January 2009


January 27th 2009I won’t give you the numbers, but they are still always present in my head.  I am so afraid.  I read what you all write, and I don’t know how to live up to all the expectaions that you say Jacquie has for me.  I KNOW what she would want but I can’t do it, I can’t do it without her.  I KNOW what I am supposed to be doing to move forward but I am stuck.  I feel as though nothing is real, it can’t be.  After all this time, I am still wating for her to be on the other end of the line when my phone rings.  It is so hard to know that she will never call me again.  I am still wating for her to ask me to go shopping with her.  The new Vera Bradley catalog came to the house yesterday, one for me and one for Jacquie.  How can it be that we won’t go to The Perfect Gift and spend money on new Veras that we really shouldn’t be buying.  How can this be, I can’t understand it.  The emptiness grows as time goes on.  Torey and TJ fill their special places in my heart, as do all the wonderful family and friends we are blessed with.  But what am I supposed to do with the part of me that only Jacquie can fill.  My memories aren’t enough right now.  I just don’t understand how this could have happened to her.  All along, I kept believing that there was no way she wouldn’t make it through this.  How do parents survive this?  Today, I just wanted to go back to bed and be in her room with her Tink things, her clothes, her school things, her photos of all the special people and times in her life,- everything that is Jacquie.  So I did.  And as I laid on her bed, the need to touch her was so strong that all I could do was cry. And cry.  And cry.  This is my life, my daughter is gone from here.  And even though many of you say she is still with me, she isn’t HERE.  So I am left having to be satisfied with knowing she is waiting for me to be with her again someday.  “A daughter needs a mom to teach her that she is responsible for her own happiness.”  I know Jacquie learned that lesson, and now she will have to teach it to me again.  She knew that you can’t count on others to make your life what you want it to be.  That you need to find your own way to make your life be filled with hopes and dreams come true.  Jacquie knew that being happy took a lot of work.  We would talk about it so often, and I truly believe that Jacquie understood this better than many adults.  Jacquie also knew that making others happy would make her happy, and she did that so well.  I believe that there are many people in this world who remember ways that Jacquie made their life a little happier.  I hope these people try to pass some of this happiness on to someone else who needs it, Jacquie would be proud to know that they did. My Wonderful Daughter, Jacquie.  As always, I miss you more than words can say.  Each day I  struggle to find some way to honor you and your memory, and I get so mad that I have to do that.  I shouldn’t have to be honoring your memory, but you, here, with us.  I will keep trying, if you keep helping me.  Don’t leave me.  Don’t go away forever.  I will love you forever and ever and always, my precious Jacqueline Elisabth.  Love, your mom 


January 22nd 2009 – 138 days, almost 20 weeks.  How can it be that short a time- it’s been forever.  Writing is getting harder, I struggle to put what is in my heart into words.  I found a special saying in a book that Jacquie gave me about “Wonderful Mothers” and I thought I would share it with all the wonderful mothers who read this web site and who send message of hope and strength and courage to me when mine is non-existant. It is titled “Mothers and Daughters Share a Special Bond of Love”, “The relationship between a mother and a daughter is comprised of a very deep understanding of and support for each other.  It is based on an enormous amount of emotion and love.  There is no other relationship in the world where two women are so much like one.”  This was written by Susan Polis Schutz.   I BELIEVE that this is such a true statement, the depth of love and understanding between a mom and her daughter is limitless. It is also endless. It will go on forever.  My love for both of my children will never end, it will only grow stronger.  The place they hold in my heart will never be filled by anyone or anything else.  I will live the rest of my life trying to show them how much I love them and making sure they know that they ARE my heart. To My Jacquie, I remain at a loss for words, as I have all day long.  I have tried to talk to you but all I do is cry.  I want to feel my arms around you and I want to feel you hug me back.  I will sing to you again tomorrow morning and I hope you will give me the strength I need to make the words in my heart come out and be spoken.  I love you, my daughter, forever and ever, and always.  Love, your mom 

