February 27th 2011 - Dear Everybody, I am writing to ask you, if you can, to send a post to TJ and Angela on Mt. Kilimanjaro. Starting in a few hours, they will begin the last leg of their journey to the summit. Some of the climbers are experiencing sickness (headaches,stomach aches and such) from the altitude. We know, too, that the weather is freezing cold and they have the most difficult 4,200 ft ahead of them- about 11 hours of climbing. This is where they will have to reach way down deep inside themselves to find the strength to reach their goal. I would ask anyone who can, to go to www.packpaddleski.com and click on "live updates". There, you can leave a little note of encouragement for them. I don't know exactly when they will get the posts, but they will be able to read them at some point and know they had many people cheering them on. Right now, I feeling equal parts of fear and pride- what these climbers are doing for Jacquie, others like Jacquie, and those who are still fighting, is just incredible. I can't imagine what they are going through, but I do know that they are determined and commmitted to making a difference in the quest for a cure for cancer. Please try to post for them and let them know you are climbing with them. Thank you.
To My Sweet Daughter, soon you will meet TJ, Angela and the others at the top of the world. Show them the way, keep them safe and bring them home to their families and friends. Give them a glimpse of heaven and touch their cheeks with your wings. Let them know they have made you proud. Thankyou for visiting me last night. I know you did it to let me know you are taking care of TJ and Angela, that you are trying to tell me not to worry. I love you for that, My Jacquie. Thank you for taking care of them for us. I will wait for you in my dreams tonight, and maybe you can let me know that you have soared on the wind with TJ and Angela. My Jacquie, I will love you forever and ever and always and longer than that, with all my heart and soul. I now am taking my breaths for you, TJ and Angela, and my heart beats with so much love for you all. Smile on us, hlep us to keep BELIEVING. Love, you mom forever
February 24th 2011 - Dear Jacquie, Tomorrow, TJ, Angela and the rest of the "Kili" group will begin the most difficult part of the journey. They have done well these first 3 days, except for Angela's nose running into the tree. The posts from the group have been reassuring and today we were able to hear an audio post from TJ. It was so great to hear his voice!!!!!!. He sounded so good- healthy, safe and happy. I really miss him a lot, hearing his voice gave me some peace of mind, even if only temporarily. Tomorrow, the really hard work starts and they will have to dig deep inside themselves to get through each day. The climb gets rougher, the air thinner and the weather colder. We BELIEVE in them, and we BELIEVE they are prepared to meet the challenge. They are and amazing group, Jacquie, and we are so proud of all of them. I am asking you to please look out for them, watch over them and keep them safe and warm. I know you are with them for every step they take, TJ and Angela know that too. I know there were times when you didn't know if you could keep fighting and you weren't sure if you could find the strength to get through another day. TJ and Angela, and of course, many others, were with you to help you find that strength. Now, they will need you, and we all know you will be there for them. I so badly didn't want them to go to Africa to do this. I know that the only thing that gives me some comfort is knowing that you are there with them. So, My Sweet Girl, take good care of TJ and Angela, and the others as they climb for you and everyone else who has ever had their life affected or destroyed by cancer. They do this for you, to honor you and because they love you so much.
My Jacquie, I want so badly to hold you and hang onto you. I am feeling so disconnected now that you and TJ are both not here. I am glad that you are with them, but I wish we were all here together again, where we should be. Please remember that I will love you forever and ever and always and longer than that, with all my heart and soul. Each day I love you more, and miss you more. You are with me in all I do, and I need you to never leave me. I am so sorry, so very sorry. I love you. Love, mom
February 21st 2011 - Dear Jacquie, Today we should be all together, celebrating your "Birthday". Three years ago today, a very special person, unknown to us, gave you a chance at a life that was to be disease free. You had your first transplant at Sloan Kettering in NYC, and we truly BELIEVED, with all ours hearts, that it would be successful. We made plans on how we would celebrate your new birthdays, and of, course, what we would eat. Even after 898 days, I still can't understand why we are not having a party, instead of mourning you and missing TJ. I know life isn't fair, but why....
