Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Chance For You To Get Involved...

"A heart can be broken,
But it will keep beating just the same"
~Fried Green Tomatoes~
Official Are U Pink? logo

I keep breathing, heart keeps beating and life keeps moving forward. I don't know how it does when all I want to do is stay right here with Heather fresh in my mind and memory. I don't want to move forward without her. I don't want to live without her, but I have to. It is not my choice to walk this road. I was chosen and I am not sure why. One day the good Lord and I am gonna have a talk...and oh what a talk it will be....Yes, even after all this time-528 days to be exact-I still want to know why. Why did we not get the happy ending? Why was Heather chosen to leave such a huge hole in my heart and life? Why when other people are waiting on deathrow to die, was my sweet baby taken? Too many whys for me to mention. But when God and I go for our talk, I am talking a huge diet coke with will be a long one.

Now, to the new happenings:
We have registered for a Light The Night Team again this year. I am promised that the new leaders have this well taken care of this year. This walk helps fund research, new treatments and help for families suffering with blood cancer. The goal this year is to have each team member raise $100 to get the meal, balloon and a tshirt. I know in this economy that is a huge amount. Please consider joining our team anyway..and come and walk with us for support. If you would like to make a donation, please pick a team member that does not have $100 and make a donation to them directly from their webpage. Our Team name is Heather's Lymphomaniacs. This was her favorite thing to call herself...Heather would say, it is because I am a lymphomanic isn't isnt it...I find it a very fitting name for our team. Please click the link and help us out. We greatly appreciate your support.

Example of what tie-dyed shirt looks like

Example of black tie-dyed shirt
The second thing happening is that we are having t shirts made for the walk and for Are U Pink? We have a team shirt that is black tie-dyed that will have a pink blood droplette on the front left chest...with the words "Improving life one unit at a time..." in bright pink letters. The back will be the Are U Pink butterfly logo. It will be done in bright green, orange and pink. The wording is the website right underneath and then Heather's Lymphomaniacs underneath the website. All wording will be in hot pink. The 2ND shirt is a dark hot pink with everything except the team name on it. These will be silk screened by a professional company. These shirts are heavy cotton and are very nice to wear around to get people interested. They are $18 each. This is not a fund raiser, this is at cost. The black tie-dyed shirts are men's sizes only. The dark pink have men's and women's sizes available. Please send me an email with your size if you would like one or both of these shirts. This is the FIRST official Are U Pink shirts to be made. I will be happy to mail them as well. I will order them but need your funds soon to pay for them. Will be ordering Oct. 15th. Also have hot pink/black swirled rubber bracelets coming that say Are U Pink?, In Memory of Heather and the website on the inside. These are like the lime green with the lettering being molded into them, but with bright white added so it stands out. These are one size and are free to any and all who will wear them.
Dark pink shirt
Example of what the men's and women's shirts look like

Monday, September 27, 2010

One Shoe Can Change Your Life.....

Nellie worked in the kitchen as she talked..
"Raymond died when he was 5 yrs old
of pneumonia. He drowned inside himself.
It is a horrible, terrible, the worst thing
to watch someone you love
die right in front of you-
And not be able to do nothing about it.
I suppose you think me daffed
talking to a toy.
But seems to me Susanna-
You are listening...
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
Kate deCamillo

I listen to audio books to fall asleep. I have for many years. For the past 2 years I have been only able to listen to the Twilight Series or the Harry Potter Series. I have recently been able to broaden my listening to include books I have listened to before. I listened to Edward Tulane was before Heather even got sick. There are several parts that got to me this time listening to it. I heard it all differently than I did before. The above part is Edward being renamed Susanna is in Nellie's kitchen as she is baking. I thought it a very profound statement and decided to share it with you. There is also a little girl named Sarah Ruth that has a bad cough that gets Edward and renames him Jangles. She dies. This also was heard very different by me this time. It kept me awake one night due to the memory of Heather coughing and the memories it brought back to me. I encourage you to get this children's book and read about how a stuffed rabbit shares the lives of several different people.