 January 18th 2009It seems that the days are getting harder, for all of us.  I don’t know why, but her absence is so much harder to accept now, and I worry about how much worse it will get.  I know all the words that we’ve been told to try to make it better, but none of those words will bring Jacquie back, and none of those words will fill the ever-widening holes in our hearts.  I’m really wishing I didn’t have to leave the house anymore.  I am so tired of hearing the words “have a nice/good day.”  I haven’t had a good day since Sept. 6th, 2008.  Yes, I know that “someday” I will have them again, that’s what I’ve been told.  But only a parent who has lost a child can understand that a major part of us dies when your child is gone.  The part of me that has died will stay that way until I am with her again.  I am so blessed for TJ and Torey, they have kept me going.  If it weren’t for them,  I would have gladly gone to bed after Jacquie’s funeral and stayed there forever.  And even though I still feel that way, I can’t because of them.  The more we do with the foundation, the more I resent it.  I resent the reason for it, that we would never have to have started it if Jacquie hadn’t gotten sick.  And I am sorry, but right now I resent “the survivors” because we all BELIEVED so much that Jacquie could and would be one of them.  I resent “God’s plan” that I have heard about, because Jacquie had plans too, we all did.  I resent that Jacquie wasn’t given a choice to live or die, the way people who abuse drugs or alcohol are.  I am so sorry to feel this way but I do and I can’t change it right now. I am so sorry, Jacquie, that I am  disappointing you. “A daughter needs a mom to show her how to love someone with all her heart.”  This was one thing I never had to teach Jacquie.  She was born being able to love with her whole heart.  I think that Jacquie actually taught me, and others that lesson. She loved her family so very much.  Oh, how she loved to spend time with everyone at family parties, and get-togethers.  Jacquie loved her friends too.  I know that she felt that her friends were the best anyone could ever ask for.  I know she sees knowhow true that is.  Jacquie believed that true friendship was a gift, and felt that she had more gifts than anyone.  I wish Jacquie was here to keep loving us.  I wish she was here so we could keep loving her, not from afar, but HERE.  I wish I could be with my Jacquie so she could show me how to love now that she is gone. My Jacquie, I don’t know how to tell you how much I miss you and need you and love you.  You are one of the bight lights in my life, and you always will be.  But I wish you could be here with dad and TJ, my other lights, because the lights don’t shine as bightly anymore.  Don’t leave me here alone.  Stay with me in my heart and in my dreams.  Let me see your smile and hear your laugh.  Let me know you miss us too.  Let me know you are waiting for the day when we are all together agan.  I love you my Jacquie, and I will forever and ever and always. Love, your mom


January 14th 2009 – 130 days. I tried to stop counting but the numbers keep flashing in my head almost constantly.  I think my head and my heart have trouble accepting that we have been without Jacquie for all that time.  Last night we were down at Roswell Park for the check presentation to Jacquie’s Dr. Wang.  The $10,000.00 donation to Dr. Wang was made possible by Mary Alice Dietz and her daughter, Ali, and their incredible effort to make the “Dancer’s Give Back” benefit, which was held last October, such a huge success.  The owners and dancers from 15 area dance studios raised money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and for The Jacquie Hirsch For A.L.L. Foundation.  The hard work that went into planning and holding the benefit resulted in Jacquie’s foundation being able to provide Dr. Wang with the funds so desparately needed to continue her research, centering on Jacquie’s unique type of leukemia.  Someday, when there is no more leukemia, and no other parents have to suffer the loss of a child because of it, the DGB will be able to proudly say “We were part of the cure”.  Thank you to our families, friends, Mary Alice, Ali, and  the dancers who came to Roswell to be part of the ceremony.  For those of you who would like to see the TV news report, click here.  Yes, Jacquie IS special enough to rate having the news cover her story!  Thank you to Roswell for making the ceremony as special as it should be for Jacquie.  And to Dr. Wang, we will continue to dedicate ourselves and the foundation to raising awareness and funds for you, so that you will have the most we can give you to find the cure Jacquie dreamed of. To Sue and her family, I know now what each anniversary means to you, although I always imagined what it was like, I could not have ever known the pain and hurt that each January 13th brings to you.  I am sorry that you are hurting and I wish I could make it go away for you.  Mary Ann, feel better, you are in our prayers. To the Stiokas family, our sincerest sympathies on the loss of you grandmother. I wish I could take your pain away, it seems I can’t do much to help anyone through their loss and time of grief.  But I know firsthand that there are no words and there are no actions that can change the hurt or make the pain go away.  But family and friends make it bearable, and sometimes that is all we can hope for. “A daughter needs a mom to read to her”.  I have been reading a lot lately, books and booklets that people have given us to help find a way to dael with our grief.  As I read them, I sometimes find myself reading outloud, as if I want Jacquie to hear the words.  I read to Jax and TJ all the time when they were little.  I love to read and hoped the would too.  I knew that it would be important for them to read well to do well in school.  That didn’t quite work out the way I planned.  When they were older, neither enjoyed reading, but they did ok in school, so I guess it wasn’t wasted time.  But I kept all their books.  From the day they were born they recieved books as gifts and I read them all to them.  The had their favorites that they had memorized and knew all the words to, so that if I made a mistake, they would correct me.  I dreamed of the days when I would read their books to their children.  Jacquie, I will not ever be able to read your books to your children.  But I will keep your books and someday, I hope to read them to TJ’s children.  And before I read to them, I will tell them a story about their Aunt Jacquie, who is an Angel now.  I will tell them how special she is and that she wants them to enjoy the books the way she did, and she wants them to know how important learning to read is.  And I will tell them that if their Aunt Jacquie were still here with us, she would love nothing more than to sit down with them and read them a story. Jacquie, just as I still talk to you, I will continue to read to you.  I sometimes live in my little world of “make believe”, where you are still here, and we can do things together.  As much as my singing was not such a great thing, I know how much you loved to be read to when you were little.  So, we will read.  Jacquie, I am so sorry for the things that we will never do again, and the plans that we talked about that we will never be able to finish.  Not a day goes by that I ask “Why not me, why did you have to take Jacquie?”.  I miss you, my darling daughter, the pain and the tears continue.  But we are all still fighting your fight and we will not let you down.  You have wonderful family and friends helping us, and we will find a way to make your dream come true.  I will love you forever and ever, and always Jacquie.  Love, mom


