2/27/96 - 3/12/13
Austin always said he was NOT normal. Austin was a fighter from the very beginning...it took me 7 months to get pregnant with him with one very difficult prior miscarriage. Still, HE was the baby I was supposed to have and raise.
Though difficult from the very beginning with a nine weeks early labor, agonizing bed rest, and a due date three weeks late, He finally entered this world and was indeed, the most perfect little guy.
From the get go, Austin was easy going and laid back. He could fall asleep anywhere and even fell asleep under my chair as a toddler when I was scrapbooking at a friend’s house. Austin was a VERY happy kid.
He might not have been the most outgoing when he was little; in fact, he was downright shy and would hide behind my legs when people were around. At age 2, we had our first ER experience of what would prove to be MANY. He fell off a bar stool at his babysitter’s house and she had to get me out of work to take him for stitches. At the time, it seemed a traumatic experience. Many more stitches and broken bones followed in subsequent years, but none prepared me for what was to come.
Austin had an arm like none other from a very early age...from the time he could walk he was throwing balls. I always thought he would be a professional ball player. His love of sports never really developed, but he was happy!
Austin was the kid who was ALWAYS happy. I’m sure he had his moments; I just don’t really remember them. I have so many photos of him smiling that huge beautiful smile.
It seemed he was ALWAYS smiling.
Some of our favorite memories are of him learning how to ride his dirt bike...the little stinker was soon riding faster and jumping farther than me. He LOVED that dirt bike.
Austin loved all kinds of things...seafood, fishing, knives and swords, his coin collections, camping, riding horses, dirt biking, swords, gladiators, sharpie markers, video games, his dog, Zhang, our chihuahua Lilli, shooting guns, his hunter’s safety license, his leather wallet from the White House, the list goes on and on. HE was a cool kid. He had HUGE dreams...his biggest were being in the Army (although he never could put into words why exactly), Going to Rome to stand in the Coloseum, and owning a blue ’72 Chevelle. 2 out of 3 isn’t bad, I guess. He was an honory Sergeant, so I guess that counts, too.
The last 3 years are such a blur, although I remember every moment. I remember the first day we went to Skyridge hospital and they told us they were sending us to Presbyterian St. Lukes Medical Center, because they had the kind of special oncologists we would need. We drove out of the parking lot and I asked him if he was worried. He asked me why and I told him they said he could have cancer. He turned on his ipod, turned it full blast so I could hear and he said, “here, listen and do it.” He played Don’t worry be happy.
I said earlier that he was difficult from birth...he really only did things the hard way during cancer. He had one of the most difficult forms of cancer, in the most difficult place to treat.
I could go on and on about our last three years, but basically, you need to know this... Austin was so brave and strong, and he didn’t want anyone to cry for him.
A wise friend and mentor told me a year or two ago that he and I signed a contract before we came to this life. He planned this in order to learn something and I agreed to be here to help him and support him. Months later, I told him that and he said, “nope. I don’t think so.” He said, “I think I came here to help YOU learn.”
This is how I have made it through the last year. If he hadn’t gotten cancer, we wouldn’t have had the wonderful experiences we have had and we wouldn’t have met the people we have met. Yes, we have been to Rome, to Vegas for super cross race, DC to meet the Dali Lama, we started Wings of Hope and Austin’s Rollin’ Dreams and so many more great experiences, but they will never replace my child.
In my grief, I have come to believe that Austin through his life and death is guiding me on, and helping me to touch the lives of many with the dreams he and I created together.
For this I am grateful.
I have heard so many beautiful stories about my son whom I cherished so much and how he affected people’s lives.
Even though I miss him more than my heart can bear, I am blessed to have had the chance to be his mom.