Friday, June 29, 2012

Decisions, Decisions...

June is almost over?  I can't even wrap my brain around that.

Tomorrow is June 30th, Jesse's 8th birthday.  For his birthday we were going to donate whatever monies we would have normally spent on him to a good cause.  After much deliberation... do we donate to the Jesse Lyle Hernandez Fund at Northwest Community Credit Union... do we donate to the Relief Nursery... do we donate to Toys for Tots... do we donate to CASA of Lane County where Jesse recently participated in the fundraising walk with Holly?  So many choices.  We decided to donate to Project Reindeer.  It's a project Holly's(and Owen's) school does at Christmastime where they take boxes of supplies to families who need it in the community.  Holly is very active with the program and Jesse always wanted to help in any way he could.  We feel like that's the most close to home way we can contribute. It took a long time to decide (it takes us forever to decide anything these days) and we feel really good about this decision.  Thinking about Christmas in July (ok, june, whatever)

David is doing pretty well.  One of the hospice nurses was talking to us this week about his medications and suggested he switch from liquid morphine to pill form morphine that he'll only have to take twice a day.  YES, PLEASE!  It will increase his total dose from 25mg to 30 mg a day but it will be continuous release rather than taking it every 6 hours when it starts to wear off after 4 hours.  The peaks and valleys of the morphine swing should even out a bit and since his neck continuously aches I think this will be a good thing.  He starts taking the pills tonight so we'll see how the weekend goes.  He may be a little sleepy for a couple of days while his body adjusts to the even flow of medication but since he's been on 20-25mg a day (which is a smallish dose) for a while now they think he's building up a tolerance which could be why his neck aches more now, not enough pain management.  We'll see!  We still have the fast acting liquid stuff for breakthru pain.  It would be nice if we could get him in a not-too-doped-up state of ease.  I'm eager to see how it goes.  That also means that he would only have to take meds twice a day which would be awesome!  Not that his meds would be reduced, he still takes somewhere around 15 pills a day.  Yum! No wonder his stomach hurts sometimes.  It just means it's less overall things on the to-do list.  Or more importantly, I won't have to worry about napping through his meds schedule on wonky long nap days.

Speaking of his stomach, I think it's finally settled down since the last Temodar treatments.  Glad he's not starting another round on the first since it took almost a month for his stomach to get over the last round. 

Dave's parents are in town for a couple of days.  When they got here (without hotel reservations) they realized it might be difficult to find an affordable place since the Olympic trials are going on at the University. Sure enough, everything in town was $150 or higher, even the seriously scary crack house rent a room by the hour kind of places.  We busted out the computer and found them a nice little non-chain place up the road in the next town over for a reasonable price and reserved it online.  Thank goodness as they didn't have to rush to check in then soon after they arrived they noticed the place put out the no vacancy sign.  Yay internets!  It's been nice visiting (we're not so exciting these days) but lots of both catching up and reminiscing.  We're glad they could come visit.

They plan to leave tomorrow to head for Utah to see David's brother's family but we were saddened to learn that David's cousin (their nephew) took his life yesterday so if arrangements are made for a service in the next few days that may waylay their travels a bit as they may head back to Portland to see family and pay their respects.  The Wach family has been through an awful lot and tragedy has struck every branch of this family tree.  If there's anything to be thankful for it's that he's not hurting any more, but it's a small consolation to those who love him.

I really don't want to end this on a sad note so I will mention that David's mom brought a box of his assorted papers and such with her. I can't believe they've moved from Oregon to Arizona to Texas with things like this!  (I'm sure she's glad to have passed it on!) In this box we found an old journal of David's from when he was 11.  It looks like something they did at school where the teacher provided the topic and the kids write about it.  We cracked up reading them and wanted to share some now and again.  It actually reminds me a lot of Owen's writing voice.  This one is... strange.  hahaha

April
April is the time of Easter bunnies and eggs and strange weather. April's holiday is strange, it's called Easter.  A big rabbit comes around and gives everybody candy and strange looking eggs. That's dumb because the easter bunnie or any rabbit can't lay eggs especially ugly eggs that are different colors.  The weather in april is strange.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Happy Solstice + 1

