Shane: I went to school that day and Teagan went to the hospital. It was about 10 in the morning and they called the school. One of our family friends picked me up.
Teagan: They were hoping to get Shane before it happened. I was in the room when it happened. If I remember correctly, my mom and dad were in the room as well. She just stopped breathing. We were supposed to shuffle her pillow whenever that happened, so we called and the nurse quickly ran into the room. I remember, I just glanced over at the clock and it was 11:04 am. The nurse shuffled her pillow, but she didn’t breathe again. She was gone. Shane and my older sister Emma were on their way. They arrived just after the fact and I remember that was the first time I ever saw my dad cry.
We didn’t leave that room for hours. We just hung out there. We stayed there for six hours. We didn’t know what to do. They let us. They let us stay there and sit with her. The nurses took away the machine. We just stayed there for a while, just kind of letting it all soak in.
Teagan: Nothing really felt real. It took a long time. For months after, we would turn on the TV in the mornings, but would turn it down low, so we wouldn’t wake her up. Then we’d think, “Wait a second, I don’t need to turn it down anymore.” Julia and I shared a room, so I would just look at her bed. We never really got rid of all her stuff, so years later, I will still see some of her. It never really sets in and it really never goes away.
People, when they find out, immediately back off. They assume that we don’t want to talk about it or talk about her. And some people deal with grief that way. In our family, we like to continuously remember her. We still celebrate her birthday every year. She would have been 13 this month. We release wish lanterns and have a party, inviting all of her friends. We never stop remembering. We have a lot of great memories with her."
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, do something meaningful today to support families affected by childhood cancer: http://www.kidscancercare.ab.ca.