:45am and Hudson, 19 months, begins his morning trumpet of "Daddy!" and "Out!" waiting to be retrieved from his bed to start the day. The older boys, still snug in their beds, are able to drown out the noise. "Ugh," I think, "I can't wait for him to be as old as his brothers so he sleeps a little longer in the mornings."

It's 7:00am and the morning rush is in full swing. Toothpaste riddles the bathroom sink, toast crumbs streak across the counter. I'm signing notebooks and packing lunches and shuffling tiny feet out the door to catch the bus. When the big boys are off to school, I drop myself into the leather recliner and think "Shew, I can't wait until they are old enough to do more for themselves in the morning."

It's 11:00am. I'm trying to perfect the timing of running the laundry and dishwasher so that I have enough hot water to take a shower (for the first time in 2 days) and simultaneously get the housework tackled. I put Hudson down for a nap, feed the baby and try to pull myself together, knowing my time is limited. Somehow I manage to grab a bite to eat while I'm sweeping the floor, hanging up jackets, and taking out the trash with day-old stinky diapers in it. "Man," I think, "I can't wait until 5:30 comes around so Ricky is home to help."

It's 7:00pm and bedtime routines are underway. One of us is cleaning the kitchen after dinner while the other is getting PJs out, making sure teeth are brushed and doling out just-one-more-sip-of-water. Exhausted, our tempers are short and we think "I can't wait until they are in bed and we can relax." We rush the boys to their rooms and hurry through nighttime hugs and kisses. We gently close their doors and collapse into the couch, knowing we have to do it all over again tomorrow.

Sure, our days are tiresome. Raising small children is a big job. And while the day-to-day monotony and chaos sometimes seems too much, there are families who would give anything to have the normalcy of a messy floor and homework fights be the worst parts of their day.

My heart aches for our friends. Thinking about how their minutes, hours and days will unfold without their complete family of 5 is too heavy to comprehend.

These moments - of rearing children and watching them grow, of endlessly cleaning up messes, of changing a diaper or wiping a bottom for the umpteenth time - they are a privilege. These past few months watching our friends and their 3 year old baby fight a hard battle has opened my eyes. When I'm in the thick of it, I think of them and remind myself, "Don't wish it away, Taryn."

And I don't. Because I know I GET to do it all over again tomorrow.

Please pray for the Pickel family as they prepare to say good-bye to their sweet Dustin. Pray for comfort and peace. Pray that their faith carries them through the days to come. You can follow their story here.

{Update: Sweet Dustin lost his battle in the early evening hours on March 4th. He was surrounded by his family, and passed peacefully in his mommy's arms.}


  1. This post is nothing short of amazing. I have been and will continue to pray as God prepares sweet Dustin to become one of his angels

  2. Vanessa Martinez3:15 AM, March 10, 2014

    God bless you Dustin. Heaven has gained an Angel. Will always have you in mind and will pray for you and your family.