More about our trip to Disneyland. When we were there in March I found a painting that I feel in love with. It so moved me every time I saw it. It was painted for the 55th Anniversary of Disneyland. When we went back the painting was still there. It still moved me so much. It is the top of the night with the moon in the clouds. If you are not familiar with Disneyland you might not know what this is. To will always be Heather's Castle. So hanging in my hallway at the top of the stairs is this magnificent painting. Mine is number 9 of 55. I received a plaque from one of Heather's friends that says "One Shoe Can change Your Life...Cinderella". I took this plaque off the photo wall and placed it under the painting. It fits perfectly. Like the two were made for each other. 

I have become very interested in butterflies. I have a butterfly tattoo so that is a good thing. Butterflies symbolize so much beauty, elegance, new life and how fragile life can be. They are amazing to watch. Every time I see a butterfly I stare in amazement as they flutter around, enjoying the beauty of the flight. For several months now I have been looking for a butterfly ring. It had to be simple but different and elegant. As we were leaving Disneyland we took one last stroll in the Downtown Disney District. I have never really stopped to look at The Pearl Factory-a little booth to the side of the main stores. I asked the lady if they had any butterfly rings. Of course they did. As I walked to the side to look I figured it would be something I didn't like. Boy was I wrong. I saw the most stunning mother of pearl butterfly ring I have ever seen. The top butterfly is a pale shade of pink and the slightly smaller bottom one is white. It was perfect. came home with me as well. The lady that helped me was so moved when I told her why I liked it so much that she allowed me to pick an oyster with a pearl in it for free. I got an beautiful luster white pearl. She drilled a hole so I can have it mounted next time I go.
There are still things nearly everyday that remind me of Heather. Something I see or a place that I go that stirs a memory. As bunnies were her favorite animals I always take a look at bunnies that I see in the stores. In 2008 I was shocked when I picked up the purple TY bunny and it's name was Heather. As I looked around Frys grocery store last week there was a cute pink stuffed bunny with a strawberry on it. As I always do I looked at the tag to see if it had a name...and of course it was Heather. So the bunny came home with me. Don't know why I find it so weird that the whole time that Heather was alive there was never a bunny named Heather. Now, I have found 2 of them.

Lil Pea still remains the joy of my life. She talks so much and is really getting quite the personality. She says Mimi and Papa..Mommy and Daddy and calls Aunt Jenny-Aunt Gee Gee. This name seems to be sticking and I think that Jenny shall forever be known as Aunt Gee Gee. It fits. Pea looks at the photos and names everyone. She is having an issue with Aunt Missy. She is really not understanding why she has an Aunt Missy but she doesn't see her. She calls her Aunt Mimi quite a bit of the time. One day soon I will have the joy of telling her how much her Aunt Missy loved her and would do anything to be with her. Hope that Pea will understand just how much her Aunt Missy loved her.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Heather is Always With Us...

I know you
I walked with you once upon a dream.
I know you
The gleam in your eyes is so familiar a gleam
Yes, I know it's true
That visions are seldom all they seem
But if I know you, I know what you'll do
You'll love me at once
The way you did once upon a dream...
~Once Upon A Dream~Sleeping Beauty

Despite what anyone may think, going on vacation does not make the thought of Heather leave my mind. Especially when we choose to take a vacation at Disneyland. Heather most favorite place in the whole entire world. I feel very close to Heather being at Disneyland. All the memories of all the trips we took there with her come flooding back to my mind. The late nights that she would beg me to stay and close down the park with her. Usually Bill, Jenn, Heather and I would all ride Pirates of The Caribbean. Then Bill and Heather would race off to Indiana Jones while Jenn and I raced off to Haunted Mansion. Bill would then go main Street to take photos or back to the hotel. Heather would run to meet Jenn and me at It's A Small World.  This is usually done in the last 45 minutes before the park closes. Bill and /or Jenn would then head across the street to the hotel. Heather and I would stroll arm in arm shopping till about 1am. The best time to be at Disneyland. Nearly everyone is gone at that point. 

