Death of a Superhero

A Family's Story about Courage, Bravery and the Defining Moments of LOVE

Our sweet, lil' baby love lost his battle to AML Leukemia on March 8, 2010. We fought long, hard and very aggressively for 2.5 years, only to have his cancer come back for the fourth time to finally take his life. He was only 3 years old.

This entire blog is about Hunter's amazing journey. It's about his life and his love......his determination and his courage.......his absolutely, brilliant personality, and the affect he's had on people all over the world.

He's left an unimaginable footprint on this earth and has changed the lives of thousands of individuals. People who didn't realize how precious life was, now live it with extreme gratefulness. People who took every minute they get to spend with their children for granted, now savor every last second. And people who weren't quite sure what love is all about, now love deeper, love stronger and love with every ounce of their soul.

People all around the world have shared their love, their well wishes, their prayers and their inspiration, and we could have NEVER achieved as much as we did without them. We are humbled by their generosity & their true friendships & are forever grateful for every last person that has come into our lives through our experience with Hunter. He was our precious baby love who we loved and cherished with all our hearts and we are forever crushed and terribly, broken-hearted.

Dance in the clouds baby cakes. Mom & dad are watching proudly & you will remain so very close to our hearts for all of eternity.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sunlit Memories.....Hunter's Tribute

Zen and I share lots of laughs together. Laughter is a huge part of our lives, and without it, our world right now would be a much, much darker place. Almost like a silent hell. But I will have to say - that as much as we laugh..........we also cry. And cry hard and for long periods of time. Right now there seems to be a tolerable balance - but we are hoping for and will happily welcome the days when the crying is less and the laughter is more.

As our days continue without many memories enter into and out of our minds - constantly. He's all we think about, still, and we are trying to desperately sort through these memories to figure out which ones bring us peace and which ones bring us an overwhelming sadness. However, in the end, it seems as if all of them still bring us to our never ending flow of tears.

Hunter's Memorial Celebrarion was full of these tears, but it was also full of an immeasurable amount of love, everlasting hope, and an abundance of inspiration. Arms were wrapped so tightly around us that day and the friendships and bonds that were shared brings the tiniest bit of light into Hunter's sad departure. The last thing we ever wanted to do is say goodbye to our lil' love. So you can imagine the pain and the extremely intense feelings that were all brought to the surface in an attempt to release our sweet, precious, baby boy out of our arms and into the sky.

This was the opening performance at Hunter's Tribute. Ava's voice is truly phenomenal and she set the tone for a lovely and extremely heartfelt celebration.

Ava Gaudet & Lucy Graves - This Woman's Work

The following are Hunter's video slideshows that played during his celebration. This gives everyone a sense of how sweet and loving and endearing our amazing child was. He throws down wonderful belly giggles, insanely talented dance moves and a special love and kindness that is so terribly missed. We miss his winks, we miss him blowing us kisses, we miss his sweet smiles......we miss everything.......and always will.

Zen and I both had some words to share......but believe was extremely difficult. It was almost as if once we said our goodbye - it became final. We got up on the platform, hand in hand, and thank goodness for that - because just knowing Zen was right behind me to catch me if I were to fall, gave me much comfort and handfuls of strength and courage. We are sincerely committed and forever devoted to each others healing - knowing what a long journey we have before us. To share the life that we've both now lived has bonded us together immensely, and in my heart, I know we will never part.

Here are the few words that I managed to express......saying sweet dreams to my lil' love was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.

I have been trying to put this horrible emptiness into words and I'm failing terribly to come up with the right way to express the gut wrenching pain and intense feelings of loneliness and mental anguish that Zen and I are experiencing. I feel as if we've been violently thrown off a mountain top and we continue to fall without ever hitting the ground. So the sick and frightened and soul battering feeling in our hearts and in our stomachs just sits there all day long as we continue to fall further into the depths of our sorrow...........and we are assuming and have rightfully been told that this feeling never goes just slightly dulls from time to time.

We've lost our child. We've lost the bright and beautiful sunshine in our lives, the never ending happiness in our smiles, and the irreplaceable joy in our days. We are still stunned and still in disbelief that this was Hunter's ending. So very hard to comprehend.

Here is Zen's beautiful tribute to Hunter while also giving thanks to all those that have experienced our journey and cheered us on and encouraged us along the way. The road we've been walking the last 2 1/2 years is one we haven't wanted to walk alone.........and we are forever grateful for all those that have endured this heartbreaking time in our lives and have held on to us for dear life.

This is the photo slideshow that continually played at Hunter's Memorial Celebration. His face still continues to shine a light every time it hits the screen. (If the slideshow has already stopped playing by the time you make it down to this link, just refresh your screen and hit the "play" button at the bottom of the image if it doesn't start automatically).

Here is a slideshow of Hunter's Memorial Celebration. The entire day was filled with amazing amounts of love and an overwhelming amount of compassion.

Not to mention the cake Rocked the house!

This is the video of Hunter's Balloon Release. We thought he'd appreciate Lightening McQueen and Mater coming up for a visit.
We sent them off with lots of smooches and buckets of love and warmth to sprinkle over him once they arrived.

So our tribute to Hunter was, sincerely, a stellar day. It was truly unforgettable and will be held in the hearts of many as a wonderful and extremely well deserved celebration. The sun was shining and the tears were abundant, but the laughter and the love and the forever appreciation of his life, rose above all else.
Like I said in my speech, Hunter will go down in the books as a wonderful, wonderful tragedy. He lives on and will continue to light the flames in our courageous spirits, our magnificent and brave attitudes, our fearless approaches to life and adversity and in our warm and loving souls. As his parents, we couldn't be more proud of what he accomplished, the love and affection that he expressed, the laughter that he shared and the never ending flow of happiness that will continue to embrace us until the day we die.

"Rest in peace baby love. We will forever cherish you. You are truly a treasure and we will carry your beautiful spirit with us everywhere we go".

A few speeches from some of our amazing friends that have stood by our side every moment of every day.....laughing, crying, sharing and lovingly supporting.

Many, many thanks to all of the lovely guests that attended Hunter's celebration who graced us with their presence and showered us with love. Your kind words, generous feelings and heartfelt emotions that you shared with us got us through our day and will forever continue to do so.........thank you for following our journey and holding us so near and dear to your hearts. We truly feel the love.......all around us......always.

Many thanks to Hunter's sponsors that hugged us to no end, including Paul Stanley from KISS, Chaz Dean, Aldabella Scarpa, Topo Ranch Clothing and many others.

All of the wonderful donated services:

A huge and loving "thank you" to Wendy of Wendy Parker Events who coordinated an amazing event. Hunter's celebration was truly memorable and will rest so sweetly in our hearts for the rest of our lives.

Another very full of love "thank you" to Allyson and the entire Bob Gail Special Events family. They were essential in making the event as beautiful as it was.

A very loving and appreciative "thank you" to Marc and Diana Brown for opening up their beautiful home and hosting Hunter's celebration.

HUGE "kudos" to Dorie, our FANTASTIC cake lady. The cake was just absolutely PERFECT and sooooooo delicious. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU.

Sincere appreciation and love to AJ from Argentum Photo Lab. He printed and mounted all of Hunter's images that were on display. His smile and enthusiasm for life was felt in every room.

A very heartfelt "thank you" to Tom Galassi for photographing and capturing the event so wonderfully. We love you and your beautiful family dearly. Thank you for everything you've done for us and for every single smile you guys delivered to Hunter's face. He loved that train table and played with that til the very end.....such a wonderful and special gift.

Buckets of love and appreciation to Chaz Dean who arranged for the Della Reese UP Choir to perform. Wow. Truly stunning. Thank you so much for such a lovely performance.

Lots and lots and LOTS of love to Daphne for the delicious food from The Point, Erin for the"Hunter" Balms, which are ALWAYS a huge hit, Jodi for the teas, Alicia for the sodas, Maury for the yummy wine and Ric for the beautiful sounds of music you played.....I could have listened to you all was lovely.

And lastly, thank you to our families. Thank you for your love, your compassion, your kindness, your generosity and for standing by our sides for the last 2 1/2 years. You are all so very important to us and to Hunter and you helped us in so many ways. A forever "thank you" full of such love and devotion from us to you.


Leticia said...

