Thursday, December 31, 2009

Fragile Resolutions...

This is our temporary home, it's not where we belong
Windows and rooms that we're passing through
This is just a stop on the way to where we're going
I'm not afraid because I know this is our temporary home..
Carrie Underwood~ Temporary Home

A Mother's reflection of 2009:

Life is good for one moment. In that moment all is right with the world, everyone is healthy, safe and happy. Hold on to those moments because things will come that will shake your world to the very foundation.

Heather had a survivor's personality. You know, those people in ship wrecks, plane crashes and concentration camps who fight to survive. She rolled with the punches, took everything that came her way, tried with all her might to overcome impossible odds a fighter to the very end and who's story inspire us.

I understand even better what it is to be willing to give up everything to save your child's life. Belongings, money, home, career, personal time, privacy, sleep, freedom, security and even my own life. Though I am willing to give up everything it is not enough to save, my baby, the one I love.

That the hardships of the past year and a half has taken a toll on my entire family. We are fractured, fragile and we are learning how to live as a family again without Heather. A frightened shadow of what we once were, trying to live a new life.

That God sends certain people into our lives when we need them most. Some become lifelong friends; some are those who we've lost touch with over the years and suddenly re-appear; a few were there in the moment of need and then move on just as quickly. Sometimes it is an encouraging word; through text or email, or simply knowing that someone, anyone cares at critical points. A caring gesture, a thought or word, or some small random act of kindness can carry tremendous weight.

Heather at Varsity USA 2002. A youth event where teens from all
over the country come to Chicago to compete in Bible Quizzing,
Talent and Olympics. For the piano competition the piece has to
be 8-10 minutes long, fully memorized and be from an approved
list of songs. Heather chose "When I Survey". This is a sample of
her piano ability. This is before she was really good on the piano..

What 2010 brings:
2010 brings the memories of the final few weeks of Heather being alive.
2010 brings a whole year since I heard Heather's voice or hugged her.
2010 brings a whole year of trying to move forward without Heather.
2010 brings Heather further in the past.
2010 brings a year that has lasted an eternity....

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas My Angel...

When the stockings are hung,
And Silent Night has been sung,
And Christmas is finally here,
It won't be the same this year.
Her favorite time of year of was always Christmas,
It's help me learn what Christmas really means...
Vince Gill~written for his brother Bob that died

Thought that maybe you might like a glimpse at what Christmas Eve in the Coombe household looked like in 2002. We set the video camera up and just turned it on to record everything. Hope you enjoy a little of holidays past...

The girls opening presents. Jenn is by the couch,
Heather by the TV and Wendy in the middle.

The bear that Heather is holding at the end is a
replacement for Edison that she took from me.
She found it at Hallmark and did not have enough money
to buy him. A lady shopping heard her and told
Heather that a gift to her momy was the
most important gift and gave her the money
she needed to buy the bear.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Another Hour, Another Day, Another Week...

Another hour, another day, another week, soon another month...It seems to matter little how much time is put between us for the haunting void that is her absence remains our constant companion, and there is little we can do, no place we can go, and nothing that we see which will ever fill the chasm in our hearts. I close my eyes to see you everywhere, and at times I can hear your voice ~ a whispered "momy"...that makes my heart pound and convinces me, if just for a moment, this has been some ghastly dream. But while my heart can feel your presence, my eyes confirm that you remain lost from our lives, and again my world crashes in around me. Yes, this really happened; a thousand nightmares, the sum of all my fears. So tonight I will once more lie awake, forcing myself to not return to see your room and wonder the "what ifs" and "could have beens" which flash like lightening in my mind and strike at my soul. The thunder of it all is too much to sleep, but yet in the sweet silence of my dreams is where we never part...
~Drew Genneken~

This was written for Tyler Genneken by his Dad. Though I have never met Tyler's parents, we are members of the worst club on the planet. The grieving parents club. His thought are my thoughts, his words are my words. Welcome to a glimpse of my world."The Tree of Life"
Disney Animal Kingdom

We have learned it is good to set goals. One of our goals is to visit every Disneyland in the world. Heather loved Disneyland so much she planned to get married at Disneyland. That was her dream. I think that she would be pleased to know that we are planning to visit every Disney in the world. It means something very special to us. Bill and I ventured to Walt Disney World in Florida, the week after Thanksgiving. It was our first time to visit Florida. We heard many different things about visiting Disney World. Those that love Disneyland, stick with the old favorite. Disney World is much more spread out and has 4 the different theme parks.A special spot Bill and I found

