BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (WCCO) — It’s been quite a year for us all but few have experienced what the McArdle Family has — a family our WCCO viewers really seemed to connect with last March.
And so we wanted to update you on the Bloomington family, one year after our original story aired. At that time, the family had been told their 1-year-old Brice had weeks to live and went on a baby bucket list mission.READ MORE: Clean Car Debate At Minnesota Capitol May Lead To Summer Closures Of State Parks, Trails
“When you get that news you can either sulk all day or pray for strength to live out his days with joy,” Brice’s dad Chris McArdle said in March 2020.
Brice passed away a month after our story aired.
WCCO caught up with his parents to talk about resiliency and a surprise they did not see coming.
The McArdles’ Bloomington home is sprinkled with memorabilia of the most important kind, photos of baby Brice, a garden stone in his memory, a signed oar from University of Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck and an imprint of Brice’s hand and feet.
“So we have his hand size and foot size and we can just feel those markings of his little fingers,” Brice’s mom, Christine McArdle, said.
A hand she would so love to feel again.
“Oh gosh, I miss everything about him,” she said.
“Yeah me too, the warmth, holding him,” Chris McArdle said. “There is not one thing I don’t miss about him.”
It’s been 11 months since they laid their son to rest. One-year-old Brice died from cancer on April 10, Good Friday.
Since then, their world has changed, and the whole world has changed.
“Oh, it’s rough,” Christine McArdle said of grief during the pandemic. “I really feel sorry for anyone else who is going through grief right now. It’s hard planning a funeral during COVID, not having anyone there … Finding mental health counselors, they are overwhelmed because so many people are dealing with mental health issues so … we haven’t been able to find grief counselors.”
They have managed to find each other on the deepest of levels.
“Our marriage has grown so much. Through fire, trial, I know that’s when I’ve grown the most in my life but I think that’s what’s made us grow the most is the pain, as bad as that sounds,”
The days have been arduous, but also inspiring.
“Yeah, I have heartbreak and sadness, but when I think of my son, I feel joy,” Chris McArdle said.
“Brice just exuded happiness,” Christine McArdle said. “He was just the happiest little boy.”READ MORE: Marietta's Salt Lake Is A Paradise For Birds And Bird Watchers
“Most days were OK, even though we are fighting the impossible,” Chris said.
“I would say our faith, our family, leaning on each other through this,” Christine says of their strength.
They’ve been traveling, too, choosing to spend Brice’s second birthday in Duluth. They bought themselves presents as a distraction, having no idea about the gift they’d already been given.
Christine said she had an urgent thought.
“I look at Chris and I’m like, ‘I think I was supposed to have my period,'” she said.
“I was like, ‘You should probably look into that,'” Chris said.
And they did.
“Life was crazy and we were looking forward to getting away and all the sudden boom, we were having a baby and again it was like bitter sweet but a lot of sweetness, a lot of joy in there,” Chris McArdle said.
On what was supposed to be their son’s second birthday, they got news of their second child.
And it’s a girl. Christine said she felt Brice had something to do with it.
“It did, it felt like a blessing from him,” she said. “Like, ‘You guys are gonna be OK.'”
There will be no replacing Brice, but there will be a resurgence of joy.
“I’m excited for the turning of the page, to not forget but to see what’s next,” Chris McArdle said.
“But she is gonna know Brice was a brave, happy, strong big brother, that he could get through anything,” Christine McArdle said about Brice’s sister.
And if there’s ever a family to prove you can get through anything, it’s the McArdles.
Brice’s little sister is due in August.
Chris McArdle says one of the the most healing things they’ve done is to start raising money for the Pinky Swear Foundation and to support other families with kids who are fighting cancer.MORE NEWS: COVID In MN: Gov. Walz To Announce On Thursday His Timeline To End All Restrictions
He asks people consider supporting: