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 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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Thursday, July 09, 2009

Judging & Christi's Last Days

Shayla had her 4H judging for her two projects, theatre and scrapbooking, on Tuesday. For theatre she had the same judge as last year. She said the hardest question he asked her was, "What was different about what you did this year than what you did last year?" Her judging lasted about 15 minutes and from the roped off parents' section across the room, it appeared she did most of the talking and she had a grand time (imagine that!). She started off the morning with the scrapbook judge (pictured here).

Seventeen 4Hers (ages 8-13) went before Shayla and three followed. I think she really blew the judge away. I kept seeing her mouth, "Oh my goodness!" and she "oohed and ahhed". She spent about 15 minutes with her and then I could see Shayla was absolutely beaming. The judged asked her to present her scrapbook to the 14 and older division judge. That judge spent about ten minutes with her. Shayla came back, "I don't know what that meant, but I think that was good." Results will be posted when she goes to set up her horse stall and to help with her other 4H club's booth in a couple of weeks.

Lisa D. from Florida: I don't have your email address since I switched computers. I hope you get this message. I wish you could have gone with us. Some of those girls' scrapbooks were absolutely INCREDIBLE! Not as good as yours, of course, but really amazing! Thanks for sharing your work with us. Shayla said the judge asked her if her mom scrapbooked and she said, "She wants to, but really she just stacks stuff in plastic tubs." The judge then asked her where she gets her ideas and how does she know what to do and she told her you gave her ideas, she's borrowed books from the library and she plays with the stuff until it looks just right then she glues it down.

Scrapbook Project Comments from the Judge:Very outstanding scrapbook! Theatre theme! Awesome designs! Great knowledge of techniques (design, lay-out, color, borders, etc)! Fantastic interview! Keep up the great work!

Theatre Project Comments from the Judge:Sounds like you have had a fantastic experience and you have grown with it! Keep up the good work!

Shayla has been going to "Arts Camp" at the YMCA with a friend during the morning hours this week. She's also been to the city pool with friends a couple of afternoons and working with Skeeter down at the barn in the evenings. She's loving summertime!

For breaks while continuing to write my dissertation this week, I read a most amazing book I highly recommend. (I bought it on-line, used, for a couple of dollars.) "Glimpses of Heaven" written by hospice nurse Trudy Harris, RN. I would be glad to send someone my copy, but I'm giving it to one of my new colleagues as I think she would want to read it. In it the author writes what she's experienced as a hospice nurse through vignettes. "True Stories of Hope and Peace at the End of Life's Journey". I cannot even begin to share how much comfort it provided me. I have no doubt, Christi is in Heaven; however, I long to know more as sometimes my pain is unbearable, my sorry overwhelming and the loss of her is too hard to describe. I must remember and be thankful that God gave me the honor of loving her from beginning to end. She will be forever etched on my heart. Thank you for letting me share her with you. Writing helps me tremendously cope with my loss.

Well, it's been nearly 2 3/4 years since I allowed myself to look at "these" pictures. They'd choke me up and bring me down every time I've tried to do so before I'm not going to say the tears didn't flow, but I could actually look at many pictures I'd not ever been able to look at before - pictures of "the end" - the very last pictures we have. Heartbreaking ones for us.

I'm not certain what is going on in this picture. It appears that I am reading the card that came with this darling toy Christi received at CHOP. It looks to me like she's talking out loud to God for my benefit, perhaps, "Why did I have to get a teacher mom who reads EVERYTHING to me?! I don't know, but the look on her face reminds me so much of one she'd use when she was teasing me. Hmmmmmmmmm.
In this picture I can see that Christi does not feel well at all and that Dr. Maris is deeply concerned.

Christi's Last Trip to Philly - sleeping in the back of the van. I remember at Christi's funeral, Father Joe talked about the little bed I made for her in the back of the van before Shayne drove her through the night to Philadelphia. When I'm really brave, I'll go back and listen to Father Joe's sermon, but I'm not there yet.

I must not let these images overcome me. I must remember the good times cancer brought us, times spent with family and friends, like over the weekend spending some time last Saturday afternoon with Christi's Chemo Angel Chris and her family at Put-in-Bay. Had it not been for Christi's journey, we never would have known this wonderful family!

