Monday, December 30, 2013

Bubble Baths and Turtle Space

Solly has been taking a lot of bubble baths. I'm spending a lot more time with him than I have in a long time, and he is a big fan of the bubble baths. Sam loved baths too.

I get to sit next to Sam's flowered shower curtain while Solly takes a bath.
I think about all the baths I sat through for Sam.
I think about all the bathtimes I might not have appreciated. Did I rush him? Did I rush through? Did I fully appreciate and enjoy each moment? I'm sure I often said, "hurry up" or "are you done yet?" Sam's last bath was in Orlando. He was skin and bones, and it hurt me to watch him climb in and out of the tub. But I sat with him and didn't rush him and I tried not to cry.

So there are bubble baths. They are like a balm to the soul, really.

Maybe you know that Sammy had a pet turtle.
His name is Speedy. He joined our family last year, right after Sam's treatment was complete.
I'm not a pet person. Turtles are a lot of work. At least they don't need to be walked on freezing cold mornings. But it's still a lot of work. Sam loved having a pet turtle. So it was okay.

In the few weeks at home between returning from RonMac and Sam's relapse, he spent a lot of time sitting in front of Speedy's habitat, trying to figure out what would get the turtle's attention. But for the most part, he's a turtle. So he didn't respond. Sam didn't stop trying. He was sure that Speedy likes red Legos better than blue ones. (Sam wasn't allowed to touch him, something crazy about a compromised immune system.)

Speedy went to a new home this week. No one really loved him here like Sammy did. Each morning, when I fed him his organic spring mix, I cried a little. I was ready, right away, to find Speedy a new home. He wasn't a sweet reminder, like the shower curtain. His presence was difficult and painful...the poor little creature.

I'm grateful to our friends (one of whom was a special pal to Sammy, so it's even better) who have given Speedy a new home, a home that already has a fish tank and a lot of love for a little turtle who just likes his purple lettuce leaves and (probably) doesn't know that his previous BFF has died.

But we know.
Speedy's space 
There's an empty space in our living room where Speedy once dwelled.
It's nothing compared to the empty space in our lives....


  1. I haven't commented until now but have read your blog from beginning to end these past few days. I am so so sorry for what has happened to you, your family and to Sam. What a divine little boy - and what a beautiful family you have.

    This was such a beautiful entry. Solly is such a handsome boy and I can see Sam in his features.

    I wish you nothing but healing and peace as you find your way to a new normal.

    God bless you and your family x

  2. thank you for continuing to share your thoughts and family experiences with us. I really feel just by getting out of bed, and taking care of your family and children takes tremendous courage and strenghth. wishing you all the best.

  3. When I saw the photo of Sam at the bottom of your post my throat choked up with tears.

    Reading your journey, I keep resolving to try to be a better mom to our kid. I don't know if I'm succeeding, but I'm trying, and I think of Sam and of you every time I consciously stop myself from snapping at him.

    Sending love to you and Solly.

  4. YOUR writing is a balm to my soul; grieving for all the children lost to us. You are in my heart. Lisa Mer

  5. Thank you. My life is about moving kids from moment to moment and place to place with purpose and efficiency. I'm determined to let them enjoy their bubble baths (or equivalent) for as long as they can.

  6. Phyl, my heart still breaks for you. Know how loved you are and that Sam is thought of all over the world. Letting Solly stay in the bath till he's a pruney toddler will likely be good for everyone from time to time :) As always, love to you as you relearn how to live. xo

  7. The bubble baths are working for me, too! We used to "rescue" turtles from country roads they were trying to cross; sometimes we'd have a yard-full, and the amazing thing was how they actually seemed to have individual personalities. Speedy had a good friend! I feel like I know him, too.