This time was no exception. On Thursday Bill wore his In memory of my daughter shirt with the lime green cancer ribbon on it. I wore my lime green shirt that says my daughter is a fighter. For some reason I can't wear my in memory of my daughter shirt...But the fighter shirt is my favorite one. You can tell as you stand in the lines that people are reading your shirt. Most people read and turn away or look down. As we stood in line at the Peter Pan ride I finally had a lady tell me how sorry she was. She also asked me how old she was. She touched my arm and told me it must be very hard and she was sorry once again. About 10 minutes later the lady right in front of me told me she finally had to ask what happened to her. She had a tear in her eye as I told her a small version of the story. She told she she was very sorry. Bill and I felt very much that Heather was standing in line with us at that moment.
Heather's Spot
As the afternoon got warm I decided to go into the shops on Main Street while Bill went to take photos. When Bill came back he told me the most interesting story of Manuel...Manuel is a Disney photographer and was at the castle. He saw Bill and came to talk to him because of the memory shirt he was wearing. He asked Bill how old Heather was. He said he lost his son at 21. He asked Bill how long it had been since she died. Manuel said that he must be a very strong person to be at Disneyland in such a short amount of time. Bill explained that this was Heather's favorite place in the whole world. His son was murdered in Puerto Rico 15 years ago...Manuel was living in New York at the time. He hugged Bill twice and told him to bring his wife back tomorrow..he would be taking photos at the castle till 5pm. 

The next day we went back. Manuel was busy taking photos of people in front of the castle. He had his relief photographer there to give him a break. Manuel looked at Bill with no recognition...then he looked again and said.."be right with you..look out now..this guy is trouble". Manuel told his relief that he would take these two and then go. He hugged me,told me he had talked to Bill yesterday, was sorry for our loss and asked to see a photo of Heather. Manuel took several photos of us in front of the castle. Then we asked for a photo with him. He had to go on his break but was so happy we came back. He told us to come back again..he wanted information to stay in contact. We came back in the afternoon but didn't see him there again.
Manuel, Sherry and Bill
The same night we went to California's new World of Color water show. We got there about an hour early to stand to hold a not so good spot to see. Usually as you wait people begin to talk with all the people around them. The two groups in front of me began to talk. I listened and just stayed out of it for the most part. However when the one lady explained that her 19 nephew has just been murdered and she was at a loss of what to do, I had to speak up. I began by saying I couldn't help overhearing....but as a mother that has lost a child...I told her the best she could do as family is to be there to listen to them. No judgment just tell them you love them and are there if they ever want to talk. Told them to talk about their nephew with them...they will want to talk about him and hear his name. Don't act like he just never existed on the planet. Their son lived and they need to talk about him. Tell her sister she loves her and then listen. I told her to encourage her sister not to get rid of anything for about a it all up or leave it the same there is no wrong way to do anything. Then mentioned to her about the memory quilt I made from Heather's clothes. She told me it was a wonderful idea. She hugged me several times before she left...told me thank you for talking to her..

Even though Heather is not here anymore. I never have felt her presence more that day. It just seemed like everyone that would talk to us wanted to know about our daughter. What did the green and orange stand for. Never imagined that would happen if we wore the shirts. Have worn them around town and never get a word. It is nice to me that Heather is still very much alive. Everyday we get closer to her memory getting less clear. Everyday she slips a little further from our lives and memories. I know this is normal. It just doesn't feel like it should be normal.
On the Mark Twain Riverboat
The song is from Disney's Sleeping Beauty. Heather loved Sleeping Beauty for many reasons; Aurora had long blonde hair...she had a pink ball gown...her friends included bunnies...and she lives in the castle in Disneyland. For me, Heather is Aurora because when she first died, everyone that came in said she looked like a sleeping princess...Heather wore a blue ball gown as did Aurora...Heather had such a beautiful voice and loved to sing...and Heather now lives in a castle beyond belief..and is a true princess..
Aurora statues with Heather's ashes in the white box with her taira

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Love Story...Johnnie and Alice...

