Monday, January 24, 2011


CHERISH: (transitive verb)
a. to hold dear; feel or show affection for-to cherish one's native land
b. to keep or cultivate with care and affection; nurture-to cherish a child
c. to entertain or harbor in the mind deeply and resolutely-to cherish a memory
synonyms: adore, love, worship

Banner Baywood Hospital is right down Power Road from our house. Power Road is the main street to get to the mall. Before the freeway came in we traveled up and down Power Road many times a day. Many of the restaurants and the Target we used to shop at are down Power Road. I cannot tell you how many times I have passed Banner Baywood and never really given it a thought. A friend told me that I should CHERISH the hospital because that is where Heather met Jesus. I am so sorry, but I don't feel that way at all. Heather met Jesus when she was 8 years old in our living room...and she saw Jesus in heaven..not at Banner Baywood.

However, the corner of Power Road and Baywood Ave is a different story. A CHERISHED memory of Heather in treatment is the Dairy Queen on the corner. During Round A, Heather would be hooked to the IV pole 24 hrs a day for 3 days. She could not be unhooked for any reason. Not even to get CT scans or MRIs. Once she was unhooked we would go to the cafeteria at midnight to get food. Patients are not allowed in the cafeteria. She would put on a jacket so they could not see her hospital ID band. On one such visit we decided to be very adventurous and go to the Dairy Queen on the corner for blizzards. We strolled out of the hospital, through the parking lot, down the little incline and across the street to the DQ for a nice fun, secretive adventure. Bill was panicked. What if something happened to Heather..she passed out or something. the point is nothing happened and it was a fun, rule breaking adventure. I asked someone who worked for the hospital what would happen if we say walked off the property. I was told that we would have to be readmitted through the ER. That was that Banner is a no smoking zone...all patients go to the bus stop or the DQ to smoke and that is fine with the hospital administration. Heather and I were trend setters before the rest. I CHERISH the memory of going to DQ with Heather.

CHERISH is a word that can mean many different things to different people. In a recent discussion I had with a friend it was clear that they really didn't need to be married. Their spouse is just a coworker to them. I was and still am really upset about how they talked about their spouse and family. I told Bill about this conversation and about how sad it made me to hear that this friend didn't ever say the word love. Bill then told me that this friend needed to CHERISH their spouse...the way that he CHERISHES me. Maybe I have heard those words before, but for some reason it really stuck with me. Bill CHERISHES me. In using words that are similar to CHERISH..Bill adores, loves and worships me. (Yes this is my interpretation of the sentence that Bill used) 

I CHERISHED Heather's earthly form. Her soul is in heaven-to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. I know that it was just her shell, but I kissed and held that shell for 21 years. I looked at that face nearly everyday for 21 years. That is why it is so hard for me to let go of her ashes. I took great trust that her ashes would arrive in Penn. to begin the diamond process. I was put on alarm when the company making the red Heather diamond didn't know for sure that her ashes arrived at the lab. Today, I learned that the ashes successfully arrived on Friday in St. Petersburg, Russia. Finally, the process is beginning. The ashes are being converted into carbon beginning today, about 2 weeks behind schedule. About 70 days from today I should have confirmation that my diamond is ready to be cut. Keep you posted on the progress...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Heavy Subject...

But I still
Like bologna
On white bread
Now and then
And the sound 
Of a whippoorwill
Down a country road....
~Alan Jackson~

We made it through the holidays. "Made it", that is my new goal in life. We "made it" another year. The joy is just not what it once was nor will it ever be again. Christmas is associated with colors of red, green, silver and gold, But for a grieving mother, the color blue is the most dominant color. I can't possibly think of a season or a day of celebration without the color blue being the color of choice. I strain to adjust to the loss and wait for some time to heal some of the sorrow. I have realized in this time, 19 months and 28 days, that not much of the sorrow has faded. When death takes a loved one, even though you trust in the promise of everlasting life, something in you longs for reassurance, or proof of that promise. I keep saying, I am not getting over over this. I will get more "used" to the idea that Heather is gone for the remainder of my life. The saying that "time heals all wounds" doesn't float for me. Time actually becomes an enemy because in time my mind starts to forget, memories fade a little and it is my memories that keep Heather close to me.

