The end of one chapter, the start of another

And so we reached the end of this particular chapter. I wouldn't say the end of our journey, because this won't really ever finish. It will always be part of us, it shaped us and sent us in a direction we never thought about before it all started. And let's be honest, life in itself is a journey and our experiences and roads that we walk are all part of this journey. Sometimes the road isn't exactly as you thought and hoped, but whilst you are there, you may as well take time and look around and make the best of it.

Today we are finally closing off this chapter. I know Bianca still has her port. I know she still requires other regular usual medicines, but the chemo part is finished (hopefully forever) and so we wanted to find a way to celebrate this milestone. Something special, something significant, something that will remind us of how very strong Bianca was during all of this and as a family, how strong we managed to stay regardless of the challenges. I wanted something to remind us that despite what life might throw at us, we are able to stand tall and stay strong.

Today we planted a tree at Bianca's school - an evergreen magnolia tree. It is 6 years old, just like Bianca and years from now I hope that she will take her children and show them her tree. We recently took Bianca to choose her special tree. She calls it her "Bianca Tree".

Yesterday Bianca and her teacher made the most beautiful programme for today.

There were some very special speeches from Bianca's headmistress (Miss Bowden) and teachers

Miss Hilton, Bianca's Year zero teacher, read the most beautiful poem that I just have to share with you:

The Tree of Life

This tree
Is not only a tree
It is a friendly tree,
that is always watching over you.
This tree
Is not only a tree
It is a magical tree.
That makes miracles happen,
Hopes become realities,
And nevers become alwayses.
This tree
Is not only a tree,
It is where everything started
It is the tree of life.
(Mia Ocean)

Three of Bianca's friends shared some special words with Bianca.

And then Bianca had her first public speaking engagement.

Terence shared a few thoughts with the group and the significance of this tree.

And then it was time to plant the tree. Bianca started and soon after her friends all helped her plant this tree.

During the planting Bianca dropped a little glass jar with some special messages into the hole, and in many many years from now she could dig it up and remember this moment again.

This is a living monument to our very brave and courageous daughter who achieved and endured so much during the past 830 days, who despite what she faced, always brightened our days with her smile. The school was the perfect setting because the school was the first "normal" experience Bianca had since diagnosis. The teachers and children all accepted Bianca just the way she was, and treated her just like they would anybody else, and so it felt right to share this with her teachers and friends who helped us keep things normal.

I want to take this opportunity to say a big big thank you to The North Harbour Big Tree company for the wonderful support in helping us plant this tree. They arrived bright and early to help dig the hole and wow, I've never seen anybody work so fast.

I also want to say a big big thank you to Oteha Valley School - to the Board of Trustees, the headmistress, the staff and all the relevant children who all helped make today so very very special.

Then later at assembly Bianca won both the "Busy Bee" floating trophy as well as the Oteha Star certificate for the way she has always done her very best despite being sick, despite dealing with medicines, despite having to go to hospital for treatment on a regular basis and the school thought she is a true example and inspiration to everybody else. We are so very proud!

And so we close off this chapter and we start a new chapter as part of our journey and we are filled with hope and we know that whatever may lie around the corner, we are ready, after all, just look how much we achieved and how strong we have become! I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of you for being there for us, for following our story and sharing this journey with us. A big thank you from the four of us. We hope you will continue popping into this blog and share our new chapter with us!


Sharon said...

Oh wow!!! What a brilliant idea!!! That's truly special Lea. Recently, we visited the boarding school Walter attended as a small child, I have the most beautiful photograph of him standing next to this massive tree that he planted as a tiny sampling when he was 10 years old.
This is a beautiful way to create a living memory and something Bianca can revisit later in life.
Wonderful! A big congratulations to you all to making it this far.
Lots of love

Anonymous said...

What an awesome entry, which brought me to tears.
Well done on everything you all have achieved during this time.
Love and Hugs to the girls

Anonymous said...

What an awesome story of courage and hope! Well done Bianca. As long as you keep posting on your blog we'll keep reading! Thanks for sharing the journey with us.

Sue from Wellington.

Kobus said...

The way you celebrated this monumental moment is absolutely original and perfect! WOW! I hope that things will get only better from here onwards, in this remarkable journey of yours!

Anonymous said...

Oh you Whites just made me sniffle a bit... (no mean feat that)

What an amazing idea - and what a wonderful LIVING tribute to one of the most amazing little girls (and her family) I've had the priveldge of getting to know through this blog.

I love that this is something that you can all revisit in the years to come.

Whoo hooo to the end of the chapter and here's to the start of many more new ones!


Anonymous said...

What a wonderful tribute to Bianca and her family. Such a great idea. Congratulations on this special event in your lives. I will be reading as long as you are writing!
Good luck to all of you.
Rosemary NY

Hannah R said...

Well done guys - what an awesome way to celebrate the end of treatment. Lovely family pic too!

Anonymous said...

What a fitting end to one chapter and a great start to the next Lea! I am so very pleased that the weather held on for the planting and that everything went to plan.
Hope the other project is going well, we are looking forward to see some photos of the finished product.
Hugs from us in Wellington L, A and T

Sue, Joe and Michael Webber said...

Tears are streaming down my face as I write this. I saw the link on LSB. What an amazing family you all are, thank you all for sharing your incredible journey, Sue Webber(MM)

Merideth said...

Are you going to keep writing your blog? I really really hope so!!!! I LOVE the tree idea. What a wonderful special treat for a wonderful special incredibly strong little girl and her family!!!! HUGS and love *hearts;

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Bianca on finishing your treatment. You have been such a brave girl over the last few years. I and many others admire you for everything you have achieved. Will definately be popping in on the blog to see what's happening! Good luck White family, I wish you all the happiness and healthiness in the world. xx

Leann said...

Dear Bianca, Lea, Terence and Caitlyn,
I have been reading about you since your blog started. I am so happy for you that you have got to this point. Bianca, you are fantastic, and will grow up to be a really special someone.

superrelish said...

What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful girl and her amazing family. Please keep posting, we will keep reading.

Darroch Cottage said...

Bianca, your tree is the BEST magnolia ever, way better than our ones!
Bet it gets huge white flowers on it - you need to sniff them as they smell beautiful.

Lea I admit to having a wee blub reading that, very beautiful xxx

Anonymous said...

What an amazing day for all of you. I am so grateful that you've come so far and that Bianca is doing so well.


MERLIOT said...

Congratulations on your completition of this hard treatment Bianca I know how brave you are and will become thru the years, I know your Special Family supported you along the way and sacrifies were just anywhere, I'm myself into this journey my 4 years old dauther is fighting and hope I can enjoy the same way you and your Special Family is doing today in sometime in the future..God Bless You All White Family...R. Pereira