It's already summer? I have no idea when that happened.  It's been gorgeous outside which means we've been firmly INSIDE.  With the beautiful weather comes the horrible allergies and all the fun associated with them.  Ah well.  We put the air conditioners in the windows and hope for the best.  Owen was going to do a summer camp but on the 2nd day he decided he's not up for it.  I wanted him to do it to give him something to distract him but since I signed him up over a month ago when we only had one major life altering thing going on and then it was compounded I don't blame him for wanting to opt out.  He said he can't concentrate and his reading comprehension is kaput and he was really overwhelmed.  I think he needed a break... so now I get him at home to do chores,  win/win!  hahaha

David had chemo yesterday.  It went well but he decided, with the Dr's input, to stop doing the at home chemo so no more Temodar for him.  The dr said it seems like it's doing about 30% of the heavy lifting compared to the Avastin but it's giving him 70% of the side effects so it seems like the best option would be to just do Avastin for now.  We could revisit that later if needed but after this month I don't think that will happen.  He's been off the Temodar for just over 2 weeks and his digestive system still hasn't fully recovered.  He's eating a little more but overall he's still really sensitive.  He's also on a much higher dose of potassium now but the dr said we can play with that a little bit since that can also make his stomach sensitive.  He said they have a tendency to over-correct potassium deficiencies so he doesn't mind if his level drops a bit if it makes him more comfortable but if he starts getting muscle spasms to just bump his potassium back up until we find that happy medium.  We're still waiting to hear back about his other test results to find out if we have to change the coumadin dose again. Never a dull moment!

Oh, we finally watched Jaws with Owen (thanks to the dad video library) and while he didn't make quite so many snarky comments during it he definitely wasn't all that spooked.  The kid is jaded, that's all there is too it.  Although he hasn't been to the ocean yet since then.   Just wait!  OOH I got his report card today.  I was on him so hard to keep his grades up until Jesse passed away and I kind of threw that out the window and just wanted to be sure he was ok and I could care less about grades but wouldn't you know it, he pulled a 3.7!  He got better grades this term than he did last term.  We're so proud of him.  I had so much fun with him tonight.  We made dinner together and laughed the whole time.  I made a noise when I laughed and he asked if I was laughing or going to throw up.  I said that laughing is how I respond to nausea.  He said I must want to throw up the whole time I'm with him, which of course made me laugh harder.  Then when we went back to explain to Dave why we were laughing obnoxiously Owen just stood there staring at me cutely because he's so proud of himself for being taller than me.  It's genetics, pal! 

He really is the light of my day. It's been an especially rough day.  I told Ricki I was overwhelmed and she asked for specifics so I started unloading on her via text while I was at the store.  She called because it was silly to have that long convo via text and I said I'd call her back when I got to the parking lot.  I hung up and sneezed and an older woman standing near me said, "bless you" so I thanked her.  She added, "I feel like we can use all the blessings we can get." Perfect timing.  Amen, Lady! Amen.  It kind of choked me up.  Sometimes people touch your life in ways they don't mean to.  I almost went back to hug her after I thought about it a minute but I didn't.

I also went to the cemetery to paid off half the pre-arrangement fees today and left a couple little dinosaurs for Jesse (he was such a dino guy) since it's all at the same place. I could have mailed in the payment but I wanted to use the disney visa so we get reward points.  Dave said early on if we have to pay for something awful like that we might as well get something out of it.  True enough.  I also had to call and leave a few messages for the long term disability folks to find out about an additional benefit they haven't gotten back to me about yet.  It's.... so frustrating.  She said she would call me back last thursday and I haven't heard a peep.  After the messages I left today if I don't hear back from her tomorrow I'm going to talk to her supervisor.  I'm not in the mood to just let this stuff slide.  She needs to do her job so that we can get on with things and not have unanswered questions.  I also called hospice and talked to the nurse manager (or whatever her position is) about how I don't feel like communication is up to par.  We were expecting our nurse today and when I finally called the office after not hearing anything all morning I found out she's coming tomorrow but no one told us about the schedule change.  There are a couple other things that are on my nerves about it and any one of the things wouldn't be a big deal but when you put them all together and look at the big picture with everything else we're dealing with it all adds up. I feel bad for breaking down on the phone with her but their job is to make things easier and right now it's not really happening.  I feel like such a jerk calling in to talk about the things that aren't working for us but I know it's what will make their services better for us and for other people.

