Thursday, January 14, 2010

One Month Ago....

One month ago today, our lives changed forever. We lost our precious baby boy to a terrible monster...a monster that we are determined to defeat, to assure that no other family or child has to lose to. As the days go by, we become more aware of the lack of funding and the lack of awareness for DIPG or for that matter, all pediatric cancer. I was talking with a friend the other day regarding Pandora bracelets and she remarked that they even make charms for breast cancer awareness. I did not say anything at the time but I thought, WOW, yet another example of how our children are not getting the attention they need. I checked and sure enough there is no charm for pediatric cancer. Please do not misunderstand, I am thankful that the treatment for breast cancer has come so far and the reason for that is awareness and funding. I have a friend whose mother just reached her 5 year cancer free mark and for that I am thankful!!! I am thankful that there was enough funding and awareness to allow her to reach that mark and allow her to watch her children and grandchildren grow. I have talked to two other women in the last 2 weeks that have beaten breast cancer and again I was thankful and hopeful. Hopeful that one day, the children who are diagnosed with DIPG will not have such a poor prognosis, that their parents can have hope when they leave a pediatric oncologist's office...all because we screamed, we fought, we donated, and we made people aware that this monster DOES exist. It does affect normal, happy, healthy children. It CAN happen to ANYONE!!! One day, I KNOW that we will make a difference but WE NEED ALL THE HELP WE CAN GET!!! As we start this new year, please consider wearing a gold ribbon, buying a gold ribbon for your car,or just telling someone about Carter's journey. Please donate to The Cure Starts Now ( or The Just One More Day Foundation ( Even if it is $1.00, IT WILL HELP!! It will help a family just like us and even if it saves just one child's life it is worth it! We are so thankful for all of the donations we have received and are preparing to split a portion of the proceeds between these two foundations!!!

As for how we are you can imagine, we are hurt and devastated. The void in our life becomes more obvious everyday. Honestly, I feel as if the pain has gotten worse. Our home, which was once packed with people, is now quiet. We miss our Carter-Man more than words could ever express. Unless you have ever lost a child, you could not imagine. It is a pain that hurts to the core. It makes it hard to go to sleep at night and hard to get out of the bed in the morning. When we do rise, we look over and see that sweet face of our precious Caroline and the world seems a little brighter and we rise to prepare for another day of trying to make her happy! She keeps me going. I know that she needs me and that gives me strength. I pray all day long..I pray for strength and continues signs that Carter is okay. Although I know he is just fine, I still feel the need for him to let me know and rest assured he does in more ways than one. He is still with us and he makes sure we know. Thank you sweet boy...we need all of those signs. I must tell you- I finally had Carter's picture added to a website titled, I happened to randomly check last Friday to see if it had been put on there and as I scrolled down the page and I saw his precious face on that page, my heart sunk, the tears started to roll, and reality hit me like a ton of bricks. Carter IS one of those children who lost his battle to this monster. It was hard, probably one of the hardest moments yet. I am thankful that Jenny was here to help me through that. It took awhile to compose myself but I managed. It was just so hard for me to grasp the fact that he was not here with me and it still is. Today marked one month since Carter's passing and as I awoke, I cried. I got myself ready, got Caroline ready and headed to take her to school. What I thought would be a day doomed from the start actually turned out to be a very good day. Skip and I were blessed to be able to spend the whole day with Baby Lauren. We had a wonderful day. She was such a joy. She brought us joy. We both feel that there is a part of Carter in her. She has a way about her that tells me that Carter is with her and that gives me peace. She made me laugh all day and made me smile on a day that I thought no smiles were possible. She and Carter always had a very strong bond and now I know why. She still talks about him, referring to him as "Man". She walked around my house today pointing at all of his pictures continuously repeating "Man"! I laughed each time and she would laugh back at me. I know he was here with me today through her! He left a part of him in her and for that I am so very thankful!!!! My house was full today. Caroline and Annabelle played, I laughed at Lauren, Jenny and Barbara kept me company, and we all had dinner. It was truly the day I needed-just what Carter would have wanted- food, friends, family, and laughter!!!
With each day, some things get easier and some get harder. I am not sure what tomorrow will bring but I do know this...I am thankful for my family, my friends, my Sweet Caroline, my church, my pastors and for my Almighty God. I am thankful that I have faith and that I can pray for strength and he can deliver.