The castle in Disney World is Cinderella's castle. It is very breath taking. All the spires and the grandeur make it very impressive. The lights hung on the castle for Christmas are something that the eye can behold but photos do not bring the true beauty of the castle lit up at night. Sleeping Beauty's castle in Disneyland will always be a beautiful castle, but Cinderella's castle in Disney World is stunning. Heather would have loved to have seen that castle.Same special spot at night
Notice the full moon above the castle

We flew in on Monday. It was a very long flight. Before we left Phoenix we attached tags to our luggage that checked it all the way to our hotel. We never touched our luggage once we checked it in at Sky harbor. We were greeted by Disney World cast member that directed us to a tour bus to go to our hotel. We checked in and went to our room for a minute. Then it was hit the bus for a trip to downtown Disney shopping area. This was about a 35 minute ride to get there.Cinderella's Castle

Our first full day we went to Magic Kingdom. I really loved Fantasyland at Magic Kngdom. I think it was the true vision of what Walt originally dreamed for Disneyland but fell short of money. It's A Small World is much better in Magic Kingdom because the marionettes are at eye level instead of being on a 5 foot ledge. Haunted Mansion was really good especially because it was not decorated as "The Nightmare Before Christmas" as in Disneyland. I don't care for the movie. I like the original ride. Yes, it is still a favorite ride...does not bother me till you get to the end..the tombstones just make me think for a moment. I like Pirates of the Caribbean better at Disneyland. I like the backwoods Kentucky look of the beginning of the ride. I think that Disneyland decorates much better for Christmas. Disney World contains 4 different theme parks so I understand why they cannot decorate as much. There are only 2 parks at Disneyland. That night was our Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. We had cookies, hot chocolate and were allowed in the park for an extra 5 hours. It was nice, because there were not many people there. We had a special firework show and saw the Christmas parade that will be shown Christmas Day. They were taping it while we were there.Fireworks with the castle

The second day was spent at Epcot. That park really deserves 2 full days if you are going to see it the right way. It is like 2 smaller parks in one. There is Future World that has the big Epcot ball, future technology and some amazing rides. Mission Space has 2 of the same ride. One is for a weaker stomach and the other is for the thrill seeker. Bill and I did the lesser one and then I did the thrill seeker one. Oh my gosh..the rush was incredible. Would go back just to do that ride again. Then there is World Showcase that is the 2nd part of Epcot, that has 11 different countries with shopping, attractions and food that represent the culture and cuisine of the countries. We barely scratched the surface of the different countries. They have a huge lake area where an amazing fireworks display is performed. We experienced a downpour during the fireworks and then quit. They only cancel fireworks at Epcot if there is a hurricane warning. Otherwise it goes off without a hitch.Sherry at Epcot

Bill and Sherry in Animal Kingdom
Everest ride in the background

The third day we were quite adventurous. It was the last day of our 3 day pass. We began at Animal Kingdom. This park was amazing. We began with an animal safari. It was earlier in the day so all the animals were out. There is a Dinosaur ride that copies the Indiana Jones ride of Disneyland. We still like the Indiana Jones ride better. Then it was off to the popular ride Mt Everest. We had been told that this is the ride to do. It was really awesome..neat ride. Halfway through the coaster stops and you go backwards. It was Yak & Yeti's for a wonderful lunch. The park has a jungle feel to it with all the trees and plants. So, we had been to 3 out of 4 theme parks and I really wanted to be able to say we did all 4 theme parks. It was off to the bus to get the Hollywood Disney. The feel of the park is that of a 50's back movie lot. Disney has been known for their stage shows. Just so happened that Beauty and The Beast was being performed at Hollywood Disney park. That was Heather's favorite. Looked around for a while and then decided to go back to Epcot to eat dinner. We rode the boats across the lake to get back to the hotel. The lights on the water were amazing.Beauty and The Beast stage show
Hollywood Disney

Hollywood Disney main street

Our last day in Florida and the day we flew home it poured rain most of the day. We went back down to the downtown shopping area for a few hours. We then visited the Grand Floridian Hotel. We should have spent the morning over there instead. We forgot that this is where all the Disney gingerbread houses are displayed. There were hundreds of people all over the floors watching a choir sing Christmas carols. As I bought an ornament in one of the shops I learned that Celine Dion was making a surprise appearance to sing later in the afternoon. It was being taped to be played on Christmas Eve I believe. I so wanted to see her perform but we had a flight to catch. The hotel is stunning, really a site to see..The Grand Floridian
Preparing for Celine Dion

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Happy Birthday, My Dolly Girl...

