Wednesday, October 27, 2010

King Lear....

Mr. Magorium; "When King Lear dies in Act V, do you know what Shakespeare has written? He's written "He dies". That's all, nothing more. No fanfare, no metaphor, no brilliant final words. The culmination of the most influential work of dramatic literature is "He dies". It takes Shakespeare, a genius, to come up with "He dies." And yet every time I read those two words I am overwhelmed with dysphoria. And I know it's only natural to be sad, but not because of the words "He dies," but because of the life we saw prior to the words.

Mr. Magorium; I've lived all five of my acts, Mahoney, and I am not asking you to be happy that I must go. I'm only asking you to turn the page, continue reading....and let the next story begin. And if anyone ever asks what became of me, you my relate my life in all its wonder, and end it with a simple and modest "he died."

Molly Mahoney: I love you.

Mr. Magorium:  I love you too..Your life is an occasion. Rise to it.....
~Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium~

During the end of 2007 and beginning of 2008, Heather knew that something was wrong but had no clue what it was. She began skipping classes and going to watch movies. The 3 that she watched over and over and over again were "Alvin and The Chipmunks", "Enchanted" and "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium".  Heather remembered watching the Chipmunk movies that played in the 90's with the Chipettes. She fell in love with Amy Adams who plays Giselle and just flat out was obsessed with Enchanted. She also was in love with Patrick Dempsey. Natalie Portman plays the lead in Mr. Magorium...Heather fell in love with her from the movie "Where The Heart Is". The music in Mr. Magorium is simply amazing.  And Natalie Portman plays the piano in the movie as well. The movie is about moving on after a life has ended. If only we all had a bit of magic to make the toy store come to life once again. 
Barbies, dried flowers, Graduation hat etc...
Heather was not prepared to leave as Mr. Magorium was in the movie. Mr. Magorium left his toy store to Molly and everything was right with the world once again. I have no idea who Heather wanted to have her things go to. I am certain that had she known she was leaving so soon she would have written letters and cards and given her things away to people she loved and cared about. 
Polly Pockets, Tea Bunnies, Cupcake dolls etc...
Heather was thinking about her future. Her future job, future husband and future children. She was so good that she saved many of her toys from her childhood to share with her girls. She has tons of Polly Pockets and Barbies. She saved bunnies and toys and pins and stuffies. I recently looked into the huge buckets of stuffed animals that Heather had in the garage. I opened the buckets..looked at a few animals and the memories came flooding back. So I put the lid back on and placed the buckets back where they were. Not one stuffy left the buckets...yes I said buckets; 2-96 gallon buckets full of assorted stuffies and 1-96 gallon bucket full of Mickeys and Minnies.
Barbies, Beauty and the Beast, toys,badge from music camp, etc
Heather had 21 years of memories and collectibles that she had treasured. Of course all the things that she had so lovingly packed away are very hard to find a new home for. There are statues, plaques, trophies, awards and everything else you could imagine stored in buckets under my bed. She loved the movie Beauty and the Beast. One year for Christmas we got her a Beauty and the Beast mirror that lights up and says "show me the beast." She kept this for all these years. Her original Belle doll is long gone, but the original dress and winter cloak are stored in the bucket. She recently bought a new Belle doll that was just to treasure. Her original Avon Beast mirror and comb set is still in the bucket as well. Of course none of these things will be going anytime soon.
Original Belle dress, Belle, Mirror w/comb, talking mirror
Then I move on to all of Heather's jewelry. Most of it is costume things she picked up that looked good with a shirt or something. I have all of the special "real" jewelry that we gave her for birthdays and graduation. In looking through her jewelry I found that she had saved some of her very first sets of earrings from when she was 4 years old. But this should not surprise me as she saved the gold locket that she wore in her 3 year old photos. Most of her younger earrings are bunnies, but she did keep the very first pair of minnie mouse earrings that I gave her. Not to mention that Heather kept her very first jewelry box. It was the kind that every little girls gets. You wind it up and the rose or the doll inside turns to the music. She kept all her beloved bunny pins and treasures inside it. What oh what to do with these...and the millions of memories that come back as I look at each things she has stored.
Original jewelry box...and all the things in it
Ladybugs, minnie, 2 pairs of bunnies and penny earrings
For now and probably many many years to come I will save and keep most all of Heather's treasured items. They will go with me from place to place until I can part with them or until the girls have to deal with all the things that I kept. "But I do know that she is not asking me to be happy that she is gone. She is only asking that I turn the page and continue reading...and let the next story begin. And when people ask what became of her, I will relate her life in all its wonder, and end it with a simple and modest "She died"....."