I hope that all of you read the Thank you from us in Saturday's paper. If you did not, below is a copy of what was put in the paper!!!

Thanks from the family of Carter Harris

It is very difficult to express in words the gratitude we have in our hearts for each one of you. Every expression of your love has touched our lives is such a loving, meaningful way. We know that God has used all of you as an instrument of comfort and joy to our family. Someone once wrote, "I sought to hear the voice of God and climbed to the top-most steeple. But God declared 'Go down again- I dwell among the people.' " We can indeed rejoice that friends like you have made our burden lighter, as you have dwelt among the people and shared in our pain and sorrow.
Carter loved his friends and family so very much. He treasured every moment spent with all of us. You all made his life that much richer. We know that he is so proud to know that you all have been so supportive to us, his family, whom he loved so very dearly. Due to the overwhelming amount of love and support, we could never begin to write a personal thank you to each person that deserves it. Please accept this as our sincere thank you. May peace and joy be your gift this new year. We love and treasure each and every one of you.

The Family

We Love you all!!!!!!


Monday, January 4, 2010

Articles in The Free Lance Star

Below, We have posted links to all of the articles that have been written about our sweet Carter-Man since his homegoing, including his obituary. We wanted to share them as it means so very much to us that Carter touched so many lives!!!

Thank you to everyone for their continued support!!!


Skip and Courtney


Friends, If you ordered and not received your cookbooks, please call CeCee
or Tom at 786-3593. We will deliver them to you if you live in the area.
If you live out of the area, we will mail them once we have a good address. You can email this to If you did not order a cookbook but would like one, please let us know. We did order extras.
Many, many thanks for your heart felt support to our family. Much of the
profits will go towards pediatric brain tumor and cancer research.
Our plan is to keep Carter's Crusaders alive to help in this fight!
Kathryn, CeCee and Tom

Friday, January 1, 2010

A New Year....A Family Forever Changed

I want to first thank everyone for their amazing support during this most difficult time in our life. I cannot tell you how much it means to us and how much it has truly helped us to begin a new phase of this journey...a phase we have dreaded...a phase that NO parent should ever have to enter...however, he we are, at this phase and we could not enter it nor walk it alone and we are thankful to everyone because we know we are not alone. Skip and I were simply astonished at the visitation night and services for our Carter-Man. The outpouring of love and support and the number of lives that Carter has touched was very evident....more evident than ever. There is no doubt in our minds that Carter entered this life with a purpose and there is no doubt that he served that purpose. I can only hope that in my life I can touch as many lives as my sweet Carter did. Thank you to each and everyone of you for the cards, emails, letters, visits, attendance at services, and oh so much more....this community is amazing and we are proud to be a part of it!!!! We know sometimes some of you just do not know what to say to us and that is okay. I'm Sorry would suffice. Unless you have lost a child, you don't understand and we do not expect you to. We are glad that we have all of you and we know that words are difficult. We are still ourselves...just with a different perspective on life and forever heartbroken.

We have entered a new year as a family forever changed...a smaller that does not feel complete. Since Carter passed on December 14, 2009, I have felt like something is missing, like I am forgetting something. Every time I leave the house, I look back because I feel the void. Skip and I met our dear friends the Beggans at the movies the week of Christmas to keep Caroline busy and get her out of the house. As we were leaving, I felt it and it stung worse than any bee sting could ever feel. I held back the tears and told myself that I would get through this and that I needed to get through this for Caroline. We had lunch and then went to the movies. During the movies, it was unreal the feelings that Skip and I had. We missed the popcorn mess that always appeared after a few bites of popcorn from the C-Man...he was messy...and we missed it. We missed his backwash into the drink (yes, Mr. Wilcox, he has always done that) and we missed everything about him. Nonetheless, we made it through the movie. As we were leaving, I found myself mentally counting the children as we were leaving (I am famous for this) and after counting two or three times, I realized that the number would never equal to what it should again. Becca and Kyle have 4, we have 2 young children, and we had picked up Alexis on the way. There should have been 7 children with us...I should have counted 7 but I only counted 6. I realized at that moment that I WAS missing something. I was missing my baby and that number would never be correct again. I would always be missing a part of me...a part of us. My heart ached and it took all I had to, again, hold back the tears. This was just the beginning of that feeling and I am sure that there is no end.

