Support For Christi Thomas

This blog is to help offer support to the Thomas Family and their daughter, Christi, in her battle against cancer. Please visit Christi's website at www.ChristiThomas.com to learn more. There, you'll find journals, photos and a lots of other information about this amazing child and her family.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Put a Fork in Me

A couple of pictures of Shayla at ballet. The musical has been rescheduled for the last weekend in March. Because they sold out both shows and had a lengthy waiting list, they are going to try to add a Saturday afternoon show too. Shayla cannot wait to get back to practice.


Put a Fork in Me, I’m Done! Shayla had many questions after I exclaimed that to her. I then went on to explain that my exhausting winter quarter at Ohio State was over and that I had a nice long spring break before starting my final quarter of classes. (Although I’ll still have my rigorous doctoral candidacy exams to endure this summer followed by my dissertation research, writing and defense in the coming years, I will no longer be driving to campus to take classes after June 1st! Every time I fill up my gas tank, I cringe! I sometimes wonder if I’d paid more for gas than I have in tuition. I think I really do not want to know.) Regardless, there are over 150 hours on my transcript and one of my most challenging quarters ever is over! It’s been a long five years.

I still remember last summer, sitting at the lake and listening to Shayne say, “I don’t know how we are going to make it through winter quarter,” because he knew I had to take a full time course load with winter driving, teach my real job, and I also didn’t want to turn down the opportunity to teach at Ohio State. Could I have done that with Christi alive? Heaven’s no! Would I rather have Christi here? ABSOLUTELY!! Do I talk with her on every drive to and from class? DEFINITELY!! With help from our Father, my dear husband and cheerleader (Shayne), and child care provided by: Aunt Marty, Cousin Tricia, Grandma Nee Nee and dear Sherri, we made it and I thank everyone for their help!

PICTURE: Here are the future middle childhood language arts teachers I had the privilege to teach this quarter for Ohio State. This is our “Crazy Middle School Teachers” photo.

8 Comments:

At 12/3/08 5:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gosh, Shayla is gorgeous!

 
At 12/3/08 6:05 AM, Blogger Lisa D:) said...

Congratulations Angela. Well done. I applaud you for this HUGE task and effort.
Shayla looks adorable in her dance clothes. I bet she's excited for the play. That's wonderful there's a lengthy waiting list and they may add another performance. Can't wait to see the photos of Shayla's big show!

 
At 12/3/08 7:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done for getting through this quarter Angela - I know Christi will be cheering you on & that she'll have enjoyed your chats in the car ever bit as much as you did, just as she'll be enjoying being with you all in everything that you do. I think that one of the best things about being an angel must be being able to be with so many people, looking after them all, doing so many things & having lots of fun all at the same time. Nobody deserves that more than Christi.

I love hearing all about Shayla & I'm sure that she & Christi will still be sharing lots of sisterly moments & fun in that same special way that they've always had. I still miss my own big sister dearly but the bond that we shared has never ever left me & it never will. I loved the photograph of Shayla at ballet - it reminded me very much of one of my favourite photographs of Christi at ballet. I just know that she'll be dancing every day in heaven.

Love to you, Shayne & Shayla and a special hug sent to angel Christi who continues to be a big part of my life and inspires me each and every day - just as you all do.

With Love

Nicky xx (Lake District, England)

 
At 12/3/08 8:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shayla is so pretty in her ballet outfit...a real ballerina!

Congrats, Angela, on making it through the winter quarter. I am always amazed at your ability to take on so much...I admire your strength and determination. No doubt Christi provides you with all the inspiration you'll ever need to live your dreams.

Warmest wishes,
SC

 
At 12/3/08 2:25 PM, Blogger Aimee Jackson said...

Congratulations Angela! I hope you enjoy a nice little rest while gearing up for your dissertation. Shayla looks so beautiful in her ballet wear. I am sure the musical will be a huge hit. Hugs to all!

 
At 12/3/08 3:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A friend of mine does research on cancer cell lines and I told him all about Christi, her life, her death, and FU_NB_06. Christi loved science, of course we all remember, and I think she would've loved hearing this young man talking about how important these cell lines are and how he would carry Christi "right here" (he tapped on his chest).