January 10th 2009 Another Saturday. Today I will not give you numbers that are sad.  I will tell all of you who supported the First Annual Jacquie Hirsch For A.L.L. Foundation Vera Bradley Party, how wonderful you are.  I will tell you all that you are incredible, and how honored we are that you supported Jacquie”s memory and her life by coming to The Perfect Gift for her fundraiser.  And, I will tell you that you raised $1,100.00 for her foundation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  You are awesome, and Jacquie is so very proud of you.  We are all amazed at the overwhelming respnse and the number of people who shopped for Jacquie.  Debbie, Mary Ellen and their staff at The Perfect Gift are so pleased.  We already have a tentative date for this year’s party and as soon as we confirm it, we will let you know so that you can put it on  your calender.  Our goal this year is to raise $1,300.00.  I know we can do it, I have to BELIEVE we will.  The photo album and the notebook with all the information and Vera stories/letters was given to  Debbie on Thursday.  She will pass it on to Maureen, the Vera representative, who will deliver it to the company presidents when she meets with them next week.  The stories/letters were just wonderful.  Some made me laugh, some made me cry, and some made me do both.  But each one of them shared a part of Jacquie’s life.  Torey, T.J. and I are grateful to all of you who took time out of your busy lives to send us a special memory or thought of Jacquie.  I made copies of all the stories and I will make our own Vera notebook. Whether or not Vera Bradley is able to honor Jacquie or not, you have all already honored her more than we will every be able to thank you for.  Your continued support and love is a gift, one that we all need so much.  I don’t know where we would be without our family and friends.  It scares me to think about having to go through this without you next to us, holding our hands, sharing your thoughts and dreams of Jacquie, and always knowing the right words to say when we need to hear them most. Thank you. Please say a prayer for Jack, so that he goes into remission and is able to have his bone marrow transplant. Good Luck to our 2 marathon runners- Marrietta and Sarah, who are doing the Disney marathons today and tomorrow.  We are so proud of them!! And now, goodnight to my own Angel, my darling Jacquie.  Every morning, when my eyes open, I pray you will be next to me.  And every night when I close my eyes, I pray you will visit me in my dreams.  Please stay close to me, don’t leave me, I need you near me to help me.  I love you, Jacquie. “A mother’s heart is always with her children”. My heart will always be yours, it will always be your home.  There is no place where you will ever be, that you will be more loved than you are with me.  I will love you forever and ever and always, my child.  Love, mom


