Saturday, April 30, 2011

Never Forgotten....

If we could have a lifetime wish
A dream that would come true,
We'd pray with all our hearts
For yesterday and YOU.

A thousand words can't bring you back
We know because we've tried...
Neither will a thousand tears
We know because we've cried...

You left behind our broken hearts
And happy memories too...
But we never wanted memories
We only wanted...YOU!!!
~Unknown Author~

The day the Heather died, I became part of an exclusive club. The membership cost is beyond what any mother should ever have to pay. It is a membership that my dear friend Diane paid in May, 1998. I have always stated that I thought as an outsider I understood what she was feeling and going through. Only when Heather died did I really, ever truly understand what it feels like to go through this. I have stated before that people who have not lost a child are civilians. They don't get it. I understand the days and dates that come along with the anniversary of the death of your child. This morning was the day of the week that Beka died 13 years ago. I awoke this morning a little after 4am and began thinking about Beka and Diane. I had a very hard time going back to sleep. The visions and thoughts were pressing on my heart and mind. Beka died May 2, at about  5:30am Chicago time, which is 4:30 am Arizona time.
Grieving Mothers battle everyday to get out of bed, get dressed and simply function. Simple tasks to the world become the biggest obstacled challenge to a grieving mother. I will confess here that I simply have not managed to make my bed for over 3 years. I used to make my bed every single day before cancer entered my world. When Heather got cancer she would sleep with me. Many days she would not be out of bed till 1 or 2 pm. Then she would be back in bed at 8 or 9 pm some days. It was a task that simply didn't make sense to do. I never got back to making the bed. Pea was born, Heather got sick and died. It required too much energy to make the bed to simply unmake it to go to bed each day. It has only been recently that I have begun to make the bed each morning again. 

This last part of this week and first part of next week is the 13th anniversary of Beka's death. Rebekah was 19 years old and attending college at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. Wes and Diane received a phone call on April 30th stating that Beka awoke, her heart arrested and she fell backwards. Her roommate got help immediately. The hospital staff worked very hard to save Beka's life, but there was severe brain damage. Beka was placed on life support and was confirmed later that she only had lower brain stem activity. The family made the incredibly difficult decision to take her off life support. They kept a vigil all night; loving and saying goodbye to their precious Beka. Mother and daughter, Diane and Beka, together for the last time this side of heaven. The world lost a truly amazing. loving and remarkable young woman. 
"In my radiance
I stood outside, 
'Neath the stars.
At 2:00 am
I touched a rose and its leaves.
They seem more alive now.
Everyone knows flowers are
Alive in light of the sun.
Now the moon is here and 
The bud still is there......"
April 1996~Beka
Beka's Mom, Diane, began an non-profit called Beka's House. In the beginning she was not sure what the concept would be. Jenn and Heather drew houses that might be used as a icon for the Beka's House organization. This is Heather's drawing for Beka's House.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Three Bears...

If you go out in the woods today
You're sure of a big surprise.
If you go out in the woods today
You'd better go in disguise.
For ev'ry bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain, because
Today's the day the Teddy Bears have their picnic...
~Teddy Bear Picnic-Jimmy Kennedy~

When I was in 3rd grade I told a lie to the class and teacher for show and tell. For most kids this would not be an issue. However, Jo Beth, (adopted mother) was a teacher at the school. This was not a good thing as she found out about what I had said. Later that week I was required to write thank you notes for some gifts I had received, and told her I could not think of anything to write. Jo Beth told me "that with my creative mind I should be able to think of something to write in my notes." I did learn my lesson and have tried to turn my creative talents for good use over the years.

When I found out I was pregnant with each one of the girls, I wrote creative letters to announce my pregnancy to family and friends. The first one was to describe a car/baby theme. The middle one was a story about a family of bears. The last one was done as a news story in the paper.

"Three Bears Live In Colorado Springs"
 Once upon a time there were three bears:
Daddy Bear-Bill Coombe
Mama Bear-Sherry Coombe
Baby Bear-Jenny Coombe

They were very happy with their little family, living in their nice house in Colorado Springs. But since life is different from "Fairy Tales," this is to announce the coming of "Baby Bear" number two. Coming out of hibernation sometime in mid-December. Daddy Bear and mama Bear assured the family this type of "Baby Bear" will not be born with fur--that usually grows in a year later.