My Daughter, Jacqueline Elisabth, even though it is your birthday, I would like to make some wishes for you. I wish you are happy and pain-free. I wish you look back at your life and have many, many wonderful memories to keep you company. I wish that your life was as close to perfect as it could be, until you got sick. I wish that you understand how hard we tried to save you and that we would have done anything to keep you from going through the hell you went through. I wish you could forgive me for not saving you. I wish you know how very very very much we miss you and love you. I wish for you to know that our love for you will NEVER end, it will only grow stronger. And most of all, I wish for you to know that I am waiting for the day when we will all be together again. On this, your birthday, TJ and Angela are getting ready to start their climb for you. When they reach the top, be there and let them know you are with them. I love you so very much, My Jacquie, and I will love you forever and ever and always, and longer than that, with all my heart and soul. I will sing to you today, and I hope you will sing with me. Love, your mom
February 19th 2011 - Dear Jacquie, this will be short because I am so sad and I don't want to cry to you. TJ and Angela left today. At first, TJ said he didn't want me to go to the airport to say goodbye, he said it would be too hard for them to have us there knowing how hard it was to let them go. But when he came downstairs this morning, he said I could go. I think I would have gone anyway, I just couldn't let him leave without me being there. So, we went to see them off. It was hard not to pull him back, so hard to let him go. But he was so excited and so filled with determination. I cried and didn't know what to do. Then Aunt Sheryl told me something that made me feel a little better. She said "TJ never left Jacquie, he was alway there for her, so she won't leave him now- she will be there for him." I have to BELIEVE that. I have to BELIEVE that you will not leave them and you will guide them home to us. He will always be your Sentinal, now you can be his.
I love you, My Jacquie, and I will love you forever and ever and always and longer than that, with all my heart and soul. Love, your mom
February 18th 2011 - Tomorrow TJ and Angela leave, with the rest of their group, for Africa. Oh, that sounds so very far away. It is, it is forever away. It is too far away. It is no secret that I am not happy they are going. Of course, I understand they have to. I understand why they are going and it is something they feel they must do. I really do understand how they feel. But the mom in me, the mom that has already lost a precious child, doesn't want to let them go. I don't have a choice, however. They are both well past the age when we as parents can tell them "no", or forbid them to go. I know in my heart I wouldn't do that even if I could. I may want to, but I wouldn't. Because, you see, I know how important this climb is to them. I have seen the determination in their eyes when they talk about going, and I have heard the absolute committment to Jacquie's dream in their voices. I know this is what they are meant to do. As a mom, I have to support their decision, and give them all the encouragement and love I can. They know how Sheryl and I feel, but they know we would never stand between them and their quest. Angela is nervous, TJ is excited, but they are both going there for Jacquie, and that makes us so very proud of them. They are not sure what the next two weeks will bring them but they knew that Jacquie never knew what the next day would bring her. The uncertainty they are facing is nothing campared to what Jacquie faced, but still, they don't know what to expect and that shows how much courage thye have to take on this mission. They are going to accomplish something wonderful, and for the rest of their lives, they will remember these two weeks and what they stood for. We are so very, very proud of them.
My Sweet Daughter Jacqueline, TJ and Angela are doing this for you. Yes, others will benefit but this journey is for you, for your dream and for the never-ending love they have for you. Look down on them, look out for them, and stay next to them. Guide them to the top to meet you, and then guide them safely home to us. Show them the wonders of a world far away from home. Let them know you are with them every step of the way. Do not leave them, they need you to know they want you by their sides. I love you, My Little Girl, and I will love you forever and ever and always, and longer than that, with all my heart and soul. When you meet them at the top of the mountain, whisper in their ears that you love them, brush their cheeks with your fingers and make their hearts beat just a little bit faster so they know you are there. I love you, My Jacquie, love mom
February 14th 2011 - Dear Jacquie, Happy Valentines Day. I hope you can see the candy hearts I left for you, and liked the card. I know you can't eat the candy, but I needed to get them for you, just like always. Some of the children at the gym gave me Valentines and candy, I wish I could share them with you. Madison gave your dad and I each, a beautiful pink rose, the flower reminded me of you and how much you always enjoyed recieving flowers. I wish you could be here to smell them and hold them. I wish you were here. I would take you someone to eat! We could celebrate the day eating all your favorite foods, talking, laughing, and making new memories. I wish.