What it boils down to, for me, is that while I'm taking care of everything I'm not taking care of myself as well as I should be.  I'm taking steps to try to remedy that but for right now I'm just overwhelmed.  Getting 4 hours of sleep last night probably didn't help that.  I wear my Stay Plucky bracelet every day and look at it constantly.  We still laugh at a lot of things and keep our chins as up as they can be but everything is starting to sink in a bit.  We're just going to keep laughing and crying and moving forward the best we can.  I'm glad Owen laughs just as much as we do and makes his own jokes about things and is generally as plucky as a guy can be.  He's pretty awesome and I'm a lucky mom.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Last Day of School

Well the school year is winding down.  Owen has one half day left of school and then he's an 8th grader.  I don't know where the time has gone.  They're going to a local mini-golf place for the morning then home after a half day.  A last hurrah if you will. 

Ariana has one more day of class to wrap up and then she gets picked up by her parents late tomorrow night to go home and terrorize her siblings and parents for the summer.  HA! We'll definitely miss her around here but I know she's more than ready to be done with this semester. 

David is doing fairly well.  His edema is ever present and the meds are keeping it moderate instead of severe.  His potassium levels are low because of the diuretic so they increased his dose to 4x the dose.  Holy smokes!  Those pills are horse pill sized and now he has to take 4 per day?  Yuck. Hopefully if he has to keep that up they will give him a pill with a higher concentrate but I don't know if that doubles the size of the pills or what.  The low potassium levels could be causing other side effects like the muscle tweakiness (That's a technical term) or feeling down.  Then again, everything else going on could also cause those things so I guess we'll just wait to see if the increase in meds helps.  He has pretty much decided he doesn't want to do the Temodar chemo treatment anymore.  It made him really miserable and screwed up all his other medications as it could be playing a part with the potassium and definitely played a part with the wonky coumadin levels.  We'll talk to the dr about it in a week when he goes back in, that was the dr's recommendation when he gave us some food for thought.  It might be time to take that next step to make whatever time he has left as good as it can possibly be. 

We're still having a hard time focusing on just one thing. I talk to my sister-in-law almost daily as we commiserate about our husbands' slow decline.  Chris's decline has been 42ish months in the making while David's is going on 6 months.  It's apples and oranges but the end result is the same and it's good to have a sister to laugh and cry with at the not funny but still funny things.  Unfortunately Chris is starting to say things about how he feels that the end is near.  He's not usually one for theatrics so it can't be a good sign.  With Jesse's passing 2 weeks ago and now Chris saying he's feeling bad we're both losing brothers and it's making us have a lot more discussions about how we want things to go and making sure our loose ends are tied.  They mostly are but if he doesn't teach me a little more about our network I'm going to be calling Tim a lot after he's gone and Tim doesn't need yet another network to take care of.  (Although I'll probably end up calling anyway even if Dave tells me how to do anything *snicker*)

So in other news we've been watching a lot of movies this week.  I made Ariana watch The Music Man because I was appalled that she had never seen it. Growing up in a family with so much music I figured she'd have seen every musical ever made! Next time she comes to visit I'm strong arming her into Oklahoma!  (she'll never come back...)  We made Owen watch Young Sherlock Holmes and I also rented We Bought A Zoo.  Somehow through all the previews it escaped our attention that the movie focuses on the family having lost the mom to a terminal illness.  Fantastic!  When it was over I had to apologize and we all kind of laughed at the unfortunate choice in movies.  Cute movie other than the in your face family issues.  Thanks, Matt Damon! The moral of the story is that after Chris and David are gone Ricki and I need to buy a zoo?  LOL Ricki and I together with our kids IS a zoo! I will start vetting movies a little more closely now.  We also watched The Woman in Black because Owen has been wanting to watch scary movies and it was only PG-13.  So like... that movie stinks.  He didn't care at all about it being scary but it kind of freaked me out and it wasn't even all that good.  New rule he can only watch scary movies that I'm not too scared to watch. hahahahaha and I'm kind of a wimp so he's out of luck!

