A whole year?!


So, as you may or may not know, today (May 9th) is the 1 year anniversary of my mom’s diagnosis. My mom is in New Mexico right now, and has no access to a computer, so when we talked earlier, she asked me to blog for her. I gladly accepted her challenge.

It’s hard to believe that it has been 366 days since my mom was diagnosed. A couple of weeks before we found out, I’d be rubbing her shoulders, and there were lumps. I thought they were knots, but she told me to leave them alone. It was bothering me. I think it was Monday or Tuesday night, we were laying in her bed. Clay was in the crib, Kelly was at work, she told me she got a biopsy that day. So I got a little freaked out. She hadn’t told my siblings. Just me. She told me not to tell anyone else.

I was walking home from the bus stop, and Kelly called me. Alec called me. Mom called me. Where are you? Family meeting. When are you gonna be here? I’m a block away. Just hold on a second. I knew what was going on. We wouldn’t be having a family meeting unless it was about what I thought it was about.

Within the next half hour, everybody in the room was crying. Kelly, Mom, Alec, Tucker and Asa, Bailey, and me. Clay was sleeping I think. You can’t not cry when somebody that you love so dearly, with your entire heart gets sick like this. I don’t think it would have been as bad if it was stage 1, just a lump, minor surgery, a few rounds of chemotherapy. But this is something that won’t just go away that easy. This becomes your entire life.

I think it’s been a hard year for all of us. Not so much Clay, but everyone else. I’m glad to see how many people have come closer, and disappointed that a few have gone away. Every new face I see in the house, it gives me this feeling that the world isn’t filled with really awful people who can’t park correctly and think of how other people feel ever. And when I see the same few faces every day or week or every few weeks, I’m glad.

I think as teenagers, that the twins, Alec, and I have had to grow up a little bit faster than we expected. We’ve all taken on more responsibilities. Like blogging for mom when she’s in New Mexico. I love taking care of Clay, but it seems like it’d be so much easier if mom wasn’t sick. She could take care of the baby. But then I wouldn’t know all these people that have felt some sort of connection with my mom through the blog. I feel like everybody is expecting the same from me at school even though mom is sick, so, dealing with all the school, and trying to spend time with mom is hard. I wanna do both. But, I’m doing good in all my classes this quarter! I didn’t do as great as I could’ve last quarter, but I’ve brought myself back up. Alec is finishing up his IB testing. The twins are finishing up their year, and getting ready for St. Joseph’s Preparatory School.

It’s great that even though mom is sick, we are getting to do family things. Compared to most families with a person with cancer, I believe, that we have done so much stuff. I’m so glad we got to spend last week together. It was great for Clayton that none of us left throughout the day, and it was a new place to explore. I needed time away from civilization for a minute.

It is now 12:40 Saturday morning, so should probably be getting to sleep.

16 Responses to “A whole year?!”

  1. Toni G says:

    BRAVO Jesse What a wonderful reminder to us that your Mom does not exist within her own universe when it comes to us outsiders who only have that connection with her through this blog. You have a magnificient voice and you have done her, your family and yourself proud.

  2. shayna and jahna says:

    It is amazing that a whole year has gone by. sometimes it seems so fast and other times it seems like the longest year ever. One thing is for sure- You and your brothers and sister are amazing. how incredibly mature you act during all of this. Your mom has told me how glad she is that you have each other.

  3. Jesse, though I do not need anymore reason to love or be proud of any of you, when I read this last night I was super proud. I feel that we all have done a good job of making the best of what we’ve got. I view the last year as the biggest pitcher of lemonade ever. The help our friends bring has helped so much. Feeling loved and supported really helps us to keep our heads up high when things are bad. As far as those who have retreated, I think that though it is disappointing, we have to understand that this is a heavy situation that some are simply unable to deal with and we have to love them all the same and hope that they keep us in their prayers. I think most of all we need to praise Andrea for the grace and faith which she has maintained through out this first year. I would like to pray for another one, but the sum total of my life experience tells me that I should continue to pray for gods will for us.