Johnnie Fedora met Alice Bluebonnet
In the windowof a department store
'Twas love at first sight
And they promised one night
They'd be sweethearts forevermore
Johnnie would serenade Alice
Too-ra-lay, Too-ra-lie, Too-re-loo
He sang of a beautiful palace
Of a beautiful hatbox for two...
~Johnnie Fedora and Alice Bluebonnet~
~A Walt Disney Short ~

When our family lived in Minnesota, our cable TV had the Disney Channel included in the regular cable price. Our usual routine was every Monday night we watched Avonlea~a series takeoff from the Anne of Green Gable miniseries. Usually before or after Avonlea, The Disney Channel would play Walt Disney short films. There are several that I like but by far my favorite is Johnnie Fedora and Alice Bluebonnet. 
Heather's drawings
When I went through Heather's things I found some sketches that Heather had drawn of Johnnie and Alice along with the words to the song printed out. I found this very odd as I never heard or knew anything about these drawings. I asked Jenn if she knew anything about them. Jenn told me that one day in an antique store Heather had found a sketched drawing of Johnnie and Alice. It was too much for Heather to afford to buy for me. She came up with the idea to make me a drawing of Johnnie and Alice. Jenn was going to make a blanket that had bonnets on it to match. This was to be for my birthday or Christmas in 2004. Jenn could not remember which it was for nor why it never happened.
Heather trying to get the hats right

Heather's writing and drawing
During all all many trips to Disneyland I have never ever seen anything that had ever showcased Walt's short films. As Bill and I parked the Xterra and walked down Downtown Disney in Disneyland I just had to stop in the Huge World of Disney store to just "look" for a minute. As I passed by the pin trading area I took a look at what was new. To my complete surprise there was a pin that was Johnnie Fedora and Alice Bluebonnet. All the memories of finding Heather's drawings and watching this came flooding back to my mind. Of course I bought the pin. As I went into nearly every store on the Disney property I only saw one more of these pins.
The pin it slides...
Alice slides to Johnnie...
Johnnie Fedora and Alice Bluebonnet was originally a segment of Make Mine Music in August of 1946. The Disney animators had achieved the seemingly impossible-making the viewers sincerely care about the romance fate of a couple of hats. The Andrews Sisters are the singing narrators. Included in Make Music Mine are "Peter and the Wolf", "Casey at Bat" and "The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met". If you have never enjoyed a Walt Disney short film I encourage you to click on the link and go watch this very cute musical short...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Happy 45th Birthday!!!...

Right now all I can taste are bitter tears
And right now all I can see are clouds of sorrow
From the other side of all this pain
Is that you I hear?
Laughing loud and calling out to me?

Saying see, it's everything you said that it would be
And even better that you would believe
And I'm counting down the days until you're here with me
And finally you'll see
SEE~Steven Curtis Chapman
(written for his daughter that died)

I have a story to tell....In 1998, I remember listening to the way that Jennifer S talked about her Mimi (her grandma). There was such love in her words and the way she talked about her. I had never heard of a Mimi till then. I thought how special and wonderful to have a Mimi in your life. Her Mimi seemed to make everything better. I decided that day and told the girls that I wanted to be called Mimi. It took me 11 years to become a Mimi...but I feel that Pea and her Mimi have a very special day I hope that Pea and the other grandchildren will talk about me the way that Jennifer talked about her Mimi.....With that being said, there are no Mimi cards or mugs or anything else with Mimi on it. Today, I received a very, very special gift for my birthday. It is the gift as much as the giver. I received a pin that says "My Mimi". The pin was originally purchased for Jennifer's Mimi by Jennifer's mom-Diane. I had the honor of visiting with the original Mimi several times. She was an amazing lady. The original Mimi died 2 yrs ago tomorrow. In going through things, Diane took the "My Mimi" pin back as a keepsake. Today, for my birthday, I was given the "My Mimi" pin. I cannot begin to express how much I love the giver, the pin, all the history and thought that goes with it. I feel very honored to have this pin, will wear it proudly and always remember Mimi.....