Going through videos I found one that has none of us in it but it makes us giggle every time we see it.  I've talked a lot about Olive our therapy cat.  We got her about 7 years ago so when Owen was about 6.  He dubbed her Olive, The Black Cat of Doom (for no reason other than to be silly) which sometimes David calls her B-COD for short. She is a peculiar kitty and one of our favorite of her quirks is how she'll sneak a drink of your water if you're not looking.  She's so dainty.




Sunday, June 10, 2012

Fact or Myth

It has come to my attention that there might be some misinformation floating about. I don't know if it's something I said that got misconstrued or what and it doesn't really matter, I want to set the record straight.

At Jesse's service someone was overheard by multiple people saying that David only has a month left.. 2-3 months at the most.  Fact or Myth? Well the fact of the matter is that there's just no way to know. The doctors have never given us an estimate so any time frame is pure speculation.  I take that back, there were 2 days when the drs said he wouldn't make it 24 hours but clearly he's more stubborn than that, thank goodness.  I mean... 1 month is a possibility but it's not projected.  I think we've learned that we're all living day to day.

It has also gotten back to me that we expressed concern that David incurs internal bruising when he's in the wheelchair too long.  That's not exactly true either. What is true is that before his edema was under control there was one occasion when his feet got red, kind of like a bruise but a little different, after a chemo appointment, likely from a combo of the blood thinners and swelling.  That redness went away after a couple of weeks and didn't happen again when he was up in the chair two days in a row last week.

I know people don't want to bother us but I hope everyone knows they can contact us directly if they hear things like that. I will admit that I don't post every personal detail of what's going on but the medical things I do post about. If you don't have my email/cell phone/facebook contact info you can always use the email function here. I would rather head things like this off at the pass.

I also want to thank those family members who brought this information to light and expressed their concern for us. Love you!


For those who haven't heard anything about this you're probably scratching your head wondering what I'm rambling on about and that's ok too.  Sometimes I ramble. :)  Just know that if you hear something dramatic that I haven't posted about it's likely not true and please check with me before it gets too far.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Staying Busy

Tuesday was Jesse's Celebration of Life.  I capitalized it on purpose. It was really nice.  Uplifting, loving, sad and funny and everything it should have been.  At the end of the service everyone gathered outside with balloons decorated with message and we let them go all at once.  This is a picture my aunt and uncle took. 

 There was also a firetruck that came to lead the way from the church to the cemetery.  Holly sat in front with Jesse's American flag decorated urn and they turned on the lights and sirens one last time for him at the cemetery.  It was very cool.  My dad and I also got to ride in the truck and I appreciate being able to share that moment.   It's touching knowing that Jesse had been in that fire truck before because his classmate's dad has the hookup.  A million thank yous to the Andersons for making it happen.  Really.

After laying him to rest a hawk flew low and let out a big screech.  It had been pretty silent up until that moment.  I imagine at times like this people look for symbolism in everything... but seriously... screeching hawk! It was a very cool moment. I feel blessed to have been a part of his life and to see how many other lives he touched.  It's overwhelming in a good way.  Oh that reminds me.  There is a fund set up at Northwest Community Credit Union for Jesse Lyle Hernandez.  Donations can be made there and all the money will be used to fund some type of program in the area for needy kids because in Jesse’s words, “that’s what I do."  I can't wait to see what can be done. 

Owen has been doing pretty well.  He is sad of course but he's back at school and the routine helps him get through the day.  He had a band concert tonight and they did a great job.  Hopefully they will have video up soon.  I'm glad he actually went to the concert since he missed the choir concert.  I don't blame him one bit for missing it since it was the same day as the memorial.  After the concert we got blizzards, as is tradition (doggonit! I just realized mine and Dave's are still in the freezer and we completely forgot about them!.... *facepalm*) and in the car Owen was cracking me up like crazy.  We were having a discussion about his style.  Not his fashion because as he puts it, he's not IN FASHION but he definitely has a style.  This is true.  He gives not one care about what other people think about what he wears and the stranger he can be the better. I love this about him. To his band concert he wore his suit and Dave's Tigger tie and he tried to wear a hat that's a little too small for his head these days, which I nixed... then we got there and there was a kid in a similar hat.  I felt kind of bad about nixing it but seriously, his hair is huge these days and it really didn't fit.  Poor kid, mom ruining all his fun. 