That's very far, thought Little Nutbrown Hare. He was almost too sleepy to think anymore. Then he looked beyond the thornbushes, Out into the big dark night. Nothing could be farther than the sky. "I love you right up to the moon," he said, and closed his eyes. "Oh, that's far," said Big Nutbrown Hare. "That is very, very far." Big Nutbrown Hare settled Little Nutbrown hare Into his bed of leaves. He leaned over and kissed him good night. then he lay down close by and whispered with a smile, "I love you right up to the moon~and back." Guess How Much I Love You~Sam McBratney

Thursday, December 10, 1987 began like any other day. I woke up and began taking care of little Jenny. It was about 8 days before my due date and I had a doctor's appointment that afternoon. I called Bill crying and asked him to come home. I did not not know why...just needed him to come home. We went to the doctor and nothing eventful was happening. Jenny and I took a nap together that afternoon. We had some errands to do so we went to Furrs Cafeteria for dinner at the mall and then did some shopping. I remember standing in line thinking man, this kid is really grinding my organs. I was hurting some. Nothing that I thought were contractions. Walking out to the Blazer I had to stop and catch my breath but still did not think anything was up. You ask how could I not know, Jenny was induced so I had no idea what it was like to go into labor.12th Birthday~1999~
Banana Split at Dairy Queen After ZooLights

At 9:28 pm I began to feel a little odd. Bill was downstairs in the basement room wrapping presents with Jenny. When he came up he asked me what I was doing. I said the 1st level of breathing. He got a very shocked look on his face and said do you think you are in labor? I said I don't know. We timed a few contractions and sure enough 3 mintues apart and lasting 45-60 seconds. Most momys are at the hospital at this point. I called the doctor and they told me to go directly to the hospital, don't get dressed, just go now!! Our sitter for Jenny was no where to be found so we called a neighbor to come watch her.13th Birthday~2000~
Happy lil smile cake

We arrived at Penrose Community Hospital in Colorado Springs, Colorado at 10:45 pm. They were going to observe me to see if this was the real thing. My doctor was already in the hospital with another patient. He came to see me and told me I was going to stay and he would be around. I called the nurse for a pain I did not have an epidural. I received the shot and 15 minutes later Heather was born at 11:52 pm on December 10, 1987. Due to the shot, Heather was sleepy and did not want to breath. She received oxygen and a shot to counteract the shot. Yes, that is a 2 hour and 24 minute labor and delivery.18th Birthday~2005
Oooh la la every girl wants perfume and nesting owls..

Heather did not mind that her birthday was close to Christmas. I always made sure she was not cheated out of presents. Most of her presents from friends would be wrapped in Christmas paper. I think that is why she loved Christmas so much. It was her 2 favorites right together. She loved to give gifts to friends. She did not care how much it cost. It was how much she knew the person would like it that mattered.21st birthday~2008~
Ironic that Heather poses by Beauty in her blue dress

Heather hated her cancer even more than you normally would.
She said she got the only cancer that makes you fat with all the high dose steroids.
To me she only looked beautiful...

Last year we were at Disneyland for her 21st Birthday. Heather loved Disneyland and I could not think of a better place to be to celebrate Heather, her birthday and all she had survived. we had lunch with all the princesses, had our private tour guide and finally our ride on the LillyBelle train. At that moment all the bad stuff was behind us and life was good for that moment. She wore her tiara from the ball to lunch and Belle and Cinderella wondered where she got such a beautiful tiara. Today, her tiara sits on the heart box that holds her ashes that sits on her piano.

For more about Heather's birthday and life visit

14th Birthday~2001~
Mickey and Minnie Christmas cake

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Love of a Toyota Camry...

Never drive faster than
Your guardian angel can fly...

