" As time passes, the pain dulls,
but we continue to define the place on
earth we now occupy as a shadow life...
We call it " shadow grief."
We have been dumped here by some force
far beyond our control, and it means
we now experience every event,
every set of circumstances,
every morning, noon and night,
every relationship, every nuance,
every grain of sand in a new way...engulfed in shadow."
As time goes by, things change. Some things I can control and others I cannot. Heather loved animals. She especially loved bunnies and cats. Losing Mr. B was beyond my control. It threw me into a tail spin to have this sweet little bunny out of my life. He had been part of Heather's life for 5 years. I am happy to say that Mr. B's ashes joined Heather's ashes in our special spot. I felt very good about placing Mr. B there. He would love it there and Heather would love having her bunny with her.
Last Friday I made a change that was in my control but it was still very difficult for me to do. I took our cat, Chloe, that we have had for 10 years, to the Humane Society. From day one, she peed in laundry baskets. This was annoying but we learned not to leave laundry down. When Heather got sick the cat began peeing on other things. I feel this was her way to protest the change that was going on at the time. When Heather died, Chloe began peeing on the walls and on Heather's boxes. I tried to clean it all up and look beyond her peeing. Heather loved Chloe so much. I hated to get rid of her. However, last Friday, Chloe looked right at me and then hiked her tail and peed on the wall. That was the final straw. It has been very odd in the house without her here. I know Heather would understand. I cannot have the cat ruining everything. But it still was a very difficult thing for me to do.
|Heather with Chloe|
" I am living a second life now. My life as I knew it ended. In order to go on, I would have to create a new life and in many ways a new me. Getting better is not returning to who you once were. You can never return." ~Beyond Tears~
" We keep photos of our dead children with us each day as well as talismans of our children. Whether it be a piece of jewelry, an article of clothing, or something symbolic about their lives, it is with us and it comforts us. No one else need know....so long as we know." ~Beyond Tears~
When Heather was hospitalized, she wore the journey cancer ribbon diamond pendant that she had bought for herself. She needed an xray, so she took it off and handed it to me. For the first time ever I placed the necklace around my neck instead of placing it in my pocket like I had done with the heart necklace prior to this. When she returned from the xray I told her I had her necklace and began to take it off. She told me "no mom, you keep it for me for now. I think I am going to have to have a lot more xrays. It is safe with you." So, I wear this necklace every day and every night. I am keeping it safe. I have only not wore it about 3 days in the past almost 2 years. This is my talisman for Heather. I always know it is there and therefore she is with me. When I go to Disneyland I wear the heart that has her ashes in it. I wear it everyday that I am at Disneyland. Again, I feel that she is with me at her favorite place when I wear this.
|Her journey cancer pendant|
I also try to wear lots of perfume. Most of the ones I wear are Heather's scents that she loved. Her philosophy was that you are not fully dressed without your perfume. Of course many of the scents take me back to some memory or event with just a hint of a smell. I feel as though I am wearing her essence when I wear her perfume.
Heather loved jewelry, especially diamonds. So it is fitting that I am having some of her ashes turned into a red diamond. I can hardly wait to wear this most precious and extremely rare jewel. I received word that on Monday my diamond was finished. It is a diamond in the rough. It is now being shipped from St. Petersburg, Russia back to the USA. Once it arrives it will be cut, polished, certified and graded. Then it will finally be placed into the setting. If all goes on schedule it will still arrive the end of March or beginning of April. One small thing I added was a special engraving that will be placed on the stone. It will only be visible under a microscope. This is highly recommended so that no one can replace your stone during a repair. So, on the day my diamond was finished, I finally figured out what I wanted it to say:
DOLYGRL NUTT PRISSIE MISSY HNC
On a diamond so unique and special just putting the dates and her name didn't seem special. With Jenny's help we decided on using some of her nicknames. Nicknames are very important to our family. Each one of the girls have several nicknames. They change with age. As Pea aka Violet, already has several nicknames to follow the tradition.
Dolly Girl-DOLYGRL-because when Heather was 2 I did her big girl room in dolly's. I called her my little dolly since then.This nickname is one that began at toddler age and continued for her life. As I held her when she died I kept calling her my dolly girl... It refers to her fragile and porcelain doll qualities.
Nuttbrownhare-NUTT-is for Heather's love of the book "Guess How Much I Love You" and her love of bunnies. This was her first email account name. This was the nickname that was in her jr. high years. Even one of the last cards she gave to me it was signed "love you up to the sky and back... NUTT."
PRISSIE-refers to her love of the finer things in life. Her princess status. She always said she was a prissie girl. She loved hair and makeup. When she placed her name on her jacket for Varsity USA, she put PRISSIE. This was her high school coming of age nickname.
MISSY-was given to her by a group of friends on the Josh Turner fan club. This is also a name that she chose for herself for Pea to call her. She was ever so tickled about being Aunt Missy. This is a nickname that should have been with her till she was old and gray. Many people also put 2 of the together and call her
HNC -of course are her initials Heather Nicole Coombe
" We have learned that the best way to survive these torturous holidays that come our way is to develop mechanisms that will carry us through them or, better still, find ways to avoid them completely and allow them to pass unmarked and as quietly as possible.
Unfortunately, our society finds such behavior almost unthinkable. Americans make much of holidays, so much so that we seem at times to slide simply form celebrating one " special" occasion to preparing for the next, and always with great fanfare. Labor Day barbecues have hardly ended and the toys of summer been stashed away than stores are overflowing with Halloween candy and Christmas trees." ~Beyond Tears~
I noticed that as soon as Valentine's Day was over here came all the Easter things. Stuffed bunnies, cadbury eggs and peeps line every shelf of every store. This is probably right up there with Mother and Father's Day and Christmas for me. I really wish I could cancel Easter. Not the meaning of Easter as to the death, burial and resurrection of Christ....but when we were in ICU and Good Friday came...I told everyone..doctors, nurses and visitors that a miracle was coming. It was the season and time for miracles and I fully expected one. It didn't happen...or at least not the miracle I prayed for. Just the year before we spent Easter waiting the test results from the biopsy...and before that I had made special, personalized Easter baskets for all the girls every year. I had made matching Easter dresses and special dinner year after year. Heather loved Easter for all the bunnies. This was usually the time I would get supplies for her December birthday. Try to find bunny stuff in December. Her favorite candies were peeps and jelly beans. Her favorite bunny of all time was