David is doing ok.  Yesterday he had the IV chemo treatment.  We were fully prepared to talk to the dr about how much longer he would be doing chemo and the dr said he didn't think it would be a good idea to make any big decisions right now.  Hmm.... good point.  I guess that's why he gets paid the big bucks.  He suggested that he wanted to "get dave through this treatment" and then talk about it next time.  He gave Dave extra saline and some steroids to help with the nausea and to help his appetite.  His INR level (blood thickness) was at 3.3.  EEK! Last time it was 1.8 and there was no med changes but we think it's because he hasn't been eating.  So they reduced that medication for the time being and we're basically just trying to get him through the week.  He's a lot more comfortable after getting that extra fluid and steroids.  His edema isn't as bad as it was although after being in the chair two days in a row... for the service and the chemo treatment... yeah, he's ready to be in bed for a few days!  Poor guy, he was so wiped out.  I hope things are status quo for him for a bit.  I don't know what I'd do if things go downhill quickly for him.  I mean I know Owen and I would be alright but it would just be a lot harder than it has to be.  Not that any of this is not hard but I think you know what I mean.

I'll be so happy to have a couple of quiet, uneventful days although this last week or so has probably been good that we've been busy.  Keeps us pre-occupied.  Although, the more bad things that happen the more grateful I get for the things that are good.  It's not really because I'm trying to find them, it's more like a survival instinct.  If I don't look for the silver lining I would go crazy with self-pity.  That's a road I can't afford to travel.  It's kind of amazing how easy it is to find peace right now, with just about everything.  Not EVERYTHING! I'm no superwoman, but I've gotten a lot more understanding and forgiving and patient.  I don't expect that to last forever.  HA!  In finding the good things I've had a few friends lately kind of come out of the woodwork.  Some I have talked to for years that I've come to appreciate more lately, some who I haven't talked to in years but have reconnected in unexpected and very welcome ways.  I appreciate all of it and I don't take any of it for granted.

One of the things that struck me about Jesse's service was the videos.  I found some videos I took of him and shared with my family and in the process I found videos that I forgot we had taken over the years. I started thinking how sad it is that we sometimes wait to share the silly moments or favorite pictures until after someone is gone.  It also made me realize that I don't want to wait until Dave passes to go through all the pictures on our computers to choose which ones I want to share at a funeral.  Why wait when we have time now to reminisce and choose the ones we love together.  Especially since Dave isn't exactly keen on new pictures right now, he doesn't want us to remember him like this in such a tangible way. So while we go through this process I thought I'd start occasionally sharing pictures or video so you can giggle with us.

This was from Valentine's Day weekend a few years ago when we went to a cabin in Camp Sherman.  Valentine's Day, Owen's birthday and President's Day long weekend all fall around the same time so we liked to take a trip when we could.  This year in particular the sledding was good but off to the left was a creek..... disaster almost ensued.  David was so proud of himself for that one.  Hahahaha

video

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Balance

It feels almost selfish to post about what's going on in our lives right now. It's such a delicate position to be in... The sister, the daughter, the mother, the wife, the friend. Feeling protective of Jesse and family and finding balance in taking care of David and Owen, helping when there's an opportunity to help without overwhelming my parents with "helpfulness". I have to step back and let them go through their own process and have faith that they will call when they need something, and they do which I am grateful for. It's the same consideration they have showed us all year and returning the respect is the best we can do. Although... I'm not a very good leaver aloner and I'm glad they know that about me and are being very patient and graceful about it. I only want to return that in kind.

The reason it feels selfish to talk about how we are doing is because I feel like it should be all about Jesse right now but with everything else going on we just don't have the luxury of focusing all our attention on any one thing. I know no one expects that kind of focus from us but I expect a lot from myself. I have to admit I'm only human and just do my best. Plus, as awful as this sounds, we've been in this edge of our seats position for so long we're kind of taking it in stride. Not to say this is easy... This is the most not easy thing any of us has had to process. We just keep swimming.