During the times of extreme sadness or loss your appetite seems to be gone...till someone mentions deep dish pizza, cheesecake or chicken fettuccine. Healthy foods are just not appealing to me. The crisp fruits, crunchy veggies, grilled chicken breast or lean pastas that are healthy and good for me are something I have no desire to eat. I want to comfort foods; mac N cheese, breadsticks with sauce, cheeseburgers or tacos. Pizza Hut has become a regular at our house. The 3 different drivers know our order and our house now. The hot chicken wings with ranch call my name all the time from Old Chicago. Of course the candy cane pie from Village Inn over Christmas didn't help. Now it is Love Potion 31 from Baskin Robbins calls to me when ever I need a little something sweet.

Forget exercise. All the energy I have to get up out of bed and get dressed have used every ounce of energy for the day. If I add cooking or anything extra it just wears me out. Going to the gym and walking on the treadmill for 45 minutes at level 4 with an incline of 3-8 does not even cross my mind. Having to get dressed into workout clothes, drive to the gym, work out and then go about my day just seems impossible. Go to workout at the gym that Heather and I used to go to. I can see her on the treadmill, walking next to me with her bandana on to cover her bald head. I still pay the monthly fee even though I have gone about 6 times in the last year. I know how good it would be to relieve stress and feel better. I have no energy or willpower to put down Farmville or the repeat of Reba to go to the gym.

Research states that the average grieving mother puts on 75-100 pounds during the 1st year after the loss of a child. I can see it and fully understand how that is possible. When any small thing comes my way to make me depressed or stressed I now turn to my comfort foods. It is a nasty habit that I fear will be with me for the rest of my life. Since this is called confessions of a grieving mother I will confess that today I have begun back to the gym. I did the unthinkable and stepped on the scale. I was shocked and horrified to see that I have gained over 30 pounds. This would not be so depressing to me except for the fact that I worked for 6 months in 2007-2008 to lose over 30 pounds and was 7 pounds from goal. I am right back when I began. Now, to my defense I have been through so much the past 3 years that I really should weight about 400 pounds quite honestly. I am going to make the time for myself and work toward the goal of being back where I was 3 years ago. I am hitting it hard and hope to see some good results in a couple of weeks. Oh yes, the comfort food will have to be put on the back burner till I can control myself again.

As this is a new year and as I begin to move forward I have "hope". After all how can anyone survive without hope. Hope in the face of the loss of a child is the most difficult hope to find. I do not understand the "why" of losing a child any better that I understand the "why" of heaven's glory. I only know that they do exist, they both are real and one day I will know the answer...and it will start with I love you.

Alan Jackson has the song "I still like bologna". Just figured it was about food..something fun to watch. Hope you enjoy...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

What Is A Day?....

 Mondays child is fair of face,
Tuesdays child is full of grace,
Wednesdays child is full of woe,
Thursdays child has far to go,
Fridays child is loving and giving,
Saturdays child works hard for his living,
And the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.

Thursday is the 5th day of the week according to the Judeo Christian calendar. It falls between Wednesday and Friday. The name is derived from Old English to mean Thunor's Day. Thunor or Thor are derived from the god of thunder. In Latin, it means the Roman god, Jupiter who was the god of sky and thunder. In the Christian tradition, Maundy Thursday this the Thursday before Easter or when the Last Supper occurred. Ascension Thursday is 40 days after Easter, when Christ ascended into heaven. In Thailand the color for Thursday is orange.

