Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Fifth Merry Christmas...

The front window for all to see
 Five candles burning bright
Will remain all through the night
Five holidays you have been gone
It doesn't seem like that long
Missing you more tonight that ever
I love you the mostest my dolly girl.
Elf sitting and thinking of Heather by the candles

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Huge Hole....

The year she got her piano-2004
Simply decorating the Christmas tree, easy right? Well not really when your child has died. We were lucky enough to have Heather for 21 years, which means I have many Christmas ornaments that belonged to her that are now homeless. I have all of Heather's baby ornaments; then I have several boxes of Christmas things that she purchased later in her life. Well, what do I do with them now?
H is for Heather
I have a tinsel tree that Heather bought her last Christmas that I usually put up that has several of her ornaments on it. Then I have her red tree-yes I bought her a red tree for her room many years ago. That one I put many of her very fancy ornaments on. I also bought a black tree that I have been know to put her fancy ornaments on it instead of the red one every once in a while. But this year these tress are staying in their boxes and put away along with her ornaments.
Just beautiful
Heather's Amy Grant piano music
the view from the stair landing
This year has been very tough for me to get into the Christmas mood. We decided to get new carpet for the remaining downstairs rooms and I had no idea when it would be in.  When we first ordered it we thought it would be here the week after Thanksgiving. So I waited. I did not want to put up trees to take them down and put them up again. Then the carpet was on back order and I could put up a tree. In the middle of all this the decision was made to sell Heather's grand piano. Yes!!! This was a long tough decision but I know she would want her piano played and not just sitting. I had a family come to the house to look at the piano-kind of mistake. Hearing the young girl with long blond hair playing the piano was heart breaking. I could barely stand it. They decided not to take the piano and I decided I could not have anymore people come to the house to look at it. That was just too painful. There is a place here in town that actually consigns pianos. The piano was picked up by the movers and taken to his showroom where currently it is waiting to be sold. 
moving begins-heart breaking to watch
the legs come off and it is turned on its side
carefully wrapped
moving the piano out the door
Of course this left a huge empty space in the front window of the living room. I see it when I go upstairs or downstairs. It was just there a huge hole. So I put up the big green Christmas tree. It was the tree Heather and I put up for 2008. It is not pre-lit so like in 2008, I strung 1800 lights on the tree. I placed it on the front window to fill the empty hole. It feels like it has always been there as this was where the tree went till the piano came. I know that new carpet will change the feel and look and I am hoping for a new look.
the empty hole
With all this going on it has been hard to get into the Christmas  mood. Tonight I finally put the decorations on the big tree in the front room. Carpet has been delivered to the installer and I got a call this week wanting to know of I wanted it before Christmas. I said NO! If I have to take trees down they stay down. So carpet is coming on December 30. This means that the day after Christmas the trees come down and the house has to be taken apart. 19+ years is a lot of things to move. Plus the fact that we cannot move one room into another room but we have to move four rooms of furniture, computers and TVs out.
all decorated
I have to admit this is the least amount of Christmas that has been put out-or not put out. No garland or stocking, no candy canes on all the doors. I just do not have the energy to put it up for a few days to take it down in a hurry. I am not sure what it feels like but it doesn't feel like the holidays. I do enjoy the trees and looking at the lights and being in the peace of the moment. Each year is different and that is okay. This year just happened to be an off year. Next year is promised to be different too.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Christmas Tree

What are holiday ornaments?
They seem to be something that we mindlessly hang on our Christmas tree with not much thought or reason as to why. But what is the story behind the ornament? Are they hand me down ornaments from family? New ones to make a special occasion? Or just some random thing you thought would look good on the tree? 
The last ornaments that Heather bought 2008
When I was growing up I had my own tree in my room. It was mine to put the lights on and decorate how I wanted to. One of my most beloved ornaments is the three wise kings bringing gifts to baby Jesus. These ornaments are old and made of felt and plastic. But they have adorned our family Christmas tree for the last 30 yrs and my tree 13 years before that.