  4. Renee Khan says:

    Jesse, you are so articulate and brave.

    I have a son who is 25 and I also have IBC stage 4, sometimes I don’t know how my son feels. By you being so open it is a wonderful gift for your Mom.

    Jesse, keep yourself focused on the good people who have stayed with you and your family. Remember love is an action word. These people are showing love.

    Unlike other people I am not as kind and I say screw the people who leave. Don’t give them another thought because they are not worth it.

    You sound so wonderful Jesse and I am sure that your Mom is so proud of you. Also, how wonderful that you are doing so well in school. You sure sound like someone with a lot of character.

    Take care.

    Renee Khan

  5. bb says:

    Your greatest gift to your mother is to be everything she wanted you to be and to help your siblings do the same. It looks like you will sucessful!
    God Bless all of you!

  6. Dina says:

    You rock, Jesse. I was just thinking of you yesterday when Owen was playing with the remote control Mini Cooper you gave him. He calls it his “Jesse Car”. I keep reminding him we need to bring it back when you think Clayton might be interested in it. I am so glad you guys had a great vacation last week.
    Regarding things being difficult- you are right…you have had to grow up pretty quickly. But if I think back to being 15, 16, 17…I don’t know…there was very little I did that made much of a difference to anyone. You make a difference every single day. Watching you with Clay the day we visited made such an impression on me. You are one of a kind, Jesse. Your mom is very lucky. And you should post more often!!
    🙂 Dina

  7. brooke hoffman says:

    very well-said, jesse! i appreciate having this window into your thoughts and feelings. it must be extremely difficult to balance your school responsibilities with your desire to support your mom and be there for her and the rest of your family. it must be mentally and emotionally draining. physically, too.

    i hope your teachers show you the right measure of grace and encouragement to reach your potential. because i know myself as a teacher, i have a feeling that they don’t always do this as well as they should. still, i know you are a young man with a lot of depth of character. with Jesus’ help, i know you will not just survive…you will thrive.

    my prayers are you with you, your mom, kelly, and the rest of your siblings. God knows the path you’ve traveled and the journey that lies ahead. is it a comfort to know that “all the days ordained for [you] were written in [his] book before one of them came to be”? (Psalm 139) i hope so… in the valleys and mountain tops of this past year, Jesus was with you.

    hang in there. be strong. but allow yourself to be weak, too. care for others. let others care for you. whether you feel like you’re handling this unexpected and undesired “growth spurt” well or not, i’m proud of you. proud of your journey from the little kid i shared a pan of brownies with to the young man you have become.

    much love!

  8. Donna Arnold says:

    Hi Jesse & Andrea:
    What an awesome young man and devoted son you are!!!! This was such an in-depth and intimate post for you. I can see why your mom is so proud of you and your siblings!!!! I would love to meet you, Jesse!!! Your posts are brilliant!!! You rock, Jesse!!!!
    I was reading Kelly’s posts and remembering this was the year anniversary for Andrea! What a major milestone for all of you. Your family is unique!!!
    As for the friends who have left….Jesse, sometimes the weight emotionally and their own fear of “losing someone” is more than they can bear…they deserve our forgiveness and understanding as to why they chose to “leave”…it does NOT always mean that they don’t care…they just can’t handle the emotional baggage a cancer diagnosis carries.
    My partner is in her own battle right now, and January 2008 was her year anniversary since diagnosis…she worked at the local hospital for 25 years…in the Emergency Room as a Charge Nurse….her co-workers came by here once last year…and they have all fallen by the wayside…that hurts her, but she understands their fears, worries, etc. and she loves them all still!!!!
    As for “growing up” quickly, you have become a wonderful young man, and you should be applauded for all you handle on a daily basis. School, family, help with Clay, and devotion to your mom and sibs…this helps to “round you out” as a human being!!! You are just a “total package”, Jesse…a rare, beautiful gift!!
    My heart went out to you in your blog when you said you needed the time away from it all, at the beach…as you should have had….time to enjoy the beach, watch the girls, and do regular teen aged boy things….all of which I hope you did experience!!! I would give you a big hug if I saw you!!! And treat you to a weekend at a beach house with all the pizza you can eat!!!
    Andrea, have fun in NM and enjoy the beautiful scenery there!!! We all wait to hear of your tales and adventures there…miss you, love you, and have fun!!!
    Jesse, I love you, young man!!!
    Donna in SC

