August 15, 2015
Today is day worth celebrating, worth remembering, a day full of so many emotions. I was awake at 1:30 a.m. So awake, I got up grabbed the computer, but never opened it. Instead I just sat quietly in the dark in our family room for about an hour and then returned to bed. Upon waking my first thought was that I was meeting another Mother like me today for the first time, a Cancer Mom. I then thought a long time about Tristin Greer and his family. Today would have been Tristin’s 19th Birthday. Happy Birthday Tristin! Nothing will every change the fact that today 19 years ago was the beginning of Tristin’s beautiful life that touched so many of us, he will never be forgotten.
Bailey joined me on my trip to North Chattanooga to meet my new friend. I should have planned better. Due to the Memorial service at the UTC Arena for our local fallen Heroes and the arrival of Vice President, Joe Biden our timing caused us to sit in traffic and caused us to be 40 minutes late to our meeting.
We finally arrived at our destination and my new friend, Tonya Slatton and her 17 year old daughter, Amber were waiting. Amber has Stage 4 undifferentiated Abdominal Sarcoma. I had the honor of spending some brief time with both of them. They will be leaving on a new journey in treatment that will take them to M.D. Anderson in Houston, Texas and The Christian Bryant Foundation offered some assistance. I am always a little nervous about meeting a new family. Primarily, because Christian’s outcome was not a survivor story. We talked for a bit, I made a phone call to verify and help clarify some information related to some of the assistance The Christian Bryant Foundation is giving. Amber, an incredibly beautiful girl decided to get back in the car while her Mother and I were talking...Standing with Amber today, I could not help but see Christian. She looked beautiful...she and Christian do not look a like, but there are similarities and to describe these would just be too personal for me. I enjoyed meeting my new friend, Tonya and sharing a couple of hugs, lots of words, hearing fears...of course, I am the one that cried (I am sure that is why Bailey stayed in the car for a bit - she knew I would cry). I am very emotional and for me, tears flow easily. This Mom and I also talked about the word, STRONG - honestly, I do not like to be referred to as strong. But today, I decided that it’s really okay. I am STRONG! Christian was STRONG, Chris is STRONG and Bailey is STRONG. Tonya and Amber Slatton are STRONG! I invite you all to pray for Amber and Tonya as they embark on a journey far from home. They fly to Texas Monday and will be overwhelmed immediately with consultations and appointments to hopefully prepare for surgery and a clinical trial. Bailey did get out of the car in time to meet Tonya.
Bailey and I had not eaten at all yet and it was rapidly approaching 2 p.m. - We did some shopping in Whole Foods. As we were leaving Whole Food, the Memorial Service was starting on the radio. I tried changing stations, because emotionally, I knew I was on the brink of a big sobbing cry. No luck with radio stations - we had a very quick lunch because I was not willing to get stuck in traffic again. We got in the car just as the Memorial Service was starting. I cry everytime I hear the National Anthemn, but kept it together today. Bailey knows my cry face, she knows when its coming and I was trying very hard to just listen. We listened to the service through Vice President, Joe Biden’s address. When he first started, I thought, he is not prepared, he does not have this together. I quickly realized that at first, he was just emotional, he delivered a powerful speech. He knows loss and I felt like the longer I listened that he was trying to offer some encourgement to the families without focusing on his loss. His first wife and young daugter were killed in a tragic car accident in 1972 and in 2015, one of his sons that survived that crash died from cancer. After his speech I did not hear the rest of the service. I needed some time alone. I took a brief nap and then decided to write. I have some writings that are due for a publication, but I am having trouble with that because I tend to be very wordy. So, then I wanted to write about my day. The best part of my day has been morning coffee time with Chris, my time with Bailey, my visit with Tonya and Amber Slatton and some text with Jason Greer. As always, Love Deeply, Forgive Often and Find your Blessings! - Robyn Bryant