Owen is doing ok, he stayed home from school Friday, I don't know when he'll be going back. There's just over a week left and some of that is finals. He kind of thrives on routine so we'll just have to play it by ear. He is handling things like most 13 year olds... avoidance. He asked to spend the night at Tim and Rose's so they came to rescue him from reality. I think that's ok. We had a cute moment yesterday when I was TRYING to have a serious convo with him about how it's ok to talk to us and we're here for him etc etc... When all in one moment we all three realized that Owen is tall enough that I have to look up ever so slightly to make eye contact. I was midsentence when he started laughing, I looked at his feet and David asked if he was standing on his tip toes. He wasn't! He has grown so much this year. Way to diffuse the heartfelt moment!

Now that I think of it my grandpa passed away unexpectedly when I was 15. It was the Saturday before finals week. My heart hurts for what he must be holding in and I wish I could help but he's being so strong and stoic. So much like his father in that way. Sometimes I wonder if it's for our benefit or for his. Nothing about this makes sense for adults, how could it make sense for kids...

David is doing mostly alright. We had a little less than ideal night last night. David started his 5 days of chemo yesterday. I didn't realize it was june first until dinner time when he reminded me so I gave him the pills just before we ate. He's supposed to take it on an empty stomach so a little while later he got nauseous. First time ever with chemo. He got pretty sick but luckily we got some anti-nausea meds into him before he suffered with it too long. It just upset me because I felt like I did something wrong and caused him distress. I have to not beat myself up about it. Tonight I gave him the anti nausea meds with the chemo just in case and took more time before he ate. So far so good. It makes him tired but that kind of means I get more done around the house on chemo days because he takes more naps. LOL. All joking aside I'm glad he sleeps because sleep helps the body rejuvenate and I don't want him to fight it. He also still has a little wound on his toe. I think it's starting to look better, we're hoping it heals up without having to do antibiotics again.

David is planning to be there to celebrate Jesse's life. He said, "Its not the least I can do, it's all I can do.". I feel so blessed that it's even an option.

In fact in the face of everything I find myself being grateful for almost every little thing I can muster... even if it's hard to find the silver lining. Especially when it's hard to find the silver lining.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Jesse

I'm going to start this by saying that David is fine.  Things are still status quo with him.

I don't even know how to say this so I'm just going to blurt it out.  My little brother, Jesse, passed away last night.  He's 7 years old, 1 month before his 8th birthday. He had a brain tumor (of all things) that started bleeding and overwhelmed his brain.  There were no signs, nothing that said "get a CT scan!" Tuesday he was sick so he stayed home from school and complained of being dizzy and was nauseated. Holly(my stepmom) called to let me know because Owen spent the better part of the weekend with them (see my last post) and she wanted me to make sure Owen didn't end up sick around Dave. That afternoon she was unable to wake him up and... long story short...  They found the tumor, operated then air lifted him to a Portland hospital where he remained in the pediatrics ICU until last night.  At bedtime they turned off the respirator and let him go to sleep. He was surrounded by love and family and was really in no pain and didn't suffer.  Small blessings...

The Dr said it happened so fast he probably didn't know what was going on so, to him, he just fell asleep.  They believe that even if they had him on the operating table when it happened they couldn't have saved him.  It really was immediate.  That part is such a blessing if there's anything in this impossible situation to be thankful for.

There are simultaneously so many things to say and so few things to say.  He was a really amazing kid.  It feels wrong right now to say "was" so I'm going to speak in the present tense.  He's my little brother.  One of his best party tricks is that he goes around the room during family gatherings and says who everyone is to him.  Sister, brother, brother, sister, nephew, niece.  Not half brother and half sister, not brother in law and brother's fiance.  We are family and no one cares about technicalities, least of all Jesse. He thinks it's so cool to have Owen, a nephew, who is older than he is and now Gabriella, a niece, who he holds and doesn't want to give back.  Last year I helped in his 1st grade class at Irving and he introduced me as "This is my sister, Marla".  I overheard one of the kids telling him, "That is NOT your sister".  He just said "yes, it is" very matter of factly, no argument just a "this is true" tone to his voice.  Ah, my little brother, telling it like it is.  Recently Sara (Jaeger's fiance) and I took Jesse to a birthday party when Dad was building our ramp and Holly was sick.  I love the look on people's faces when we say we're Jesse's sisters!

