Our sons, Dylan and Gavin, are the best thing that ever happened to us, and our lives have been so enriched by the privilege of being their parents. In experiencing the deaths of both of them, two years apart, our lives have been blown apart…twice.
In May of 2010, Dylan (age 14) had a sore throat and fever that didn’t seem to respond to antibiotics. His illness continued to progress until he was admitted to the hospital, where they did a biopsy. He was diagnosed with Pediatric Follicular Lymphoma, and treatments started immediately. Dylan ended up on life support and fought an awfully fierce battle for 2 months. He turned 15 while he was in intensive care, on a ventilator, and a few weeks later, his life ended on July 15, 2010. For two years, we, along with Dylan’s younger brother, Gavin, walked and shared our grief journey.
We cried, struggled, remembered, and sometimes even smiled together as we shared our thoughts, memories and love for Dylan. In the summer of 2012, we decided to take a long vacation together, in honor of Dylan’s memory. We were gone for almost a month, and returned just in time to get ready for school to start. About a week before Gavin was to return to school, a huge lump appeared on his neck, seemingly overnight!
After a couple of torturous weeks of appointments and testing, Gavin had a biopsy done, and was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia on September 25, 2012. We followed an eerily similar battle with Gavin as we tried so hard to battle this disease. Along with fright of facing his illness, and harsh treatments, Gavin also had to struggle with the reality of remembering and watching his brother suffer and lose his battle to cancer.
There was one day in mid-October when we got to bring Gavin home from the hospital (which seemed like a huge blessing, because Dylan never got to come home after he was diagnosed.) After just one day at home, Gavin ended up being life-flighted back to the hospital, where he ended up on life support for the last weeks of his life. Gavin’s life ended on November 27, 2012. He was 14. Our pain is huge, because our love for our boys continues to be huge. We miss them terribly every single day, and our life has become so different from what we ever dreamed it would be.
We continue to struggle with the pain and longing of missing our sons each and every day. Our relationships with other people have changed greatly. Some who were once closest to us no longer want anything to do with us, while others have become closer than we could have ever imagined. We find healing in sharing and reaching out to others who have experienced similar loss, and find ways to “parent” our boys (although in ways that are much different than we could have ever imagined.)
We have formed a foundation, in honor and memory of our boys, that allows us to “pay it forward” to others who experience similarly tough experiences of a child, www.dylanandgavinsrainbow.com, and hold on to the hope that we will see our boys again some day. In the meantime, we know that Love Lives On. Thank you, Dennis, for allowing us to share our boys here.
Our hearts go out to all who walk this terribly difficult journey of grief after the death of their child/children.