This is the end of my story of the "Three Bears in Colorado Springs." We hope that everyone enjoys the new version of our story.
The Three Bears

When I took the photo of this I noticed the date at the top. I did not begin to remember that this was sent April 23, 1987. I wrote journals to the babies from the moment I found out I was pregnant. I had to find Heather's book to see when I found out. I found out I was pregnant on April 14, 1987. I find it so ironic all the dates in April that are associated with Heather.
Pregnancy announcement for Heather
 I was and am a teddy bear collector. All 3 of the girls in growing up have managed to take one of my bears to be their own at some time during their lives. Jenn took "Frizzy Bear" when she was two.We managed to find another one for her to have but she managed to lose that one. My "Frizzy Bear" became Jenn's when we could no find another one. Wendy took "Nadine Bear Fuzzybottom" when she was 7. Wendy and "Nadine" were never apart. "Nadine" has an enormous amount of clothes for a bear and managed to be on stage in the Peter Pan dance with Wendy. Heather took a dark, chocolate brown bear. He was floppy and kind of scruffy looking. He did not have a name and Heather felt that BPS-Bear Protective Services needed to step in. Heather took this bear named him "Edison" and refused to return him to me. She was a teenager at the time. She felt that "Ed" had such character.

Heather became attached to "Edison" very quickly. Honestly not till I saw him, did I really remember that she took him. I could not bear to take him away from her. She seemed to love him so much. I would tease her about needing to find me another bear just like "Edison". Heather looked and looked but could never find a Gund bear like "Edison". She told me she would give him back to me and I told her no. But she never gave up her search for a replacement bear.
I received an unexpected call one evening from Heather. She was at the mall and had found a Gund bear that looked like "Edison". This bear was not the same color but it was the same bear. She was telling me it was the only one the Hallmark had and she didn't have enough money to buy the bear. She was going to hide the bear and hope to go back to get him the next day. While she was on the phone with me a lady overheard her telling me the story and gave her the money needed to buy this bear. The lady told her that she wanted her to buy this bear for her mother..a gift to your mother is priceless. Heather was thrilled as she ran into the house to give me the bear.

I did not know that Gund bears are made in Edison, New Jersey. It states that on the tag. Hence the name "Edison". Once Heather returned home with the new bear, she told me how she got the name and that this bear's name needed to come from a city in New Jersey. So, this mustand colored bear with the same color ribbon as "Edison" became "Brighton". He looked the same only he was a different color. I figured Heather was finished with her quest for a replacement bear. But not so. Not my Heather. Never...
Edison's tag on his back
 Right before Christmas, JC Penneys salon had a gift set of hair care products. The difference was this gift set came with a Gund bear. A Gund bear that looked like "Edison" but only a caramel color with stars on the ribbon around his neck. So, needless to say, Heather bought the hair care set of a shampoo and conditioner so she could get this bear and give him to me. Again, the name had to come from a city in New Jersey. This caramel colored bear that looked like "Edison"  became "Brunswick".
Edison, Brighton and Brunwick
Heather managed to find on the internet a brand new dark, chocolate brown "Edison" bear. Once this bear arrived it was clear he was not the same. The new "Edison" was stuffed too much. But again, Heather gave this bear to me and vowed that she was finished looking for a replacement bear. She had paid her debt. But this bear was known as the "fake Edison".

"Edison" or "Ed" as Heather called him most the time went everywhere with Heather. He took 2 trips to Myrtle beach, many trips to Disneyland and Prescott and visited the windy city of Chicago. "Edison" loves Kenny Chesney's No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service. He bopped his head whenever the song came on (with Heather's help). Heather slept with him every night. He was snuggled to death by Heather and her blankies. "Edison" went to the hospital with her as well. But he was very scared and didn't like it much. The one time Heather thought she could leave him home, Bill made a trip at 11pm to bring "Edison" to the hospital. "Edison" was with her in ICU and when she died.
Brave Edison in the food tray at the hospital with his napkin blanket
Many parents when their child dies, take their beloved stuffed animal and place them in the casket to go with them. Heather loved "Edison" so much I could not bear to be parted from him. So, I placed the "fake Edison" in with Heather and I kept her "Edison". He gives me great comfort. I sleep with "Edison" every night. Many nights I feel the need to snuggle with him before falling asleep. "Edison" stares out of his dark glassy eyes and I know he misses her too....