I remember when Holly was pregnant and a friend of mine asked me how it feels to have a child and to be pushing 30 and about to have a new little brother.  Honestly it took me a little bit to wrap my brain around too but it really is the most amazing thing.  I imagine it's like being an aunt, or a grandparent, only more awesome because I'm the big sister!  It's all of the fun things and none of the difficult parent stuff!  I've always been the big sister and it gives Jaeger an appreciation for what it's like to be the older sibling.  I made a comment last night when talking to my parents about the way Owen and Jesse interact.  The 13 year old and the 7 year old, it's sibling-like where sometimes they get along and sometimes not as well but they love each other and that's the important part.  I made an off hand remark that they're two only children.  I didn't mean it the way it came out.  Jesse is only an only child in that Jaeger and I didn't grow up in the same house with him, but he's our brother and always will be.

When David was in the hospital we didn't tell him right away what was going on with David and we didn't let Jesse see him until he could sit up in bed.  They dropped Owen off at the hospital one afternoon and Jesse wanted to come up and see David.  When he was told no he got really upset and wanted to know, "Why can't I go up to see my brother!" He was indignant.  He offered to walk up the 6 flights of stairs just to see him.  Bless his heart.

A couple years ago, when Jesse was 6 I think, Owen and Jesse went trick or treating together.  Jesse was a knight and Owen was zombie Icarus.  Door after door people would ask them "and what are you supposed to be?".  Jesse's costume was fairly obvious but Owen's was a little obscure.  Finally Jesse started waiting for people to open the door and they'd say "trick or treat" but Jesse's went more like, "Trick or treat, I'm a knight and he's zombie icarus *holds up candy bag*"  He wanted to get down to business. hahahaha cracked us up. He got how that game works.

The last time he hung out at our house Owen asked if he and Jesse could play on the computer.  I said, "Sure, if Jesse's down with that"  Owen said, "Jesse, are you down with that?"  He replied, "No, but I want to do it."  hahahahahaha so we had to explain what that meant and then he used it in a sentence. "Owen I'm down with playing on the computer"  SUCCESS! I commented that his parents were going to be so happy that we taught him that *snicker* but that's part of the sisterly fun.

Just before they left on friday with Owen to go to the coast I said, "Be sure to take a picture in the shark head" (a photo op fixture at the oregon aquarium) and Jesse turned around to his mom and said, "We're going to the aquarium?!"  OOPS!  I didn't know it was a secret!  People have to tell me when things are secrets! I felt so bad but it was such a cute moment because he knew exactly what I was talking about when I said it.  I'm glad I got to see his reaction.

They dropped Owen off on Sunday and that's the last time we saw him.  He gave us hugs and kisses and Owen picked him up in a bear hug and held on to him until Jesse finally calmly asked him, "Can you please put me down now?"  We got a chuckle out of it and I'm glad Owen had that moment with him.

I could tell stories for hours (it's what I do) but I'll try to wrap it up for now.  He's such a cool kid. He has his dad's diverse taste in music (except barry manilow, that's what about?) and attention to detail and his mom's love of books, my ability to talk non-stop for hours and Jaeger's ability to remember everything about every sports team he's interested in.  The three of us kids really look nothing alike except that I've noticed that our super cheesy grin is very similar.


It's devastating and heart breaking and tragic and every other word the thesaurus might have to offer.  On it's own it's difficult but on top of everything else this family has been through (is going through) over the last couple of years it's almost unbearable.  Together we'll bare our crosses and get through it one way or another but right now it doesn't feel real.  Having friends and family around helps.  In fact I've learned how important family is and I appreciate having a close family that would do anything for each other. Both sides.  Even when we're not as close and don't see each other as often we come together when we need to.

Jesse Lyle Hernandez, he was named after his two grandfathers and is now back with them.  Whole and safe.  Saying we will miss him seems insufficient.  I believe the best way to honor the memory of a loved one is to move forward with the things you've learned from them.  The biggest thing we've learned, repeatedly this year, is not to take each other for granted and to always say I love you.

I love you.