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Ariel Rose’s Story

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Thank You! 

Ariel Rose Gariano came into my life on August 19, 1998. One of a set of twins she was already extraordinary from the moment she came into this world, but I couldn't in my wildest imagination begin to realise just how special, just how brave, just how inspiring my little girl has proven to be.

Ariel - her name means 'Lioness of God'. It's a name she would live up to within days of her birth. At the great age of 3 days Ariel was diagnosed with a laryngeal cleft, a rare airway birth defect in which her trachea and esophagus were not completely divided. Ariel would undergo multiple surgeries at two medical institutions, Children’s Hospital Oakland and Children’s Medical Center Cincinnati. We had been warned from the beginning that Ariel faced many challenges and the odds were stacked against her.
But Ariel is a fighter like few can imagine and she came out of her surgeries with amazing results. As she grew older we realized in spite of the multiple occassionas that she had been oxygen deprived while aspirating she was in tact and very much a normal little girl. We really began to believe we had escaped our worst nightmares as Ariel grew into a beautiful, healthy little girl.

 On October 26, 2007, however, the nightmares came back, only this time they were scarier than anything we had previously imagined.

Ariel was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, Rhabdomyosarcoma, when a large tumor was found in her sinus cavity and was encroaching on her right eye.

She would endure a year of chemotherapy, radiation, multiple surgeries and in August of 2008 she was declared disease free.

Ariel has been cancer free for 30 months and she's blossomed into a lovely young lady. Smart, Funny, Compassionate, Fearess she is so full  of life it seems incomprehensible that we would be told the cancer appears to have returned.

We are beginning our next fight and we are clinging to our girl, her fighting spirit and are holding to our hearts the knowledge that nobody likes to defy the odds quite like Ariel.

She's been doing it since birth and hopefully she can do it again.

Latest Journal Update

A crack in time

I'm not sure what has torn open a window to the past but tonight is horror movie I can't turn off. It's the 10th...2yrs and in 90 mins...9 mos since Ariel left us. 
I can't breathe...I feel her in my arms, those last hours, her body so warm and so fragile, the windows, the signs that showed us she was still with us, slipping further and further apart. I remember exactly what she was wearing...purple flannel pajamas covered with owls. Her She lay under the softest blanket I could find for her, so fuzzy soft, cream with pink roses with a satin ruffled trim. Surrounding her pillows a collection of animals and things she loved her body spooned against mine, her upper body in my arms, her head on my chest, was it minutes, hours, her soft hair tucked under my chin, 
There had been so few changes, the family had sat in her room all day standing the numbers on the monitor told us death was coming closer but when? How soon? 
At 10 pm we sent most of the family home, she had been slow but stable we thought everyone should get some sleep. At 11pm things started to change, it was the softest hitch in her breathing a coolness that began to spread across Ariel's skin I remember holding her closer as though I could force my life back into her body. My hand slid from her shoulders to her sternum, there was still a heart beat but I could tell things were changing. 
Suddenly the doctors began to appear, all 3 nurses standing at bedside, Ariel's beloved Chuck on one side Haleema on the other, bent carefully over her, listening for a heartbeat, their tears slowly rolling down their faces.
I knew death was coming for my daughter and I was terrorified. I kept trying to tell myself over and over, she was in so  much pain, so much had been taken from her.
Ariel couldn't walk, she couldn't see, she couldn't speak, she was so fearless , so strong, so alive this wasn't Ariel this was what the disease had left behind and if I truly loved her, truly wanted what was best for her, I had to let her go. 
I remember leaning over her face,t the tears coming in floods (as they are now....I'm sorry if this is becoming unreadable I can't even see the screen). I remember telling her it was okay to go, i'd be right behind her...I was so proud of her, she was my love, my soul my life and I'd be with her soon. It was okay it was okay...
I don't know how long I said that,..over and over but then the last breath came.
Slightly longer, shakier than the others. and suddenly when she exhaled I knew she would never draw another breath again. 
I remember the blurry images of Haleemal and Chuck standing over Ariel listening...weeping over their stethoscopes. Vikki had joined I don't know when and Jason holding Ariel's hands tears and sobs racking him.....but under my hand her heart was still beating.
Like the smallest of birds...frantic at first and then fainter fainter...I know I pleaded with Chuck and Haleema that they couldn't call time of death because her heart I could feel her heart beating...and then it stopped.
At 11:26 pm it stopped,
And on some level so did mine. 
Right now it feels it's Dec 10th 2012 and it's only 11:27 pm -- it's that real, that fresh that raw in a way it hasn't been in years. 
Oh dear God Ariel, I miss you so badly. I can't believe in 3 mos I'll have to say it's been 3 yrs. 
Right now it barely feels like 3 mins.
I love you so angel, I miss you with every cell of my being.
You are my heart, my soul, and I will walk with those memories until I can see you again and become whole once more.
My little bird.
My cub.
My Ariel Rose.

67 people hearted this



Sarah Hinkle
By Sarah Hinkle
Heart wrenching, as a mother who loves nothing like her babies I can't imagine your pain and i pray for peace for you, knowing Ariel loves you and walks beside you daily.
Michelle Deehan
By Michelle Deehan
My heart breaks for you after reading your post. Your recount of Ariels last day is so vivid and the way you described It, I thought my own heart was going to burst with sadness for all of you. God bless you xx