Bill and I did not feel that just because our daughters turned 16 that gave them a driver's license and a car. We felt it was important to give them some of the responsibility. They needed to pay for car insurance and gas. We would pay for all the repairs.

In October 2006 we were driving home and we spotted a red Toyota Camry coupe in a yard for sale. We went home and Bill sent me back to take a look at the car and test drive it. I brought the car home being that it was only about 2 miles away. Heather was tickled pink. She was ever so excited about her red sport 1994 Toyota Camry. It was only a 4 cylinder but felt like a V6. That is why we named it"Zippy". It had a sunroof, cassette player, great interior and smelled like coffee due to the amount that had been spilled in the car. Heather loved everything about her car.Heather drove her car no matter what. Even if we had room in our car she would drive and meet us where ever we were going. She drove many of her friends around to the mall or dinner. Once she began working at Target, everyone commented about how her car matched the Target dress code..Red and Khaki. Only Heather could have a car that matched her job. When she first began to work at Target she actually blew the tread off her tire on the freeway and continued to drive. She looked at her car when she got to work but did not see anything wrong. When she left work at 10:30 pm her tire was flat. A security guy from Target changed her tire and got her on her way back home.

Many fun times were in her car. One of the toughest thing Heather had to do was park her car on April 10, 2008. She did it without complaint and with grace. She had all her freedoms taken away no school, no work, no driving and never being alone. Heather was restored to freedom in October 2008. The first thing she did was drive her car...everywhere again. Funny story, the driver's side window regulator was broken. (this is the automatic window switch) She went through the drive thru for a late night snack and had a pregnant Wendy pop up from the sun roof. She also did this with a group of girls from her church.

It is very difficult to let go of something that Heather loved so much. The idea that her car will not be parked in front of our house is very sad. Due to the fact that the engine is blown I hope someone will sell it for parts and I don't have to see someone else driving it around town. Just another chapter in letting go and saying good bye...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Sharing My Heather...

Where are you Christmas?
Why can't I find you?
Why have you gone away?
Where is the laughter, you used to bring me?
Why can't I hear music play?
My world is changing, I 'm rearranging.
Does that mean Christmas changes too?
~How The Grinch Stole Christmas~
~Faith Hill~Where Are You Christmas~

Heather's piano recital, Christmas 2002.
She announces the she is playing Christmas Time is Here
by Vince Guaraldi.
It was written for "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and this cartoon debuted
the year her momy was born.
This is for her...

I have learned in the past 7 1/2 months that friends disappear rather quickly when someone loses a child. I don't know if they are uncomfortable with me talking about Heather and sharing my memories or they simply cannot handle the awful pain of losing a child. Losing a loved one is never easy. However in losing a parent or a spouse there seems to be lots of people who rise to the occasion, meet their needs and share common experiences. However the lose of a child is out of the natural order. It is a very elite club that I pray none of you join. I have often stated that i would love to sit and talk with John Travolta and Kelly Preston. Yes, they are stars, but more importantly they are grieving parents. I am sure we have many things in common.

But with the ones that walk away, there are new friends, true friends that don't walk away and let me talk about what ever I need to. I have many things that I did not share on the CaringBridge that I am beginning to talk about. I need to talk and just have someone listen. They are very private moments, mostly between Heather and me at night when we were alone. Some of the memories are dealing with the cancer and others are the ICU. But it felt good the other day to talk about them. I feel very blessed to have D, W, S, S, J, D, L, S, C, S and K come along side and help me get through this awful time. They visit, text or call very often to keep me encouraged. I am especially grateful for the recent reconnection of a very dear friend from the past and his wife. They have come along side, tried their best to listen and stand beside us.

Many of our new friends did not know Heather very well and some of them never met her. Over the next few weeks I want to share some very personal videos of Heather. Maybe you can see how amazingly wonderful she was. As I look over photos and videos I realize that I don't have nearly enough. As I went through the videos to find some to share I was over come with extreme joy and extreme sadness at the same time. It was so good to hear her voice and see the same time a devastating look that this is all I have left. She will not play her piano again or sing, hold my hand or bring me flowers again. She is gone forever. Right now forever seems like eternity...

A friend sent me a message and told me that she would always remember Heather singing "Breath of Heaven" by Amy Grant for Christmas 2002 at church. She had a truly pure voice. I have included that video..I hope you find it special...Due to being recorded digitally it end abruptly..sorry...