My mind is cluttered with a plethora of competing thoughts. The one constant is Palmer. I can’t get the image of him out of my mind, and not just the image of him lying in his bed at Texas Children’s, but also the image of what I have always imagined him to be. The truth is, Palmer was exactly as I imagined. This truth makes the reality of our life without even more difficult.
My other truth is the necessity to move forward, stronger and wiser as a result of our battle and loss. I know this to be a crucial mindset, but there is no blueprint for me to apply it. Sure, there are books that I can read, but these are of very little interest to me at present. I’ve tried to slow my thoughts on how to honor Palmer. I’ve avoided the very same pages I lived on when we were in the middle of the fight. These pages now elicit pain and anger, regret, doubt, and an excruciating understanding of what we no longer have to fight for.
For the very first time I’m realizing I’ll never get over this. This pain will never leave. My hope is that I can transform the pain on a daily basis. My ability to do this is paramount and directly proportional to our future happiness and success. I struggle with my words. My thoughts are many, but I am unable to express them the same way I did when I had Palmer to talk to, touch, and pull strength from.
It is impossible for me to fathom the impact he has had on me. At times I have very little control over my emotions. I try to push past the pain and at times this works, and in other moments I fail miserably. I’m trying to push forward with business as usual. Get back up on the horse and do what I was doing before. Demo, Demo, Demo! The problem with this is, there are way too many children in the grocery stores. I’ll spend four hours doing a demo at Central Market, and in that time I will see at least two dozen reminders of what I had in Palmer. During a recent demo a supplier of ours, who had no clue as to what had happened, approached me as he had done many times in the past. Before Palmer (B.P.) we would have these conversations on a weekly basis. This conversation started in a similar fashion, but quickly changed when the question of where I had been came up. I proceeded to explain in detail what happened, and his responses were genuine and perfect. “That’s just horrible, that just really sucks!”. My thoughts exactly. But as I continued to talk, without warning, I broke down, in the middle of Central Market, on a Sunday afternoon at 1:30. I tried to control the cry. I tried to temper my emotions, but it was out of my control. This is my new normal.
This is the reality that Kristen and I now face. In an instant a thought triggers a breakdown. Don’t get me wrong, we couldn’t live without these thoughts, and these breakdowns keep us close to Palmer, but it is as if we are skating barefoot on the blade of a knife at a very high height. The wounds remain fresh, allowing us to feel the pain and love, but at some point the pain becomes unbearable and we are left with the fall.
We try to push on, move forward, and keep ourselves occupied. We replace the thoughts of Palmer with the worries of the many. How do we make money? How do we pick things back up and pay the bills. We hate asking for help. During this experience we have received emotional, spiritual, physical, and financial support from many. Without this support we would have never made it out the other side. But now we’re standing on this side of things trying to figure out how to pick back up the momentum we had created at the beginning of the year. Rather than simply ask for help, we gravitate towards providing a product and/or service.
Of course we’ve always thought we had a great product and service in Pretty Thai®, but as we move forward I try to think of ways to directly honor Palmer, his name, his fight. Heart Strong is the obvious, and thanks to many who purchased t-shirts, Palmer’s name and story is being carried on all over the country, and at times, the world. But the harsh reality of life is the necessity of money to survive. We want to find the perfect way in which to honor Palmer and through this help others with their fight and struggles, but we don’t know how to do this when we are in a daily fight to survive. So we think of other ideas, the most recent being the Palmey Bear Brownie Co.
Kristen makes amazingly delicious gluten-free brownies that I have always loved. We would serve them on the food truck and they were extremely popular. So to honor Palmer, we would like to offer these brownies in the shape of a teddy bear.
We are still working on getting our logo designed. The teddy bear baking sheets are in the mail, and I’m already sourcing the ingredients and packaging, but what we really need are good folks to buy them. It is our hope to combine this with Heart Strong at some point in the future; and if Pretty Thai® can get to the level that we hope, we can take the proceeds from the Palmey Bear Brownie Co. and use them to bring hope and strength to others facing similar struggles and tragedy. The path is still not clear, but as always, we can’t do it without Palmer’s Army! Brownies anyone?