"The Journey Ends.
There can be no triumph without loss...
No victory without suffering...
No freedom without sacrifice."

~ from the "Return of the King" movie trailer

"I wish none of this had happened."
"So do all who live to see such times, but it is not for us to decide.
All that is for you to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you."

~ JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings

January 23, 2003: The Battle Begins Again.

July 21, 2003: Hunter's battle ends in the Ultimate Cure

Hunter and Smudge the day they got the latest diagnosis

I have invited all who knew or were touched by Hunter to share their "Hunterisms" - those awesome anecdotes about the things that made Hunter so special, the odd coincidences that brought us all together, poetry, photos, etc.
Please view and add to these Hunterisms!

Sign Hunter's Guest Book!!!


June 27, 2014: Quite by accident, today is the 19th anniversary of Hunter's original diagnosis. It was the day, one month after his kindergarten physical, when a canteloupe-sized mass was found to have taken up residence in his tiny belly. Time marches swiftly by, and those of us who knew and loved Hunter continue to introduce him to the people important in our lives today. Over the past year, I have collected a few things together in various locations for more people to be able to know this amazing soul. The video of his message which was played at his memorial has now been converted from VHS to digital, and is now available both on Hunter's "History" (or is that "His Story"?) page and on YouTube. In addition, I've gathered some brief writings together from old emails and posted them to Facebook so that they won't be lost. For those who wish to read about what it's been like for some of us since he left, you can find them here: Thoughts From One Left Behind

In true "time marches on" fashion, life does evolve. Betsy has made a place for a new person in her life, and will marry in less than a week. You can be sure we will be looking for rainbows on that day.

March 19, 2013: In honor of Hunter's 23rd birthday - 10 years after the last birthday we celebrated with him - I have rebuilt and launched the powerpoint presentation I originally made for his memorial celebration.


July 21, 2008: Hunter's Godmother, Linda, sums it up best in three simple lines:

Time passes
Memories deepen
Love remains

It's been five years that feel like both the blink of an eye and an eternity. We miss you dearly, Rocketman.

July, 2006: Not-so-distant memories

Another year passes. The annual celebrations have ceased, but time has yet to take away the bitter sting of Hunter's passing. His birthday and the anniversary of his death remain brutal reminders of different days. Mariah, now the first Atkinson child to reach the age of 14, reaches new landmarks every day with a promising future in the Arts. Betsy marches bravely forward, taking every available opportunity to celebrate her boy. Posts to the guestbook are sporadic but touching - please keep them coming!

July 20, 2004:Time marches on...

How difficult it seems to believe that a whole year has gone by. The void he leaves behind continues to be felt by all, and still his mother and sister feel that they will never heal. Yet we - his friends and family by choice - joined Betsy and Mariah to celebrate his life this past weekend at a dog show - the WASCUNY July Sparkler - that has historically been "Hunter's show"...one he always managed to make it to, even if it meant a final chemo treatment on the way to the show with the dogs packed and waiting in the car, stopping along the way to flush lines and admisinster treatments. In the days leading up to his death, we found a tiny bit of solace in the joke that Hunter was hanging on just a few more days, as it would be a terrible irony for his death to interfere with the enjoyment of his favorite dog show by his dearest friends.

Please take a moment to enjoy these moments of celebration.

Celebrating Life!

On the evening of July 25, 2003, Hunter's extended family gathered together for a pyrotechnics display that would have had this young man beside himself with joy!


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