I just had to leave a word for you, sweet Lenore and for Zen. Even though I have read your blog so many times, I had never posted. I came across Hunter's amazing story and battle through TNT as a member of the Pac Crest Team which has Hunter as one of our honored teammates. I am just typing and crying, not really thinking too much about what to say. I just cannot begin to comprehend your pain as a mom and Zen's as a dad. I have two little ones, 3 and 2 year old, and I cannot even imagine the emptiness you must feel without your little love. Watch you and Zen's speeches was heartbroken and so sweet at the same time. All I could do was cry and send love and the highest vibes to you, I just closed my eyes, and thought of those vibes going your way, and Zen's. I know, kind of crazy, but what isn't crazy when you are a mom and get to experience the most beautiful and amazing love of your life? I just want to say good luck with everything, with your new baby and the renewed energy that a new life brings and keep loving each other and the others around you...I believe in something bigger and more powerful than us out there and I think Hunter is spreading his wonderful energy and smiles somewhere else and he is full of energy, full of life, without pain.... he will NEVER be forgotten and will live in the lives of so many, forever. I am so happy you two got to have Hunter, that unbelievable little guy, in your lives.
Lots of love, smiles and the highest vibes to you and Zen and your families.


Matt Nolan said...

Theses videos are just amazing. You found love in your life that you never thought possible. You gave every ounce of yourselves to your son, and then some. You all found strength that you probably didn't know you had. He will always be a beam of light that shined so very, very bright. Your bravery and love, and Iron Hunters courage, will be in my heart forever.

juanizzle said...

My words are so small in the face of your grief, but know that they also feel small in the face of your tremendous love for Hunter, for each other, and for the friends and family that surround you.

I cannot imagine how broken you feel; I can only offer platitudes and prayers, and those I offer wholeheartedly. I pray that you find comfort in one another, that you will continue to open your arms to the love and support around you, and I pray that you know how many people you and Hunter have touched.

Our hearts are hurting for you. Please know that you are not forgotten and that many are thinking of, and praying for you.

Thank you for sharing your beautiful child with us. As I watched the videos, I kept thinking about how still - in the face of such shattering grief - you and Zen (and Hunter's little brother, too) stood together and smiled.

Hoping that love and positive energy continue to surround you,


tara said...

Lenore, it was a true honor to be present at Hunter's are amazing parents and he will always feel your love as you do his...blessings, Tara

Kayla said...

Lenore and Zen,

The ceremony seemed so beautiful and your speeches were so touching. Matt's speech really did bring me to tears. His pictures are so precious. They serve as a timeline, we all know how it ends and I wish so badly I can stop that for you! I check on you guys every day and every time I check I wish I can give you both a hug.

To address something that Zen said in his speech in regards to the donations made - if there is something further that the internets can do please do post something. I am sure that you are left with huge medical bills and if there is anything my family can do to help you in that regards please let us know. WE don't have very much but I know at this point any bit can help.


Pat Castillo said...

What a beautiful tribute! My family and I were actually w/Jessica and Cody that day and we were all thinking of you guys and praying the day went well. I'm so glad you were both able to cry--and laugh--and celebrate Hunter w/your friends and family.

Thank you for sharing the moment w/us--even those of us you've never met. And as my kids sit and watch some classic Goofy cartoons, I think I'll join them and cherish that they're here w/me.

Prayers continue for you and your family...

Cheyanne Rentko said...

I needed to share something with the 2 of you this evening as the sun begins to fade in Northern California. I watched with laughter and tear filled eyes as the 3 of you danced and giggled with each other.I watched the memorial speech you both shared with your son. In your speech zen you questioned the fact"If there is a God". Let me tell you for definite sure that there is a God and He blessed you and the mrs. with a beautiful laughter.His name is Hunter. He is in Heaven tonight awaiting your arrival with others that have went before you. You must believe in the Father and The son Jesus and except them into your life as your personal savior.To spend your lives with Hunter for eternity you must give your lives to Jesus. Then your Eternity will be with Hunter .Good Night .and I hope to hear from you soon.
thanks for broadcasting your ventures.They made me hold my 3 children tighter tonight.(my 16 year old rebelled but i forced him to enjoy it )LOL