By Margot | March 12, 2013
Three Years. I can’t believe he has been gone three whole years. We miss everything about him. I miss him for his brothers, I miss him for his dad, I miss him for me, and for all of us who knew and loved him.
Once when he and I were having a random conversation about getting hit by a bus and the fact that if it happened you’d want to know that you’d lived every day and that you’d had a good life, Sam said to me without hesitation. “I’ve had a good life, Mom.” He said it happily and cheerfully and as if the matter were settled. As if, were a bus to come along that very afternoon, he would be fine because he’d lived a good life. I hold on to those five words from my sweet boy. And I try my darndest every day to hold on to, and live up to, the spirit in which he said them.
Remember to laugh or tell a good joke in honor of Sam - he loved to laugh.
By Margot | December 17, 2012
The above are our Christmas pictures - a combination of two fantastic photographers Meredith and Deb. I also included one of Andrew’s soccer team after they won their tournament this weekend and one of Sam in his Christmas pajamas and Charlie at the podium before his piano recital telling a bit about himself.
We leave on Friday for New Mexico and after Christmas will meet Neil’s family in Colorado. The holidays seemed to have come up so quickly this year. We got our tree up last week and the boys had a great time decorating. They are so cute and always make sure to put Sam ornaments in very prominent positions on the tree. Charlie can play “Jolly Old St. Nicholas” on the piano. He signs along to it and it’s about the best thing ever. Andy is playing Jingle Bells on the guitar and has got “Lucky Man” down pretty well. Both boys finished up soccer. Charlie with an All Star Tournament and Andy with a tournament this weekend in Irvine. We drove up Saturday morning for two soccer games, drove back to San Diego so Andrew could play in his basketball tournament and then woke up Sunday morning at 5am to drive back up to Irvine for an 8am semi-final game and finals games. Andrew did six games in a day and a half and we were all wiped out (him most of all) last night after the end of the season flag football party topped off our day. Neil and I looked at each other tiredly at 5am on Sunday morning and agreed that we are crazy people . Charlie was excited because we would actually get to see the “crack of dawn” as we were driving up for the early game. I think we are all looking forward to a couple of weeks off.
Andrew did really well in his tournament this weekend. He had a hat trick in two games. He’s playing some forward now – he’d been playing midfield. I always think of him as my little boy but he is getting big. At one point in the tournament Neil and I had run to get something for him during the game and we were walking back to our chairs behind the goal and Andrew had a break away. He was coming at full speed and it was like a train coming at the one defender and the goalie. It was definitely impressive sight from that angle – probably a scary sight for the goalie .
Charlie had an end of the season “championship game” for the two teams that were supposed to go to a tournament that got rained out. It ended in penalty kicks with Charlie in the goal. He was “ice cold” as one dad said and they ended up winning by one goal he made some great saves. It was very exciting. Their All Star team didn’t do so well in their tournament because our little league sent three teams and we probably had enough All Stars for one . Charlie played well though and for the first time Andrew was dragged to one of Charlie’s tournaments instead of the other way around. He kept saying “You so owe me for this, Mom.” I had fun teasing him about that one, it was a comment that lent itself to sarcasm so much it was hard to resist. There were some serious politics going on among parents and coaches in that tournament for six and seven year-olds. As we roll into basketball season, I’m thinking I should start a crazy sports mother blog but if the boys burn out by twelve I’d be out of material.:-)
I finished my creative writing class and I really loved it. There were so many interesting people in the class and some really good writing. I remember when I was really young and read Sophie’s Choice and I thought to myself that I hadn’t been through enough pain in life to be a “real writer.” Funny how life works out, isn’t it? We are missing Sam as always this Christmas. I think of his little baby voice saying, “Tristen Lights, Mama!” and him in his Santa hat as he put up the ornaments when he was older.
I hope that everyone has a safe, family filled holiday. Thinking of those in Connecticut who are having funerals instead of Christmas.
By Margot | November 1, 2012
Neil and I are doing all right. We were able to see Dr. Sholler this fall when we ran Max’s Run (a phenomenal event that was at Qualcomm this year big kudos to the Mikulaks). It was great to see Dr. Sholler and talk with her. Our weekends are pretty much all sports, all the time. Neil is coaching Charlie’s regular team and has brought the boys really far along. He’s done such a good job. I’ve been taking a creative writing class at UCSD with my friend Lisa. It’s fun but a lot of homework. Not sure I have much of a workable story yet:-) We are going to New Mexico for Christmas again this year and then will drive up to ski in Telluride with Neil’s family. The boys are very excited about the trip.