I had a few ornament when Bill and I got married and one that he immediately took was what we call little Elf guy. He is a felt elf in a red suit and is very small. He has hung at the too of our tree for 30 years as well. Heather loved the elf guy and found herself her own elf guy but he was a bit larger than the little one on our tree. 
Elf Guy watching over Heather's baby ornament 
This year as it has been for the last four years our tree has the elf guy hanging up high so he can see the world, but there is another ornament that is places very close to him so that he keeps watch over it. That would be Heather's first baby ornament. Yes, each year I place her baby's first ornament on my tree in special remembrance of a baby girl born December 1987. I have a few other of her special ornaments that I hang on the tree like her chairman Starbucks cup and he Minnie Mouse ones. This makes it seem like her tree as well. 

On this season of remembering --it is the gifts that lay beneath your tree but who is around to celebrate it with you.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

It Is Okay To Remember...

Disney's signature mousse dessert

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever be faced with the anguish of how to celebrate my child’s birthday after she died. But it still happened to me just as this tragic event has happened to 1000’s of parents this year alone. Oddly enough there are no instructions nor do we talk about how to do this. I have never been in the bathroom and overhear a conversation on how they went to the cemetery to celebrate Suzi’s birthday last week, or how some friends joined alongside and they all had a cupcake party at Jimmy’s grave. We as people do not talk about such things in nice circles of friends. A child’s death is like having gas, a hemorrhoid, a drug addict relative or any other such unmentionable things that are not talked about in groups of nice people. I have news for everyone having a child die happens in rich or poor, nice or mean, famous or non-famous households. Add the fact that I want to honor or remember my child’s birthday after her death and I get looked at as if I need a strait jacket and to be hauled away to the funny farm.
Sleeping Beauty Castle
Since I survived Heather’s first birthday after her death in deep seclusion, I have decided that I can celebrate and remember her birthday. Remembering the day of her birth represents the fact that my love for her can never be broken—not even by her death. I do prepare myself that there will be tears on this day. I don’t wake up stating that okay I will cry from 10:00-10:30 and then be finished. The tears come when they want and I cannot control the time or place. I know it sounds a bit absurd, but I already know that I am going to cry and that is okay. I remember past birthdays, I recollect and think about the good birthdays that are now nothing but memories that I cherish deeply. Sometimes I have allowed a light to burn in the window for an entire 24 hours.
Sherry at our spot
There is no right or wrong way to remember Heather’s birthday the point is that she was born, she lived and the she died. She was here and a person of great importance to me. This year like last year we went to Disneyland just Bill and I. It seems to give me great comfort to be at the very place that she loved so so much. It also had more sentiment in the fact that she spent her last birthday at Disneyland. The park and castle were absolutely stunning like always. Disney is magical normally but add the Christmas magic and it is beyond words.
Handpainted bottle-Hypnotic Secret
I did just fine for the most part, had a few moments when I could not speak after riding The Little Mermaid ride in California Adventure. No, Heather never experienced this ride, but she did play a mermaid for her very first ballet recital and the music was the song Under The Sea. Being at Disneyland is not about the rides for me, while those are nice, it is about the atmosphere, the memories and just being away. Later in the afternoon I headed back to Disneyland to get my perfume bottle I had ordered when we first arrived. I also saved Walk Thru Sleeping Beauty Castle for her birthday. Of course the perfume bottle was stunning—Pam does such a beautiful job for me all the time. Then while Bill took my shopping back to the hotel I went to the castle by myself. I walk, watch and listen to the music. It is very emotional and moving for me. Especially when I see Aurora laid out sleeping in her blue dress. I cannot help but see my Heather laid out in her blue dress. I did have a point where I was crying and I could not talk for about an hour. (This is that cry that I cannot explain—the cry where talking makes me cry more but I cannot utter a word)
SteakHouse 55
 We had a beyond enjoyable and lovely dinner at SteakHouse 55. We had never been there and it was pomp, grace and old fashioned service all in one magical place. It is based on 1955 Walt Disney. The d├ęcor was amazing but the food was some of the most delicious food I have ever tasted. I did explain to the host when I made reservations that it was a special occasion—the 5th anniversary of our daughter birthday since she died. She assured me they would help us celebrate but in a very tasteful manner. At the end of our meal the server brought out the Mickey Mouse and told us happy birthday and he was sorry. Again just one more way that Disney goes the extra step to make sure the magic and vision of Walt continues today. Our evening finished with watching the new Disney movie Frozen again. I am in love with the music and the story line of the two sisters.
Olaf and me
 I had many friends post on my or Heather’s Facebook, send me texts or private messages. To all those who did it means more than you can ever know that you remembered my child with me. She has not been forgotten. I will admit that a few people that I expected a message form did not send anything. I can honestly say that this hurt and hurt me kind of badly. These are people that I shared my precious Heather with. Not everyone gets that privilege of hearing and sharing my memories. I am very sad that maybe I need to be more careful with whom I choose to share so many personal things with. But then again what kind of friends were they to begin with??
Happy Birthday Heather