  9. Alexis says:

    Happy Mother’s Day, Andrea. You have such a beautiful family!

  10. Tina, French Creek, WV says:

    Bravo, Jesse! You definitely did you mom proud!

  11. leah says:

    see it’s reasons like this why i love this family so much!
    you all rock!
    i’m so proud to know all of you and to have the chance to watch you all grow up.
    Andrea, you AND your children have taught me so much, and have helped me grow as well

  12. joshua says:

    dag, jess. you need to blog more often!!

    thanks for filling in for your mom.

  13. Lhianna says:

    You are soooo eloquent! just like your mom! You have a real talent for writing. Entertaining, interesting, touching….I enjoyed reading your blog, maybe you should start your own….Lhianna

  14. Linda Conley Soffer says:

    Hi Jesse, Wanted to let you know how great your post was. I agree with the praise above. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  15. Daryl Teblum says:

    Kelly, my niece and nephews, July 5th, 2008

    I am so sorry to hear about Andrea’s passing – my sister, your wife and the children’s mother.
    Andrea and I were close when we were little kids. I have tons of pictures with Andrea, Stacy, and I from all the different places we visited; Twin Oaks Camp, and just having good old fashion fun together. The times we spent even just sledding down the big hills in Southampton are such precious memories I would love to share with you.
    Andrea and I drifted apart when she started having children, and I was moving all over the country for my career. I contacted her numerous times trying to make arrangements to see her, but since she decided to push her family away, and I guess for some reason she just included me too.
    Her entire family from her father, step mother, sister, brother in law, Myself (her BROTHER), my wife and children, her grandmother Faye, Uncle Bruce, Uncle Larry & Aunt Cindy, and many others have been forced to grieve from afar (but not by our choice). Andrea’s family has been reading Andrea’s Blog several times a day to stay informed with as much information of her condition as possible. Her blog has become the only lifeline to her for us to know what is taking place in her life. PLEASE allow the doors of communication to be reopened. We all want to know you and come to love the Man that Andrea loved so fiercely. We love Andrea and her children so much, and we pray we will be allowed to be a part of all of your lives. I would very much like to get to know you, my brother in law.
    Please pass my condolences along to the kids. On my last trip to PA, I was very lucky to run into Alec and Jessie. I was very happy that they remembered that I am Uncle Daryl. I have always wanted and tried to be part of their lives (even from afar). The last time I saw them, they were so excited to see me. It was so wonderful to see what great young men they were becoming.
    I am so sorry for your family’s loss. We are all grieving also. If there is anything that we can do or help, please let us know. Andrea’s father and sister are located VERY close to you and could be there at a moment’s notice. I could be on the next plane from Florida up there if wand when needed.
    I loved my sister Andrea very much and am hurting a lot over her loss. Please allow us to get to know her legacy (meaning her children). Please let me know what arrangements have been made. I would appreciate the opportunity to fly up there to say goodbye to my sister.
    Thank you.
    Daryl Teblum
    (Andrea’s Brother)

  16. PopPop & MeMa says:

    Dear Jesse,

    Just to let you know that MeMa & I are so sorry for the passing of your mother, as we are hurting for the loss of our daughter, Andrea.

    As I told you 2 years ago when I saw you, I will always love you, your brothers & sister, and know that you have a lot of blood relatives who have been pained by not being able to see you.

    We are here to reconnect with you whenever you call. I wish you well young man, and that you remember your mom and that she tried her best.

    All our love,