I think that’s about all I have to report. Still missing Sam so much and really enjoying Andrew and Charlie and so proud of both of them. I keep thinking the holidays will suck less each year and they do. And they don’t. Story of our lives.
Thinking of all our friends on the East Coast.
By Margot | September 17, 2012
Quick report since I have been so lax…
Charlie boy turned six in August and we had a rock climbing party. The boys finished up summer with water sports camp which they loved and chess camp which was filled with chess champions and intimidated them. We drove up the coast to San Francisco (nobody got carsick but me ) and saw the Hearst Castle, the Monterey Bay Acquarium, The (cold) Golden Gate bridge went to a Giants game and (this is what the boys are still talking about- ha ha) had the best Sundae and milkshake ever in Ghiardelli Square. The boys started school. The world lost wonderful, amazing Jack Bartosz and NB broke our hearts again. We were able to spend some time with Hans and Lara Weberling when they came down to San Diego for a consult. We got to have chips and salsa and talk legos with Hans who is just absolutely an awesome kid. The boys were able to come to the hospital to hang out with him after school. We are hoping that his new chemo is working and getting him on to another treatment. We love Lara and Hans. Andrew’s feet have officially grown as big as mine. In late September, he will be older than Sam ever was. We had a school Day at the Bay and the sports center gave the school free paddle boards and kayaks and paddle boats. I was going in circles on the paddle board and Andrew waded out and hopped on and paddled me around because he is an expert after sports camp. Charlie has started pitching machine baseball and loves it. He’s gotten a hit every time he’s been up. Neil is coaching Charlie’s fall soccer team and they’ve lost one and won one and Charlie still wants to be a goalie even though we need him at forward. He still wants to hang out with all of Andrew’s friends. In the background to summer Andrew had what seemed like a million soccer tournaments and his regular season has started two Saturday’s ago. The team looks good this year. Saturday they played in 100 degree heat. I am room parent coordinator for their school this year. We finally cleaned out all of Sam’s stuff from the boys room and redecorated it a bit. I am speaking at a writer’s conference in Vegas in October. I am taking a creative writing class at UCSD on Monday nights with my friend Lisa. I am trying instead of keeping busy for busy’s sake and having my hair on fire at all times to actually go in a direction. Forward. So hard because we don’t want to leave Sam behind (though logically we know we never can). Neil is busy with work and was able to do a golf trip with some friends two weekends ago. Neil and I will run Max’s Run together this year on September 29th. Uncle Matt and Roscoe moved up to San Francisco for a killer new job at CBS. Uncle Paul is coming back to visit from Australia in two weeks. We are spending Christmas in New Mexico. The boys have the same teachers, are in the same grades and in the same classrooms as Sam and Andrew were the year that Sam died. Andrew has Mrs. O’Donovan (now Mrs. Lewis because she got married) and Charlie has Mrs. Barker who Andrew had at the time. It is a weird sort of deja vu. Sam’s four square at school was painted over this summer when they repaved the black top. Our principal is having the district repaint it for Sam.
Our life is hard and good and sometimes exciting and tragically sad. Here are some pics…
By Margot | August 15, 2012
A good friend of ours could use some prayers.
Cutest little Green Bay Packer fan that you will ever find!
By Margot | July 13, 2012
I can’t sleep. It’s officially Sam’s birthday 2:02am. I got out Sam’s baby book which I haven’t looked at literally in years. It’s sort of more of a journal that I wrote to Sam while I was pregnant with him that I planned on giving him when he turned eighteen. I wrote about what Neil and I were up to -went to see Tiger Woods play in the Buick open and to a Jimmy Buffet concert- a lot of things I’d forgotten about. I wrote about what was going on in the world. Exciting stuff like, “Peace talks are breaking down again in Israel” , I pasted a review of Aunt Molly’s latest book and told him about everyone in the family. But I also have little pictures of his first little ultra sounds with him giving us the thumbs up and I detailed all of the things I was doing to get ready for his arrival and assured him how excited his Dad and I were for him to arrive. I wrote about possible names if he were a girl (he was always going to be Sam if he was a boy) and all about his baby shower. Neil wrote little notes to him in there too. I laughed out loud about the fact that I spent two pages telling pre-Sam all about the Elian Gonzalez case and then wrote, “that was probably too much information.” Ha Ha.
