We met this family at a Kids & Art art creation day at Pixar, almost 4 years ago. And it so happens that the dad and Apurva went to college together in India... small world right?
We stayed in touch with the family over the years while their son and Amaey went in and out of treatments and relapse. In April 2011, when we found out that Amaey needed a bone marrow transplant apparently so did the other child. When our friends were hosting Bone Marrow camps they were looking for donors for both the boys.
Amaey found a 10-10 match and had his transplant in July and the other child had a double cord blood transplant in August. Amaey's cancer never left him, it came back after his transplant and he passed away September 2011, the other child got discharged from the hospital and his cancer was gone!
I kept in touch with the mom. Kept checking in once in a while. I can see that she must have felt odd to contact me more often because of my loss but she still did check-in to see how I was doing.
On Jan 10th as I was driving Apurva to the airport I saw her name on my cell... I would not have picked it up because I was driving and I was getting late for the airport but something made me... I picked up the phone and she said Purvi.... and my heart stopped. I asked her if everything was ok. NO IT WASN'T. Her son passed away the night before in the hospital from GVHD complications. I couldn't see the road anymore. I screamed so loud... I was so upset. WHY WHY WHY.
When I went to meet her the next day she asked me a question... does it get better? I did not know how to answer that question. I did not say anything.
Now that I have had a chance to think about that question this is what I have to say-
Dear friend and fellow mother, the first of everything will be hard. First year in itself is very hard, each month when that date rolls in, it will be very hard but something changes after the first anniversary. The loss, the missing, the grieving becomes more part of you. Now you are not grieving with the world but grieving inside, by yourself. Because everyone else has moved on and they are not sure if they should bring the topic out and if they do will it hurt you.
Yes you are able to breathe a little better and you might not end up crying at everything but you still won't know why you suddenly teared up.
Does it get any easier? I can't honestly say yes, yet. Because I miss him so much of late. When I light his candle every morning, yes we still do that, I seem to be having much longer conversations. I miss him because I will soon be giving out the 2nd Amaey Shah Passion for Science Award. I miss him because I'm preparing for a middle school graduation when I should have also be planning a 5th grade graduation. I miss him because I gave away the red sofa where I snuggled with him. I miss him because... I just miss him.
Does it get any easier? In some ways, yes. I can see his friends and feel love and not pain. I can spend time doing things that he used to like. I can cook things that he loved. I'm willing to pick myself up and ask, why am I here.. what should I be doing next.