Your meet went well and I think everyone there went home with a little bit of you. I hope that you are proud of us and that when you look down on us, you see how hard we are trying to show you how much we love you. We are already working on the next events, and we WIll make you proud again.
Casey, congratulations to you! You are going to be fantastic, and the school is so lucky to have you. I KNOW that Jacquie is proud of you and she is honored that you keep her in your thoughts when you are teaching those new young minds. Jacquie will be with you.
My Darling Jacquie, I will try to remember only good memories today, and look for the sunshine. Stay close and keep sending strength and courage. As it gets closer to Sat., when TJ and Angela leacve for their climb, I will need you more. I will beg you to keep them safe and bring them home to us. Never forget how much we love you. Never forget how much we miss you. I am so sorry, Jacquie, and I will keep working to make your dream come true. We all will. I will love you forever and ever and always and longer than that, with all my heart and soul. You are the beating of my heart and every breath I take. You are the rainbow on a rainy day, and the sunshine that peaks through the clouds when we are needing it most. I love you, My Daughter, and I am so sorry. Love, your mom
February 11th 2011 - Dear Jacquie, another "anniversary" today, another day of memories and saddness. I wonder if the memories are as hard for you as they are for us. Do you remember the hurt and pain, the exhaustion, the nausea and vomiting, the emotional drain and all you went through with the TBI at Sloan Kettering? I hope not. I hope that you remember none of it. I hope that you don't relive every day of what you went through, the uncertainty and the unanswered questions. I hope your new life in heaven has left the bad memories behind. I hope that all that you have in your "memory box' is special times filled with with love from family and freinds. I hope that the memories you see are the ones in the thousands of photograghs we have here, the ones that you left behind for us so we would remember the good memories and not just keep reliving your painful journey. Keep us close to you in your memories and never forget that we wouldn't trade our life with you for anything in the world, anything in the universe. Your "Jacquie Hirsch Memorial Boys Challenge Gymnastic Meet" is in 2 days. We WILL make you proud. Please be ther with us. More than that, please let everyone there feel your presence. Please find a way to show people how to be kind and treat other better. Please find a way to show them how important it is to love. Teach them to keep trying to make our world better for the next generations.
My Sweet, Sweet Jacqueline Elisabeth, I miss you and I am so sorry that you are not here. I have been having a hard time lately, dealing with hearing about others who have gone into remission and are currently cancer-free, and I wonder "WHY couldn't we make Jacquie better?" You know we tried, we really, really did. I am so sorry we didn't make it happen. We have seen the saying "If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever", and that has never been more true than it is with you. The love we and so many others have for you should have been able to keep you here. It didn't, but it doesn't mean we didn't love you enough, please know that. As the days move forward, our love grows. It always will. I love you, My Jacquie, and I will love you forever and ever and always, and longer than that, with all my heart and soul. You are My Angel, now and forever. We will be together again, I promise. Love, mom
February 9th 2011 - Dear My Jacquie, 3 years ago today, you and I left on the next part of your journey to beating the disease that wanted to destroy you. We boarded a plane to New York City and began, what would be, a time filled with wonderful memories and many disappointments. I remember how hard it was for you to make the decision to go to New York for your transplant, instead of staying home and having it at Roswll. How many times we sat and listed the pros and cons of staying or leaving. I remember so vividly, how in awe I was of you, when you made the choice to go. I was thinking how hard it was for you to leave home and everyone here, to go to a city where we knew no one, and nothing at all about what to expect. I thought how brave you were to do that, and how I didn't think I would have had the courage to make the same decision. I wonder, so often, if you regret that decision, or if you think we didn't try hard enough to make it work out so we could have stayed home. The memories of New York City are with me all the time, I remember every second as if it had just happened. I remember packing to leave and hearing you say "oh well- if we forget something we can just go shopping and buy it!" And how hard I prayed that you would be able to shop. So much I wanted you to do and see in the city, and so many memories I wanted you to cherish. I am so sorry Jacquie. I am so sorry that it didn't work out the way it should have. I am so sorry that I didn't save you. I wish wish wish wish I could have traded places with you. I wish I was gone and you were here. I wish you were still making memories to cherish. I am so sorry.