The unexpected part and the part that was such a gift for me at 2am on Sam’s birthday, that I’d completely forgotten about, is that I kept writing letters after he was born. Not very many but there is so much of Sam’s little baby personaltiy in those letters to him. They are gushy, new mom crazy about her baby letters that make me smile and make my heart hurt. A few excerpts from baby Sam’s journal:
“Hi Sam, You were born on July 13th at 7:50 pm. I can’t believe you are six weeks old. You are sleeping now on our big cushy chair in the living room. You are so beautiful. I love to watch you sleep. You are the most perfect baby. You are beginning to smile at us now and your little smile just melts my heart.”
“Well it’s been a while since I’ve written in here. You are keeping me very busy. You are eight and a half months old and getting more and more fun every day. All you want to do is grab our hands and walk. You are actually running around our apartment hanging on to whomever’s hands are convenient. You are a very happy baby – almost a toddler- I can’t believe it. You love dogs -they make you laugh. You love being outside- a lot of times you’ll walk straight up to the door and look up so I can take you outside. You also love any kind of water, the bath, the pool, the beach. You become beside yourself with joy when we take you to the beach. You love your daddy, you always have big smiles for him when he comes home. Some of your dislikes include: sleep, you are still not sleeping through the night. You have actually done it once but it’s not a usual thing. Everyone keeps telling us to let you cry it out but we can’t bring ourselves to do it; Getting strapped into anything- you don’t like getting into your car seat, your stroller, your high chair – I think it’s because you’d much rather be moving around..”
You turned nine months last Friday and you are walking. No one in the mommies group can believe it. You are the most advanced baby in the crowd. You just want to go all the time. When you get a little more practiced at it, I’m in trouble. You are so adorable – just the cutest happiest baby. You have a smile for everyone you meet. You love animals. Maureen and I took you to the Wild Animal Park this past weekend and you fed a giraffe. You thought it was the greatest thing ever and even tried to push a guy out of the way who was taking a picture so you could see the giraffe. It was really funny – you did it very gently.”
“We love you so much Sam, Can’t imagine life with out you. You make me happy just to look at you every day – smiling, waving – you wave with both hands, walking around like a drunkard, and laughing. I could spend all day listening to that laugh.”
“You dad and I are having so much fun watching you grow. We go to bed at night laughing and talking about all of the amazing and funny things you did during the day. You have definite ideas about what you want to do and are starting to let us know it. You love to play the “magic carpet” game where you jump on a blanket and your father or I pull you around the house. You also love to ride on our back while we paly “Jurassic Park” or “Gu Gunk” You have a little rocking horse that we race you accross the floor on too. I have a feeling you are going to be a speed demon.”
Happy Birthday sweet boy. Oh we miss that laugh. We will be at your favorite park on Saturday celebrating. Andrew has a baseball game on your birthday and says he’s going to hit a good one for you. Both your brothers are gearing up for a water balloon fight in your honor.
Mom, Dad, Andrew and Mr. Baby Dude
By Margot | July 6, 2012
We’ve hit the beach a few times. Neil took the boys down last Saturday and Charlie got stung by a jellyfish. So he’s got that for a war story now. The 4th was too cold for the beach here but we had a nice day at the park and did a big hike with the Monaco boys and Luke Brunette. Then we watched the fizzled San Diego fireworks from the Monacos roof top deck. It was a good day.
We’ve been enjoying some time off from sports. Andy’s heels were hurting (we think he’s growing too fast and has something called severs so we’ve been stretching and icing) so we took a week off of soccer and he seems to be doing better. It was actually nice to have free afternoons. Both he and Charlie have been swimming a lot and doing playdates. We start next week with Andy’s summer baseball league and then the week after that he has a big soccer tournament so it’ll start to be busy soon. They both did a Scripps aquarium camp and really had fun. Andy got to disect a squid and Charlie learned all about different animal life in the oceans. I’m trying not to over camp them this year though they both have a couple of sports camp coming up and a chess camp at Balboa Park. Both boys are still so funny and active. Andrew’s loves to say, “No offense mom, but….” and then he says something like “those pants look horrible” or “this chicken tastes really bad.” Ha ha. So be careful if he’s talking to you and starts a sentence with “no offense.’ Charlie is still five going on 22. He still wants to hang with all of the big kids. He’s so darn cute these days.
Next week is Sam’s birthday and we are doing the celebration in the park on the day afterwards because the 13th is Andrew’s first baseball game. I see Sam’s friends now and they are so tall and some of their voices are so low it just knocks me out. We’ll bring some legos to the hospital that week in honor of Sam’s birthday and I thought I’d bring some water balloons to his party at the park this year since Sam loved water balloon fights.