Shayla Funny: After 4H judging, when it was just the two of us in the van, I said to her, "Did that second scrapbook judge look familiar to you?" She thought a bit and then said, "No, why?" I said, "That was your bunny judge from last year." Shayla's mouth dropped open as she said, "Ohhhhhh, I hope she didn't remember me from that! Last year she just said, 'You didn't do this, you didn't do that, you should have done that, goodbye!'." Oh, we had a good laugh over that!
Shayla said the judge really liked this page.


At 9/7/09 10:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shayla - your scrapbook looks brilliant! It's not something that is particularly popular over in the UK (or in Ireland - where I come from) - but your designs have definitely inspired me to do something similar with some of my photographs when I get the time after I (like your mum!) finish my thesis!

Hope the results will be favourable.


P.S. Angela - thanks for sharing the pictures of Christi - I just prayed for her peace.

At 9/7/09 11:36 AM, Blogger Catz said...

I have been following your blog for years and been praying for you all along although I do not think I have ever posted before. I never quite understood everything you have said till I lost my dad to cancer 2 months ago. I am no way comparing losing a child to losing a parent. I know your struggle was so much worse then mine. However I just wanted to say I am so thankful that it was cancer that took my father other then some other thing that would have had him die in his sleep. That is a purely selfish feeling on my part, I am just so thankful we had the time to say all those things that would have gone unsaid otherwise. Even then my dad died far to young but taught me so much in those short 12 months. I am a better person for it even though the pain is so fresh and so raw. I just wanted to tell you what an inspiration that you and Christi have been for me and how much your blog has helped me get through my own loss.
You will always be in my heart and my prayers

At 9/7/09 12:53 PM, Anonymous Amy Tubbs said...


I have followed your site for several years (since right after Christi died.) I am a pediatric oncology nurse specialist at the Penn State Children's Hospital in Hershey, PA and came to your site through one of our neuroblastoma angels. I also am a native of Ohio, growing up in Warren. It is always neat to hear of familiar places you go and I grew up going to and loving Cedar Point and Put-in-Bay. Anyway, I have wanted to post for so long and just have not. Your family is so beautiful and I admire you all so much. You can feel the love and respect that you have for each other that is rare to see these days. I am so happy that you can support each other through all the difficult times that you have had. Shayla is a beautiful and amazing girl - she really reminds me of my oldest daughter who is 9 - she loves dance and the theater also. What I admire most is that although you have faced the most difficult thing parents can ever face, you have been able to go on and do great things with your lives and live and enjoy each day. You keep getting up each day and not just getting up but thriving and living and making the most out of each day for Shayla and for yourselves but most of all for Christi. I can imagine that that is not always an easy task. Thank you for sharing all that you have. I hope to never have to face what you have but I look to so many families like yours that somehow "do it right", if there is such a thing, and hope that I could be like that. I wish I could have known Christi, but doing what I do each day, I see many beautiful children like her with such amazing spirits. It truly is a blessing to be able to do this job.

Love and God Bless,
Amy Tubbs

At 10/7/09 4:58 AM, Blogger Lisa D :) said...

Dear Sweet Shayla, You have done a beautiful and wonderful job on your scrapbook! I am AMAZED at the lovely work I see you've done and I'm so glad your mom has shared some photos of it here, and told us about the judging and how well it went! I just KNEW you'd succeed at anything you do, and scrapbooking is one of those things! I sure wish I could've attended the judging too, although I might have had a hard time containing myself in the audience...I would've been shouting "PICK HER!!! PICK HER!!!" hee hee hee ;)
Way to go Shay!
Hugs & Love from Lisa in Florida

At 10/7/09 5:00 AM, Blogger Lisa D :) said...

Thank you for sharing all these photos Angela. I can see why it'd be difficult to look at all of those last photos taken of precious Christi. I think you must always remind yourself to ALLOW yourself to feel your grief and know that whatever you're feeling is OKAY. There can't possibly be a "timeline" on grief, especially of losing ones child! Thank you for sharing Christi here -- she will NEVER be forgotten, nor will her life have been without purpose -- she has changed and touched so many people for the better, myself included.
Love, Lisa


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