Skip and I were lucky to be able to get away after the holidays to join The Thackers and some other dear friends and family at Massanutten. It was much needed and we were able to spend some much needed time with Sweet Caroline. We had a wonderful time but, again, that unimaginable pain (unless you have experienced the loss of a child), hit me like a ton of bricks. We were at the indoor pool and as we were leaving, I again began to mentally count the children and of course, that number did not add up. I again was hit with the reality that Carter was not walking with us. I wanted him there with me. I felt like I was getting angry, something I did not want to happen. I quickly put Caroline into the car and again pulled myself together, holding back the tears. I prayed for strength and I then reminded myself that although I cannot see his face, hold his sweet hand, or hear his contagious laugh, I CAN talk to him and he CAN hear me and I felt peace again...peace that my Carter-Man is very much alive, just not here on earth. He is here with me in spirit and he does go with me everywhere I go. I also reminded myself that I am allowed to be sad and angry and that I forever will feel a void because there is one, a BIG sweet baby boy.

We entered 2010 with dear friends. We entered 2010 as a family...a family forever changed...a family that probably will never feel complete again. We entered 2010 as a stronger family, one with a bond that cannot be broken. This experience has changed us in many ways....some good and some bad. Our hearts will forever be broken...we will always feel that void. The bonds that exist between us are much stronger. We will never take another day for granted..for we were never promised tomorrow and that has become a reality for us. Our faith is stronger than ever....after everything, we feel God's presence more than ever and we know that we could never make it through this without him. We are glad to leave 2009 behind us and start anew. 2009 was a very difficult year from beginning to end for my family....we lost my Papa TJ, Carter was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, we lost my Grandaddy Sale, Lauren caught a virus that caused a severe heart condition, possibly requiring a heart transplant, and our sweet Carter passed away.
BUT WE ARE STRONGER AND CLOSER THAN EVER!!!! We have always been close but the ties that bind are unbreakable..I am thankful to have my family and friends...I am thankful to know that through it all I will always have my family...they are amazing.... I LOVE YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH!!!!

There is one more thing that I want to share with you all. About 3 minutes before Carter took his last breath here on earth, I looked into his beautiful blue eyes and asked him one thing...please send me a sign to let me know that you are safe and that you are okay. I can reassure you all that Carter-Man is safe and OK. We laid Carter to rest on December 18th and that evening, he blanketed this town with a beautiful snow..the largest snow storm since 1996...the world was not was perfect. Carter LOVED the snow but his Daddy loves it more and I truly believe he sent that snow to us. He wanted us to slow down and spend time with family and friends and that we did. He also paid a visit to Aunt Beth and Uncle Chuck's house. Annabelle sat straight up in the bed and asked why Carter was there...Beth said that there was a bright light in the hallway and Chuck confirmed that there was not an overhead light on...he has set up shop to watch over Baby Lauren...he is her guardian angel. As you can imagine, Massanutten was packed this week...Skip was anxiously awaiting a parking space on Tuesday and quickly said "Come on, Carter-Man, help me out here" and wouldn't you know that the BEST parking space in the lot opened right up. On Wednesday ,it happened again, and Carter-Man opened up the same exact spot for Skip, Ashley, and Alex. That afternoon they went into the restaurant for lunch and it was packed. Ashley was waiting for a table...assuming they would have to eat standing and right beside her, a group of 3, got up and left, opening up a table for 3 right in front of her.......coincidence....I think not. Carter-Man is with us and he is looking over all of us. When you look in the sky at night, just look for the brightest star and there he is....just ask Kaelan B.....she saw that star and she knew it was Carter-Man and he was twinkling at her!!!!

We love you Carter-Man and we miss you so much!!!