I wish since DJ went to Heaven that I wrote on a regular basis. I stopped writing because I wasn't sure what to share. I was going through the raw emotions of grief. I have thought about it, and it would have been very healing for me, and maybe helpful to another PARENT going through this horrible experience. I miss my baby guy... but I realize that it is important share what we experience. Today many children are being diagnosed or dying from childhood cancer. It's not anything any child or family should have to go through...
Last year we had a chance to attend this camp but I opted out. I wasn't ready to be part of the sad parents club, even though I was part of it. Last year I felt really lonely. I honestly didn't think anyone could understand. I pushed away friends and family. I kept myself as busy as I could until my health was once again swept up under my feet. This year when I received the package for camp I filled it out and sent it off immediately. I couldn't wait to get out of town, and listen to other parents who could relate to treatments, sickness, and they too lost their sweet babies.
We went to a bereaved family camp at the end of last month. I can't explain what an incredible experience it was for my family.
Camp Okizu: Okizu (oak-eye-zoo), comes from the Sioux language and means unity, to come together, to heal from a hurt, to make whole.
The mission of Okizu is to provide peer support, respite, mentoring, and recreational programs to meet the needs of all members of families affected by childhood cancer.
For more than thirty years, Okizu has been committed to the continuing support of the Oncology, Siblings, Family, Bereavement, and Teens-N-Twenties programs. These programs are the result of a collaborative effort of Okizu and the pediatric oncology treatment centers in northern California. The specific purpose of this corporation is to operate peer support programs for children and families affected by childhood cancer, many of which are based on the community-forming nature of a residential camp experience. — www.campokizu.org
It was a breathtaking spot...They did a wonderful job. Every aspect has been thought out. They have so many activities! We did ropes courses, zip lined, boated, shot archery, and so much more! The counselors, and staff were amazing! Lyndi blossomed:) That weekend she showed us such an independence. She blew my socks off. I am so blessed by her! She had a great time. She was able to hang out with other brothers, and sisters who had last their siblings. They all had an unspoken bond...They played and laughed all weekend long. It was awesome to see and be part of. She is excited to go back for her week long Super SIBS camp. One day she says she wants to be a counselor at Camp Okizu. I believe she will be :)
The monster lizard. Its tail was as long as its body:) ----------->
We had an incredible family weekend!
We had eight other families with us that weekend. The camp can hold a few hundred people. I was pleased to find out we were in a smaller group. Each one of the families are so very special. I was blessed to be able to share in their joy,memories, and pain. I am honored to know parts of each life. We had one couple that had lost their child not even 3 moths before camp, another family who had lost their child 15 years ago, and everything in between. We were able to have an adult talk time. I found it to be insightful and overwhelming. My heart just ached for each family. I hate childhood cancer...I hate cancer! I am glad that they have established such an amazing place for kids, and families.
Their children were so beautiful...I am blessed to know their mommies, daddies, sisters, and brothers. We can't wait to go back next year:)