Skip ahead to the time 4:25 on the time bar to find this part of the movie..listen to the words and the music...if you have not seen this movie..please rent it and listen to the amazing music in this extra ordinary movie....

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Upset, Angry, Mad and Down Right Pissed Off...

Every morning I wake up with the same that moment right before you fully wake up...I think that life is still good and as it I fully awake I remember that Heather is gone and life will never be the same. I am not sure if I am sad, mad, angry, upset, bitter or just down right pissed off that things have turned out this way. It really is okay that I say I am mad or sad or whatever emotions I am feeling. It is my right. If you had been robbed you would be scared, hurt, mad, angry and so many other feelings. People would listen as you share your thoughts. But lose a child and the world, family and friends, run and hide in the other direction. Scare and unwilling to listen to me share my heartache. They either cannot comprehend my loss or it is flat out too difficult for them. Well, just imagine if it is that difficult for you to hear and what you are feeling over the death of Heather, imagine the utter brokenness of my heart and life.
So, I thought I would share some reasons that I am upset, angry, mad, bitter and down right pissed off about:

I am mad that I lost a child
I am angry that I find that 90% of CaringBridge kids are in Heaven
I am pissed that so many parents have lost a child and more will lose children today
I am upset that parents have to form foundations in memory of their children for awareness
I am angry that childhood cancer is still underfunded and less attention and research goes to it
I am pissed that childhood cancer exist and that after all this time there is no cure
I am bitter that blood cancer is devouring our nation and no one cares

I am mad because I felt like I was alone most of the time, not many fully get it
I am bitter because family and friends don't come around
I am angry because people wanted something out of me that I couldn't give-to be the way I was
I am pissed because I don't see other family members cry often or at all after we buried Heather
I am bitter that Heather was erased the day she our family-she never existed 
I am upset because I was unable to share my tears with family and friends-because they can't deal with it
I am angry that the holidays are coming again and I don't feel like celebrating

I am bitter at people that did or said anything, in my eyes, wrong towards Heather
I am pissed because I can't forgive those people that did those things and they don't even realize it
I am mad because Heather died so young that most of her friends will move on and forget about her
I am pissed that I don't have enough memories of Heather or stories in the 21 shorts years she lived
I am upset when her friends get married and have babies and know that she is not here

I am mad that Heather didn't get to graduate from PIMA Medical and begin her life
I am bitter because the rest of our vacations, memories and lives will be without Heather in them
I am pissed because Heather is not here to listen to me and talk with me
I am angry that Pea will not know her Aunt Missy
I am bitter that I will never attend Heather's wedding or hold her babies
I am pissed that Heather will forever be 21

I am mad because most days I can't talk to God when I need to talk to Him the most. I am hurt and betrayed and wonder how God could allow this to happen to us. After all we had been through. I understand it was His plan, but I still don't get it. Some days are better than others. But after all the healing and growing I have done, one small event can send me right back to feeling like I am at the beginning of the grieving process all over again. However, I am finding that I am normal...I am a normal grieving mother. I read it everyday from other mothers just like me that are grieving the loss of their babies. So, to the world I may seem weird, odd or just plain crazy, but to other grieving mothers I am right where I am suppose to be for what I am going through on this day at this time. Tomorrow will be a different day and different feelings. I have to find the new me in my new life, with my new family that lives in the new world that has become my reality.

To my inner circle-thank you for walking this journey with me. For loving me, laughing with me, hugging me and allowing me to cry and just be myself. You have no idea how good it feels not to "put on" a happy face to be with friends and family. To feel like I can be the real me, the one that I am now without any fake emotions or put on masks. To those that would like to join me and help me I say this to you:
"Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend" ~Albert Camus~

Friday, October 15, 2010

One More Day....