Monday, April 25, 2011

Me and God...

I am weak and He is strong
Me and God
He forgives me when I'm wrong
Me and God
He's the one I lean on
When life gets hard
Me and God

He's my father
He's my friend
The beginning
And the end
He rules the world
With a staff and rod
We're a team
Me and God
~Me and God-Josh Turner~

As Reba's Forever Love played the family walked behind the paul bearers gently rolling the white casket. A very soft love song between me and the forever love of my daughter played as the funeral began. The family walked very slowly, as this moment was surreal. It could not be happening. The music for her funeral had to be just right. I heard songs before, but now they all had different meanings since Heather died. Music still has a different meaning today than it did before. After a very moving and beautiful service it was time to leave. The casket that carried Heather would go back up the aisle first with the paul bearers to guide her again. The family would follow behind. This time the song would be much different. It would be upbeat, one of hope. Josh Turner's Me and God meant Heather was with God and as I walked out it was... Me and God.
 As with every party I have ever planned, everything down to the last detail has to be perfect. Heather's funeral would be no different. Heather had collected TY Beanie Babies. Mostly the bunnies. She had always wanted to have an animal named after her. Ironically the Easter when she was in ICU was the first time TY had a bunny named HEATHER. I knew that for Heather's funeral I wanted to give a "Heather" bunny to each family that attended. I called TY INC the day she died. I explained the situation and that I wanted 200 purple TY "Heather" bunnies. TY told me they do not sell to individual people but this time they would make an exception. Thursday before Heather's funeral I had 2 boxes of TY Purple "Heather' bunnies arrive at my front door.
With the 24 month anniversary of Heather's death being right before Easter; I figured that for the gathering I would make crocheted bunnies for each family to take with them. It seemed to make sense to me. As bunnies were Heather's favorite. I began this project and found it helped to pass the long hours leading up to the anniversary of her death. I find myself not able to focus and sit still for long. Nothing is very interesting nor do I want to do anything. This small project helped me focus my attention. I managed to get 22 of them made prior to the memorial. ( I have about 5 more to make) I hope that everyone that received one of these bunnies finds them a joy.
Everyone that came wrote messages on the luminary bags. We all then went outside and placed them around the Sally angel. Then it was time for the best part of the evening. The lighted balloons. It was as close to the floating lanterns in Tangled as I could come. The pink lighted balloons were breath taking to watch. They were truly the highlight of the evening. I plan on doing this again and again. It gives great comfort to watch them float into the night's sky.
Showing the cut out inserts to make the bags glow
handing out the water filled bases
Placement of the bags
Some of the group
How stunning
Sally angel, luminaries and lighted balloons
Lighted balloons
 The decorations were Sleeping Beauty with lots of pink and jewels. I made up the same flower ring vase for this gathering as I did for Heather's graduation party. I had found this vase at an antique store. When I saw it I knew it would be perfect for the pink barbie graduation party. Once again, this vase held bright pink roses with baby's breathe. It was perfect.
Flower ring vase
Sleeping Beauty -She lights up BLUE and PINK
Favorite-Jelly beans
The memorial was a huge step forward in many ways. Ways that all our friends that attended never dreamed. This was the first time for us to have people in our home since Heather died. I mean in a group setting. This is huge to allow myself to be opened up, to share my most private home. My home is where I can be myself. I do not have to pretend anything to anyone. I have many photos and treasures of Heather displayed around the house as well. This is a big step to allow people to share my treasures. I felt very comfortable with all our friends that attended as they love us and they loved Heather very much.
I also needed to know that Heather was remembered. I was overwhelmed by the number of our dear friends came to support us during this time of remembrance. We at one time had 40 people here for the luminaries and the balloon release. I could not ask for a better support system than those that came to our home. I love each and every one of you. The dear ones that could not attend, sent flowers which was unexpected and I loved very much.
Hiding bunny-but he found a good home..
Most of the group taking instructions on the luminaries
 I know there are many, many photos on the blog tonight. I hope that you get the feel of the memorial. It was quite an evening. Put up the video of the balloon release next time.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Forever Love....

The first time I laid my eyes on you I knew
We'd spend this life side by side
I still feel the same thought you're so far away
I swear that you'll always be my

Forever love, I promise you
Someday we'll be together, forever love
I won't give up no matter what
I'll be waiting for you, forever love

Minutes and hours and years may go by
But my heart knows nothing of time
So don't cry just keep me right there in your dreams
And hold on to these words of mine
Forever love.....

