It’s kind of like a multi-car pile-up.

It’s kind of like a multi-car pile-up.

These milestones are so painful. And to have them piled up against each other, like cars on Highway 99 in Tule fog, is unbearable.

It started with the one-month anniversary of Sam’s death on November 20th, quickly followed by John’s birthday on the 22nd. Then we had the weekend to breathe before we took our first roadtrip without Little Guy on Monday so the man-child could see Stanford. Two days later Thanksgiving piggy backed on Chanukah.

I had all day Tuesday and Wednesday to decorate for Chanukah, so naturally I got started around 3 o’clock on Wednesday afternoon, racing the sun to get things set up. When it came down to candle-lighting on that first night, the teens were on board with celebrating. If they want to observe Chanukah, then I will too, I decided. I enjoyed their enjoyment. I had purchased a couple of presents for them on a shopping trip a few weeks ago, so I’m not a total slacker. Watching them open presents, and light their menorahs (Abby has taken it upon herself to be the lighter of Sam’s menorah) gives me pleasure.

I like the brevity of Chanukah. Yes, I know it’s 8 nights, but I mean I like that each night the time dedicated to celebration can be kept quite short. All you need to do is light candles, say prayers, give gifts, and while the candles burn (they are thankfully almost as small as birthday candles, so it takes about 20 minutes)-do no work. We don’t need a big family dinner every night surrounding the candle-lighting, and the whole day does not revolve around Chanukah. So right now, when all I can think of is, “Sam should be here.” “Sam should be lighting his menorah.” “What would Sam have asked for Chanukah this year?” At least the torture is short.

So what are the Holidays like for the bereaved? I can only tell you how it is for me. There’s a lot (can I say shit-ton?) of anticipation. The days before John’s birthday, Chanukah, and Thanksgiving have been almost sadder than the actual days. I cry a lot. It gets to the point where my head hurts. I think about what was, what should’ve been, what might’ve been, and what is. I feel better when I’m walking, but strangely enough yoga brings more tears. I don’t feel like doing anything, but I distract myself with mundane household tasks to get a break from the grief. I spend far too much time on Facebook, Twitter, and email, promoting the cause-sharing events, asking for donations, inviting people to “like” a page in hopes more eyes will see it (increase awareness=raise money=research=FIND A CURE).

People are starting to ask, “What are your plans for going back to work?” What? This IS my work right now. I have to make sure Ben and Abby are OK. My straight A students are each failing one class, and getting C’s and D’s in others. They need me. They need me in the middle of the day still. I get texts that say, “Mommy, I can’t find a place to get away from all the people.” I will not be unavailable to them. The Cause is my work as well. All this Sharing, Inviting, and Tweeting needs to be backed up with organized events and fundraisers for people to Share, Invite, and Tweet about. I can no longer stand by and let my friends do all of the work. It’s time to get cracking.

So I’ve got a couple of job-things to do right now. I’m going to share three things with you that you can help out with by Sharing, Tweeting, and Blogging about-and if you can afford to-donate. Here we go:

1. There’s an online raffle for my Central Coast friends. If you aren’t a local, you can still share and donate. You can get there through Facebook: or You buy raffle tickets by selecting “Donate,” and noting “raffle” in the comments. Event ends December 18th. All money raised goes to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.

2. Through December 31st, my friend, Sheri Murphy, is selling bags and accessories through Mixed Bag Designs. Sheri will not make any money off of these sales, all proceeds are going to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.

3. Finally, and this is so exciting, Chris Beland will be contributing to a compilation CD being made by The Ronan Thompson Foundation to benefit childhood cancer research and support. The CD is called Rock for Ronan, and you can get in on this by donating now, here. And if you haven’t already “Liked” Chris on Facebook, please take care of that.

That is all. Now get back to work.

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