Last night I had a crazy dream
A wish was granter just for me,
It could be for anything
I didn't ask for money
Or a mansion in Malibu
I simply wished, for one more day with you...
One More Day~Diamond Rio

Depression comes..out of the blue and with no warning. I know this guy very well. I don't need to see his ID. I can feel him creeping over me. Depression always asks if I am happy to see him? I tell him to go away, but he says I am sorry this is my job to hunt you down and find you once again. I don't want to let him in but he has a bully club so there is no stopping him from coming in and staying as long as he wants to. I am not happy to see him again. I thought I had put him behind me. But an event or date can send him back to me and have him cling to me for days. I tell him it is not fair that he keeps coming back. I have paid him well. I served my time. But he smiles and settles into my favorite chair, puts his feet on my table and lights a cigar, filling the place with an awful smell. 

Depression came to visit me again late Sunday into Monday. I could not really figure out why. I had "THAT" feeling and I knew he was creeping up on me..waiting to overwhelm me again. It is a sadness and a feeling of loneliness, that grabs me by the back of the neck and holds on for days. I was dumbfounded. The middle of October? Why? Why now? This is not her birthday, or a holiday or even a milestone anniversary such as her death day or cancer diagnosis day. My brain and body knew what this week was suppose to be without me, the person, knowing why. This must have been stored in the part of my brain I don't use, but still stored there all the same.

This week, would have been Heather's last maintenance chemo treatment. She would have been all finished. Her 2-1/2 year ordeal of treatment would have been over. Her monthly IV vincristine and high dose steroids would be ending this week. Heather's life would have been returning to normal. She would have been graduated from PIMA and working her medical coding and billing job. More than likely she would have moved out and gotten herself a new car. There would have been a party of some sort to celebrate this HUGE ending. But instead, depression is taking over my day to day life for the moment.
Photo taken of Heather's last IV chemo treatment in March before she got sick
We would be called back to the "chemo" room at Ironwood clinic. This is a large, cold room with lots of recliner chairs in it. These chairs are made of know..leather look with the high quality of vinyl. That material makes them easy to be wiped down with Clorox to help this to be as germ free as possible. There are big round tables that have puzzles being done on them. The puzzles look like they have been there forever. They are about half way done. People walk by and try to fit a piece in and then walk away. There are snacks and drinks for the patients. A small microwave and fridge. Sometimes there would be candy or a special treat. 
 Heather would have her temperature and blood pressure taken. This is to make sure no fever before chemo treatment. Then she would find a seat in any of the chairs. We would wait for Patty to roll the drug cart to us to begin the IV. It was always a nerve wracking event to see if they would get it the first try. Patty was very good and got it most times on the first stick. The small, very old drug pole would be rolled over to hang the saline bag on. Tthe saline would be run to hydrate the area. Vincristine is a flesh and joint destroying drug. The ideal placement for the IV is in the middle of the arm. But we all know Heather, that would not be the way for her. The best place for Heather to get her IV was in the back of her hand. The tiny syringe of vincristine would be added to the saline and then more saline to make sure the drug didn't remain in her tissue.

During our visit in November, 2008 we got to see a special event. A girl a little older than Heather had finished her final chemo treatment. She was given a certificate and all the staff cheered. Patty asked us if we saw her said F--K Cancer!! Heather and I both looked at it and thought wow..what a bold statement. At the time she and I were not sure we could actually wear a shirt like that out. Now after all I have lost to cancer I think I could wear that shirt to let everyone know just how I feel about cancer.

So, this week, there is no chemo, no steroids, no certificate, no celebration...and no Heather...
F-CK Cancer!!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Who Can Say For Certain??...

Who can say for certain
Maybe you're still here
I feel you all around me
Your memories so clear

 Deep in the stillness
I can hear you speak
Your still an inspiration
Can it be
That you are my
Forever love
And you are watching over me from up above
Fly me up to where you are
Beyond the distant star
I wish upon tonight
To see you smile
If only for awhile
To know you're there
A breath away's not far
To where you are
Are you gently sleeping
Here inside my dream
And isn't faith believing
All power can't be seen

As my heart holds you
Just one beat away
I cherish all you gave me
Cause you are my
Forever love
Watching me from up above

And I believe
That angels breathe
And that love will love on and never leave
Fly me up to where you are
Beyond the distant star
I wish upon tonight
To see you smile
If only for awhile
To know you're there
A breath away's not far
To where you are

To Where You Are~
Sung by Josh Groban
Music by Richard Marx
Lyrics by Linda Thompson

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Mystery Bamboo In The Room...