The plans were all finished, everything was done. I had picked up my Dad at the airport even though looking back I do not remember doing this. I do remember going to the private family viewing on Friday evening. I got up on Saturday morning and cried...not unlike what I had done every morning since that Monday. I got dressed in my royal attire and put my Queen's tiara on my head. I walked down the stairs and felt an overwhelming panic inside my body that shook me to my core. I went back up and took a 1mg of Ativan to calm myself. Then out the door....
Newspaper obituary
I had taken charge of every detail of this final ball. I wrote the newspaper obituary to sound like a royal princess had died. I could not have a small generic obituary for my duchess. I also made sure that the casket was white. What else would a Grand Duchess arrive in. This was to be her final carriage. I also made sure that the hearse was white as well. I didn't leave any detail to chance. I also told all the pall bearers that they had to be in dark suit and tie. A princess getting out of the carriage never takes the hand of an unsuited man. The casket spray of flowers were to be the most stunningly beautiful roses I have ever seen. I left instructions that it was to be a royal as possible. I wanted nothing less for this would be the last thing I would ever do for Heather.
One of Heather's Senior pictures
Free gift-a woven tapestry from a photo of our choice
On 2014 Easter Sunday will fall on April 20th. I am not sure how that day will go. I feel that the memories this year are really heightened by the fact that I am not numb and that Easter is tomorrow. I love God and I trust Him in every aspect of my life. I trust God for everything good and bad that has ever happened in my life. I know that God has a purpose and a plan. However, I do not understand the reason behind Heather's death. I know the facts of her being spared a life of illness or return of her cancer. I do not understand how she could skate and I mean skate through cancer treatments with no complications, to begin her life again and then get pneumonia and die. God could have healed her but for whatever reason He chose not to. Yes, I feel betrayed by God. How could He not answer my cry to Him. I firmly believed with everything in my being that Holy week, Good Friday and Easter Sunday in 2009 were going to be filled with awesome miracles from God. Heather was going to make huge improvements and get better. It didn't happen. I always had a statement that I told my girls when they were growing up; "I always love you, that never changes, but I do not like you much right now". I feel that way about God for now...and you know what..IT IS OK that I feel this way. I am not going to hell nor am I losing my faith. If anything I have more faith now then I ever did before.
Casket spray of beautiful roses
Sherry speaking at Heather's funeral
 My Heather diamond gives me great comfort. I wear it 24/7 right now. It is simply stunning, beautiful, awesome and everything else in the world. I looked at the diamond under a microscope and saw part of the engraving. Due to the way it has to fit into the setting part of the engraving is covered by the prongs that hold the diamond in place. I was able to see DOLYGRL NUTT PRISSIE. The MISSY HNC is covered up. It was amazing. There is only one flaw in the actual stone. That is the reason why it is so big. I saw the small looks like a fluffy white cloud instead of a dark, black flaw. The flaws of a diamond are the personal fingerprints to the stone. No two stones have the same flaws. As I have showed the ring to people several had kissed the diamond and held it to the cheek. I don't mind as I do the same thing. Many have said it gives an energy that is indescribable. It feels like Heather...
After Sunday all the Mother's Day stuff will begin to hit. I am thankful this year that there are only a couple weeks between Easter and Mother's Day. 

Hoping each one of you has a Blessed Resurrection Day...

Thursday, April 21, 2011


She flew up to heaven on the wings of angels
By the clouds and stars and passed where no one sees
And she walks with Jesus and her loved ones waitin'
And i know she's smiling saying', "Don't worry 'bout me"....
~Sissy's Song-Alan Jackson~
Monday morning, April 20, 2009, Bill and I went to the corner McDonald's right by our home for breakfast. This is a stop I had been making for the past few weeks every morning on my way to the hospital. I would order my McGriddle sandwich with no egg and a large diet coke. Most mornings I would fill the cup, drink and fill it again before grabbing my sandwich and heading out the door. I usually ate this in the car as I didn't want to bring smells into Heather's ICU room. This morning was different. More than likely this would be the last morning I would stop on my way to the hospital. It would hopefully be coming to an end later in the day. (Not that I wanted Heather to die, but if there was no hope, why keep her alive with machines?)