My Sweeheart, I know I falied you, but that doesn't mean that I didn't try. I love you so much, and my love grows for you each day. When we are together again, I will make sure you understand how hard I tried and how sorry I am that I didn't keep you safe the way a mom is supposed to. I love you, My Jacquie, and I will love you forever and ever and always, and longer than that, with all my heart and soul. Please stay with me, and know that I need you to keep me going forward. I am so sorry, My Jacquie. Love, your mom forever
February 7th 2011 - Dear Jacquie-Our family is the best in the world. The 4 Hirschs. I have tried to focus on that these past couple days as I struggle to find a way to make it through the days. We have so much love for each other. We are freinds as well as family. We give support, understanding, encouragement. and hugs. We share smiles and laughter, saddness and tears. We help each other through our fears and try to take each others burdens and make them lighter. We give each other confidence to do what we may not feel we are capable of, and we show each other the way to make the impossible, possible. Whatever we are doing, wherever we are, we are always a family- the 4 Hirschs. It always has been and always will be. In our family, the very best will always be waiting for us.
My Precious Daughter Jacquie, I will try today, to not cry, to not be so sad, and not be so angry. I will try to not be so resentful when I hear about or see, what your freinds are doing with their lives. I will try to remember that you would want me to no hurt so much everytime I am reminded about what has been stolen from you. I will love you forever and ever and always, and longer than that, with all my heart and soul. My heart beats for you and reminds me that you will always be mine. Love, your mom
February 4th 2011 - My Sweet Angel Jacquie, I miss you. It has been 881 days. It is only yesterday and it is forever. Your dad and I were talking and we agreed that this isn't "getting easier" or "getting better". Everyhwere we are, you are too, but you are missing. Everything we do, you are a part of but you aren't sharing the time with us. All we are is you, without you. I am so sorry. I am sorry you won't have a wedding and a husband and be a mom. I am sorry you won't be the teacher you planned to be, teaching little children with smiles and joy and happiness. I am sorry you will not be with us, when you should be here all the time. I am so sorry you will not be here to see TJ and Angela leave for their trip to Africa for you. They have undertaken a huge event for you, and you should be here with us to see them off when they leave on the 19th. Damn it, you should be here always, for everything, with us, next to us. I am so sad without you, all the constant reminders of what we are missing without you. I am tired of seeing young lives go on, knowing that you should be here too, celebrating each day and loving life. How do other parents do it? How do they get past all the "should have beens"? How do they find a reason to BELIEVE that life is worth it? Why? When do we find the "at peace with what happened" that so many tell us we will? How can we ever be "at peace" when our Jacquie is not here with us. I realize we are still fighting her fight and working to make her dream come true, but really now, are we making a difference?
My Jacquie, I am so sorry. Sorry that we didn't save you, sorry that I am still so weak, sorry that I cannot be strong like you. Sorry that I cannot seem to be able to handle life without you. I guess that makes me one of those parents who don't have a life without their children, but I don't care. I just wanted to be a good mom to you and TJ. i love you, My Jacquie, and I will always love you. I will love you forever and ever and always, with all my heart and soul, and longer than that. I am who I am because of your dad, TJ and you, and that will never change. With all my love, mom