A baby girl was born on a Thursday at 11:52pm. Heather probably had other events happen in her life on a Thursday. But the event that started her life happened on a Thursday.  When Heather was a baby I used to count how many weeks old she was on each Thursday; 1 week, 4 weeks and 6 weeks. By this point mothers usually begin to count the months instead of the weeks. It is a joyous time to count off the weeks and months of how old your baby is. Soon it is not weeks and months, but it is years.
A 20 year old girl was diagnosed with cancer on a Thursday at 3:49pm. Counting the weeks of treatment for cancer is not nearly as fun to do. But each week in treatment is one more week that Heather was alive and in remission. Counting the weeks till treatment was finished and life could begin again. Nearly ever time Heather was admitted to begin chemo it was on a Thursday. Counting days in the hospital till we could go home. Counting the days that we had at home, till we had to go back again. Days and weeks marked by doctor appointments and blood transfusions. The few moments that life seemed to be normal was counted in days and not weeks during treatment.
 A very sick and feverish 21 year old girl was admitted to Banner Baywood for the last time on a Thursday at about 12:30pm. This hospital stay would be counted in hours, days and nights. It moved very slowly as the days turned into long nights and then into weeks. There are many major events that happened during this time with Heather. It was a Thursday when she collapsed her lung for the 1st time.  But none more significant than Thursday, April 16th when Heather collapsed her lung for the last time. She was down for over an hour. I truly believe in my heart that she died that day. Her body just didn't let go till the 20th. How ironic that Heather's life began on a Thursday and the person known as Heather stopped being Heather on a Thursday.
Monday is the 2nd day of the week and 1st day of the work week. It is between Sunday and Tuesday. It is derived from Middle and Old English to mean day of the moon. In Eastern Orthodox Churches Monday is the day that angels are commemorated. Mondays are observed as fasting days. They are seen as days of depression, anxiety and melancholy. Garfield the cat hates Mondays as bad things happen to him on Monday. Monday aligns with the celestial body, the Moon, and the astrological sign of Cancer.
 A remarkable 21 year old young woman died on a Monday. Leave it to Heather to have to pick a different day to die on. Every Monday for weeks and months after Heather died would be devastating for me. Every Monday it would all come flooding back into my memory the events that happened on that day. I once again counted weeks but on Mondays this time instead of Thursdays. But this time it didn't stop at 6 weeks. It kept going; 24 weeks, 38 weeks and 90 weeks this past Monday. (But who is counting right?). These days, weeks and months since Heather died have not been fun or joyful. Mondays come along and no one has a clue why or what I am feeling. The sadness still hits on Mondays and I think it will forever.

What I've got they used to call the blues
Nothin' really wrong, feelin' like I don't belong
Walkin' around, some kind of lonely clown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down
~The Carpenters~

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Three Kings...

 Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.  
 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
When they saw the star, they rejoiced with 
exceeding great joy.   
  And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh....
~Matthew 2: 7-11~

Historically, on January 6th, the 3 Wisemen, Kings or Magi followed the star to give gifts to the baby Jesus. King Herod sent them to find the baby Jesus so that he could come worship the baby. In truth, King Herod wanted to kill the Messiah. The 3 Kings were named Melchior, Caspar and Balthasar and they came bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. These gifts funded Mary, Joseph and Jesus flight into Egypt to escape King Herod's decree that all male children be killed in Bethlehem. The 3 Wisemen took a different route home to avoid King Herod.

When I was a child growing up we had a stained glass nativity that sat on our dining room table. My father, Jim, had brought it back from overseas when he was in the Navy. it was a wooden "A" frame with the stained glass inside. There was a light that reflected a silhouette of Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. Due to circumstances it has not come to be in my possession. I talked and talked about how I wanted to have this nativity set back. The first year Heather was in stained glass she made me the "A" frame for Christmas. Her teacher Mr. S stayed and let her finish after school for several days. Then he built the frame for the glass to be held by.  I have proudly displayed this year round with different treasures to showcase this most remarkable gift of love.
Magazine nativity set
I received a magazine many years ago that had a stained glass nativity set in it. Heather looked at it and decided that for her 2nd year of stained glass she would make the entire nativity set. This included several animals as well. She didn't like the 3 wisemen in the picture, but did like Mary and the Angel.  Heather spent almost the entire 1st semester working on her nativity set. Mr. S also help her buy getting specialty glass for her pieces. With the help of her teacher they redrew Mary, the Angel and found a different pattern for the wisemen. Heather proudly displayed her beautiful work for years.
Patterns for cow and sheep
Heather's favorite wiseman and her redraw of Mary
Heather's drawing for the angel, donkey and camel...she didn't do the laying down camel
When it was all finished the parts that Heather loved was the camel and the 3 wisemen. She loved the camel for the special glass that was used for the blanket. It looks like a blanket not like glass. The next favorite was the 3 wisemen. She worked very hard and was so proud of the fact that she made one gift hang from a chain from the wiseman's hand. Ironic that the wisemen traveled on camels and these two are Heather's favorite.
Since the nativity set now belongs to me, I have added the "A" frame that Heather made me years ago. It seems only fitting that it all be put together as a set now. The garland was bought by Heather and she used it for several years. She also put lights under the garland. When I put it up last year I could not find the lights that she used. So I took a set of "snowball" lights under the garland. The lights seem to glow in the stained glass very nicely. 
The entire nativity set with "A" frame-garland and lights
Notice the glass on the angel and her harp
Shepherd, a wiseman and animals...
Heather's favorite camel and wiseman
Almost the exact same angel as the picture-Heather's design
Cute, curly sheep
When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.  
And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him...
~Matthew 2: 9-11a~