Seeing Shayla's pictures was, as you write, "bittersweet". How many times did you post pictures of Christi lacing up her shoes? Shortly after you found out about her progression, you posted a lovely photo of her, dancing, chest pointed like a laser up to the heavens. I love that photo. Her eyes are closed and her face is so radiant with the joy of being alive and dancing. She reminds me every day to live with joy.

It seems it's no wonder that Christi loved school so much--her mother can't get enough of it, either! Teaching, researching, making future teachers who will go out and try hard to emulate the remarkable Angela Thomas, is such an amazing thing to do; that you had to do it while deep in grief over the child you created with Shayne makes the accomplishment all the more remarkable, like you.

Grief is a dangerous, dangerous ocean. At times, placid, welcoming, gentle, and at others very frightening, turbulent and menacing. Your particular model has been an example to me and probably to millions around the world who've had to figure out how to live after our reason for living has died. I read this blog every day to remind myself that "happiness is a choice", as you've said so many times, and that curling up into a ball is not going to bring my loved one back, nor is it going to honour her memory.

Christi showed us all how to find joy and choose happiness, but she didn't do it alone. Her family was her model and now you are modeling strategies for so many people through this blog. "Little sissy", Shayla, is looking more and more like you, Angela. You have made her feel like being happy is not dishonouring Christi, or forgetting her; you've shown her that her joy isn't wrong, but completely right.

There is another photo from a long time ago on your blog that is my second favourite. It is a picture of Christi with her teacher while in hospital. Christi's face is an explosion of laughter and her sweet bald head is all crinkled in giggles. You can very nearly hear her laughing, the picture is so vivid. How you managed to preserve her innocence is nothing short of a miracle. I think she knew she was dying that last September. Children always know what's going on with their bodies way more than adults give them credit for. I think she did for you what you always did for her: protected you from the knowledge that she knew what was happening to her. She was a very bright, sensitive, intuitive child. She also knew, thanks to you, how to live very much "in the moment". It's a cliche, but, that wisdom is essential. She wasn't wringing her hands in worry, in anxiety, in panic. She was making her lists, lists, and more lists of "to do". Her dreams in hospital of "books, books, and more books" have to be some of the most powerful things I've ever heard. She knew, more than any person, that her mind was always free from cancer, that her thoughts were always hers to control and no one else's, and that her soul would never, ever, have neuroblastoma.

She is as much a model to us all, as your family continues to be. And, as my friend the researcher said to me yesterday, I think we will all carry her, "right here" (patting our chests). Your family means so much to so many people. Thank you for staying in our lives through your blog.

One last thing: you really need to start taking a closer look at your photos. Check out the photo of your middle school course class, upper right corner on the ceiling. There is a glowing ball of energy hovering in the photo. It's as larger than the students' heads! Christi loved school so much. Remember she wanted to be teacher? (and a vet, and a scientist, and a famous artist!) How do you know she didn't attend your classes? It looks like she showed up for the final photo. And you know Christi was a stickler for time and truth. She wouldn't have crashed the photo if she didn't think she earned the course credit! Do you see the energy balls and not say anything about them on your blog? Or do you actually not see them? I used to think you posted the photos with the orbs in them, but now I think it's just a "coincidence".

Missing Christi and sending the best thoughts to her beloved family (and Buttercup and Buckeye, too!).

 
At 12/3/08 7:35 PM, Blogger Danielle Luc said...

it goes without saying that you are so admired by me - i dont know how you do it all in a day (or in a few years!)

shayla look so mature in those photos - i cant believe how much of a little lady shes become.

throwing high-fives your way,

dani

 
At 12/3/08 9:04 PM, Blogger Olivia said...

Angela, you never cease to amaze me. I seriously have no idea how it is that you manage to do everything you do. CONGRATS on being done!

As for you Shayla, I absolutely adore your pictures! You are growing so much and get more and more beautiful every day. Have fun with more Oklahoma! practice.

Loads of love,
Olivia

 

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