Mrs.Cadbury: Tell me what you know about yourself.
Anne Shirley: Well, it really isn't worth telling, Mrs. Cadbury...
But if you let me tell you what I IMAGINE about myself you'd find it a lot more interesting.
~Anne Of Green Gables~

The tall, green bamboo plant sits in a pale blue bottle type vase on a white dresser where the black ottoman used to sit. It sits in a room that is painted "Belle Of The Ball" pink. This color is a very pale, pale shade of pink. At first you would never even know it is not white it is so pale. The color was chosen after weeks of going through paint samples. This room once had a bunny mural painted on one wall. It was a Beatrix Potter type bunny working in his garden. The bunny wore blue faded overalls with a floppy hat as his long ears poked through. He was pushing a wheelbarrow heading to his garden to pick his vegetables. It was about 4 foot high by 3 foot wide. It really was something to see. But as happens with most things, it was outgrown and a change was needed. There are no photos of the mural. But if you were able to take several coats of paint off the wall you would see that it was painted with so much love and enjoyed by someone very loved. But the mural is a memory along with everything else in the room.
Inspiration for mural-bunny went other way and included a garden
Many years ago, when the first redecorating was in progress, the walls were painted a warm pink/brownish color. One wall was painted from floor to ceiling. Two other walls were painted from the floor to about light switch high. One wall was left white. Then butterflies and yellow sunflowers were placed like a border above the paint on the half walls. A black paint pen was used to write the "Fruits of the Spirit" with the butterflies and flowers. Two big wooden shelves were added for lots of precious treasures to be displayed. There were 2 "Guess How Much I Love You" bunny pictures framed and hung on the wall above one of the wooden shelves. The room color was made to match the bunny pictures that had been framed. Oddly enough, the 2 bunny pictures have been placed back on the wall where they once hung many years ago. The bunny pictures are now over the white dresser where the blue vase sits with the green bamboo plant in it.
The bunny pictures-shelf with stained glass nativity-Christmas 2005
Many of her treasures, showcased for Christmas-2005
 The latest idea for the new room was bright pink, bright orange and white, with black furniture. To be very airy and cheery. The bed set was white with bright orange and bright pink huge flowers on it. Lots of pillows adorned the bed. Black frames and shelves were placed on the walls. A dorm room lamp with 5 arms with the shades in pink was in the corner. A black framed black and white Audrey Hepburn poster was placed where the bunny pictures and wooden shelf once hung. Many of the treasures that sat on the black shelves included a perfume collection, Barbie photo holders and a black and white fame with a photo of the day the cancer ribbon came down in it. The black desk was very simple; it had a large top, sleek keyboard pullout drawer and spindle style legs. Classy and elegant. An antique looking telephone lamp sat on the corner of the desk to light the work that was done there. A small, black nightstand sat beside the bed. It had one small drawer that held many treasures. On the top of the nightstand sat a low profile, square vase with real looking fake cream and pale pink roses in it. Next to the roses on the nightstand stood the pale blue vase with the green bamboo in it.
Antique telephone lamp
 The room was made over in March of 2008. It was thought that she would spend many days being in bed in her new room after she had her tonsils out. But come April, and for the next 6 months, the only time that she was in the room was when she was on 200 mg of steroids for a week and not able to sleep. The light would be on all night long as she wrote letters, played on her computer, knitted and went through all her treasures. She only lived in the new room a total of 6 months. But she lived in the room and all its many different looks for 15 years. Despite how the furniture has changed and that someone new is now making memories in her room, it will forever be her room, her memories...MY memories of her.
The pale blue vase with the green bamboo
Many nights a week I sit in a wicker chair, next to a small wicker table that sit where her black desk used to be and where she would put her Christmas trees so they were in the window. I look at the black shelves that hold new photos, books and treasures that belong to the new occupant. The black frames that have photos of someone else in them. I look at the crib that sits where her bed used to be. I sit and I think and I remember all the nights in that room. I can see all her things in there at different times. I look down to the little girl in my arms that has taken up residency in her Aunt Missy's room and I know with all my heart that Aunt Missy would want it that way. Aunt Missy would be so pleased to have Pea living in her room. Yet, every time I go down the hallway, somehow when I walk through the door of "Heather's" room, I in some way expect to see it the way she left it. A mess, with all her things still there. But sitting in the room in a pale blue vase is a green bamboo plant. In the 2 years that it has been in this house no one has ever added or changed the water in this vase. It is still growing and green. There is no reason why this water is not rancid and the roots have not rotted.The mystery bamboo...