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Flower, Gleam and Glow
Let your power show
Make the clock reverse,
Bring back what once was mine...
Heal what has been hurt,
Change the fate's design
Save what has been lost,
Bring back what once was mine
What once was mine....
~Healing Incantation~Tangled

Tangled is Disney Studios 50th animated film. It is based on the German fairy tale Rapunzel by the Brothers Grimm. It is the 2nd most expensive film ever made and the most expensive animated film, with a budget of $260 million. So what is it about this movie that draws me to want to see it everyday? 

This movie is Heather. Every part of the movie would be her new favorite princess movie. Heather loved Mandy Moore. Not just her movies; A Walk To Remember and Because I Said So, but her songs like Gardenia and Extraordinary. Fitting that Mandy Moore plays Rapunzel. Then Rapunzel has the long, long, long, long blond hair that Heather loved so much. Not only is it long blond hair, in the movie it has magical  healing powers. While I do not believe in magical healing powers from hair, a part of me wishes that there really was such a thing and I could sing and have Heather back. The words above are from the "Healing Incantation" song from the movie. These are the words hit my heart so much....I wish I could say these words:
Heal what has been hurt,
Change the fate's design
Save what has been lost,
Bring back what once was mine...

Rapunzel is stolen as a young baby from the King and Queen. Every year on her birthday the King and Queen send up floating lighted lanterns. This is in the hope that one day she will find her way back to them. Rapunzel has watched them for years from her tower but does not know what they are. Right before they send up the floating lantern for her 18th birthday, the King and Queen share a private, sad and touching moment on just how much they long to see their daughter. When I first saw where they send up the floating lanterns all I could think about was the balloon release for Heather's birthday. Again, just one more connection with this movie. The song "I See The Light" brings me to tears every time I hear it. One twist is that one verse of the song seems like it could have been Heather singing this when she got to Heaven. 
Maybe what she saw when she looked at Jesus;
And at last I see the light
And it's like the fog has lifted
And as last I see the light
And it's like the sky is new
And it's warm and real and bright
And the world has somehow shifted
All at once everything looks different
Now that I see you...
~I See The Light~Tangled

The woman that steal Rapunzel uses her hair to keep herself young. The "mother" tells Rapunzel "I love you" and Rapunzel replies "I love you more" and the "mother" ends with "I love you most." I cried so hard when I saw this the first time. Heather and I would go back and forth with I love you, I love you more and finally I would end with I love you the mostest. Heather would tell me she loved me to the moon and back. I ended what I said at Heather's funeral with "and I still love you the mostest."

I purchased the soundtrack and I love the music from this movie. I know that Thomas Kincade is going to be doing a painting for this movie as well. In my heart I know that this painting will be released in April. It just seems to be perfect timing for this movie. Of course this painting will be hanging in my house. I cannot wait to see how Thomas Kincade works his magic. I am sure it will touch my heart as much as the movie has.

The title is Tangled, for the movie and also for my emotions this week. I wrote about the beautiful red diamond I am having created from Heather's ashes. Yesterday, Monday, I received the container to ship her ashes to the company. I was thrilled, but when it came time to fill the container it was difficult. I was shaking as I took my golden spoon and scooped them in. I was honestly amazed at how much are still left. Then I went to the post office and shipped them immediately. I wanted them to get there as soon as possible to begin this amazing process. When I got to the counter to mail them, I needed to be assured that they would get there. We all know the postal service..and how packages get lost. I had no clue that ashes have to be shipped a special way. They guy wrapped the box with paper tape and then had to stamp all sides of the box to show it had not been tampered with also it is registered and certified mail. I let go of the box and got back into my car I cried and cried and cried. For this is another piece of Heather that is gone forever. I know I will have the most beautiful diamond ever...emotions are tangled.
Here we go....