I hate the fact that my birthday brings up thoughts of my female gestational unit. I really dislike that she enters my mind at all. I guess it is only natural that the woman that gave birth to you would come to your mind on the day of your birth. It has been another year and I am no closer to understanding how a mother can give birth to 6 babies and only love 5 out of 6. I have no concept how a grandmother can have at least 12 grandchildren and love and care for all but 3 of them. Nor do I have any idea how a great grandmother could not give 2 cents about her first and only great grand child. I still find her the biggest coward and chicken in the entire world. She never once has talked to me to confront me as to how I feel. I think this is because she knows I am telling the truth. As a mother...I love my daughters and granddaughter more than my life. As the mother of a child that has died...I would give anything...including my life to spend one more second with Heather. I hate myself for allowing that woman to occupy one second of my time.
Heather's shirts...her blue dotted swiss in front
2 dresses on left I made for dress she wore everyday 

Jeans, pink head scarf and princess tank top
All made by mom-Pink dress on right was Easter the year Wendy was born
I finished going through all of Heather's boxes. I finished cutting all the squares for the memory quilts. Some of her clothes were hard to cut. The memories that were associated with the clothes hit me hard. Heather's blue dotted swiss shirt that she wore Easter 2008 and then to match Miss Sally when she came to visit was very hard to cut. She looked so good in that shirt. I loved that shirt. I also cut a few of the matching dresses that I made the girls when they were little. Those made me go right back to when they were little and running around. Again, I have been told that this is very healing for me to do. The hardest part was throwing the remaining parts into the trash.
Cutting sleep shirt-8inch squares
All the squares the sewing
My quilt laid out
I began sewing the squares together and soon I was sewing rows together. It began to really look good...all the pieces came together and looked so amazing. I actually think that Heather would be thrilled to see her clothes made into a quilt. I have shirt pockets, jean pockets, buttons and snaps in my squares. The top part of my quilt is all finished. Now comes the quilting together part. The back piece of material will be one of Heather's twin flat sheets. Then I can repeat the process 2 more times for Jenn and Wendy. I have been told that I am really making progress.
All Heather's cross stitch kits
In going through Heather's things I found all the cross stitch kits that she bought. Hint #1~never buy lots of crafty kits while on high dose steroids. Heather went to Micheal's and found the clearance aisle. She had a whole basket full of kits that she was determined to do. Most of them are still sealed kits that were placed in a box. I have a couple of things that she nearly finished that I am keeping to finish. The rest are going. Another story...many years ago I found a cow checker board cross stitch that I wanted to do for my BFF Sandy. I gave Heather the pattern. I didn't know that she had begun this as a gift for Sandy. Sandy does cross stitch so I am sending this to her so she can finish it.
Projects she began and never finished
I have been told that I am making progress and moving with the healing process. Most of the time I don't feel that way. I feel like I am going through the motions. Just when I feel nothing can shock or surprise me something comes my way to take my breathe away. The other day Bill and I were having lunch at Subway. As I looked out the window...I saw a car that looked just like Heather's drive by. As it turned into the parking space I saw the front and knew it was her car. The kid that bought it in December just wanted to fix it to sell it. I watched the lady get out of it...with kids... and then went to talk to her about the car. I told her that Heather loved her car and drove it everywhere. The lady told me she loved the car and it was always on the go with 2 boys. They asked to see a photo Heather. They seemed moved by my story. For me, not everyday you see your daughter's car drive by and for them not everyday you hear about a girl who owned your car and she died....
Heather's car-Zippy
It still looks good..wish she was driving...
SEPTEMBER IS PEDIATRIC CANCER (GOLD) AWARENESS and LEUKEMIA (ORANGE) AND LYMPHOMA (LIME GREEN) AWARENESS.....did you know that???? Tie ribbons or wear something to get people's attention...