That’s it for the summer so far that I can think of. I’ll post again on Sam’s birthday.
By Margot | May 24, 2012
We are wrapping up the school year. I can’t believe it. I put Charlie’s graduation from kindergarten on the calendar this morning and was thinkings of Sam’s. It was during his brief remission when we thought he was finished with treatment. I remember exactly what he wore and how cute he was. I remember crying through the awards ceremony that preceded it thinking of all he’d been through. I can’t believe it’s Baby Charlie’s turn. He is so not a baby anymore. He’s so cool and funny and smart. He sailed through his K/1 combo class and did a lot of the first grade stuff so we’re hoping we get a first grade teacher that will advance him along.
We have been ridiculously overscheduled this spring. The boys were both on the same flag football team because we pretended Charlie was seven and they had an Andrew quarterback/Charlie receiver touchdown that was awesome. Andrew also played spring basketball, soccer and baseball and it was crazy. Charlie was doing tball, soccer and football We had a coach unhappy with us at all times for missing games for other games. Both boys are going to take the summer off from basketball and Andrew will do baseball and soccer which is more reasonable. He’s pitching in baseball now and loves it. Baseball is inching up in the favorite sport category. His team is currently in the playoffs and they won last night by one run in the last inning with two outs, two strikes on the batter and the boy on thrid stole home. The stands were going beserk. I’m a nervous wreck for Andrew when he pitches, I can hardly sit still. Mostly I just pace around and try to yell helpful things. Neil is one of the coaches. I was in helping keep score last week and Neil had to leave a little early and my co-scorekeeper said, it’s eerily quiet without your husband out there. You’ll have to tell him I missed him.” Charlie boy plays four square with a gang of guys his age during the games. It’s pretty cute watching them all together. Sometimes Charlie walks with that Sam swagger.
Charlie is playing the piano and he brought his new piano book to school for sharing today. He loves it. Andrew is playing guitar and just starting to get into it but not much of a practicer. They are planning a band with their friend Jake on the drums. They are growing up so fast. Andrew will be in fourth grade next year. Again, I think of Sam wrapping up his third grade year. He was so happy to be able to finish off the year with his friends. It was before everything exploded but boy did he have a good spring.
Neil and I are trying to slow things down a bit this summer so that we are not so crazy busy that it goes by too fast. I say that and plan that and then of course Neil says I keep signing up for things. We are still broken. I would say less broken but there are times when we are as broken as ever so less broken is not that accurate. It’s hard to explain – maybe those times are a bit fewer though. I try only be broken in private. I spoke to a mom in the hospital last week who is about to lose her sweet son, Connor, and I just hurt so much for her. I’ve been thinking about her and Connor so much this week.
Coincidentally, I read a book that I downloaded on a whim on my kindle this week called This is How…. by Augesten Burrows. It was recommended and it was him giving life advice and he actually had a section on “How to Lose a Child” and I swear I was so angy after reading it that I would probably spit at him if I saw him. He of course has never lost a child but that didn’t stop him from giving advice on it that didn’t seem to be backed up by anything in particular but his own opinion. Dope. Anyway, sorry I got off on that tangent.
Charlie and Andrew are taking us to their open house tonight and they are guiding it, showing us what they’ve been doing in school. So I’m looking forward to that. Last week was their spring music show and they were both reluctant to go but sang so well. We found out from the dentist this week that Andrew will have some serious orthodonture in his future but we’ll wait a while for a few more teeth to come in. Will post pictures soon.
That’s about what I can think of for now. We are thinking of all of our warrior friends especially Jack Bartoz, who is now on nifurtimox, Hans Weberling (Lara your comment inspired me to update at long last) and sweet Connor.
By Margot | March 12, 2012
Two years ago today we said goodbye to our sweet funny boy and he took his last breath in our arms. Ever since we have been trying to figure out how to live this crazy life without him. I don’t know that we have figured it out very well but we are trying. Thought these pictures captured his joy for life and his “up for anything” spirit.
In his honor, and in our need to flee the day, we are in Arizona for the Padres Spring Training with the boys. As much as we try not to give this day too much power (we would rather celebrate his birthday and his happy days) it seems to overpower us anyway. I’ve written an erased several posts through tears and haven’t come up with much except that we miss Sam so much.
