CaringBridge Is Funded by People Like You

Make a donation to CaringBridge

Honor Chelsee with a tax-deductible contribution to CaringBridge today.

Click here to make your donation.

Chelsee’s Story

Welcome to our CaringBridge website which we've created it to keep friends and family updated about Chelsee. 

This caring bridge site is a combination of stories.  My name is Chelsee and I am the author.  In November 2009, I had a brain tumor on my brain stem that was partially removed during a 13 hour brain surgery.  After that, I was treated with radiation.  My husband, John, and I have struggled with infertility, had a miscarriage in November 2010, and welcomed our beautiful daughter, Hope into the world on November 30, 2011.  My Daddy, Mike Harris, went to the hospital on May 13th, 2012 and was diagnosed with meningitis.  Soon after, we found two malignant tumors in his brain.  On June 5th, he had brain surgery to remove one of those tumors.  Soon, he will undergo CyberKnife radiation to treat the second tumor.  Thank you for your prayers and thank you for reading our story.

Latest Journal Update

Making Sense

I give up. I've been laying here for the past hour with so many thoughts, it feels like my head is going to explode. If you have ever been pregnant, you know the third trimester comes with a lovely bout of insomnia. (Can you see the sarcasm dripping off the page?). When I was pregnant with Hope, my insomnia-filled nights were spent thinking of changing diapers, feeding times and putting the finishing touches on her nursery. Now, my nights are filled with trying to make sense of things which turns my insomnia into hours of thinking. It's haunting and healing all at the same time.

I've been trying to understand how the grieving process works over the past few weeks. I think I'm still in shock over what has happened. In some ways, I think I've been grieving since last May, being fearful of losing Daddy and afraid of when our last day with him would be. Now, it's so hard to wrap my mind around the past year that either I can't comprehend it, I'm in complete shock or I knew it was coming all along. I have dreams every night that haunt me when I wake. Some nights I wake hoping it was all just a nightmare. I wonder if it will all hit someday or if it has already hit. I try to make sense out of why it happened. And, then things like today's attack on the Boston Marathon take place, and I try to make sense of that.

I find myself in the middle of the day going on like normal and know that I'm half faking it and half continuing on with life like Daddy wanted us to. My outside self knows how to keep going and my inside self pokes at me, reminding me what happened. It's on my days off when it is hardest. I've been so busy the past few weeks getting ready for our Hyline show that is this week that it has forced me to continue on. I think that has been a blessing because on my days off, I lack the internal motivation that drives me to be me.....the Type A go-getter, everything must be clean, live every day to its fullest kind of gal I've always been. I know that's somewhat normal as long as I don't have too many of those days.

I have such an internal struggle because I know life must go on, but in doing that, I'm so deeply torn between the person this has changed me into and the person I used to be. I no longer worry about little things for I know they aren't important, I still laugh at silly things, but I know I'm different and that finding my new self will take time. I know the smile on my face is just my way of getting through each day for now but it will become a smile of contentment one day again. I'm not in the place of contentment yet because I still haven't come to terms that I've lost my Daddy. Both smiles are genuine, they just have different meanings.

And, then I find myself scared I'll never capture that true ease and joy of life again. Just at those moments, I feel sweet Harper in my stomach nudge me to let me know it's all going to be ok. I used to think God surprised us all with little Harper to give my Daddy all the more motivation to fight. After my Dads final surgery, I dealt with heavy feelings of guilt because I know one of his main motivations for going through that was because he was determined to meet Harper. Now I know she was meant for me, John, my Mom, Melissa and Lance to give us added joy during this time of loss. I know there will now always be a piece of my heart missing from losing Daddy but that new parts will grow and make it even bigger than before.

Our sweet Hope is what gets me, and I know my mom, through each day. There is no way in the world not to smile and feel joy when you are with her. For a while, I was mad at the word "hope". I believed in "hope" so much this year and was so optimistic and faithful that my Daddy would get better that I almost felt deceived by it. Perhaps I was unrealistic. Then, I look at my Hope and realize "hope" comes in all different forms. Maybe the "hope" that my Dad would heal is erased but "hope" of finding new joy is so clearly evident in my daughters eyes that it's hard not to believe in it.

Some people have told me that they think God chose us to go through this because He knew how faithful we would be. I struggle with this still because then I can't help but wonder if we weren't so faithful or if I wasn't so public with my on-going praise for Him, would he have put us through so much. Then, thoughts run through my head such as "Did I cause this to happen to my family?" .... I mean it does seem we can't get a break....You get the picture.

In summary, I know that it is juvenile to expect to make sense of anything. I can't make sense of why my Daddy is gone, I can't make sense of why someone would do something so horrible to the Boston Marathon runners, I can't make sense of anything. So, today I'll try (try being the operative word) to stop making sense and let go. What we've been given today can't be changed as hard as we try. There is no erasing what has happened. There is no turning back time. There is only the future and what fools we would be to waste it now that we've seen just how very delicate it is.

And that's about the only thing that makes sense to me right now.