Monday, December 9, 2013

December 10-Simply Another Day...

 Confessions of a Grieving Mother Blog
Sunday, January 24, 2010
A new year—a different year—a weird year, not sure what year yet. I can’t begin to describe the feeling it brings to say my daughter died last year. It is very strange to say that. It had always been she died this year. I have to stop and think before I say that statement. Before I know it will be she died 2 years—5 years—20 years ago. That seems like an eternity away. I cannot begin to think in terms of years yet. Maybe someday.
Happy Birthday Heather!!
Funny how I wrote these very words and here I am at marking the five year anniversary of celebrating Heather’s birthday without her. I did not think in those first few days, weeks and months after she died that I could ever be here. It seems like I cannot remember what has happened during all these days that have passed, it is a blur somehow. Some days feel like it has been a few days since Heather died and then others feel like it has been 50 years.

I still have no answers as to how to survive these dates that come and go. But every year there will be her birth and then her death day. Somehow whether I want to remember or not, my body has its own clock and already knows when the time is coming. Some years I want to go away and other years I want to stay home. It changes from year to year and that is okay. I am allowed to do whatever I feel I need to do to help me survive.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!!!
My wonderful son-(in-law) but he is my son, Sunnie or John Wesley has the same birthdate as Heather. This is a curse and a blessing as he never knows from year to year what the mood of the family will be. This year in the blink of an eye I had an idea and I ran with it. I wanted to give Sunnie a surprise birthday party. Suddenly what began as a cake with Wendy and Snookie changed to dinner and Jenn and Paz coming too. It was the best Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle birthday party ever!! This party was held on Friday before the 10th.It is hard to describe, but it felt good to have a reason to have a party, cake and gifts on December 10th. Sunnie was shocked and surprised and had no idea it was coming so that made it even more wonderful for me. Of course we had the appropriate TMNT food which is pizza.
Happy 31st Birthday to my boy..
I booked a trip to Disneyland many months ago but as time got close I didn’t feel that I wanted to go. Of course now that I am here I am glad and it feels good. There have been a few tears that have fallen. Here it is late on December 9th and I can feel the day already approaching for tomorrow. I made reservations at SteakHouse 55 at the Disneyland hotel for dinner tomorrow. I also told them we were celebrating our daughter’s birthday or at least the 5th one without her. They will bring us dessert. I am not sure why this is important to me but it is. I want them to come to the table with a birthday song. They will not know the real reason, but I will. I am hoping to go see FROZEN again at the theater here in Downtown Disney. I will have the day I have tomorrow as that is all I can plan for now.
Do You Wanna Build A Snowman??
Next year the entire Coombe, Shannon, Galusha-Luna, Akers and Dennis families will be meeting at Walt Disney World on December 10th to begin our celebration cruise. I count that next year will be the 5th anniversary as the first year I stayed in bed till 2pm and wanted to be left alone. So, next year will be the 6th, but for me it will be the 5th one I have been able to celebrate.
Heather's Spot
Here is something really ironic about Heather’s birthday. My BFF Margie and her husband Duane were married on December 10th, 1983. Then when I called Margie in March of 1986 to tell her Jenn had been born she told me she was pregnant. Their daughter Rochelle was born December 10th, 1986. One year later on December 10th, 1987 Heather was born. Rochelle is missing her mom for her 1st birthday without her and the reality of Margie being gone is hitting home very hard for her. For Duane he is missing the love of his life and not able to celebrate their 30th anniversary with her. She was his princess and the reality of the day is hitting home for him very hard as well. Interesting how one date in time can effect so many people’s lives with simply two beloved people dying way too early.