Stacey and Shawna were meeting us at the hospital. They needed to be with us as we made our final decisions. We needed to be on our way to begin what was to be the most horrible day of my existence. As Bill and I walked out of the McDonald's we ran into Walter, a co-worker of Heather's from Kohl's. Walter thought that Heather was the greatest thing in the world. he hugged me and told me he knew...he knew how I felt. His daughter had been attacked by her boyfriend or husband and hit over the head with a tire iron. She was in a vegetative state and then died. His heart was breaking for us.

I sent Bill ahead as I wanted to stop at Safeway to get boxes of tissue. (Why in the world the hospital can charge so much and not have softer tissue is beyond me.) I told Bill to wait for me in the parking lot and not to go in. I had Heather's ball gown to bring in as well. As I pulled into the parking lot of the Safeway I turned up the radio. Tears filled my eyes and I sat there and sobbed and sobbed at this song I was hearing for the first time. All I heard was the chorus and the second verse. Alan Jackson had hit the nail on the head again with his song, Sissy's Song. This is what I heard as I pulled into the parking lot:
Loved ones she left behind
Just tryin' to survive
And understand the why
Feeling so lost inside

Anger shot straight at God
Then askin' for His love
Empty with disbelief
Just hopin' that maybe

She flew up to heaven on the wings of angels
By the clouds and stars and passed where no one sees
And she walks with Jesus and her loved ones waitin'
And I know she's smiling saying', "Don't worry 'bout me"....
The ring in the box when it 1st arrived
Heather had not died yet and I missed her so much. Bill and I thought we were going to the hospital to sign the papers to stop life support for Heather. When we got there, I placed Heather's ball gown on top of her. Monica, her nurse, already had her tiara on her head. Stacey and Shawna arrived and then Dr. Anthony came to talk to us. She asked us to not make any decisions. Bill and I were so confused at this point. Dr. Anthony said they were taking the sedating drugs off to see if there was any activity at all (brain activity). Bill and I both panicked as we DID NOT want to wake Heather up to tell her good bye. We did not understand that more than likely Heather died on Thursday when her lung collapsed and she was down for over an hour. Just her body being so young and strong it didn't quit fighting. Her vital signs were going down hill fast and doctors and nurses knew that it would be a matter of hours and Heather would take charge and go herself. Making sure Mom and Dad DID NOT have to make the decision. The only 2 things that Heather did quickly was her birth and her death. Both were just over 2 hours from beginning to end.

As Heather's Momy, it was my job to tell her to go. I had asked the nurses earlier in the day to move her over so I could lay next to her when time came. As evening came it became very clear that time was short. With help I crawled into bed next to my baby girl for the last time. We shared her IPOD earphones. She had one and I had one. I was holding her hand and Bill was holding our hands. We were listening to to Amy Grant's Legacy album. The song that was playing when Heather died was "What You Already Own:"
Do You protect what You already own
I give You my body
Naked and meek
Burning with passion
Human and weak
I try to be faithful
Then I go wrong
Can You protect what You already own????

I was talking to Heather in her ear the entire time. Telling her things and saying how much I loved her. I also told her over and over it was ok to let go...that we would be ok. That was my job. In the words of  M'Lynn in Steel Magnolias.....
"There was no noise, no tremble, just peace. 
I realize as a woman how lucky I am.
I was there when that wonderful creature drifted into my life 
and I was there when she drifted out. 
It was the most precious moment of my life."

The moment we realized that she had died Amy Grant was singing "It Is Well With My Soul." 
Top view
In life I learned that I never rushed Heather. Not in walking, eating or getting ready for something. It almost made her go slower if you tried to rush her. In the process of creating a diamond with her ashes was no different. Heather needed to make a grand entrance and took her own sweet time about arriving. After many months of waiting and wondering, my stunning Red Heather diamond arrived on Tuesday; right in-between Monday, the day of the week, that she died and the 20th, the date that she died. Photos do not do it justice. Everything about it is Royal and classic and beautiful like Heather was and is to me. More photos to come.
You can see the color and sparkle
Please be patient with me as I have so much to share with you. I don't want to make these posts so long that you do not wish to read them. Over the coming days I will be sharing about the remembrance ceremony we had. It was amazing. I am overwhelmed by everyone that came to support us on the 24 month anniversary of when Heather died. It means more than you could ever know. I know that we had support all over the world yesterday..especially in North and South Carolina.