He asked if I had a sense of ‘pride in a weird way,’ for
getting through the last year and a half. ‘Pride’- it was an interesting choice
of word. The thought had never crossed
my mind.


I told him I don’t read my posts a second time, and I don’t.
They go up on the website and then I wait for how many followers I lose.
Expressing my opinion on genetic screening- boom, 50 gone. Expressing my anger
towards God- boom, 150 gone just like that. Sharing my deepest feelings of
considering an abortion during the most difficult, confusing, and overwhelming time
of my life- boom, 200 people gone and wishing me the ‘ability to heal’ as they
look for a new mom to follow- a less honest one for sure. I’m not proud of some
of the thoughts I’ve had, the things I’ve said, or how I’ve handled particular
situations. But I assure you of this, I did the best I could. I held my head
high as I was silently judged, as the un-follow button was hit, as people moved
on.  Regardless of what you think of me,
I was and continue to be, my authentic self–take it or leave it. And while
clearly some choose the latter, I’m proud that Teddy’s story can be read. I’m
proud that because I put it all out there, a new member of the world's worst
club can Google “Menkes” and find a mother who has walked the road she’s about
to go down. I’m proud that these mothers, after everything I’ve shared, still
feel comfortable reaching out to me. I’m proud that I still write these posts
for Teddy- and for them.


In one year, I went from adjusting to having a newborn child
and being a full-time working mother to finding out my son was terminal,
quitting my job, moving to Boston, finding a new job, getting pregnant, living
with my parents, selling my house, buying a house, and burying my child. There
were so many days I didn’t think I would make it. I wondered if I would be so
lucky as to die from a broken heart, you know, like they do in The Notebook. I’m
not proud that my husband had to babysit me, or flush pills down the toilet.
But I’m proud that I’m still here. I’m proud that I didn’t take the easy way
out. I’m proud that I’m present to see my son’s soul living on in my amazing
daughter. I’m proud that I now know there is nothing in this world that can
break me- not even a year of firsts without him. Not even a life without a
piece of my heart.


When a family friend came to visit from Ireland, we took her
to have an “angel reading” in Salem, Mass. At the time, I thought she was
nuts….that an angel reading was just some sort of hoax for the religiously
devout and mentally unstable. Angels are not logical, rational, or tangible- so
in my mind, they couldn’t exist. I dismissed the possibility. But here I am, a
year later, looking for signs from my angel Teddy in the smallest places.
Thinking that every time I sneeze, it’s him tickling me. That every time it
rains, its cause he knows I’m sad. Every time the light flickers, the wind
blows, the sun comes out, my pizza was perfectly cooked, my amazon package came
on time, my hair looks decent enough from the day before that I don’t need to
wash it again, that Marshall’s has the shoes I want in my size, and Tuna takes
a temporary break from barking that it’s him- my angel Teddyman helping me out. I’ve given up
on the logical and live in the world of the supernatural. The world where my
son follows me around everywhere I go. That when he’s tired he sits in my lap
and when my nose itches, it’s him giving me eskimo kisses. In my new world, I
fight with my husband on a regular basis over who gets to hold Teddy first in heaven.
I live in that world now, the one that I thought was reserved for the kooks and
fanatics. And I’m proud of that.


I created a superhero. I created a little boy with a legacy
that will last far longer than his short life. I created a Super Teddy.  He was then, and always will be, bigger than the
disease that killed him. I’m proud that kids picture him flying high with his
spikey hair and rocking the orange and blue. I’m proud that people remember him
as a boy that wasn’t defined by a disease, but as a little boy that found the
strength to smile through it. And I’m proud that I have a foundation in his
name that continues to do good- and continues to repay the kindness and
generosity we received from so many. This foundation means so much to me. As a
family with a handicapped child, as a family dealing with terminal illness, as
a family that was struggling to keep it all together- I experienced first hand
what the smallest helping hand can do.  I
also experienced how many gaps there are in caring for these children, in
caring for the families of these children. I’m hoping, that through Teddy’s foundation
we can help close some of these gaps. This Saturday, from 1-6 pm at Obear Park
in Beverly, I’m having a fundraiser for The Teddy Fish Fund Inc. The money
raised will go towards supporting families with children impacted by terminal
illness. This is a foundation bigger than Menkes and bigger than just one
family, and I’m proud of that.


And so as you plan your weekend, I truly hope that you will consider stopping by the Teddy Fish Picnic or
donating to the cause. And if none of this inspires you- remember, even the
heartless need a tax write-off. J