By Margot | February 6, 2012
I’m long overdue an update. Sorry about that. We spent Christmas in New Mexico and it was one of the only places in the nation with lots of snow so that boys got to sled and ski and snowboard. They had a great time with the horses and dogs and lots and lots of space. January has been packed with soccer and basketball. Andy got to go to the State Cup tournament with his team at and we all spent his ninth birthday in Victorville, CA for soccer. He told Charlie, “Charlie, how can you not be excited about being in a hotel for State Cup? This is the fullfillment of my lifelong dream!” I thought that was funny since he only found out about State Cup last year. We went up for two weekends in a row. Not much in Victorville but strip malls and some very cold soccer fields but the kids had a blast and this weekend especially, they played out of their minds. We did a big party at the hotel with the whole team for his birthday and he loved it. His birthday continues because we still have to celebrate with his school buddies. He’s got a posse of girls who have gotten my cell number and call and giggle into the phone all time. His team lost in a tough one Saturday afternoon. It was single elimination this weekend so were home for the Superbowl. Andy cried after the Patriots lost and Charlie bopped in after playing outside with all of the kids at the party in his Brady jersey and asked where Andrew was with a big smile on his face. Only after he saw Andrew crying did he remember he was supposed to be upset so he started to cry. It was funny. We have to think Sam is smiling today in heaven because he was a Giants fan and an Eli fan. Somehow, he could always pick the right teams. Andy is very busy with student council. I watched him today lead the pledge of allegiance and announce the winners of the bubblegum blowing contest. He has no fear getting up in front of an audience. He loves it. Both he and Charlie won their groups in Friday’s sport’s day football throwing contest and Andy’s friend Jake won his class so they were all very happy. Charlie is still Ferris Buehler every now and then. Two weeks ago the boy sitting next to him threw up everywhere. Charlie gave me the whole play by play after school and as we were leaving the teacher warned me to be careful since Charlie might not be feeling well soon. I could see the little wheels turning in Charlie’s head and sure enough he woke up saying his tummy hurt and his head hurt. I was skeptical but sure if I sent him to school he would actually be sick and I’d feel terrible if he threw up everywhere. He was perfectly fine of course and had a great day playing at home. Despite the fact that he Ferris Buehlers as much as he can get away with, he’s doing very well in school. He has buddies that he plays soccer with at recess and he’s reading at the top of his class. He’s tearing it up on the basketball court this year and starts t-ball and spring soccer this week and next week.
Early January was tough for me. After powering through Christmas, I just seemed to hit a wall. It was the month Sam was diagnosed and the month we found out things had spread to his liver. Also Patrick Chance died this January. He and Sam met in the waiting room of CHOP and he was such a great kid. As I put the date next to his name on our website I realized that when I initially put names up of kids fighting NB, almost all of them were alive and now there are only 4 out of 35 and one them did not have NB but medullo. Horrifying.
I was glad that we had so many distractions later in the month. Andy will turn older than Sam ever was this year (in eight months) and that is such a strange concept. Charlie boy is learing to write letters in school and his teacher asked the class to write a friendly letter. Charlie asked if he could write his to someone who wasn’t alive and she said of course. Charlie’s letter read as follows (we framed it) “Dear Sam, You where a great brother i miss you so much you where the best brother ever. Love, Charlie”
We also got an email from Rachael McCausland who is giving soccer balls in Sam’s name to kids in Africa. Her email to us:
Dear Hutchison Family,
I wanted to write to let you know that because of Sam 45 soccer balls were just dropped off at the post office headed for kids in refugee camps in Dadaab, Kenya. I packaged each of the balls up with a pump and the pictures of Sam. I just wanted you to know that your boy is thought of often, and he is making a difference in the world. Thanks for sharing his strength.
Keeping your family in my prayers,
Sam would get such a kick out of that. I first met Rachael at Max’s Run a couple of years ago where she came up to me and showed me pictures of kids in Africa holding soccer balls and a picture of Sam. I was so touched. Thank you Rachael.
There is also a team in our little PB rec league that is putting “Get in the Game” on their jerseys in honor of Sam. Their coach was one of his last basketball coaches. Something else he would really get a kick out of.
Neil is going to coach Charlie’s t-ball team and Andy’s first live pitch team this Spring so with that and work he will be busy. I’ll assist as much as possible.
My brother was in town from Australia for a trade show in New York. He was able to come down and spend a weekend with all of us which was great and then last Friday I drove up to LA and he and I saw a play based on Aunt Molly. Kathleen Turner played Molly and we got to meet her and talk to her after the show. It was a lot of fun and great to spend some time with my brother.
That’s about it for our update. Will try to update more often.