January 9th 2009 – This is the third day in a row that I have sat down at this computer and tried to write.  The last two days, I couldn’t make myself type the words I was feeling.  I am determined today to do this, no matter how long it takes.  I can’t even figure out why I’m having such a difficult time, everything just seems to be getting so much harder now.  I think that as time goes on, I am forced to know that our lives will always have an empty chair, and extra place setting, and only one back seat driver in the car.  How is it that possible?  How is it that we, and so many others families, are forced to live without a child or sibling?  How do people do it?  I don’t know because I feel as though all I am doing is going through the motions of living, but not really living.  At the end of the day, my first thought is ” At least today is over”.  Tomorrow will be another number day, 18 weeks, 126 days.  When people ask “how arer you doing?’ I stop to think, because I don’t even know what I’m doing, let alone how I am doing.  I guess my standard answer seems to be “well, I’m not still in bed”.  For now, getting up and getting through the day will have to be enough.  The need to  have Jacquie back where she belongs, with us, is still great.  I am getting tired of hearing that “God needed her more than we did, so he took her before us”.  I’m willing to bet that not many parents who have lost a precious child would be ok with that statement.  And I don’t think anyone should tell me how much I needed Jacquie.  Having an “Angel in Heaven” doesn’t make up for not having our “Angel on Earth” here with us.  “A daughter needs a mom to sing her to sleep”.  When T.J. and Jacquie were little, and less critical about my vocal talents, I sang to them a lot.  Many different songs that my mom sang to us when we were little.  As I have mentioned, I started singing to Jacquie again, when she became sick.  And I sang to her when she was awake and could laugh and tell me to stop, and I sang to her when she was not conscious and couldn’t tell me to stop.  And I sang to her as she left us, and I sang to her when she was finally pain free on September 6th.  And I still sing to her now.  Every morning when I wake up, I come downstairs to the beautiful white jewelry-type box that holds Jacquie’s ashes, and I sing to her.  And I hold the box and I rock her.  And I tell her how much I love her, and that someday I will sing to her and be holding her hand again.  And I tell her that I am awaiting the day that she tell me that I am not a very good singer, but she loves me anyway.  This is all I can do for now.  I will write again tomorrow and tell you about Vera Bradley.  For now, I want to sleep.
My Jaquie, my precious daughter- please stay in my heart and my mind, keep me moving forward, keep helping me through each day.  Know that I love you, with all my heart and all my soul.  Dad, T.J. and I will never be the same without you, and although we are trying our best, we will try a little harder tomorrow- just as you did everyday that you fought for your life.  I will love you forever and ever and always.   Love, your mom


January 3rd 2009 – 17 weeks today.  How is it possible that so much time has passed but the pain remains so fresh and sharp?  Each morning when I wake up I am counting the hours until I can go back to bed, when I can pretend that nothing has changed.  I can pretend that Jacquie will call me the next day and give me an update of the night before.  She will tell me stories that make me laugh, she wil tell me things that make me worry, but mostly, she will tell me what is on her mind and in her heart.  She will share with me, her love for life, her problems, her joys and her disappointments.  She will let me know what her plans for the day are, and the she’ll ask me what mine are.  And if I’m really lucky, she might ask me for my opinion or my advice.  If I am super lucky, she might think it’s good advice and take it.  In my mind I can hear her talking to me, I can hear her voice and how she sounds, I can hear hear laugh that makes me laugh with her.  I can even hear what her whine sounds like and I miss it so much.  I’m afraid that as time passes I won’t remember what she sounds like and it scares me.  I need so badly for her to talk to me like she used to, to hear her voice outloud.  I need to have Jacquie here with me.
“A daughter needs a mom because there are some things that a dad just can’t handle.”  Yesterday was Torey’s birthday.  I know it was not a “happy” one because his daughter was not here to share it with him.  Jacquie thought Torey was the best dad any daughter could ever have, and even though there were some things he couldn’t handle, he did handle more than most dads.  Jacquie had a very special relationship with Torey and she treasured her time spent with him doing special things, like rides on the motorcycle and going to the movies to see a new comedy.  Jacquie shared a lot with Torey, I think more than most girls share with their dads, and yes, she even asked for his advice and opinion sometimes.  Anyone who has ever seen the incredible amount of photos in our home can see how much time the two of them spent together and how close they were.  Jacquie’s love for her dad was shown in so many ways and she was so proud that he was her dad.  So Torey, although your Jacquie wasn’t physically next to you yesterday when we lit the candle on your cupcake, I know she was here watching you and helping you blow out the candle, just like always.  And, she wants you to know that her love for you will never die. She will love you forever and always.  My Precious Daughter Jacquie, as each day goes by, I miss you more.  My heart continues to break and the tears continue to fall, without you here.  There are days when I’m not sure that I can keep missing you so badly and not need to be with you.  I keep moving forward because I have no choice, but my wish for 2009 is to see you again.  With all my love, heart and soul forever and always, love your mom.